Being Strengthened & Established

<strong>Being Strengthened & Established</strong>

As we live our daily lives as believers and followers of Jesus, there should come times when we are strengthened and established, or recognized, in our faith.  Let’s take a look at some Scriptures concerning this topic:

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:11-12 NKJV)

Paul was writing to believers in Rome, saying that he wished to see them in order that he could impart [pass on] a spiritual gift to a number of them, and that he could encourage them in their faith—and be encouraged himself by them. 

First of all, do you realize that praying for each other is encouraging? 

And do you also realize that by praying for one another, we may reveal our own spiritual gifts and may even pass them on?  Well, it’s absolutely true! 

But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29 NKJV)

Paul was confident that when he saw the believers in person, that he would be operating in the FULLNESS of the blessing of Christ’s gospel.  What faith!  This demonstrates the confidence of a man who relies completely upon the Word, and lives his life accordingly.  Glory to God!

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.  (Ac 16:5 NIV)

When we are strengthened in our faith, we can’t help but share our experiences and testimonies with others.  When we do that, other people visit our churches in order to discover what is happening.  Their curiosity is provoked, and they want to investigate for themselves.

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  (Ac 19:6 NIV)

Praying for people, as you touch them, is a biblical and correct form of prayer.  This verse tells us that when Paul did this, the people that Paul touched came under the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit.  As a result these same people actually spoke in tongues and prophesied.  Hallelujah!  These are biblical results and we should be encouraged by them, and use them as our example.

A key tactic we can use to strengthen our faith is to read the Bible, and to the meditate upon it daily.  God bless you.

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.

Pray for the Increase of Evangelism

Pray for the Increase of Evangelism

As believers and followers of Jesus, we’re called to pray for the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread over all of the earth. 

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you . . .  (2 Thes 3:1 NIV)  Pray for your Pastor and the missionaries that your church supports that God will bless and prosper their work.  Pray also for the family of your Pastor and the families of the missionaries that you support.

. . . for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.  (1 Cor 16:9 NIV)  Remember that there are spiritual opponents and challengers who stand against the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But the Bible reminds us that God has given us the victory.  It is part of our calling to pray for that victory to be manifested in every evangelistic outreach.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NKJV)

But the word of God increased and multiplied.  (Ac 12:24 NIV)  By the grace and mercy of God, our prayers can turn a situation around by faith in Jesus.

. . . therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  (Mt 9:38 NIV)  Ask the Lord in your prayers to send out more evangelists so that His good news of salvation may bring about the end-time harvest.

Of course, we should pray for our unsaved relatives and friends to be saved.  It’s a measure of our love for them that we desire to pray for their salvation.  Remember what the Bible tells us: If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (Joh 15:7 NIV)  Rejoice!

Don’t Be Ashamed

Don’t Be Ashamed

The Lord tells us in His word that we should not be ashamed of Him or of His words.  The apostle Paul teaches us the right attitude with his declaration in the book of Romans:

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

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.  (Mk 8:38)

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

We should never feel embarrassed or uncomfortable that we are Christians.  Additionally, we should never be ashamed to share testimonies of our answered prayers, or of our salvation experience and the blessings of God. 

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  (Rom 10:11 ESV)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the POWER OF GOD to everyone who believes.  Let us rejoice in this truth and praise the name of the Lord!

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

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, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

No Rock Like Our God

No Rock Like Our God

The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is our rock.  What does that mean for us and for our lives?

For their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.  (Deut 32:31)    

No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.  (1 Sam 2:2)

For who is God, except the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God?  (Ps 18:31)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  (Ps 118:22)  – Jesus is the “stone” which the builders rejected.  A cornerstone is another word for foundation or basis. 

“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  (Ac 4:11-12) – Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Not only is Jesus our Rock, but His gospel is, too.  And we, His followers, are chosen by God, and we are precious to Him.  We are a spiritual house built upon faith in Jesus Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.  (Ps 78:35) There is no Rock like ours who is faithful, loving, and eternal.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”  (1 Pet 2:4-6)

We are God’s holy priesthood called to offer spiritual sacrifices to God. Spiritual sacrifices would include:

  • Obedience to God and His Word;
  • Cooperating with His re-shaping our values and lives;
  • Loving our neighbors;
  • Acts of kindness and service to others;
  • Praising and worshipping God; and
  • Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.   (1 Peter 2:17)

Remember that Jesus is our Foundation for all of life and faith.

The Word says that all who trust in Jesus will never be put to shame. Praise 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.

No Longer a Slave

No Longer a Slave

A slave is a person who is held in a permanent position of servitude to another; a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.  Imagine being the legal property of another human being?  The idea brings up a tremendous sense of outrage in those of us who have been blessed to live in a nation renowned for freedom, as well as a sense of regret, shame and deep sorrow over our nation’s past history.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been set free from all types and forms of bondage or slavery.  Hallelujah!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (Joh 8:32)  Jesus is the Truth who sets us free.  Jesus tells us that He IS the Truth in John 14:6.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed . . .  (Lk 4:18, emphasis added)  Jesus read these words in the temple in Nazareth.  In Luke 4:21, Jesus went on to say:   And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Jesus clearly states that HE is the fulfillment of this passage originally found in Isaiah 61.  Jesus sets at liberty ALL who are oppressed.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.  (Joh 8:36)  This Scripture could easily read:  “Therefore SINCE the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” 

Think about this:  Jesus has set us free from all bondage, both external and internal. 
In Jesus we have been set free from:

  • Fear – Fear involves torment. The perfect love that Jesus bestows upon us casts out fear. (1 Joh 4:18) Our Savior and King does not use fear as a tool–ever. 

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)  Please see also 2 Timothy 1:7.

  • Sin – We have been set free from sin. (Rom 6:18)  We are not under the rule of law but we are under the rule of GRACE.  (Rom 6:14)  There is only one thing it is permissible for us to serve, and that is righteousness“Sin is a power within that is trying to draw you away to worship idols, to compromise, to go and make yourself God rather than submitting to the living God.” ~ Andrew Wilson
  • Death – In Christ, we have received eternal LIFE.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Joh 3:16)
    In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
     (Pro 12:28)

Rejoice in and appreciate the liberty that our Savior has given to each of us.

Jesus, Loving Friend of Sinners

Jesus, Loving Friend of Sinners

Jesus was called by the Pharisees “A friend of sinners.” 

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  (Lk 7:34)

 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  (Mt 11:19)

They were criticizing Jesus for spending time with undesirables such as tax collectors and sinners!  But Jesus spent time with the very people who needed to hear His teachings and His gospel.  His mission on earth was to bring salvation to sinners!

The Scriptures below demonstrate that Jesus fulfilled the mission His Father gave to Him, and because He DID, He is truly a Friend of Sinners!  Hallelujah!

Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.”  And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”  (Joh 8:5-11)

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  (Joh 3:17)

Let us celebrate and lift up the Name of Jesus!  Bless the Lord!

Holy Boldness

Holy Boldness

Spending time in the presence of the Lord Jesus will impart holy boldness!  What a beautiful sign of how God sanctifies and prepares us for ministry.  The Bible informs us of this blessed benefit in several passages.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.  (Acts 4:13)  Notice how other people observe and remark upon the impact of Jesus upon His followers.  God calls and anoints ordinary people to serve Him.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.  (Acts 4:31)  Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ courageously with other people is a sign of Jesus’ influence upon us.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—  (2 Cor 3:12)  Hope imparts boldness!

. . . in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:12)  In Jesus Christ, we have both holy boldness and assurance of our salvation through faith in Christ.   We have access to the throne of God through faith in Jesus.

Why do I call this article “Holy Boldness”?  I do so because the unique boldness imparted to us through our relationship with Jesus is a consecration and sanctification of our very persons. 

We are set apart for service unto our Lord and King.  We are destined to bring glory to God, our Savior, as the verses quoted above confirm.  So, brothers and sisters, share your testimony with holy boldness.  It is within you; it’s available to you through Jesus who lives within every believer.  God bless you.