Ask of God

Ask of God

You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  (Jas 4:2)

But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.  (Joh 11:22)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (Jas 1:5)

These passages from the Bible remind us to ask God for the things that we need and for the things that we would like to have.  Certain Bible verses remind us that God will not withhold ANY good thing from the upright.  (Ps 34:10; 84:11)  Glory to God!

There are several Bible verses that remind us to ask God for what we desire; and they go on to explain that He will hear us and will answer our prayers.  (See Mt 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10; Joh 15:7) 

The best part is that James 1:5 (above) reminds us that when we ask God for something that we need, He answers our prayer abundantly and without any criticism whatsoever!  Hallelujah! 

We serve a good and loving God.  He wants us to bring our needs, our hurts, and our sorrows to Him.  He wants us to recognize that He is available to us, and that He wants to help and bless us daily.  He wants to comfort us and to bind up our wounds.  (Ps 147:3; 2 Cor 1:4; 7:6)

Stop and take inventory of your life.  Determine what your needs may be and take them to the Lord right now.

So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Heb 4:16 ISV)

Look Into the Law of Liberty

Look Into the Law of Liberty

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he [she] does.  (Jas 1:25, word in parenthesis added)

This passage of Scripture is full of meaning, wisdom, and insight if we’ll take the time to think about it and to study it.

Why does this verse refer to the law of liberty?  I believe it’s because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news that sets people free.  Once we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are liberated from sin, bondage, and condemnation.  We experience a new birth in Christ and receive the promise of eternal life.

We find a law within the Good News of Jesus Christ, and it is a law of LIBERTY and not of slavery—life and not death!  In Romans 3:27 it is referred to as the law of faith.

James 1:25 is referring to a devoted student of the Scriptures as he/she, in all humility of heart and mind, intently studies the Bible.  This is done reverently and with a quality of examination, analysis, and recognition.  We would be on our knees in a spiritual sense.

We can each be this type of student of the Word.  How?  We read the Word expecting the Holy Spirit to illuminate a passage in such a way that it changes us—soul and body.  When it actually happens, our willingness to wait patiently on the Lord will give us even more insight as we glean how to apply it to our own lives and circumstances.

In this way, we have the privilege of fine tuning our lives to comply with and to obey the Bible in more detail and more holiness as we mature in our walk with Christ.  This is an ongoing process, and it’s an exciting progression as well as a sobering one.  It is a solemn and a holy process that occurs in our hearts and must be guarded constantly. 

If we let down our guard and forget what God has patiently revealed to us and taught us, we do damage to our own heart and to our relationship with God.  Our relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in our lives, having value for all eternity.  It, alone, is the promise of eternal life. 

It is the law of faith and the law of liberty.  Value it, brothers and sisters!

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

In this article, we’re considering the unchanging nature of our salvation.  As I think about this subject, I believe that our salvation is based upon three important cornerstones.

God’s Will for Mankind

The covenant God made with His children is unwavering, for God (who cannot lie) has made a promise and then confirmed it by an oath.  (see Num 23:19 & Heb 6:13-18)

For I am the Lord, I do not change . . .  (Mal 3:6a)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  (Jam 1:17)

God’s Word

God’s Word is eternal.  The Bible reminds us that we should never add to or delete anything from God’s Word. (Deu 4:2; 12:32; Pro 30:5-6) 

The Bible also warns us not to confuse the teachings of men with the Word of God.  (Mt 15:8-9; Mk 7:6-8)

God’s Word will stand forever; it shall be entirely fulfilled.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  (Isa 40:8)

. . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever . . . (1 Pet 1:23)

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  (Mt 5:18)

Our Savior—Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  (Heb 7:24)

Jesus, who is the Living Word, has an unchangeable priesthood and an unchanging character.  He is steadfast and trustworthy.  He has completed the mission that our heavenly Father gave to Him.  He has redeemed mankind and reconciled to the Father all who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord.   All glory to God!

The Living Word

The Living Word

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  (Heb 4:12 ESV)

What does “living” mean?  It means:

  • alive [full of life];
  • animate [having life], or
  • sentient [aware; able to perceive or feel things].

This passage of Scripture tells us that the written Word of God is alive and active—even that it is able to recognize and to perceive the plans and objectives of our hearts.  That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?  As we read God’s Word, His Word reads each one of us.

The Bible is the message given to mankind from the Living God, who is our Savior and Redeemer.  Jesus spoke of the life-giving characteristic of His Words:  “The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.” (Joh 6:63)

Other Bible verses showing that God’s Word is alive:

  • It sustains man. (Lk 4:4)
  • It gives faith. (Rom 10:17)
  • It is unlimited. (2 Tim 2:9c)
  • It produces spiritual birth. (1 Pet 1:23)
  • It abides in believers. (1 Joh 2:14)

We can see that the life inherent in the Word produces much fruit:

  • in the lives of sinners who have repented;
  • in removing sinful habits from people’s lives; and
  • in signs, wonders, and miracles.

Don’t take the Bible for granted.  Don’t relegate it to the background of your life, but keep it front and center.  Read it, study it, and enjoy it!  It is the veritable power of God in your life.

God’s New Thing

God’s New Thing

This is what the Lord says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”  (Isa 43:16, 18-19)

God tells us to forget the past.  He calls us to see and to join with Him in His “new thing.”  His new work is to make a road in the desert and provide streams where no one expects them!  Wow! 

He hasn’t changed in doing the impossible!  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)  Hallelujah!

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Mt 19:26)  Our God does impossible things.

God wants to do a new thing in each and every heart on earth, but He can only do so when He is invited in.  If you’re a believer, you’ve already given the Lord permission to work in your heart and in your life.  But God wants to continue His work; He may even want to do a new thing in you!  Are you open to Him?

We know that God speaks to mankind in various ways.  First and foremost is through His Word, the Bible.  Other ways in which He speaks to us are:

  • Through creation (Ps 19:1) – We see God’s might and vision in creation.
  • Through circumstances – Whether our life circumstances are beautiful or frightening, they demonstrate to us repeatedly that we need to rely upon God.
  • God speaks by His voice – The Bible is filled with instances of God speaking to people, and He still speaks to us now.  He may speak through His written Word; through people (pastors, other believers, strangers); or through the inner witness of our own heart.

No matter what new goal or new presentation that God may have in mind for each of us, we must always decide to yield to and obey God. 

We need to remember that His plans for us and His desires for us are good, bountiful, and uplifting.  He loves each one of us perfectly and unconditionally.  As we trust Him and yield to Him, He will turn each life into a marvel of beauty and praise.  All glory to God!

What Did You Want to See?

What Did You Want to See?

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  (Mt 11:8)

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  (Lk 7:24)

Jesus talked about a “reed shaken by the wind” because in Bible days, reeds grew similar to sugar cane. The reeds bowed nearly to the ground during the hot daytime. At night, thanks to the cool breeze of the Mediterranean, the reeds would stand up again. This singularity was a crowd-gathering event. Groups of people came out to see the reeds rise in the cool breezes of the night. Then they would return home, unchanged by what they had witnessed. 

Jesus was telling the people that they did not follow John’s teachings, but that all they wanted was to see a spectacle (similar to the reeds).  They were not willing to repent and to be baptized.

They were also coming out to listen to Jesus in the same way—without a willingness or interest in changing their lives. Jesus was showing them how empty and frivolous they were.  They simply moved through the events of their lives without ever connecting with God or His power.

We must determine that in the course of our everyday lives, we must “see Jesus” and His power come alive in our own lives and in our own experiences.  How do we do that?  We study the Word of God and we allow it—INVITE IT—to cleanse us, transform us, and empower us to act. 

We are Christ’s disciples and we are meant to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  We are called to support the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to work in our own neighborhoods to be an influence for good and a witness of Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

“I Shall Not Die”

“I Shall Not Die”

Can it ever be the “wrong” thing to say (along with Psalm 118:17), “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

First of all, how could agreeing with the Bible be wrong to do?  Some people will say, “Yes, but I knew a brother who confessed that verse but then he passed away, so it was wrong for him to confess that.”  I strongly disagree with this thinking.

Doesn’t the Bible TELL us to hide God’s word in our hearts (memorize it)?  See Deuteronomy 6:6; 11:18; 30:14; Job 22:22; Psalm 19:14. 

Furthermore, doesn’t Romans 10:8 give us specific instructions?

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach) . . .  (Rom 10:8) When the word is in our mouths, it means that we are speaking it out loud.

This passage from the Bible specifically says that God’s word should be in our mouths and in our hearts.  “Yes,” someone might say, “but maybe NOT certain passages of the Word.” 

Again, I cannot agree.  Doesn’t the very foundation of our faith state that when we accept Christ as our personal Savior and Lord that we have received ETERNAL LIFE

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (Joh 17:3)

. . . that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)

So for any believer, at ANY time in their lives, to declare that “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” is completely in keeping with their faith and their lifelong testimony. 

It is good to understand and to know that when we graduate into eternity, we shall most certainly be ALIVE, and we shall be “declaring the works of the Lord” forever! 

Thanks to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, believers move from victory to victory.  So, be BOLD and CERTAIN in your faith, brothers and sisters!