Do We Have Ears that Hear?

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mk 4:23 NKJV)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  (Mt 11:15 NKJV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  (Rev 2:29 NKJV)

The Scriptures talk about people having “ears to hear” quite a bit.  What can that mean to us as believers?

Do you know that God is always speaking to His people?  And our relationship with our Savior is based, as any true relationship is, upon communication! 

To quote Kris Vallotton (Bethel Church, Redding, CA), “Communication is probably the single greatest vehicle of any relationship.”  Prayer is part of our communication with God and listening for His voice is the other part of that two-way communication.  It is our responsibility to do the listening!  Pay attention because the Lord’s voice will often be quiet and unobtrusive. And He may speak to you in ways that you don’t recognize.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  (1 Kgs 19:11-12 NKJV, emphasis added) 

The wonderful thing about God is that He may use various ways to communicate with us.  He uses the Scriptures to communicate clearly with us, but he may also use any of these other methods as well. 

  • Visions:  The Lord may give us visions which are simply images and concepts that play upon the screen of our imagination within our minds.  Visions frequently require interpretation.  So, when the Holy Spirit uses this method to communicate, we need to ask Him to clarify the meaning of the vision.  (See Acts 2:17-18)
  • The still, small voice of the Lord:  This can be perceived as a transient thought, an abrupt but strong impression, or an inner perception of a message from the Lord.  (See 1 Kgs 19:11-13)
  • Creation:  The very creation that God made speaks to us of His power, strength, creativity, provision, and beauty.  Pay attention to any message that the Lord may give you through His creation.  For me, when I was a brand-new believer, I was asking the Lord to show me His love.  I was out with my fiancé driving on a country road.  I kept looking at the beautiful sky above me that was just full of large, puffy, billowy clouds as far as the eye could see in EVERY direction.  As I was observing those clouds, a church song came into my heart in which the chorus includes the phrase:  Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray, in fathomless billows of love!  (Song Wonderful Peace, lyrics by Warren D. Cornell, music by W. George Cooper – 1889) 
    The Lord used nature to communicate His great love for me with the image of fathomless billows of love that were demonstrated to me by the huge, billowing clouds before my own eyes—as far as the eye could see in every direction.  To this day, 50 years later, I have never forgotten that message from the Lord that was just for me.  I cherish it.
  • Circumstances:  God is able to speak to us and to direct us through the circumstances of our lives.  He can open doors of opportunity, or close them, as a way of directing us.  However, we can easily misread a blockage that has been erected by the enemy and think that it is God directing us.  But we would be wrong.  Consequently, we should always seek wise counsel from our Pastor and from other mature believers whom we know very well, and who know us.  Also, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us about every step we need to take in our lives.

So, look back upon your life and recall the times when God used any of these various methods to speak to you or to direct you.  Or, you may have a new example of how God communicated something to you.  But the important thing to recognize is that there is communication flowing in your relationship with the Lord.  Thank and praise the Lord for it! When you can receive such communication from God and ACT UPON IT, then you can be assured that you DO have ‘hearing ears’!  God bless you.

The Word of Reconciliation

The Word of Reconciliation

Reconcile means ‘to restore friendly relations between’ one person or entity and another.  The concept of reconciliation is at the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus came to reconcile man’s relationship to God.  In doing so, God reconciled Himself to all things through Jesus.  What an accomplishment!

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died . . . (2 Cor 5:14 NKJV)  Jesus Christ took the punishment for all sinners and died on the cross for all sinners in order to pay the debt that we could never pay.  Jesus’ sacrifice was meaningful because, as a human being, Jesus lived a holy, sin-free life.

By restoring our right relationship to God, Jesus also opened the door for us to live in right relationships with each other, with Creation, and with ourselves.  What an accomplishment!

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Cor 5:18-21 NKJV, emphasis added)

The ‘word of reconciliation’ referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:19 is the gospel of Jesus Christ which not only reconciles us to God, but also reconciles us to each other.  That is only possible as each one of us learns the Word of God and continually obeys it.  As we obey the teachings of the Bible and of Jesus Christ, we grow in grace and wisdom daily.

We can see from 2 Corinthians 5:19 that God has given to all believers the ministry of reconciliation.  But what, exactly, does that mean?

As 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, we’re ambassadors (representatives) of Jesus.  As such, our calling is to implore, plead . . . or to BEG unsaved people to be reconciled to God.  We’re asking them to restore friendly relations between themselves and God.  And we have the honor and privilege of explaining to them how easy it is to do that! 

By simply accepting the love of God that is the basis of salvation, and praying a simple prayer, an unsaved person will become reconciled to God.  In accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, such a person restores their right relationship with God the Father. 

In accepting Christ as Savior, all believers have had the seed of eternity placed within their hearts.  What a beautiful and honorable assignment that we have been given!  Glory to God in the highest!

God Will Save

God Will Save

The Bible tells us again and again and again that God is our Savior.  No one saves but God.  It is He who will save us.

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.  (Isa 33:22 NIV)

Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not!  Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God.  He will come and save you.”  (Isa 35:4 ESV)

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.  (Mt 1:21 NKJV)

This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.  (Lk 2:11 CEV)

The definition of savior is “a person who saves someone or something (especially a country or cause) from danger, and who is regarded with the veneration of a religious figure.” 

Another definition is:  “ . . . (in Christianity) God or Jesus Christ as the redeemer of sin and saver of souls.”

God foretold the coming of a Savior, and He has fulfilled His Word.  Let us rely upon, put our faith in, and cherish His holy Word.  God be with you.

The Lord Knows our Thoughts

The Lord Knows our Thoughts

Only someone who is very foolish thinks that they can hide something from God!  We can’t even hide our thoughts from God.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  (Ps 139:1-2 NKJV)  This verse from Scripture says that God knows all of our actions as well as our thoughts.

I know where you live, how you go out and come in, and how you rage against me.  (2 Kgs 19:27 CEB)  The Lord is even aware of when we’re angry with Him.

. . . the Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.  (Ps 94:11 ESV) 

 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.  (Heb 4:13 NIV)  EVERYTHING that concern each and every one of us is revealed to God.

If we had forgotten the name of our God     or lifted our hands to a foreign god, wouldn’t God find out since he knows the secrets of the heart?  (Ps 44:20-21 ISV)  God knows the very secrets of our hearts.

So what can we do about this truth from the Bible?  How can we repent before God for our sinful thoughts, and go forward in a righteous way?

Ask God to forgive you for any thoughts that you can remember that He would recognize as sin—or that you know are sinful. 

Next, ask Him to give you the grace to remember that He knows your every thought.  Also, try to remember that God never leaves you nor forsakes you. 

The Lord, the Holy Spirit, is constantly with each and every one of us.  He doesn’t leave when we enter a tavern, a drug party or a movie theater showing an immoral movie.  He is right there with us; and if we remember that, it will help us to live in a way that will bring God glory.

If we remember that God knows our EVERY thought, and that He is with us AT ALL TIMES, we will have the grace that we need to face these temptations and to resist them to the glory of God.  In this way, and many more, the Lord becomes our strength.

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

We are Heirs of God through Christ

We are Heirs of God through Christ

Through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  (see Rom 8:17)  An “heir” is a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance, to the property of another person following their death.

 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15 NKJV)

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.  (1 Cor 2:12 NIV, emphasis added)

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God . . .  (Rom 8:16 ESV)

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  (Gal 4:4-7 NKJV)

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.  (Eph 1:5 NLT)

One of the rights that we were given as heirs is an inheritance of everything that belongs to God.  Everything in the entire universe belongs to God.  Both seen and unseen things belong to God!  It is all God’s property.

So, as incomprehensible as it may seem, when it comes to our inheritance as the children of God, everything that belongs to Jesus also belongs to us because we are joint heirs with Christ! 

“According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you . . . ”  (1 Pet 1:3-4 ESV) Our inheritance includes all of the blessings and promises found in the Bible and more.  We have been given an eternal inheritance that is shown above in 1 Peter 1 as “imperishable, undefiled, unfading and kept in heaven for us.” 

I think it’s safe to say that our eternal inheritance is so royal and so wonderful, that we can’t even get a true concept of the enormity and magnificence of it.  Have fun and receive inspiration from meditating upon this truth. God bless you!

Persist in Faith for Christ is our Hope

Persist in Faith for Christ is our Hope

Because we have a living Hope who is Jesus Christ, the righteous One, we need to persevere in our faith.  We should also pray diligently for answers to our needs.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Rom 12:12 NIV)

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  (Ps 62:8 NKJV) 

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing . . .  (1 Thes 5:16-17 NKJV)

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:27 NIV)

Glory to God!  God is our refuge—our safe haven and our protector. 

The tomb couldn’t hold the living and victorious body of our Savior.  Jesus lived a holy and sinless life on earth. 

He appeared to many people several days after He had been crucified bearing the wounds of the cross.  When He did, Jesus demonstrated power and victory over death.  Jesus is ALIVE.  Glory to God! Jesus is our hope because He is alive; He is almighty; and He has reconciled us to God the Father.

Trust in God & Be Not Afraid

Trust in God & Be Not Afraid

As followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we place our trust, faith, and hope in God and in His Word.  But there are various challenging circumstances that we may face in life that might bring fear into our hearts.

Fear is not good because fear involves torment (suffering, torture, persecution).   Even the Bible confirms this fact:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  (1 Joh 4:18a NKJV)

These Bible passages (below) encourage us to trust in God and to avoid fear.  These verses state why we can be faith-filled.

In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Ps 56:4 NIV)  With God on our side, what can a mere human being do?

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Ps 118:6 NIV)  This echoes the same feeling as the verse above.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  (Rom 8:31-34 NIV)  This passage from the Scriptures reminds us of the many blessings that we have received along with our salvation.  We have so many reasons to rejoice and to be full of faith.

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  (Heb 13:6 NIV)  Be filled with confidence. Just remember that the Lord is the One who is helping us—constantly!

Let us overflow with thanksgiving and praise.

Whiter Than Snow

Whiter Than Snow

Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  (Isa 1:18 NIV)

This Scripture verse is a type of ultimatum from God full of grace and mercy.  The Lord is offering forgiveness and cleansing for the repentant soul.  The color red signifies the deep-rooted nature of sin, and the white indicates purity and innocence which only the Lord can impart.

Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  (Ps 51:7 CEB)

Purge me with hyssop, with the blood of Christ applied to my soul by a lively faith, as the water of purification was sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop. The blood of Christ is called the blood of sprinkling, Heb 12:24.  (Source:  Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 51:7)

. . . and to honor his glorious grace that he has given to us freely through the Son whom he loves. We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding.  (Eph 1:6-8 CEB)

The passage above suggests that the blood of Jesus, our Savior, has freed us from the grip of sin, and immersed us in the forgiveness and glorious grace of God.  What an eternal gift of God from the heart of our living God! 

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  (1 Joh 1:7, emphasis added)  All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their own Lord and Savior have had their souls made whiter than snow.  All we need to do, going forward, is to walk in the light of God’s Word and in fellowship with our fellow believers. All glory to God!

Pleasing All Men in All Things

Pleasing All Men in All Things

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  (Rom 15:1 NIV)

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.  (1 Cor 10:32-33, emphasis added)

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.  (Phil 2:3-4 CEB)

We’re instructed by God’s Word to watch out for what is best for others and pleasing to others.  We’re also urged to avoid selfishness and encouraged to care for each other.  That’s a tall order, right?  The apostle Paul said that he pleased all men!  Wow, he is a righteous example to us all.

So why did Paul ‘please all men’?  He did it so that many people would be saved.  By his pleasing and caring behavior toward others, he won many, many people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All of those people accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  Paul didn’t do it in order to be a man-pleaser but in order to win souls to the Kingdom of God. His motivation was pleasing in God’s sight.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.  (Gal 1:10)

. . . not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart . . .  (Eph 6:6)

Our assignment as followers and servants of Jesus Christ is to please God first, but also to demonstrate God’s love to all people.  That means doing top-notch work in our jobs (even those who are self-employed).  It also means finding ways to cooperate kindly with our earthly neighbors whether we have a house, condo, apartment, or a tent. 

We also, as servants of Jesus, represent Him in our families, with our friends and within our communities and churches.  As ambassadors for God’s Kingdom, we have the honor and privilege of being ‘the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.’  (2 Cor 2:15) May our conduct and our conversation be as a pleasant perfume to the lost and the hurting as well as to the Lord Jesus.  Praise the Lord!

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!