Beautiful Feet

Beautiful Feet

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”  (Rom 10:14-15)

Another version of the final line in the above Bible verse is:  “Beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!” 

We’re not talking about just any old type of good news, but specifically about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  This is the good news that tells how Jesus purchased salvation for all who accept Him as their Savior and Lord!  Hallelujah!

This is the “almost too good to be true” kind of news that no one readily believes in this cynical, unbelieving world. 

This very genuine good news MUST be passed on and accepted before its power can take effect.  When we each accepted Jesus as our own Lord and Savior, one of the main assignments we were given was to share our testimony of God’s love and forgiveness.  Consider this passage:

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 reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:18-19, emphasis added)

Jesus fulfilled His mission of reconciling mankind to His Father, and has committed the same ministry to us.  We are called to the Ministry of Reconciliation through Jesus Christ.  However, we don’t need to die as Jesus did but to simply tell our own testimony to everyone who will listen to our story.  As the Scriptures say, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  (Mt 10:8)

While we are still able, while a measure of freedom of speech remains, we must endeavor to fulfill this honored calling and mission entrusted to every believer by Jesus..

Sun of Righteousness Dispenses Healing

Sun of Righteousness Dispenses Healing

Who is the Sun of Righteousness?  It is Jesus Christ and He demonstrated this truth by performing signs, wonders, and miracles while He lived on the earth.

But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. (Mal 4:2)

He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.  (Deu 32:4)

According to Your name, O God, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth; Your right hand is full of righteousness.  (Ps 48:10) 

But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness.  (Isa 5:16)

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  (Jer 23:5 emphasis added, see also Jer 33:15) 

Jesus fulfilled each and every one of these Scriptures.  As the Son of Righteousness, Jesus healed the elderly, the poor, the widowed, and the rich equally.  He didn’t just heal one kind of disease but ALL kinds of disease.  He demonstrated His unlimited power as well as the unlimited, unconditional love of His Father for all mankind.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.  (Mt 4:23, emphasis added – see also Mt 9:35)

Jesus also healed people spiritually by feeding the Good News of the Kingdom to them (Living Water).  He healed the broken in heart.  (Ps 147:3)  He healed demon-possessed and demon-oppressed people by delivering them.  He healed and restored the bent and broken ones.  He gave voices to the mute, and cured those with unclean spirits.  (Mt 15:30; Lk 6:18)  Some people received healing by just touching the edge of Jesus’ cloak!  (Mk 6:56)

You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.  (Ac 10:38)

The book of Acts tells us that people who need healing are “oppressed by the devil.”  That’s not just an old-time, backwards way of saying that people were sick.  No, I believe that this is a revelation from God for us.  Recognize that pain, sickness, and suffering are all tools of the enemy.  He comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy according to the Bible. (Joh 10:10)

As followers of Jesus Christ, by faith we must trust Him and KNOW Him to be our healer.  God has said:

. . . for I am the Lord that healeth thee.  (Ex 15:26 KJV, end)

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases . . .  (Ps 103:3 KJV)

A Godly Woman

A Godly Woman

The Bible praises a virtuous woman, and finding such a woman in 2019 is rare, indeed!  But many female followers of Jesus Christ are truly virtuous women, and should be highly valued and honored. 

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.   (Prov 31:30, emphasis added)  A woman who has a deep respect for God and for His Word will demonstrate it by her obedience to God and to His Word.  Her life will reflect the moral values that are taught through the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies.  11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.  12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.  (Prov 31:10-12, emphasis added)  This portion of Scripture praises the Godly wife, who is a trustworthy woman who works diligently to bless her husband and her children.  Such a woman is a faithful steward of whatever finances her husband entrusts to her safekeeping.  She is a loving woman who demonstrates her love not only in service to her family, but with loving affection, as well.  She operates in wisdom and intelligence, and is of great value to all who are related to her.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.  (Pro 31:26)  The virtuous woman always operates through love, and her words are filled with wisdom and kindness.

. . . in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.  (1 Tim 2:9-10)  Not only does a Godly woman present a lovely and modest appearance, but she matures in wisdom and grace in her character and in her spiritual gifts.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus . . . (Phil 2:3-5)  A virtuous woman, like all believers, humbles herself before the Lord and makes Jesus her life example.  I like how Bible teacher, Rick Renner, explains this concept of “esteeming others better than oneself”:

To think lowly; to think in an unpretentious way about oneself; or to think modestly of oneself. ~ Rick Renner

These assembled Bible passages describe some very remarkable character traits that will not only make a woman virtuous; but will also make her a wonderful wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend and confidant!  Because this woman will enjoy performing good works, she will be an invaluable asset to any church and fellowship group.

Look around you at the women you know and love, today!  Take time to praise them, as the Bible suggests.

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

Extreme Mercy & Forgiveness

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.  (Ac 7:59-60)

Focus on the extreme mercy and forgiveness that Stephen displayed!  Here are people in the process of killing him, and he forgives them and asks the Lord to forgive them.  Then he dies. What mercy!  What forgiveness!  Stephen went to heaven as a martyr for the gospel.

According to Daniel 9:9, mercy and forgiveness belong to God.  The Bible says (see below) that mercy and unlimited forgiveness belong to God.

O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, because with the Lord there is mercy and with Him there is unlimited forgiveness.  (Ps 130:7 GW)

In the church of Jerusalem, Stephen was chosen along with six other men to serve as deacons.  As deacons, they would take charge of the gifts of the people, and give assistance to those who were in need, including widows.  The criteria for choosing these men was that they had to have the Spirit of God and to have wisdom. 

Stephen not only cared for the poor, but he began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone—Jews and Gentiles both.  This conduct enraged some of Jews, who plotted against him.

Clearly, as Stephen shared the Good News, the Holy Spirit used Stephen as an instrument for the Kingdom of God.  History records that Stephen, as he ministered to the people, performed signs, wonders, and miracles among them.  Glory to God!

Stephen clearly loved and obeyed Jesus Christ, his Savior and example in all things.  Stephen emulated the Lord Jesus Christ in his life, work, and even in death. 

This is a good moment to reflect upon our own lives; and to determine whether we are allowing mercy and forgiveness to operate in our lives, our responses, and our actions.

The Inexorable Force

The Inexorable Force

Our God is the Inexorable Force of the universe.  What He says always, ALWAYS comes to pass.  When we become born again, He places His hand upon us in such a way that we must share His Truth and His Word.  These verses illustrate what I’m saying:

But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Ac 4:19-20 NIV, underlining added)

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.  (Jer 20:9 NIV)

 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”  (Num 22:38 NIV)

In our hearts, we feel that force within us that compels us to testify that Jesus is the Redeemer of all mankind—the hope of all the world.  If we are not aware of an inner inducement to share the Good News with others, then it is time to renew our commitment to the Lord and to rededicate ourselves to His purposes.

In Acts 17:16-17, we read that Paul was provoked to share the gospel message with the people in Athens.  Jesus addressed His followers in Acts 1:8 to tell them that they would be His witnesses in this world.

We must confess, along with 2 Samuel 23:2:  “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue.”  Let us lift our voices and testify to the loving goodness and kindness of our God and Savior.  The Holy Spirit (The Inexorable Force) within each one of us lovingly requires it of us all.

Seek the Well Being of Others

Seek the Well Being of Others

As children of God, our actions will naturally imitate the actions of our Heavenly Father.  God cares for each and every person.  He is pleased when—instead of being selfish—we look for opportunities to help and to bless other people.

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.  (1 Cor 10:24)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus  . . . (Phil 2:4-5)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth . . . (1 Cor 13:4-6, underscoring added)

God is love (1 Joh 4:8) so the passage of Scripture above outlining the nature of love gives us a very good picture of the nature of the God whom we serve.  This reveals how the Lord deals with each person individually, and helps us to understand His love for mankind.

In these verses from the Bible, we can see that working on behalf of other people in order to bless their lives will also result in bringing glory to God.  This is what we who serve the Good Shepherd are called to do.  We’re called to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ; to bring glory to God; and to spread the Good News.  In so doing, the very works of God will be revealed in us.  (Joh 9:3) Have a blessed day!

Bearing Fruit

Bearing Fruit

The Scriptures remind us that, as believers, we need to bear fruit to the Lord.  Let’s see what the Bible says.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  (Joh 15:5)

Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  (Mt 7:17-19)

But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  (Mt 13:23)

But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.  (Lk 8:15)

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.  (Joh 15:8)

Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  (Rom 7:4)

After reading these passages, it’s clear to see that as we abide in Christ, He causes us to bear fruit.  And the Christian life is intended by God to be a fruitful life.  Disciples of Christ bear fruit—that’s very clear. 

Good fruit is produced by the Holy Spirit.  Galatians 5:22 reveals the fruit of the spirit to us.  It is evidenced in a good character; by contributing to the world and the people in it; and by sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.  We can’t do any of this without abiding in Christ and staying closely connected to Him.  He gives us eternal life, and the fruit of the spirit is eternal fruit.  Glory to God!