Complete the Race, Receive the Crown

Complete the Race, Receive the Crown

We all understand that in order to receive the crown (reward, wreath), we must complete the race as a winner.  A winner can also be called a conqueror, a victor, or an overcomer.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  (1 Cor 9:25 ESV)We are called by the Lord to complete the “race of life” as a conqueror who will receive an eternal reward.  One factor that is required, even as it is required of athletes, is self-control in all things.  But we are able.  Let’s remember that Romans 8:37 tells us:  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.We are “more than conquerors” because the true Conqueror, Jesus Christ, has shared His victory with each one of us through the gift of salvation.Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.  (2 Tim 2:5 NIV)Obviously, every race has rules that must be obeyed.  In order to receive the victor’s crown spoken about in the Bible, we must obey the Word of God.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim 6:12 NKJV)The battle in which we must engage is the battle for our very own souls, and the only way to win this battle is by FAITH.  This is emphatically taught in Scripture:For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4 NKJV)Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:5 NASB)But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NIV)

If we stay on the path of obedience to God and to His Word, we shall surely win the race and receive the crown!  Glory to God most High!

Our Talents & Gifts Make A Way for Us

Our Talents & Gifts Make A Way for Us

Whatever gifts and talents that the Lord has given to us, individually, will surely open doors and opportunities for us.  It is up to us to use these opportunities in service of God and of His Kingdom. 

Let’s turn to the Bible:

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.  (Pro 18:16 NASB)

Your talents will bring you before “great” men.  What does that mean?  It can mean that our talents and skills open opportunities for us with people who are:

  • Famous.
  • Eminent in their field.
  • Wealthy,
  • Skillful or talented, or
  • Powerful.

A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.  (Pro 17:8 NKJV)

An ability to make wise investments will certainly bring a person to the attention of many.  A proficiency with mathematics or statistics will open a multitude of opportunities to an individual.  An aptitude for remembering facts and a competence in using those facts to advantage is another skill that will take a person to great heights.  These are the types and kinds of “gifts” or “presents” referred to in this verse of the Bible.

And now this present which your maidservant has brought to my lord, let it be given to the young men who follow my lord.  (1 Sam 25:27 NKJV)

Even a physical gift can be used wisely to give a person an advantage in a situation.  We are called to pray about our gifts and talents and to use them to the best use of the Kingdom of God.  Along the way, don’t be surprised if the Lord blesses you with prosperity and favor, as well!  Have a blessed day!

Waiting on God

Waiting on God

We are in need of waiting on God in many circumstances of our lives.  Often, we must wait for answered prayer and deliverance.  We must wait for relief from pain or sorrow.  We must persist in faith as we wait for healing of relationships or lab test results or any other of a myriad number of circumstances that require patience.

And it will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us.  This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let’s rejoice and be glad in His salvation.”  (Isa 25:9 NASB)

Let us rejoice in His salvation as we wait.  Remember, it is for our God that we wait—for the ONLY One who is able to save us, heal us, and to deliver us.

Yes, Lord, in the path of your judgments we wait; your name and your Law are the soul’s desire.  (Isa 26:8 ISV)

God’s Word, His Name and His Law are the important considerations upon which we concentrate.  Let us continue to value them highly, and rely upon God to sustain us.

O Lord, be gracious to us; we have waited for You.  Be our strength every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.  (Isa 33:2 MEV)

He, alone, can give us strength for the battle and grace to persevere.  He is our Savior in times of trouble.

Now may the Lord direct your hearts toward the love of God and the endurance of Christ.  (2 Thes 3:5 NET)

Let us remember the love of God which is never ending and never failing.  Let’s pay close attention to the endurance of Jesus as He made His way to the cross.

Christ endured.  That means that He persevered and persisted in His assignments on earth.  It called for great fortitude and inner strength on His part coupled with the grace of God and the faith of God.

These are the same tools upon which we must rely in every spiritual battle of life.  Let us not be weary in doing well.  Glory to God!

God Doesn’t Show Favoritism

God Doesn’t Show Favoritism

Did you know that God does not show favoritism?  What exactly is favoritism?  It’s the practice of giving unfair, preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another.  God can’t be accused of such a thing.

Since the Bible is our foundation for all of faith and life, let’s refer to what it teaches.

“Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to attend to His service and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, every one who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it, and holds firmly to My covenant;  even those I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”  (Isa 56:6-7 NASB)

Notice that God’s house is for ALL PEOPLES—even those termed ‘foreigners.’

Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.  (Ac 10:34-35 NLT)

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (Ro 10:12-13 ESV)

It doesn’t matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.  (Col 3:11 CEV)

As we can see from these verses in Acts 10, Romans 10 and Colossians 3, it’s an established truth that God does not see distinctions between people groups.  What is important to the Lord is the condition of our hearts and whether or not we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.  God is a refuge and a rock for all who are born again in Christ. All praises to the Lord!

Be Careful in Choosing a ‘Hero’

<strong>Be Careful in Choosing a ‘Hero’</strong>

What is an IDOL?  It is a graven image; a statue; or an image or representation of a god used as an object of worship.  It can even be a person we’ve made into a hero.

We human beings can turn almost anything into an object of worship!  It can be anything from a famous basketball star hero to a treasured car to an appointment calendar that we decide is untouchable—even sacred.

But our God has a lot to say about idols in the Word, and we would do well to heed His words. 

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.  (Jonah 1:8 KJV) 

Vanities are vain things—things that deceive [mislead, betray, trick, or dupe].  Idols fulfill this definition.  Anything that we trust in place of or instead of God can be considered a lying vanity.

I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord.  (Ps 31:6 NIV) 

This Bible verse calls idols ‘worthless.’  Since idols are empty, hollow, and pointless, this is an accurate adjective.

But they are altogether stupid and foolish; the instruction from idols is nothing but wood!  (Jer 10:8 NASB) 

As this Scripture says, the only ‘instruction’ a person can receive from an idol is a contemplation of wood.

“What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies?  For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols!  19 Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a silent stone, Arise! Can this teach?  Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it.  20 But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before Him.”  (Hab 2:18-20 ESV) 

Since idols are made by human hands out of wood or stone, and often decorated with gold and silver, it is obvious to recognize it as an unresponsive object with no life in it.  However, our God is alive; and He (alone) can impart life—even eternal life.  Glory to God.

Value your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ as the most important relationship in your life, and you will avoid some of the traps that the enemy tries to set before believers.  God bless you.

God is Eternal

<strong>God is Eternal</strong>

How does the fact that God is an eternal Being impact a Christian’s daily life?  First, let’s look at some relevant Bible verses:

Your divine throne is eternal and everlasting.  Your royal scepter is a scepter of justice.  (Ps 45:6 CEB)

But you, Lord, are enthroned forever; You are remembered throughout all generations.  (Ps 102:12 ISV)

You, O Lord, remain forever; Your throne from generation to generation.  (Lam 5:19 NKJV)

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.  (1 Tim 1:17 ESV)

Because God is an eternal and all-powerful Being, pleasing Him and having a relationship with Him is a satisfying and meaningful investment.  It is a relationship that will go on into eternity, and one that will change our daily lives for the better.

The souls of all human beings are destined to continue eternally, and we have the authority to choose whether our eternal home will be in hell or heaven.  When we choose to live for Jesus, and to obey the Bible, we make the best decision ever.

God’s wisdom and God’s Words will never pass away.  Obeying His Word will be eternally valuable.  Therefore, we need to invest NOW in the things that are eternal and affect eternity.  This mindset means that we choose to follow Christ’s example daily in every area of our lives.

We are wholly connected with Christ.  We are even hidden with Christ in God.  (Col 3:3)  Therefore, we are secure in Christ.  We belong to the Lord, and are protected in Him.  The certain and magnificent day will arrive when we will be glorified with Him.  Praise God!

The Lord is Faithful & Upright

<strong>The Lord is Faithful & Upright</strong>

The Bible tells us in many different verses that God is not only faithful, but that He is upright.  What do these terms means to us?

Faithful means the fact or quality of being true to one’s word or commitments, as to what one has pledged to do, professes to believe, etc.  Titus 1:2 reminds us that God cannot lie!  This tells us that we may trust whatever He says.

Upright means morally erect; honest; just; conforming to high, moral standards. 

Now let’s look at these Scriptures:

For the word of the Lord is upright; and all his works are done in faithfulness.  He loves righteousness and justice; the world is filled with the gracious love of the Lord.  (Ps 33:4-5 ISV) 

According to this passage, God’s Word is upright, honest, and just.  All of God’s works are done in faithfulness, according to what He has promised.  Glory to God!

Our Lord, you are true to your promises, and your word is like silver heated seven times in a fiery furnace.  (Ps 12:6 CEV)

This Bible verse reminds us that God’s promises are true (genuine, valid, sincere), and that they have been tried and tested—just like fine silver.

The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; your God is faithful and true; he does what is right and fair.  (Deu 32:4 GNT)

How reassuring to read this Bible passage above!  God is declared to be our mighty Defender who is perfect and just (good, fair, honest, honorable) in all of His ways. 

For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will see His face.  (Ps 11:7 NASB)

According to the Scripture shown above, all who are upright (honest, respectable, righteous) will see God’s face.  Hallelujah!

The earth, O Lord, is full of thy steadfast love; teach me thy statutes!  (Ps 119:64 RSV)

Lastly, we see the Lord’s love described as steadfast which is just another word for faithful, reliable and trustworthy.

As you can see, based upon what we have just studied, God is indeed faithful and upright!  He is worthy to be praised!

God’s Understanding is Unsearchable

God’s Understanding is Unsearchable

The Bible points out to us that God is far beyond our understanding, despite the fact that we may have a loving and very genuine personal knowledge of Him.  Let us look at some Scriptures:

“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!  But the thunder of His power who can understand?”  (Job 26:14 NKJV)

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  (Isa 40:28 NIV)

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.  (Ps 145:3 NKJV)

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.  (Ps 147:5 NKJV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:8-9 NIV)

Clearly, we can see from these passages that God is more complex than our finite minds or emotions can grasp.  We cannot know the limits of His power, greatness, thoughts, wisdom, or ways.  We can’t even perceive everything there is to be known about even one facet of His character.  Of course, our acquaintance with sin and the world limits our ability to understand God, as well.

The impeccable harmony and agreement of God’s qualities simply highlight the complexity of God’s nature.  Another element of our challenge as believers is that God is infinite, and we are not. 

It is clear from the Word of God that some secret things are the domain of the Lord alone.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”  (Deu 29:29 ESV)

The joyous truth for us is that there have been many revelations given to believers, and the most important one is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:26-27 ESV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  (Rom 10:9-10 NIV) And one glorious day we will be in heaven with the Lord, and many mysteries will be revealed to us.  And yet, I believe that throughout eternity there will always be new and wonderful insights that the Lord will open to our understanding.  What a joy to contemplate!  God bless you.

Wisdom, Wealth & Honor Come from God

Wisdom, Wealth & Honor Come from God

God blesses His people with wisdom, honor and wealth.  The Bible says:

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  (1 Chr 29:12 NIV)

. . . wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”  (2 Chr 1:12 ESV)

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.  (Deu 8:18 NRSV)

Wisdom is defined this way:

The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness.  (Source:  https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/wisdom.html)

Wealth is:

The most basic English definitions of wealth are “the condition of being happy and prosperous” and “spiritual well-being” (OED). But the most common usage probably involves the narrower sense of “abundance of possessions, or of valuable products.” A large percentage of Scripture focuses on right and wrong uses of this latter kind of wealth, while always subordinating it to the former.  (Source:  https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/wealth/)

About Honor:

The source of all honor is God on the basis of his position as sovereign Creator and of his character as a loving Father. God the Father has bestowed honor on his Son, Jesus Christ (John 5:23). He bestowed honor on humanity by creating man a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5-6). He has also created spheres of authority within human government, the church, and the home. The positions of authority in those spheres are to receive honor implicitly.  (Source:  https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/honor.html)

Let us remember that in whatever measure we enjoy these three blessings of God, we should be thankful for them and rejoice in God’s great goodness to us.  Praise the Lord!

What Does God Do for His Glory?

What Does God Do for His Glory?
  1. God created the world for His glory.  – The heavens tell of the glory of God;
    and their expanse declares the work of His hands.
      (Ps 19:1 NASB)
  2. God helps not only ALL people, but He helps, delivers, and forgives believers, for His own glory. –  Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.  (Ps 79:9 NIV) 
  3. God will not share His glory with idols, so we must be diligent in ascribing glory to God alone for all of His blessings upon us.  – ‘I am the Lord; that is my name!  I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.’  (Isa 42:8 NIV)
  4. God will not allow Himself to be insulted, and He will not relinquish His glory to others. –  For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.  How can I let myself be defamed?  I will not yield my glory to another.  (Isa 48:11 NIV)
  5. Because we are called by the name of the Lord and we are His children, the listens, forgives, and acts on our behalf.  It is all for the glory of His name.  –  ‘Lord, listen!  Lord, forgive!  Lord, take note and take action!  For your own sake, don’t delay, my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.’  (Dan 9:19 ISV)

We belong to our Creator, and it is our created function to bring Him glory and honor. We are the children of God, called by His name and created for God’s own glory—as the Scriptures teach us: 

Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth, even everyone who is called by My name, for I have created him for My glory; I have formed him, and I have made him.  (Isa 43:6-7 MEV)

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.  (Ps 63:2 CSB) 

We are called to worship and glorify the Lord. Let us praise and worship the Lord in the sanctuary as we recognize His strength and His glory.  Praise the Lord!