Be Watchful

Be Watchful

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (2 Tim 4:5)

. . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—  (Eph 6:18)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  (1 Pet 4:7)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  (1 Cor 16:13)

Often the Bible urges us to watch as well as to pray.  (Mk 13:33; 14:38; Lk 21:36; Eph 6:18)  It’s important that these two actions go hand in hand. 

Watch means to stay awake; to be sleepless.  We need to take this command literally as well as spiritually.  We are meant to be vigilant, on guard, alert, and intently aware.  Spiritual watching combined with prayer will give us the strength we need to resist temptation and to overcome difficult situations in life.

Staying awake is connected with righteousness.  (1 Cor 15:34)  If ever there has been a time to stay alert and focused, it is NOW.  Many scholars believe that we are living in what is called the “end times.”  We must focus on strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ and living a holy life, by the grace which He imparts to us.

Believers must be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ; we must guard against temptation; and we should pray without ceasing.  We should prepare for the completion (conclusion) of our salvation!

“Vigilant watchfulness is a manifestation of genuine spiritual life.” ~ Billy Graham

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

In this article, we’re considering the unchanging nature of our salvation.  As I think about this subject, I believe that our salvation is based upon three important cornerstones.

God’s Will for Mankind

The covenant God made with His children is unwavering, for God (who cannot lie) has made a promise and then confirmed it by an oath.  (see Num 23:19 & Heb 6:13-18)

For I am the Lord, I do not change . . .  (Mal 3:6a)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  (Jam 1:17)

God’s Word

God’s Word is eternal.  The Bible reminds us that we should never add to or delete anything from God’s Word. (Deu 4:2; 12:32; Pro 30:5-6) 

The Bible also warns us not to confuse the teachings of men with the Word of God.  (Mt 15:8-9; Mk 7:6-8)

God’s Word will stand forever; it shall be entirely fulfilled.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  (Isa 40:8)

. . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever . . . (1 Pet 1:23)

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  (Mt 5:18)

Our Savior—Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  (Heb 7:24)

Jesus, who is the Living Word, has an unchangeable priesthood and an unchanging character.  He is steadfast and trustworthy.  He has completed the mission that our heavenly Father gave to Him.  He has redeemed mankind and reconciled to the Father all who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord.   All glory to God!

Imagination—A Benefit for the Kingdom

Imagination—A Benefit for the Kingdom

The imagination at its core is good because it comes from God who created each one of us with an imagination.  God imagined US before He created us.  When we are curious for answers, it can trigger our imagination to become creative in finding unique solutions.

And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.  (Lk 2:47, underscoring added) 

When you need answers, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Word of God.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  (Mt 7:8)

When we ask questions or seek for answers (in the Lord), God will bring us the information that we need in wondrous and miraculous ways.

But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (Gal 6:4)

When we examine our own work, to determine its excellence or ability to meet a specific need, then we may rejoice over our work and what we have accomplished for the glory of God and His kingdom.

We need to develop our imagination, and in order to do that we need input from numerous other people.  So we need to build friendships and relationships with other, talented people.  As we do this our neural networks develop and we use more and more of our brainpower!

Imagination takes us to new places and helps us to envision new possibilities.  Don’t limit people to your view of the world or to your life experiences.  Create a judgment-free zone in which to grow your imagination.  “Big Imagination” should equal “big sense of humor” as well. 

Think of (imagine) the good and excellent things that God has given to us.  (Phil 4:8)

Looking for Blessed Hope

Looking for Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . (Tit 2:11-13, emphasis added)

I think it’s too easy in this age of high pressure and constant stress overlaid by tense world events for us to lose sight of our HOPE.  We need to meditate more frequently and regularly upon the truth that we are expectantly waiting and watching for our blessed hope which will be evidenced by the glorious appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  (Mt 24:30-31) 

The righteous rejoice to even anticipate this event, so think of what the reality of it will be like!  In the meantime, we have many responsibilities to attend to—not only those of being responsible spouses, parents, children, or friends—but also the responsibilities that we have to Jesus, our Savior.  We have an active and eager enemy according to the Bible.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet 5:8) 

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  (1 Thes 5:6)

Do not be taken unawares.  Do not be drowsing or spiritually dull.  Keep yourself spiritually keen, effective and alert.  Read the Scriptures; praise and worship God regularly; fellowship with other believers, and be a witness of what Jesus has done for you.  This lifestyle will energize your faith and move you forward in realizing your purposes in the Kingdom.  God bless you.

No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24 KJV)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Romans 5:1 NKJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  (Rom 8:1)

The free gift of salvation by faith which we received through Jesus Christ results in our justification!  We have truly passed from death (eternal condemnation and punishment) into LIFE—eternal love and unity with the living God.  We’ll spend eternity living and serving God in the light of the love of Jesus Christ.

Because we are not under condemnation (Rom 8:1), and because we have entered into eternal life NOW, we have a Mediator and an Intercessor:  Jesus Christ!  He represents us and fights for us!

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  (Heb 9:15 NKJV)

A Mediator is an arbitrator; umpire, referee, or intermediary.  Jesus is all of these things for us.  Jesus is our Mediator SO THAT we may receive our eternal inheritance!  Our eternal inheritance is rich and abundant; it is available to us NOW.

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.  (Job 16:19-21 NIV1984)

Jesus pleads with God, on our behalf, as Someone pleading for a friend!  Jesus is our Witness—He knows and TESTIFIES that we are justified and set free because He gave His ALL for us! And we accepted His free and generous gift.  We accepted not only salvation, but all of the blessings, benefits, and promises that are part and parcel of that perfect and eternal salvation!

As we live out our salvation, life (and people) may still inflict hurts.  Yet, our God provides a remedy:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [sorrows].  (Ps 147:3)  The Holy Spirit is your Comforter who pours out love upon you.  (John 14:16; Rom 5:5)

 Abundant life is ours!  (John 10:10)  A life rich in freedom, health, healing, reconciliation, prosperity, mercy, wisdom, grace, joy, and many more blessings are ours—in Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God that was slain!

You are without condemnation.  You have been and are justified—you are redeemed!  You are consecrated to God in order to live for Him.  Enjoy the blessings of eternal life, O child of the Most High God!

The Righteous

The Righteous

. . . and the desire of the righteous will be granted.  (Pro 10:24b)

. . . the righteous has an everlasting foundation.  (Pro 10:25b)

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 11:4)

Let us understand that when the Bible refers to the righteous it is talking about those who have been justified by Jesus Christ by accepting Him as their Savior.  Now I’m going to share some thoughts about each verse shown above, in order.

  1. How often does the Bible say that God will give us the desires of our hearts? It may be stated in different ways, but this theme is mentioned in Ps 37:4-5; Ro 4:21; Jer 1:12; Mt 6:33; 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10 as well as the first verse shown above.  How often do you really believe and trust that the Lord wishes to give you the desires of your heart?  Yes, we do need to live obediently to Him and to seek His kingdom, and as we are doing that, we have been encouraged by these Scriptures to ask Him to give us what we desire.  So many people think only of monetary things, but what we desire may be the salvation of a loved one or the healing of a relationship or any of a number of other spiritually worthy things.  And if you do need physical healing or financial blessings, the Bible gives us many promises to encourage our faith in these areas, as well.  So, I encourage you to share your desires with the Lord.
  2. The foundation that the righteous have that is everlasting is Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. (Mt 21:42; 1 Cor 3:11)  In Him, we are secure and anchored, so don’t let go of your foundation of faith.
  3. Humanly speaking, people appreciate having more than enough money because it solves so many challenges and problems in the natural realm. But even more important than wealth (according to the Bible) is righteousness, because righteousness liberates us from spiritual death, and from the fear of physical  death.
    1. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jo 14:6, emphasis added)
    2. And He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  (Rev 21:6, emphasis added)

Today we may rejoice in the blessings and the promises that God has given to us—His righteous, blessed children.

Light or Darkness

Light or Darkness
  • Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)
  • And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.  (Gen 1:4)
  • Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. (Ecc 2:13, emphasis added)

These passages from Scripture (shown above) remind us that God calls the light good, and He wants the life that’s within each one of us to emanate from the Light Who is Jesus Christ within us.  (Jo 1:4; 8:12)  Jesus Christ is the Light and He is good.  We must make the decision about whether we want to obey the Lord, and to allow His light within us to shine!

  • Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. (Lk 11:35)

Even as Jesus was sent into the world as a light for all of mankind, He wants us now to show forth His light so that more people may receive salvation through Jesus Christ.

  • For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 4:6)

So how may we shine the light of salvation into the darkening world around us?  Yes, the Bible gives us answers to that as well!

  • If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.   The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  (Isa 58:10-11)

By doing good works, by sharing the Good News of the gospel with all people, and by living obediently to the Word of God, we shine the Light of Jesus Christ and His salvation into the darkness.