Faith is a Gift

Faith is a Gift

Remember that faith is a gift from God!  It is a precious gift and vital to our daily life in the service of the Kingdom of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8 NKJV)

Each and every believer has been given a measure of faith.  Be sure to make good use of what you have been given.  Use your faith constantly either for yourself or on behalf of other people, which is the highest and best use for this beautiful gift.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  (Rom 12:3 NKJV, emphasis added) 

Some believers have even been given an unusual gift of faith that stands well above the norm.  To all such believers, I encourage you to pray, pray, pray for other people and help them to receive everything that they need from the Lord—the chief need being salvation!

. . . to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit . . . (1 Cor 12:9 NKJV)

We must serve God by USING the spiritual gifts that He has given to each and every one of us.  It is our responsibility and our joy to discover what our spiritual gifts are and then to use them in spiritually productive ways on behalf of the Kingdom of God and of His people. 

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  (1 Cor 13:2)

We must use all of our spiritual gifts—whatever they may be—with LOVE!  God is love (1 Joh 4:8), and all who serve His kingdom must flow in LOVE. 

Note that love is the FIRST fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  God bless you!

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!

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

The Lord urges us in His Word to avoid trusting in riches just like we would avoid a plague.  True wealth is given by God to the righteous. Let’s read the Scriptures.

He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.  (Pro 11:28)

Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.  (Ps 52:7)

Why do you brag about your strength?  Your strength is exhausted,you rebellious daughter.  You trust in your treasures, never imagining who would attack you.  (Jer 49:4 CEB)

Don’t trust in violence or depend on dishonesty or rely on great wealth.  (Ps 62:10 CEV)

Jesus said clearly in Mark 10:23-25 that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for people who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven!  Wow!

Jesus told a parable about a rich fool in Luke 12:16-19.  This fool had accumulated so much wealth that he had to build larger barns to hold it all, and then he decided to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’  And God said to him (v. 20-21):  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

This is wisdom from God for us.  In providing for ourselves, our children, and our retirement, we mustn’t allow ourselves to start trusting in and relying upon the money that we have set aside for emergencies or for a retirement fund.  Our faith in God and our relationship with the Lord Jesus must always be the main focus and core of our lives. 

Even though the Lord gives us power to get wealth (Deu 8:18; Ecc 5:19), we must never lose sight of the fact that this is a GIFT from God.  It is a reason for thankfulness and rejoicing over the goodness of God.  We need to consider this blessing as part of our heritage from God, and by acknowledging God’s central part in it, we may then rejoice in our labor.

Let us daily concentrate upon our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.  Here are worthy things upon which to meditate:

  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isa 9:6
  • Redeemer – Isa 59:20
  • Immanuel (God with us) – Mt 1:23
  • King of the Jews – Mt 27:37
  • Lamb of God – Joh 1:29
  • Bread of Life – Joh 6:35
  • Living Stone, Cornerstone – 1 Pet 2:4-8
  • Alpha and Omega – Rev 22:13

We must intentionally make Jesus the heart and focus of our entire lives.  Our trust and our entire reliance should eternally be upon Jesus Christ, who is our life!  (Col 3:4)  May God richly bless you.

The Gifts That You Were Given

The Gifts That You Were Given

Happy beautiful day to you!  We rejoice and are glad in this day!  (Ps 118:24)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Pe 4:10 KJV)

Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.  (1 Cor 14:12)

Every believer has received gifts and talents from the Lord.  God wants us to use the gifts that He has entrusted to us for the strengthening and encouragement of fellow believers.  God wants us to be good stewards or managers of these precious gifts.

Your gifts may be extensive; you may have gifts such as:  faith; musical ability; artistic talent; patience; organizational ability; mercy; mathematical aptitude; peace; perceptiveness; or whatever.  Invite the Lord to show you how He would like you to use the gifts that He has given you in order to bless other people and to further His kingdom. 

If you have a calm and peaceful spirit combined with good note-taking skills, your boss may direct you to attend most meetings with him.  He may not realize why!  He may say that he wants you to take notes, but it may really be that he just feels better and thinks more clearly when you’re there!  In reality, you carry a beneficial atmosphere (of calm and peace) into the room.  These are God’s divine gifts, and they work supernaturally.

Don’t forget that, as you mature spiritually and chronologically, more gifts will bloom in your life.  Seek the Lord’s guidance, and He will teach you the best use of all of your gifts!

(This is a reprint of an article published by this blog on 05/01/2016.)

Children of Promise

Children of Promise

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— 26 but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.  (Gal 4:21-26, emphases added)

That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.  (Rom 9:8, emphasis added)

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise. (Gal 4:28)

Children of the Promise is another way of saying “children of God.” (see Rom 9:8 above)  But what, exactly, is the significance of this for us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior?

One thing to note is that the Bible says that we become children of the promise when we’re baptized into Christ through water baptism. 

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”  (Act 2:38-39)

This teaching is verified in Ephesians 3:

. . . that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel . . . (Eph 3:6)

Upon our acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and our water baptism into Christ, we become Children of Promise—children of God!  Hallelujah!

For you are all sons [children] of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (Gal 3:26-29, explanatory word inserted)

Being Children of the Promise means that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ!  Glory to God!  (Rom 8:17) 

This means that we are entitled to all of the blessings that Jesus earned for Himself by living a sinless, perfect life in loving obedience to His Father while He lived on earth.  In accepting Christ as Savior and being baptized into Him through water baptism, we become qualified to receive this vast and rich inheritance!  Rejoice, O children of promise!

Righteousness & Praise Spring Forth

Righteousness & Praise Spring Forth

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ purchased (paid for) our salvation—thus our righteousness.  And how can we, who have received such a precious gift, prevent ourselves from crying out in praise and thanksgiving to our God and King?

The Scriptures remind us that God will cause both righteousness and praise to SPRING FORTH before all nations!  Since Jesus’ death and resurrection, our earth has seen the continuous unfolding and fulfilling of this promise of God.  Glory to God most High!

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  11 For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.  (Isa 61:10-11, underscoring added)

What does “spring forth” mean?  It means:  to leap out; to rush out; to arise suddenly; to come about hastily with speed and powerful force.   This passage of Scripture tells us that one day righteousness and praise will rise up, suddenly, in all nations and all peoples in such a way that it will be a witness to all the world.

And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness and of Your praise all the day long.  (Ps 35:28)

Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, And I will praise the Lord.  (Ps 118:19)

. . . being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  (Phil 1:11)

I trust God that this article will remind us and inspire us to lift our voices to the Lord in praise and thanksgiving today—and every day of our lives!

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works . . . (Heb 10:24)

Those of us who have believed in Jesus as our Savior and Lord are designed to continue in faith in good works!   This is a good work–to praise and worship the Lord.  Let us worship and magnify the Lord!

Whoever Assails You Will Fall

Whoever Assails You Will Fall

If anyone fiercely assails you it will not be from Me.  Whoever assails you will fall because of you.  (Isa 54:15 NASB, emphasis added)

The Lord is declaring Himself as our protector and defender in this verse!  What a promise—what a breathtaking gift!  He says this many times in various ways in the Bible.

Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.  (Isa 41:11 NASB)

For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.  (Isa 49:25b NKJV)

Contend means to resist, oppose, or challenge.  The Lord says that when someone opposes or challenges one of His children, HE will be the One to deal with them.  Not only will He save us, but He’ll save our children. 

These are wonderful, powerful and precious promises to rely upon.  Don’t think that they’re only in the Bible to encourage us and to reassure us.  They are provided to us as weapons of our spiritual warfare!  (2 Cor 10:4; Eph 6:17 NKJV)

The Bible teaches us that the Word of God is living and powerful—active.  It goes on to say that it is sharper than any two-edged sword, able to perceive (detect) the thoughts and purposes of a person’s heart!

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb 4:12 NKJV)

Use the Word of God as the weapon that it truly is.  Meditate upon it; speak with the Lord about it; and let Him know that you not only believe it but you depend up it to come to pass in your life.  Believe the Word and stand upon it by faith.

Your faith and trust in Him and in His Word will please the Lord as well as improve your life immeasurably.

Pressing On

Pressing On

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  (Phil 3:12-14 NIV)

The definition of press on is:  to continue moving forward in a forceful or steady way; to continue to do something especially in a determined way.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians (passage shown above) encourages all believers to continue moving forward in their Christian life.  He especially wants us to have a sense of determination because there is a definite prize ahead of us that we long to receive.  Our hearts must be resolved so that we will stay the course.

Our prize is eternal life with Jesus Christ in heaven.  There is no arriving at the destination without understanding that Jesus is the Way.  Eternal life is truly the gift of God which we obtain through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

And we will encounter road blocks, challenges, tribulations, and trials along the way.  At these points we need to seek the Lord, and to change whatever is necessary in our lives in order to continue on our way.

In a very real, spiritual sense, we need to pursue Christ with fortitude because in doing so we show our resolve to claim Him as our own Savior and Lord.  We surrender all and follow His example, His footsteps, and His teachings in order to attain eternal fellowship with Christ.  Glory to God!

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.

What About Prosperity?

What About Prosperity?

Did you realize that the Bible has a lot to say about prosperity?  Do you understand that God intends for His people to prosper?  Here are a handful of Scriptures on the topic:

Who is the man that fears the LORD?  Him shall He teach in the way He chooses. He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.  (Ps 25:12-13)

Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.  (Ps 122:7)

His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. (Ps 112:2-3)

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.  (Pro 13:22)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.  (2 Cor. 8:9)

These precious promises from God’s Word are a gift to each and every believer.  Trust God to bless you and to bless all of the work of your hands.  (Deut 16:15)  The Lord will cause you to increase and to be blessed.  (Deut 28:4; Isa 51:2) 

Our Father God is the only One who has the power to bless you and to cause you to prosper.  Trust Him for these blessings, and take Him at His Word.  You’ll be thankful that you did! 

Other passages about prosperity to check out

Deut 8:18; 28:1-2, 8; 33:19; Eccl 5:9, 19; Job 36:11; Ps 65:11; 68:6; Pro 8:21; 10:4, 61, 22; 11:25; 22:4; 24:3-4; Isa 48:17; 55:2-3; 60:5, 11; 61:6; Jer 31:14; 33:9; 2 Cor 9:8; Eph 1:18-19; and Phil 4:19.