SPECIAL ARTICLE: Hope in the Midst of Crisis

SPECIAL ARTICLE:  Hope in the Midst of Crisis

In the midst of this worldwide health crisis known as the Corona virus, it’s important that we recognize that we believers have a hope that the world does not know.  It’s at times like these that we must hold onto our faith, and be a light in the midst of darkness.

Let’s consider some Biblical truths:

. . . according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:11-12)

Our Father God accomplished His eternal purpose through Jesus Christ by giving mankind the gift of salvation.  In Jesus, through Him and by Him, all who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have been given access to our Father God; and as a result, we may have full confidence in our relationship with Him.  Hallelujah!

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  (Heb 10:35)

So do not abandon your assurance and faith in Jesus Christ and in His salvation.  Hold onto your faith; take a firm grasp of your salvation and never let it go!

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

This is a precious promise from God for us TODAY.  We know that when we ask for something that agrees with the will of God, He hears us AND He gives us the specific answer for which we have asked.

You may ask, “How do I know if it’s God will for me to be healthy and well?”  Here is how you may KNOW:

  • Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 Joh 2)  This passage would not be in the Bible if God did not want us to be healthy.
  • My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. (Pro 3:1-2)  God shares His wisdom with us that as we hide His Word in our hearts, it will add long life and peace to us.
  • It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. (Pro 3:8)  God is again telling us that His Word, sown into our hearts and minds, will give health to our physical bodies and strength to our very bones.
  • For I am the Lord who heals you. (Ex 15:26c)  The Lord declares that He is our Healer!  If it was not His will for us to be healthy, He would not declare Himself to be the Mighty One who heals us.

Believe in and rely upon these supernatural words of power from God.  Place your faith in Him and in His Word.  Be unshakeable and stubborn in your faith in God, dear brothers and sisters!  Hope in Christ who is our health, our strength, our life.

Feet of a Deer: Hind’s Feet

Feet of a Deer: Hind’s Feet

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.  (Hab 3:19 NIV)

The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.  (Hab 3:19 KJV)

In Habakkuk 3:17-18, the prophet says:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Verses 17 and 18 show us that Habakkuk chooses to praise the Lord and to be joyful in Him in spite of life’s challenging circumstances. 

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.  (2 Sam 22:34 & Ps 18:33 KJV)

So what is the significance of hind’s feet?  A hind is a female deer (or a gazelle) who is able to place her back feet unerringly where her front feet have walked.  Because of this, a hind is able to run unreservedly on the roughest terrain.  In times of peril, the hind can run securely and stay on course.  Because the hind can scale high places, it can elude predators.

The spiritual lesson for us is that, despite our circumstances, when we are truly anchored by faith in Jesus, we’ll be able to run with joy the race that is set before us.  The Word reminds us that God Himself is our strength, and in Him our spiritual feet have become as sure-footed, nimble, and fast as the hind. 

The strength that God gives to us is an inward strength—confidence and assurance and courageousness in the face of all external afflictions and trials.

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

. . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man . . .  (Eph 3:16 NKJV)

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and the strength of the Lord is within each one of us.  Glory to God!

We Are His Offspring: His Children

We Are His Offspring: His Children

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord are children of God.  Here is what the Bible says.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name . . .  (Joh 1:12 NKJV)

For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring.  (Act 17:28 KJV)

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith . . . (Gal 3:26 NIV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  (Rom 8:14 NIV)

The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children.  (1 Joh 3:1 NIV)

Characteristics of Children

  • In Christ, we are children of God through faith. As such, we are able to feel an affectionate, devoted, and respectful confidence in our Father God.
  • We know that we are greatly loved by our Father. We recognize that we are precious to Him.
  • We have a spirit of ready obedience to our Heavenly Father—because of our love for Him and His love for us. We have an earnest desire to obey Him because we trust that His plans for us are totally good and always in our best interests.

Advantages that Children Receive

  • We are in a loving relationship with our Father, and are continuously surrounded by His supernatural and miraculous favor.
  • We are forgiven, cleansed, and free from bondage.
  • We are entitled to fellowship and communion with our Father.
  • Our Father gives us wise counsel and teaching by the Holy Spirit.
  • Exceeding great and precious promises have been given to us by our Heavenly Dad. We are encouraged to “ask and receive so that our joy may be full.”

Trust God to pour out the benefits of salvation in Jesus Christ upon you.  Because we are His children, He invites us to turn to Him and ask Him for everything that we need.  Put away any timidity, and with loving trust and assurance, ask Abba Father to meet your needs right now.  God bless you.

Ask What You Will

Ask What You Will

I’ve gathered some Bible verses that demonstrate that the Lord instructs us and teaches us to ASK for those things that we need and that we want from Him.  All that is required is faith in Jesus Christ and in the Word of God.

If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  (Joh 15:7 KJV)

And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.  (Mt 21:22 NKJV)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  (Mt 7:7) 

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (Jas 1:5, emphasis added)  Notice that God responds in two ways to our asking:  with generosity and without criticism.

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (Joh 14:13, emphasis added)  This verse says “whatever” we ask!  WHATEVER means that there are no restrictions to what we may ask.

Large asking and large expectation on our part honor God

The Lord wants us to ask Him for His blessings and benefits, which He lovingly and mercifully desires to give to us.  But notice that our asking is a necessary part of the process. 

The Lord frequently describes Himself in the Bible as our:  high tower; hiding place; shield and shelter.  (Deut 33:12; Ps 32:7; 61:3-4; 119:114; 143:9; 144:2)  In such places, there are a number of provisions such as water, food, arms/helmets/shields and the all-important elements of safety and protection.  He loves to supply what we need.

The Lord also says quite clearly in several verses of the Scripture that He will not withhold ANY GOOD THING from the righteous—and Jesus is our righteousness!  (2 Cor 5:21)  The Lord means what He says.

Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  (Josh 23:14, underscoring added)

The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing(Ps 34:10, underscoring added)

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11, underscoring added)

Brothers and sisters, ask God for what you need.  The Lord loves to give us whatever we need.

God Provides for Us

God Provides for Us

The Word of God reminds us that God cares for all of His creation, including the birds of the air.  And it states that we are far more valuable to the Lord than His birds!  So, of course, He provides for our needs daily.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  (Mt 6:26, see Lk 12:24)

By them the birds of the heavens have their home; they sing among the branches.  13 He waters the hills from His upper chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.  (Ps 104:12-13)

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19)

Knowing that God is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider, should fill us with confidence and reassurance in a very deep and meaningful way.  Hopefully, it liberates us to focus upon God and His goodness.  It will spur us to praise and worship the Lord daily, and to work diligently for the Kingdom of God.

Jesus is the Lord, our Righteousness!  (Jer 23:6; 33:16)  Along with Christ, the Father God has given us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness.  (2 Pet 1:3)  So rejoice in your many blessings and spread this gracious, Good News to others.  

Approaching the Throne

Approaching the Throne

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  (Heb 4:16)

In this wonderful passage from the Bible, the Lord is telling us that in Jesus, our Savior, we may approach the throne of grace [the heavenly throne that dispenses unearned favor or gifts to the undeserving] with confidence and boldness.  What a gift this is to the redeemed!

.  . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus . . .  (Rom 3:24)  Jesus has justified us—WITHOUT RESTRICTIONS, liberally, and unreservedly—in Christ Jesus.  All of our sins have been forgiven:  past, present, and future.  Of course, we need to review our daily lives and to repent for any sin we may have committed before we retire each evening.  This exercise helps to us to remain humble and tender-hearted before the Lord, and to recognize our ongoing need for Him and His perfect salvation.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  (Rom 5:8)  We receive such blessings from God because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us motivated by pure love!   

So, let us continually approach the Lord in prayer, praise, repentance, and thanksgiving.  It pleases the Lord very much when we take advantage of the many blessings, provisions, promises, and benefits that Jesus has already purchased for each one of us.  Approaching the throne of the living God is one of our many blessings!  This is reason for us to be filled with profound joy.

Have Confidence in the Lord

It is vital for us to have confidence in the Lord.  I’m talking about having the kind of confidence in the Lord that Paul had when he wrote this verse:

But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29)

Paul could make this bold statement because he knew who he was in Christ.  He had confidence in the Word of God, and he had confidence in his relationship with Jesus, our Savior.  This is the same confidence that each and every one of us may have.  All we need to do is to nurture our confidence!

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.  (Ac 28:30-31)

For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.  (Pro 3:26)

But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  (2 Cor 10:17)  Another word for “glories” is boasts.  So this verse reminds us to boast in the Lord.  Paul knew how to do that.

We know that when signs, wonders, and miracles take place in our ministry, it is the Lord who performs those wonders!  We know that He alone is the Healer and Deliverer.  Paul knew that it was natural and normal to expect good things from the God who is good all the time.  This is the kind of confidence that we want to nurture in our hearts.

We nurture our confidence in the Lord by reading and meditating upon the Scriptures.  We do it with praise and worship of our God on a regular and ongoing basis.  As our relationship with the Lord stands the test of time, we mature and grow in our faith as well as in our confidence.

Trust the Lord and His Word.  Rely upon His Word and believe it when it says of itself:

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. (Josh 21:45)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  (Mat 24:35)

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)

Feed your confidence! 

Blank Checks

Blank Checks

Most people know what is meant by the term “blank check.”  It implies an invitation to use however many funds or resources we may need.  And these resources are supplied by the person or persons who own the checking account against which the blank check is written.

Our God has given us His Word which is full of testimonies and also promises of blessings.  Quite some years ago, while teaching a class, I realized that many Scriptural promises were exactly like a blank check!  I began referring to them as the “Blank Check Bible Verses.”  To encourage you to search out some of these precious promises on your own, I’m going to share a handful of them here with you!

But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:10b)  There’s no boundary on what good thing, but rather the opposite with this verse!

Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God our salvation.  (Ps 68:19)  The word “benefits” can mean blessings, payments, grants, allowances, profits, etc., etc.  Notice that we’re “loaded” [filled; packed; heaped; stuffed; and even overwhelmed] with these benefits DAILY!  This is quite a blank check!

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  (Mt 7:7)  Do you understand the blank check nature of this verse?

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Mt 19:26)  There is no limit to the word ‘ALL’ is there?

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will [His Word], He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  (1 John 5:14-15)  The words “anything” and “whatever” are two more words that do not imply limits of any kind.

To date, I have discovered 25 such verses in the Bible, and I urge you to continue hunting for more of these wonderful promises from the heart of our loving God.  Happy hunting!

The New Covenant is Better!

The New Covenant is Better!

Today we’re thinking about various way in which the New Covenant is far better than the Old Covenant.  Please read 2 Corinthians, chapter 3 in preparation (only 18 verses). 

Here are some ideas on how the New Covenant surpasses the Old: 

NEW   1.  The Holy Spirit validates God’s people. (Rom 14:18; Eph 1:6)

OLD    1.  The Holy Spirit strove with God’s people who were rebellious. (Gen 6:3)

NEW  2.  The law is written in our hearts. (Heb 10:16 NLT)

OLD   2.  The law was written on tablets of stone. (Ex 24:12; Deu 4:13)

NEW  3.  We have confidence to draw near to God. (Jas 4:8)

OLD   3.  Only the priests could draw near after performing rituals. (Ex 19:22-24)

NEW  4.  We serve a spiritual truth–salvation is real. (Joh 3:16-17; Col 2:16-17; 1 Pet 2:9)

OLD    4.  The Old Covenant priests served symbols and shadows. (Heb 10:1)

NEW   5.  Gives spiritual life. (John 1:4; 14:6; 2 Cor 3:6; 1 Joh 3:5)

OLD    5.  Revealed spiritual death because the law could only condemn. (Eccl 7:20; Ps 51:5; Isa 59:7)

NEW   6.  God’s glory lives within each of us. (Ps 3:3; Col 1:27; 1 Cor 6:19-20)

OLD    6.  God’s glory was seen for a time upon Moses’ face; it was temporary. (Ex 34:33)

NEW   7.  Gives us a living righteousness. (Rom 3:22; 2 Cor 5:21)

OLD    7.  Could not impart righteousness but could only offer forgiveness. (Num 14:19; 2 Sam 12:13; Rom 4:13)

NEW   8.  Unveils the heart. (2 Cor 3:16)

OLD    8.  Required a veil. (2 Cor 3:13, 15)

NEW   9.  Sanctifies and transforms us. (Acts 26:18; Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 3:18)

OLD    9.  Could only unmask, condemn and slay people. (Gen 6:5; Eccl 7:20; Isa 59:7; 64:6)

I hope that this article has encouraged you and reminded you of how greatly we are blessed through Jesus Christ, our Savior.  

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.  (Heb 10:35-36 KJV)

Endurance means constancy; perseverance; steadfastness; or patient stamina.  We have need of such endurance as we trust in God and in His Word to meet our every need, and the needs of others.

Why do we need endurance?  So that we may experience victory in Jesus which can only come through the faith that He has given to each believer as a free gift!

The enemy of our souls uses various tactics to shake us and to try to discourage our faith in God.  He wants us to give up and to stop believing the truth of God’s Word, because that’s the only way that he can prevent us from receiving God’s promises.

Here’s a specific example.  I relied upon Bible verses on the topic of healing when I was young, and engaged to be married.  I was told that I had a cyst on my left ovary.  The critical fact was that it was the only one I had!  Due to an emergency removal of the other ovary some years prior, I didn’t even know if I would be able to have children.

So, now—not wanting to be made barren—I prayed daily for healing, and I meditated on verses of Scripture concerning healing.  My fiancé joined with me in trusting God for a miracle.  After about a month, during a communion service, I felt an overpowering knowledge that I had been healed.  I had an appointment with my doctor the following day, and was told that the cyst was gone!  The Lord had performed a miracle for me!  Hallelujah!  We had to obstinately hold onto God’s Word to receive what He had promised us.

The Lord gave us four beautiful children to raise, and they’re adults now.  Over the course of raising our kids and 41 years of marriage, my husband and I have experienced many, many answered prayers and miraculous occurrences in our family.  Our kids have experienced miracles.  I’m not saying that we’re perfect.  No.  We’re human and we struggle with faith as everyone does.  We’re familiar with the fear that attacks a person when they are given a negative diagnosis or when facing any crisis (whether financial, mental, or physical).

We have learned that when we trust God, meditate upon His unfailing love, and simply persevere in faith, He always meets our needs.  There have been countless variations in the methods that God uses, but the result is always, always that God fulfills His Word.

Just be patient . . . and know that God loves you and He WANTS to meet your need.  Find some Scriptures that promise you the thing or things that you need or desire, and ask God to fulfill them in your life.

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.  (Ps 143:8 NIV) 

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  (Ps 37:4 NKJV – emphasis added)

Think of endurance as having a stubbornness or obstinacy in your faith.  Don’t let go of your confidence in God’s Word!