Good Gifts

Good Gifts

Every good thing that we receive in life, no matter how it comes to us, is a blessing from God.  We need to recognize the truth of this principle.  What does the Bible teach us?

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.  (Jas 1:17 NKJV)

This verse clearly supports the premise that I offered in the first sentence of this article.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!  (Mt 7:11 NKJV)

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  (Lk 11:13 NKJV)

Both of the passages above say clearly that if we, as human parents, understand the desire to shower good gifts upon our own children, then surely we must recognize that God’s desire is also to do good and to bless His spiritual children.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jer 29:11 NIV)  God plan is to prosper each one of us and to give each of us hope and a good future.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Rom 8:28 NIV)  God is telling all who have accepted Christ as their Savior that He works for our GOOD in every circumstance of life.  Praise God!

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will . . .  (Eph 1:11 ESV)  God has given each and every believer an inheritance, which is not only eternal but it is GOOD.  Thank the Lord 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!

Narrow is the Gate

Narrow is the Gate

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  (Mt 7:13-14)

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”  (Mt 22:14)

. . . strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”  (Act 14:22)

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.  (Joh 15:18-20)

The term “narrow gate” conveys its meaning rather well.  A narrow gate allows the entry of fewer people at one time, than does a wide gate.  A narrow gate doesn’t allow a person who is heavily burdened with packages to get through very easily.

When Jesus said, “Narrow is the way which leads to life . . . “ He was pointing out that the Christian walk is not as easy as it may seem.  Jesus was warning people that following Him would lead to grief and to serious challenges of life. 

“Difficult” is from the Greek word thlibo, which means: “To press (as grapes), press hard upon; a compressed way; narrow straitened, contracted” way (New Testament Greek Lexicon, http://www.biblestudytools.com).

As Christians, we must continuously keep our eyes on the goal of spending eternity with our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In John 15:18-20, Jesus tells His followers that the world will hate them even as it hated Him.  And since Jesus was persecuted, we should expect the same treatment. 

These are tough realities and truths that Jesus was setting before everyone who chooses to follow Him.  However, no one will be able to say that they haven’t been told the entire truth about following Jesus. 

Jesus loves us and wants us to follow Him; and He pours out His love, mercy, and grace upon us to empower us to do just that.  We must remember to add our own willpower and determination to this endeavor by choosing continuously to persist in following Jesus Christ.  Let’s glorify the Lord throughout our lives.