Promote Peace

Promote Peace

As disciples of Christ we’re called to promote peace in the world.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

What does it mean to “promote” peace?  As servants of the Living God, we are directed to:

  • Encourage and support,
  • Sponsor and further,
  • Advertise,
  • Elevate and advance peace in every circumstance and situation.

Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.  (Pro 12:20 NIV)

If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.  (Lk 10:6 NIV)

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Mt 5:9)

Just from this small selection of Bible passages we learn that:

  • Promoting peace brings joy—not only to us but to everyone involved;
  • People who sponsor peace will have peace rest upon them;
  • We should do good by seeking and pursuing peace; and
  • All peacemakers are blessed children of God.  Hallelujah!

An invitation to promote peace is given to every believer in God’s Kingdom.  Let us joyfully respond to this appeal from the heart of God.

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

Made Alive

Made Alive

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22)

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  (Rom 5:15-17)

Because all humanity is descended from Adam, we are all going to experience death someday.  In a similar way, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will one day be made alive.

What does that really mean to us? 

It means that we, upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, have been born into the family of God.  Having accepted Jesus as our Savior and keeping our relationship with Him alive throughout our lives means that:

  • We belong to Jesus;
  • We are His seed and offspring;
  • We serve Jesus because He is our covenant Head and Representative; and
  • We shall be raised [resurrected] to immortal life in and by Jesus Christ.

One day, we will have eternity to spend in the presence of our living God who is love.  We will eternally be surrounded by perfect, unfailing, unending Love.  This is a blessing of our salvation for which we may continuously praise and thank God!

Inner Strength

Inner Strength

God gives inner strength to every person who trusts in Him and in His salvation.  Here are several Bible passages on the topic:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Isa 41:10 NKJV)

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves . . .  (Eph 3:16 GNT)

. . . strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy . . . (Col 1:11 NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Phil 4:13 NKJV)

This is one of the blessed benefits of our salvation—to receive inner strength and perseverance from God, our Savior.  Whenever we face difficulties, challenges, sorrows, or calamities, we may cry out to the Lord in our trouble and He will deliver us. Take note of these Bible verses:

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.  (Ps 107:6)

. . . persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.  (2 Tim 3:11, emphasis added)

What a loving and mighty God we serve!  Look at just some of the blessings that He pours out upon each and every one of His people:

  • He is always with us and will never reject us. 
  • He upholds and sustains us.
  • He gives us grace to enable us to serve Him and to fulfill our callings. 
  • He provides health, healing, reconciliation, and mercy continuously. 
  • He justifies us and grants us peace with our Father God. 
  • He loves us perfectly
  • He has given us a salvation that will provide us with joy in the presence of the Lord now and for all eternity.

Become aware of and use the inner strength that God has given to you.  Study these blessings and benefits of our salvation in order to support and to sustain your inner strength.  Blessings upon you!

What Is a Backslider?

What Is a Backslider?

A backslider is someone who has reversed their direction in a given area.  In terms of Christian faith and life, it usually refers to a person who at one time had a vital, meaningful relationship with Jesus as their Savior but who has turned away from the values of following Christ and living a moral, upright life. 

But the Lord says, in the verses below, that He loves the backslider, that He is married to them, and that He will heal their condition by bringing them back to Himself.  Glory to God!

Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you.  (Jer 3:14a)

Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.  (Jer 3:22a)

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely . . .  (Hos 14:4a)

This turning away from faith may happen if a person isn’t connected to a church or a body of believers with whom to fellowship.  It may also occur if someone becomes neglectful about Bible reading, prayer, and praise and worship.  These are all forms of communication with the Lord, and any relationship will wither and collapse without ongoing, regular communication. 

So we can’t allow our affections for the Lord to cool down by discarding the habits that uphold and sustain our faith in Jesus.  It’s always good to review our conduct occasionally to make sure that we’re making decisions that will positively impact our life of faith.  Our life habits should sustain and nurture our Christian faith, so guard them well.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord . . . (Ac 3:19) Our sympathetic Savior is happy to restore and to revive our relationship with Him at all times.  And He says that times of refreshing will follow, times of rejuvenating the relationship with Him and pouring out grace upon you to inspire you in fresh ways.

Anyone who has backslidden from their faith in Christ has hope.  The Lord is loving, merciful, and kind.  He longs for us to return to Him and to reestablish our relationship with Him—the God who is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)  God bless you.

The Way Everlasting

The Way Everlasting

Here are two different versions of the same Bible verse:

And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  (Ps 139:24 NKJV)

Don’t let me follow evil ways, but lead me in the way that time has proven true.  (Ps 139:24 CEV)

As we can see from the second version of Psalm 139:24, the way everlasting is the way that time has proven reliable or trustworthy.  We can choose to live according to the world’s way, or we can choose God’s everlasting way.  Only one of these ways is true.  Only one of these ways will lead you to eternal happiness.

The way everlasting asks us to submit our will to Christ, our Savior and to adopt His values and goals. It will transform our character progressively to be more Christlike.  His way will lead us to bear good fruit to God (Jas 3:17), and permit us to transfer that fruit with us into eternity.

It’s vital for us to remember that the life that we lead here on earth, in all regards, is not for this earthly, measured time but for eternity.  Our earthly lives are a spiritual test for:

  • The quality of our characters,
  • The motives for our work, and
  • The motives of our hearts.

Each and every one of us need to make corrections and adjustments to our attitudes and our lives.  We all need to be led by the Lord and His righteousness, and every one of us needs to allow God to teach us and to show us the path for our feet. 

Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.  (Ps 5:8 NKJV)

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Your Spirit is good.  Lead me in the land of uprightness.  (Ps 143:10 NKJV)

Since we who follow Jesus Christ have made the choice to live in the way everlasting, let us consider seriously what corrections and improvements that the Lord may be urging us to make today.  Glory to God!

Wisdom & Understanding

Wisdom & Understanding

In the Bible, we often see that wisdom and understanding are linked together strongly.

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens . . .  (Pro 3:19 NKJV)

For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  (Pro 2:6 NIV)

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  (Pro 4:7 NIV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  (Pro 9:10 NIV)

He has made the earth by His power; He has established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heaven by His understanding.  (Jer 51:15 NKJV)

The Lord uses wisdom and understanding together in combination to establish and accomplish great and mighty things.  Because we are made in God’s image (Gen 9:6 NKJV) and since Christ is our example (1 Pet 2:21 NKJV), we too are strongly encouraged by the Word to gain wisdom and understanding. 

Wisdom means prudence, insight, perceptiveness, or good judgment. 

Understanding means empathy, kindness, or awareness.  In considering these two attributes, we can see how they would work together quite effectively and supportively.

Daily, we can expand and increase both of these characteristics in our lives by reading the Bible faithfully.  No matter what book of the Bible or what topic we may read, the Word of God is filled with the Spirit and the power of God—as well as God’s wisdom and understanding.  The more we fill our hearts and minds with the Word, the more that we will operate with the wisdom and understanding of God.

Be eager students of the Word and you will reap the blessed and life-changing benefits. 

A Better Priesthood

A Better Priesthood

It was on the basis of the Levitical priesthood that the Law was given to the people of Israel. Now, if the work of the Levitical priests had been perfect, there would have been no need for a different kind of priest to appear, one who is in the priestly order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron. 12 For when the priesthood is changed, there also has to be a change in the law. 13 And our Lord, of whom these things are said, belonged to a different tribe, and no member of his tribe ever served as a priest.  (Heb 7:11-13 GNT, underscoring added)

Melchizedek’s lineage is not shown in Scripture, but his name means king of righteousness and king of peace.  So, he is considered to be a type of Christ.

The Scriptures say about Him, “You are a priest forever, just like Melchizedek.”  18 In this way a weak and useless command was put aside, 19 because the Law cannot make anything perfect. At the same time, we are given a much better hope, and it can bring us close to God.  (Heb 7:17-19 CEV)  This passage of the Bible refers to Jesus as “a priest forever.”

Here’s a pertinent quotation concerning Jesus’ priesthood:

In verses 4–10 of Hebrews 7, the author recounts how Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek and that the Levitical priests (who were biological descendants of Abraham) would one day be commanded in the law to accept tithes from the people of Israel. The author concludes, “it is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior” (v. 7). Given that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, and the Israelites paid tithes to the Levites, this is a strong argument that Jesus Christ’s priesthood is greater than that of the Levites. – Article by Kim Riddlebarger,
Source:  https://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/better-priesthood/

Levitical priests could serve only until they died.  Jesus, alone, serves as our Priest forever even into eternity, as the Scripture says:

“The Lord has sworn and will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek’ . . . ”  (Heb 7:21) 

Jesus is the guarantor of a better covenant.  (Heb 7:22)  Earthly priests’ work is temporary, but Jesus holds his Priesthood eternally because He will never die.  (Heb 7:24)  Jesus, in His perfection and holiness, is unchangeable.  He always lives to make intercession for His people. (Heb 7:25) 

Jesus is a High Priest above all others:  holy, unstained, innocent, and exalted above the heavens.  (See Heb 7:26-28)  Glory to God most High!  We are so blessed that He is interceding for each and every one of us who have made Him our Lord and Savior.

Be Ready to Explain Your Hope

Be Ready to Explain Your Hope

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  (1 Pet 3:15-17) 

According to this passage of Scripture, we need to be ready to share with people who ask us the reason for the hope that is within each one of us.  The Bible actually tells us the answer for this in Colossians 1:27.  Christ within us—the hope of glory.  The life of Christ within us is our hope.

That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?  (Pro 22:21)

We need to answer all questions with “words of truth” according to this Proverb.  It is interesting to note that when Paul was being questioned by King Agrippa, Paul said:  “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.”  (Ac 26:25)  Paul was speaking “words of truth” and reason.  According to John 14:6, Jesus is the Truth and Paul was telling the King all about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  Paul spoke words of truth.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.  (Col 4:6)

We cannot say that we don’t know how to answer.  Our answer is Jesus Christ and His story as the Redeemer of all mankind.  Hallelujah!