When Did We See You, Lord?

When Did We See You, Lord?

. . . for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  (Mt 25:35-40)

Jesus is making a point in these teachings.  He wanted His followers to realize that mercies shown to His people are considered by God to be the same as if they were shown to Jesus, Himself. 

In the Lord’s view, by showing kindness to the poor, the sick, and the needy, we demonstrate that we possess the spirit of Christ.  Jesus also showed His kindness to the poor, sick, and needy.  He gave us a perfect example.

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.  (Mk 9:41)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.  (1 Joh 3:14)

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  (1 Joh 3:17)

We need to have eyes to see the world and all people in the same way that the Lord sees them.  The Lord sees a field that is rich and ready to be harvested. 

The Lord sees people in deep need of the salvation that He has already provided, and He wants us to introduce this Good News to the spheres of influence in which we individually reside.  As we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the needy, provide homes to the lost, and visit the sick and the prisoners, we’re doing it all as unto God, our Savior. 

As we serve and treasure other people, in the same way that Jesus did while He was on earth, our Father God lays up our heavenly rewards for us. Glory to God!

Choose Boldness & Endurance

Choose Boldness & Endurance

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Tim 2:12)  We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33)  Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him.  This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23.    (Source:  http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)

We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world.  One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:14-16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.  We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus.  (See Acts 4:13) 

For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.  (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)

Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.

The Way, the Truth & the Life

The Way, the Truth & the Life

Why did Jesus connect Himself with these three words and how does it impact a life of faith?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus said this to His followers the night before He was crucified.  He was preparing them for the challenging days that were ahead of them.

  • Jesus asserts that He is the Way which suggests that faith in Him is the open door to salvation and to eternal life.  This is the truth that the Good News is based upon, and we need to share it with everyone.  God has made the plan of salvation clear, and we have been given the honor of sharing His Gospel with everyone.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (Joh 10:9) This is the Lord saying that He is to Door to Salvation and Eternal Life.   “Finding pasture” means that the Lord will supply all of our needs just as a shepherd cares for all of the needs of his sheep.

. . . that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)  Believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior is the only road to God.

  • Jesus says that He is the Life because He is also the author and source of all of life. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (Joh 1:1-4)  Jesus is the Word made flesh and this verse is the foundation for that truth.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  (Joh 11:25-26)  Jesus makes His claim clearly here that He is the resurrection and the life.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.   (Col 1:16)  All forms of life were created by the Lord.

  • No one would care about or remember Jesus’ claim to be the Way and the Life if He was not also, in reality, the Truth of God.  Jesus’ actions and entire life demonstrate the love, mercy, forgiveness, and miracle-working power of the Father God.  It is no wonder then, that Jesus prays the following prayer:

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  (Joh 17:15-19, emphasis added)

Jesus prayed, “Your word is truth.”  Jesus is known as the living Word of God.  (John 1:1, 14)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:13)  This verse is referring to Jesus Christ and says that He is called The Word of God.

Jesus is the living Word of God and God’s Word is truth.  Jesus was speaking the truth about Himself!  Praise the Lord!

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!