Lord of the Living & the Dead

Lord of the Living & the Dead

As Christians, we belong to Jesus Christ.  Once we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we became a member of His family.  He remains our Lord from that moment on into and throughout all eternity.  How blessed we are!

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  (Rom 14:9 NIV)

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  (1 Pet 4:5)

The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—   (Ac 10:36)    

Jesus Christ is the Lord of both the living and the dead—and there is no conflict in His role.  He is Lord of ALL. 

Jesus created everything that exists and because of that, no one can claim any authority over creation or over mankind other than Him.  (See Exodus 19:5)

When the Scriptures speak of Jesus being the Lord of both the living and the dead, it is addressing the fact that Jesus is the Lord of all people: 

  • Those who are spiritually dead and those who are spiritually alive;
  • Those who are physically dead and those who are physically alive.

Jesus’ perfect sacrifice reconciled us to our Father God, and brought peace between us and the Father.  Jesus has established the ministry of reconciliation.  Glory to God!

How much more do we (all born-again believers) belong to Jesus since He has ransomed us from sin and from satan? 

There is a prophecy in Isaiah that reminds us that we have everlasting joy bestowed upon us:

So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads.  They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  (Isa 51:11)  Glory to God!

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!

Lips of Grace

Lips of Grace

Thou art fairer than the children of men:  grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.  (Ps 45:2 KJV)  This psalm is speaking of the coming Savior of the world, and pointing out that He had grace literally POURED out upon His lips.  Did Jesus prove the truth of this verse?  Yes, He did!

Jesus’ lips were anointed with such grace that it poured from His lips like streams of living water.  His words blessed all those who heard and received them.

He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.  (Pro 22:11)  Jesus was loved by all who came to Him and were touched by Him.  We may also have this same blessing if we allow the Lord to use our lips to bless others.

So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.  (Lk 4:22a)  People who heard Jesus’ words were astonished, awed, and impressed by them—they had such an impact.

Charles Spurgeon, in his commentary on Psalm 45:2, had this to say:

“Imagination’s utmost stretch cannot conceive of anything more gracious; and the contemplation of the most devoted Christian cannot think of any words more majestic in goodness, more tender in sympathy, more full of honey, and more luscious in their sweetness, than the gracious words that proceeded out of the lips of Jesus Christ.”

Jesus, as our Savior and example, is our model for life and faith.  As His words blessed the people who heard them, so also, should ours.  As we spend time meditating upon the Bible, and time in worshiping the Lord, our words will become more and more like His.  For Jesus’ words bestowed grace upon grace to all those who heard them. 

Listen to and learn from Jesus’ words; meditate upon the Scriptures; obey the Holy Spirit; and then follow Jesus’ example of speaking grace-filled words.

Creativity, Part 2

Creativity, Part 2

As we discussed in the last article, God has made mankind in His own image; He has made us to be creative even as He is creative. 

Every human being has a unique personality—we all understand that fact.  In the same way, we each have a wonderfully individual mixture of talents and abilities blended in a distinctive combination. 

Whatever our talents and giftings, God has not only given them to us but He has blessed us to serve Him and His kingdom through them.  Here are several passages of Scripture that demonstrate the talents that He has given to mankind, and also how those abilities are intended to bless everyone around us.

And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.  (Ex 31:3-5)

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.  (Rom 12:4-8)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  (1 Pet 4:10-11)

In our creativity we live, walk and work by faith, trusting that God has blessed the work of our hands.  By faith, we also understand that the Lord uses our creative work to bless, help, and to inspire other people.

Keep on creating, friend!

Launch Into the Deep

Launch Into the Deep

4When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.”  5But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.”  6And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking.  (Lk 5:4-6)

Notice that in verse 4, Jesus tells Simon (Peter) to let down his nets [plural] in order to catch fish.  Simon basically has some skepticism, but says, “Okay!  I’ll put THE net down.”  And that single net was no match for the quantity of fish that filled the net to the breaking point!

This is the result of doubt—not faith.  Jesus was prepared (I believe) to fill every single net that Simon would have put down into the water that day.  If Simon had put down three nets, he would have filled three; if he had put down four, he would have filled four.  But doubt prevented him from truly complying with Jesus’ instructions. 

Now, was Simon still blessed?  Of course, he was!  Do you think his faith was strengthened by this episode?  Undoubtedly, yes.

But, do you think that the plan of Jesus for Simon was much more prosperous than Simon could envision?  I believe that it assuredly was.  But Simon’s sight was limited and narrowed by doubt.

Let us learn a great lesson from this Biblical account, and adjust our own behavior and mindset when reading God’s Word for us.  We must learn to obey God to the last detail of His instructions to us.  If you doubt anything—doubt your own doubt!  Trust God to do impossible (miraculous) things in order to bless you.

Let us learn to launch into the deep of obedience to God with great trust and faith in His plans for us and His vision for us, in Jesus’ Name.