God Will Turn Us into a Blessing

God Will Turn Us into a Blessing

Let’s see where the Bible addresses this topic of turning believers into a blessing.

And it shall come to pass that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you, and you shall be a blessing.  Do not fear, let your hands be strong.  (Zec 8:13)

Though their present state was humble, God wanted Israel to trust in His promise of blessing.  He also wanted them to allow His promise to inspire them to diligently and robustly serve the Kingdom of God.  In the above passage, believers are instructed to have no fear and to be strong.  Notice that the Lord says that AFTER He saves His people, THEN we will be a blessing to other people. 

In that day Israel will be one of three with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing in the midst of the land, whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed is Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”  (Isa 19:24-25)

As we read above, the Word says that God’s people shall be a blessing in the heart of the earth.  The truth in this Scripture is based upon the fact that the Gospel of salvation was birthed in Israel through the birth of Jesus Christ; and through Israel and the gospel of salvation, all mankind would be blessed to learn of God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy.

‘Is the seed still in the barn? As yet the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have not yielded fruit. But from this day I will bless you.’  (Hag 2:19)

In Haggai, the Lord declares that His blessings shall be upon His people.  We may safely put our trust in God’s promise to bless us, though we see no observable indication of its realization.  For our God cannot lie (Tit 1:2), and His Word is unfailing—it is always fulfilled.  (Ezek 12:28; 1 Thes 5:24)

We’re called and designed by God to share the Good News of Jesus Christ in the earth, and in doing so, fulfill our destiny to be a blessing on this earth.  Glory to God!

The Just for the Unjust

The Just for the Unjust

Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, suffered ONCE for the sins of mankind even though He was completely without sin.  His purpose in doing this was to reconcile us to His Father God, and Jesus completed the task that He was given.  (see Joh 19:30)  Praise God! 

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit . . .  (1 Pet 3:18, underscoring added)

Jesus was made alive by the Spirit because the Holy Spirit’s power raised Jesus from the dead.  (Rom 8:11)  And the same Spirit also dwells within each and every believer.  Think of it!  Resurrection power abides within every believer!

. . . so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.  (Heb 9:28)

As I mentioned above, Jesus completed His assignment when He lived a sinless life, suffered and bled and died, and was resurrected from the grave. Jesus was offered, by His Father even as Abraham offered his son, Isaac, on the altar in Genesis 22:9-13.  Since Jesus dealt with the sins of mankind already, He NEVER needs to have anything more to do with sin. 

God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.  (Rom 4:25 CEV)

Through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, all who accept Him as their own Savior and Lord have been justified and made acceptable to God.  Glory to God! Now, since we have been born again and made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, we may joyously look forward to seeing Jesus face-to-face in heaven when our life on earth has been fulfilled.  Or a praiseworthy alternative to that will be when Jesus returns to earth to rapture His church.  (Dan 12:1-2; Mt 24:30-31; Mk 13:24-27; 1 Cor 15:51-53; 1 Thes 4:16-18; Rev 3:10)   Hallelujah!

There is None Righteous

There is None Righteous

The Bible reminds us that no one is righteous, except God. 

As it is written:  “There is none righteous, no, not one . . .”  (Rom 3:10)

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .  (Rom 3:23)

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”  (Jer 17:9)

“What is man, that he could be pure?  And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?”  (Job 15:14)

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.  (1 Joh 1:8-10, emphasis added)

We have abundant evidence, not only in the Scriptures but through the evidence of our own lives, that human beings are not intrinsically righteous.  But as 1 John 1:9 (above) says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Our solution to having sinned is to confess our sins to God and to accept and receive His cleansing and His forgiveness.

In those days Judah will be saved, And Jerusalem will dwell safely. And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  (Jer 33:16)

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—  (1 Cor 1:30)

For those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, He has become for us wisdom from God.  He is also our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.  After we accepted Jesus as our Savior, the Word reminds us that we were sealed with the Holy Spirit!  (Eph 1:13) Glory to God most High!

That Christ is Preached

That Christ is Preached

What is something that is of uppermost importance to all believers around the world?  That is our study topic today.

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.  (Phil 1:18)

The verse above is saying, “So?  The important thing—the only thing that matters—is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is preached to everyone everywhere.  That makes me rejoice!”

But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”  (Lk 9:50)

But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him, for no one who works a miracle in My name can soon afterward speak evil of Me. 40 For he who is not against us is on our side.  (Mk 9:39-40)

Anyone who prevents the gospel of Jesus Christ from being preached has set themselves against the will of God, and has willingly become an enemy of the most High God. 

Since not everyone has been called to be an evangelist, a pastor/preacher, or a missionary, then how can the rest of us take part in the evangelization mandate given to us by God?  When we tithe and give offerings to the church that we attend regularly, we contribute to circulating and promoting the message of the gospel.

Also, when we give donations to para-church ministries, missionaries, or evangelists, we are also contributing to and participating in broadcasting the Good News of Jesus Christ to the lost and the hurting.  It’s important for each one of us to recognize and to appreciate that we have been given a role to play in the Kingdom of God. It’s also vital that we understand that we are a vital part of spreading the Good News around the world! Praise God!

God Knows Those Who Trust in Him

God Knows Those Who Trust in Him

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.  (Nah 1:7)

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  (Joh 10:14)

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.  (Pro 18:10)

But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.  (1 Cor 8:3)

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  (2 Tim 2:19)

Our God is full of power, wisdom and knowledge.  He knows when a person turns to Him with love, and when a person has put their trust in Him.  To such people, God is a fortress, a good shepherd, and a place of safety.

God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.  (Isa 64:4)  What a magnificent promise!

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have been given many promises in the Bible.  Here are just a handful of such treasures:

  • Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  (Deu 31:6)
  • The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.
    I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
      (2 Sam 22:3-4)
  • “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”  (Joh 10:28-30)
  • The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  (Ps 23:1-5)

Let me reassure you that God knows your heart.  He knows that you love Him, trust Him, and turn to Him in times of need and trouble.  He will not fail you nor will He ever forsake you.  He will meet your needs and fulfill His promises to you.  What joyous facts to know! Hallelujah!

If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised

If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.   (Rom 13:3-4)

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.  (1 Pet 2:13-14)

God has promised us, according to the Scriptures, that when we do good works on earth, we’ll be honored and celebrated.  This is God’s reward and His blessing upon all who are obedient to His Word and His will.

It is clear that doing good works is the will of God for His people.  Here are several Bible verses about good works:

  • In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 5:16 ESV)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  (Jas 2:26 ESV)
  • That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim 3:17 ESV)

What are “good works” according to the Bible?  Here is another perspective:

Ephesians 2:10 would encourage you to learn to see your whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you’re a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. If you’re a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God’s masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes.  (Source:  https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/daily-reflection/what-are-good-works-god-has-prepared-us)

The Bible also tells us these things about good works:

  • If someone is hungry or inadequately clothed, believers should feed them and give them clothing.  (Jas 2:14-17)
  • Whatever we do, we should work enthusiastically and with all of our might, because the Lord Himself will reward us.  (Col 3:23-24)
  • We must do wholesome, upright, virtuous deeds and share whatever we have with others. (Heb 13:16)
  • Don’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing good.  (Gal 6:9)
  • All that we do should be done in love.  (1 Cor 16:14)
  • Believers should encourage and inspire each other to lovingly perform good works.  (Heb 10:24)

Think deeply today about what we’ve studied, and about the many forms of good works.  There are so many unique ways in which you may demonstrate the love and mercy of God to the world through your good works. Be blessed in Jesus’ name!

The Day of Pentecost

The Day of Pentecost

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Ac 2:1-4 KJ21)

Here is a teaching about the day of Pentecost from an independent source:

Thus Acts 2 must be interpreted as a special historical event, signifying a new period in God’s dealings with His people. Pentecost signals the dawning of the age of the Holy Spirit. And the fullness of the Spirit in God’s people is to empower them for witness to all the nations. The meaning of Pentecost is God’s equipping His church with the power of His Spirit so that He will be glorified among the nations.  (Source:  https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-4-meaning-pentecost-acts-21-13)

Jesus kept His promise stated in Acts 1:5, “ . . . for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON

The Holy Spirit is a person—not just a force. 

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  (Eph 4:30)  – Only a person can be grieved.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit . . .” (Ac 5:3) and “You have not lied to men but to God.”  (Act 5:4)  – The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Holy Trinity.  A human being can only lie to another person.

THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME TO INDWELL GOD’S PEOPLE

The Holy Spirit comes to live in us, and we become His temple.

. . . the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  (Joh 14:17)

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16)

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.  (2 Tim 1:13-14)

Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?  (Jas 4:5, emphasis added)

As you can see from these Scripture passages, the Lord Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live within His people as our Teacher, Comforter, and Helper.

OUR GOD IS A GOD OF SIGNS, WONDERS & MIRACLES 

Through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Spirit of God, the Lord has equipped His church to share the Good News, to operate in power and to speak the truth with holy boldness.

“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness,
fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
  (Ex 15:11)

So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.  (Deu 26:8)

Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. (Ac 14:3)

. . .in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:19, emphasis added)

God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?  (Heb 2:4)

As the Word tells us, we are equipped for every good work that will bring praise, honor, and glory to our God.  (2 Tim 3:17)  Glory to God! (For more about signs, wonders and miracles, see also Jeremiah 32:21; Daniel 4:2-3; 6:27; Mark 9:23; Matthew 19:26)

Thoughts & Words

Thoughts & Words

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.  (Mt 5:22 NIV)

The sixth commandment from the Lord states:   You shall not murder.  (Ex 5:17 NIV)  This command also includes our thoughts and words, including emotions of unrighteous anger and damaging insults. 

Raca is an informal expression of contempt for a person’s mental ability, similar to “dope” or “witless.”  To call someone a fool is a way to show disrespect and scorn for a person’s character.  Both negative words in this verse suggest that the person being criticized should be doomed for eternity.

Our words proceed from the thoughts that we have hidden within us, as the Bible reminds us. 

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  (Lk 6:45c NIV)

Here again, we need to guide our lives by what the Lord teaches us.  But God considers critical words to be “corrupting,” and He instructs us to speak things that will encourage others and bless all who hear our conversation.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 ESV)

Another aspect of calling other people condemning names is that notion that in some way, we have judged the person or persons and have found them wanting.  How can we criticize another person who has been created in the image of God?

But God is aware of our words.  His advice is clear:

Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  (Mt 7:1 NIV)

I tell you that people will have to answer on Judgment Day for every useless word they speak.  (Mt 12:36 CEB)

Don’t misunderstand me.  What I’ve been describing is all too human and something that we all fall prey to from time to time.  But this is our reminder to guard our thoughts diligently so that our words will be kind and encouraging to others.  If we can’t speak something positive, then it’s best to say nothing at all!

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (Jas 4:6 NASB)

The Lord gives us the ability [grace] to be at peace with all human beings.  He gives us the grace to forgive and to be kind. 

Let us ask the Lord for His grace for every situation and relationship in our lives.  God bless you!

Jesus Reveals the Father

Jesus Reveals the Father

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Mt 11:27)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:15)

Jesus has a distinctive and unmatched relationship with the Father.  Since His relationship with the Father is personal and direct, ONLY Jesus can accurately disclose God the Father to us. 

How has Jesus revealed the Father to us?  Through His life and through His acts, He has displayed His Father’s character and heart for all to see and understand.  Here are just a handful of gifts that the Father has given to believers:

  • Love (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 3:1)
  • Freedom from Guilt (Rom 8:1)
  • Health, healing (Ex 15:26; Isa 53:5; Mt 12:15;Lk 5:17)
  • Daily benefits [blessings]  (Ps 68:19)
  • God hears and answers our prayers  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

As we study the Word of God and think deeply about it, we gradually learn more and more about the character and nature of God.  And the more we learn of Him, the more confident that we can be in the fact that He loves us; that He enjoys blessing us; and that He’s always with us.  Have a wonderful day!

God’s Fierce Love for Us

God’s Fierce Love for Us

Chapter Eight of the Song of Solomon is a representation of God’s fierce and jealous love for people.  Not just His people but for ALL people.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.  (Song of Sol. 8:6-7 NIV)

Here’s the way that I understand and meditate upon this passage from the Bible:

“Father, I am loved affectionately by You; lodged deep within Your heart; owned and acknowledged by You; and protected by Your powerful right arm.  My love for You is mightier than loss, bereavement or death.  Oceans of water can’t smother Your love for me nor can floods ever drown the power of our mutual love. If someone tried to buy our love with unimaginable riches, we would disdainfully reject it.”  Praise the Lord most High!

If you would insert the first name of your spouse or fiancé in the place of the word ‘Father,’ you would begin to comprehend the depth and breadth and intensity of God’s ferocious love for human beings. 

God’s love for us is His reason for sending Jesus to earth to purchase our salvation.  It’s His motive for inserting so many miraculous and precious promises into His Word for us to discover and to rely upon.  His promises are a priceless treasure given to us—we, who are the object of His potent love. I encourage you to meditate upon and to mightily rejoice in God’s fierce love for you! Glory to God!