Guard Your Faith

Guard Your Faith

How would we guard a treasure?  Would we put it in a bank deposit box; a secret vault; or in a guarded safe?  Naturally, we would do all that we could to protect our valuable property.

What about protecting our spiritual treasure?  Are we just as diligent?  Do we value it properly as we should?  

What is our spiritual treasure?  It is our saving FAITH in Jesus Christ which gives us new life on earth and an eternity in heaven with the Lord—where we will receive a crown.  We’ll be in eternal blissfulness in the splendor of God’s presence.

So what does the Bible say to us?

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  (1 Cor 16:13 NIV)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  (1 Tim 6:12 ESV)

 I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.  (2 Tim 4:7 CEB)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  (Eph 6:10 NIV)

In life hardship and heartaches come our way but, thanks to Jesus, we are never defeated, never without hope, and never alone because our lives are in the hands of God.  He is our defender and protector.

We’ve been given a treasure, but we need to guard it strongly.  The devil wants to destroy our saving faith.  He wants to make us doubt in our minds, to confuse our understanding, and to lead us off course to false treasures which have no value whatsoever. 

But we rely upon the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is eternal truth, and nothing will prevail against it.  As we memorize and meditate upon the Scriptures and remind ourselves of the wonderful gift of salvation that we have received, we will learn how to use our spiritual weapons referred to in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Here are just some of spiritual our tools:

  • We must take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:5) – this means that we must monitor our thoughts and reject those that contradict the Gospel.  We need to train our minds to remain centered upon Jesus.
  • Be sober-minded and watchful.  (1 Pet 5:8)
  • Submit ourselves to God and resist the devil.  (Jas 4:7)
  • Put on the armor of God in order to stand successfully against the schemes of the devil.  (Eph 6:10-12; Eph 6:14-18)
  • Authority to tread on serpents and scorpions.  (Lk 10:19)
  • Meditate upon excellent things that are worthy of praise.  (Phil 4:8)
  • The blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  (Rev 12:11)
  • The Holy Spirit within us is greater than the devil.  (1 Joh 4:4)

With these impressive spiritual tools, we are more than able to guard our faith victoriously.  Hallelujah!

The Deep Things of God

The Deep Things of God

What is meant by the phrase ‘the deep things of God’? 

These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  (1 Cor 2:10 NIV)

In the verse of Scripture shown above, the word “depths” translates the Greek noun βάθη, which is the Accusative, Plural of βάθος (bathos). In this context, Paul is using a word that refers to “deep water” to portray a parallel idea in an attempt to describe the complexities of and the secret and careful plans of our God.

This word that represents the depths of God (the deep things of God), refers to greatness, immensity, profoundness, impenetrability, and mysteriousness.  It goes beyond surface considerations and into the serious, innermost study of God’s nature, His purposes and His love.

Let’s continue looking at the Bible:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  (Joh 14:26 NIV)

The Holy Spirit was given to every believer at the moment of salvation.  (See Ac 2:38; Eph 1:13)  The Holy Spirit teaches us all things and helps us to remember everything that He has taught us.  As we obey the Word and walk in faith, our relationship with the Lord grows stronger and more mature.

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  (Lk 10:21 NIV)

“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”  (Amos 3:7 NIV)

The two verses immediately above mention that God reveals hidden thing to His people.  These are clearly deep things of God that the Holy Spirit shares with the children of God.  The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom, insight, and revelation knowledge.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  (1 Cor 2:11 NIV)

No one can know the thoughts of God other than the Holy Spirit who dwells within every believer.  (See 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16)  This same Holy Spirit will teach us about the profound, loving, and merciful God whom we are blessed to serve.  The longer that we are in relationship with the Lord, the more deeply we mature in the faith, and the more familiar we become with the deep things of God.  Glory to God!

God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

When we understand and comprehend God’s perfect love for us, it drives out all fear.  Let’s see what the Bible has to teach us.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  (1 Joh 4:18 NIV) 

The perfect love that we receive from God is unending, unfailing, and persevering.  Glory to God!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim 1:7 NKJV)

The spirit of fear is not from God but comes from not being able to trust God completely and comprehensively.  God has given us the Holy Spirit as well as the fruit of the spirit which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (see Gal 5:22-23)  The Holy Spirit is the spirit of power.  (See Acts 1:8)

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15 NIV)

The spirit whom we received when we accepted Christ as our Savior is the Holy Spirit.  (See Acts 2:38; Eph 1:13; Rom 8:16)  Once we accepted Christ as our Savior, we became children of God.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  (1 Joh 4:12 NIV)

The Bible verse above reminds us that no one has ever seen God in His complete, divine revelation.  Even Moses only saw the back of the Lord in Exodus 33:18-23.  However, as we believers imitate the love of God for mankind, we demonstrate God’s love to humanity. 

The perfect love of God—which has forgiven and cleansed us of all of our sins—drives out fear.  It drives out the fear of eternal punishment, as well as the fear of what other people think of us.  It drives out the fear of the unknown because we know that God holds us in the palm of His hand and has provided all that we need for life and godliness.  (2 Pet 1:3) As we believers experience God’s love inside of us, it empowers us to live for Him and to love others.  As we mature and grow in grace and walking in the love of God, we model the love, forgiveness, and mercy of God toward all with whom we interact.  Praise God!

Everything Is Possible for a Believer

Everything Is Possible for a Believer

While Jesus was on the earth, He made many bold and challenging statements.  At least, many of His statements challenge human beings in this day and age.  However, His disciples, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, didn’t seem to have any trouble in taking Jesus at His word.

They had listened to the Words of our Savior:

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”  (Mk 9:23 NIV)  Jesus says that EVERYTHING is possible for the person who believes.  But believes what, exactly?  We need to place our faith in God and in His Word.

And he saith unto them, Because of your little faith: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  (Mt 17:20 ASV)  We must use the faith that we have.  Remember that faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8); it’s not something that we need to TRY to have or to whip up.  It is a matter of taking God at His Word, and trusting Him to fulfill His Word.

 I tell all of you with certainty, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ if he doesn’t doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  (Mk 11:23 ISV)  Here, Jesus has given us an instruction for how to use the faith that we’ve been given. 

Romans 12:3 reminds us that each one of us has been given a measure of faith.

The Lord said, “If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.  (Lk 17:6 MEV)  A grain of mustard seed is a very tiny, round seed.  It would be easy to lose and easy to miss if it was in your hand.  But Jesus says that even so small an amount of faith the size of a mustard seed is enough to uproot, move and plant a mulberry tree in the sea!  What an astonishing image of faith! 

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”  (Mt 21:21-22 NASB)  In this passage of Scripture, Jesus teaches us that pure, unwavering faith is able to move mountains and cast them into the sea.  And He added that WHATEVER we ask for in prayer, believing that we have already received it, will be done. This demonstrates to us that pure faith that has no doubt or fear mixed into it will bring results that are unstoppable, inevitable, and unalterable.  This faith is the gift of our good, loving and merciful God. Praise God!

The Light Shines in Darkness

The Light Shines in Darkness

We all know that in a dark place, even the tiniest light—say from a lit match—introduces light that is quite CONSPICUOUS.  In John 8:12, Jesus declared that He is the light of the world.  In the dark world that contains death, sin, and evil intentions, Jesus brought light and life and the precious gift of eternal salvation to mankind.  Glory to God!

Let’s see what the Bible says on this topic:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  (Joh 1:5 NIV)  Light will always win over darkness, thanks to our Creator God.

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  (Joh 3:19-20 RSV)  Notice that a lot of evil deeds are done in the darkness and in the nighttime hours.  Criminals will often break lights on a street or in a hallway in order to hide their cruel activities.

The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”  (Mt 4:16 NKJV)  Light dawned upon the earth in the form of baby Jesus, born in a manger in a stable.  Jesus brought us the gift of salvation.

For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.  (Ps 18:28 ESV)  The Lord “lights” the lamp of our soul within us.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, the Holy Spirit makes His home within each one of us.  Hallelujah!

Once again Jesus spoke to the people. This time he said, “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark. You will have the light that gives life.”   (Joh 8:12 CEV)

Here is the same verse as above, but in a different translation:

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  (John 8:12 NKJV)

As we continue in our relationship with Jesus Christ, our light shines into the world.  Our interactions with every person that we meet, whether loved ones or strangers, makes an impact upon each one. 

When we follow the example of our Lord Jesus, then our interactions will reflect His love, forgiveness, and mercy.  We will extend a loving and helping hand to all who need it, and encouragement to others.  In this way, we shine the light of God’s eternal love into the earth.  Shine brightly, dear brothers and sisters!

Stay in the Love of God

Stay in the Love of God

There are practical ways to stay spiritually strong despite the enemy’s efforts to destroy our faith.  We will stay strong if we remain focused on God’s love for us and continue to do His will.  John 15:10 reminds us that we will abide in His love if we keep His commandments.

Let’s read God’s Word on this topic:

. . . keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  (Jude 1:21 NKJV)

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  (Joh 14:21 NKJV)

. . . and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  (Rom 5:5 NIV)

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  (1 Joh 3:16-17 NIV)

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  (1 Joh 4:16 NIV)

Our God is love.  His love is perfect, endless, and unfailing.  When we’re secure in the knowledge of God’s love, we then can trust in His goodness and mercy.  God manifests Himself in various ways to people who trust Him and are sure of His love for them.  He hears and answers their prayers; he surrounds them with favor and protection; and He fights for them.

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  Because of the reality of this truth, we are enabled to reach out in love and mercy to help others.  This also motivates us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are lost and hurting. In whatever way that we are able, we are called and given the gift of grace to show God’s love to all whom we encounter.  In so doing, we share the love of God and shine forth the light of God’s goodness into the world and remain in the love of God.  God bless you.

We’ve Been Warned by the Word

We’ve Been Warned by the Word

We’ve been warned by God’s Word that there are evil times coming upon the earth.  These Scripture verses are all related to what is commonly referred to as “the end times.”  But what should we, the followers of Jesus Christ, be doing in this season?

First, let’s read some of these end times verses:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  (2 Thes 2:3-5 NKJV) 
There will come a time when Christian churches and the people in them may fall away from their faith in Christ.  The person known as the Antichrist will be revealed.  This will usher in the Day of the Lord which will begin a 7-year tribulation period, when God’s righteous wrath shall fall upon the world.  At the same time, the function of the Holy Spirit as the One who holds back evil shall come to an end. 

He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.  (Dan 7:25 NIV) 
In a world where almost every semblance of righteousness has been removed, the man of sin will be revealed—that man of lawlessness who is the son of destruction, also known as the Antichrist.  This evil being will blaspheme the Lord and will also continuously persecute and vex any human beings who identify themselves as followers of Jesus.

The important point for us to remember is that the wrath of God is not intended for Christians who love the Lord and obey His Word.  Presently, the world’s evil is being restrained by the prayers of the righteous and the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

We have the serious task of engaging in the work of the Lord until the Lord Jesus comes to take us to be with Him.  We need to spend time in studying the Word in order to deepen our faith.  Let’s continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.  We are called to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are lost in their sins so that we may rescue them from an eternity of torment and pain.  And more importantly, as we lead others to Christ, we will be opening for them the path to eternal fellowship with Jesus Christ wherein is unity, harmony, and everlasting love.  Hallelujah!

Mercy, Peace & Love be Multiplied

Mercy, Peace & Love be Multiplied

Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (Jud 1:2 NKJV)

Take another look at that verse!  The Holy Spirit chose to intensify the blessings of mercy, peace and grace by using the word multiplied.

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Rom 1:7 NIV)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  (2 Pet 1:2 NIV)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  (Gal 6:15-16 NKJV)

MERCY means:  1) compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm; 2) compassion, kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted.  Mercy is when God decides not to punish us for our sins and wrongdoings.

PEACE means:  1) freedom from disturbance; tranquility; 2) to experience tranquility, harmony, and agreement.  Psalm 7:11 (NKJV) says, God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  But the Lord is not angry with believers.  Jesus has purchased reconciliation and peace between believers and God.  This is the peace that Jesus promised in John 14:27 (NKJV):  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  This is the peace that Jesus experienced in the core of His own pain and suffering that He shares with us.

LOVE:  agape, Greek agapē, in the New Testament; the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God. In Scripture, the transcendent agape love is the highest form of love.  This kind of love is not based on performance or precision; it flows from the pure heart of God.  This is a miracle-working type of love that has been given to us through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  It’s the most selfless and generous form of love we can imagine. 

Jude begins his letter by praying this triad of blessings on all believers:  Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (Jud 1:2 NKJV)  And he prayed for these blessings to be multiplied to us.  He desires these blessings to come upon each believer in waves of blessings.  He wants these blessings to flourish, proliferate, and be magnified in our lives—that they exceedingly abound!   The blessings of God are found in His mercy, His peace, and His love— which are all revealed through His Son and extravagantly imparted to us by the Spirit.  Glory to God!

Shine as a Light

Shine as a Light

Because of the indwelling Holy Spirit within each and every believer (1 Cor 6:19), we are expected to shine His light into the earth and upon all people.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  (Mt 5:14 NIV)

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”  (Joh 8:12 NKJV)

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.  (1 Thes 5:5 ESV)

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . . . (Phil 2:14-15 ESV, underscoring added)

From these Bible passages, we are reminded again and again of the truth of the first statement in this article.  We are called to be blameless and innocent children of God living within a crooked and corrupt world.  Because of the life of the Lord dwelling within each one of us, we cannot help but SHINE as lights in the world.

Our light comes from Jesus—the Light of the World!  Allow His light, love and mercy to be evident in you. Go ahead and be a brave and bright beacon right where you are!  Hallelujah!

His Life in Us

His Life in Us

The Holy Spirit teaches each one of us about Jesus, so that we may see Him clearly and accurately.  The goal of our lives should be to know Him as He is, for only then can we represent Him faithfully.

As Jesus has dealt with each one of us in love and mercy, He desires us to reach out in that same manner to those who don’t yet know Him as their Savior.  In fact, Jesus’ very own love and mercy emanates from the Christ who lives within each one of us! 

Here are a few Scripture verses that support this concept:

But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness. (Rom 8:10)  This would be more accurately translated: “But since Christ is in you . . .”

I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  (Gal 2:20)

Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:27)

We cannot have spiritual life without the One who is Life—Jesus Christ.  Jesus told us that He is the Way, Truth, and Life.  (John 14:6)

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  (1 John 5:12)

Since we are so honored and blessed as to have the Source of Life living within, let’s share Him freely and unashamedly with everyone whom we meet—pouring out His love and mercy upon all.

Note:  This is a copy of our blog article dated 04/17/2017.