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..

Faith and Wholeness

Faith and Wholeness

Notice that faith and wholeness are connected!  Even in the natural realm, if a person doesn’t have faith in their medical team or the medical facility’s reputation, their healing will be impaired or slowed.  If a person doesn’t believe that they WILL get better and if that person doesn’t talk about getting better, then their body will begin to obey their thoughts and their words.

Notice what the Bible teaches us repeatedly about the power of faith.

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.  (Mk 10:52 ESV)

But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.  (Mt 9:22 NKJV)

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”  (Mk 5:34)

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.  (Mt 5:28)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.  (Lk 1:45, emphasis added)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (Eph 2:8)  Each believer has been given the gift of faith.  Let us use this precious gift.

We must place our faith in Jesus Christ!  We must exercise our faith in the power of the Word of God!  We must trust in the powerful, unrelenting, unconditional love of God for us.  He is our Healer; He has compassion [mercy] upon each one of us at all times.  God cannot lie (Tit 1:2), so receive the promises of the Bible as guaranteed! 

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy . . .  (Ps 103:2-4) 

Preach on the Housetops

Preach on the Housetops

Good day!  As a believer in Jesus Christ, what is your calling or assignment in life?  Well, I’m sure it’s multi-faceted. 

You’re called by God to be a loving and faithful spouse (if married); you’re called to be a loving and responsible parent (if you have kids); you’re to be a good steward of all that God has given to you; you’re to bring glory to God by being a good, diligent worker; AND you’re called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As you can see, we all have multiple responsibilities to fulfill in life.  Not the least of these responsibilities, as a servant of Christ, is to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with everyone as we have opportunity.  We need to stir up our resolve from time to time to actually fulfill this crucial responsibility.

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.  (Mt 10:27)  When the Holy Spirit teaches us something through the Scriptures, He would like us to meditate upon it and pray over it; and then share it with others.  In other words, “broadcast” it to the neighborhood.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  (Mt 28:18-20)

We are given the assignment to preach and to make disciples of all nations!  Of course, the Lord will honor our support of our church ministry both in working as a volunteer and in our financial giving.  The Lord also considers us as taking part in preaching the gospel when we financially support ministers, evangelists, and missionaries who travel throughout the world sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It’s also a good idea to set a goal of some sort—known only to ourselves and God—of how many people we would like to share a testimony with in a given period of time (i.e., a month or a year). 

Any testimony that we share with someone gives them a glimpse of the love and faithfulness of God to us.  Our testimony also demonstrates that we have a strong, personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior; so it is clearly a powerful tool to use.

We’re called to preach on the housetops!  Be blessed!

 

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.

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)