God Makes Wars Cease

God Makes Wars Cease

Jesus is the Prince of Peace referred to in Isaiah 9:6.  It makes sense that the Prince of Peace, sent by His heavenly Father, is opposed to war.  Instead, He chose to make changes on earth through His love and His self-sacrifice even to the point of dying on the cross for us.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.  (Ps 46:9)  God’s mighty power extends all over the earth in every country, region, and land.  He has power to demolish weapons and bring an end to war anywhere on earth.

Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.  (Ezek 39:3)  The Lord can cause weapons to be forcefully removed from human hands and to fall out of a person’s strongest hand! Wow!

He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.  (Isa 2:4)  In God’s perfect timing, He will cause nations to destroy their weapons and cease from attacking one another. 

Until that time, Christians are to “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”  (Heb 12:14) The gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News for all human beings.  It establishes peace between God and man through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. 

We should always promote peace instead of discord, and be instruments of God to demonstrate His love, mercy, and forgiveness to all.  We are blessed!

What’s Your Decision?

What’s Your Decision?

Whom would you rather serve?  You would do well to read our last blog titled Two Paths.  It will shed light upon this article.

Every human being on earth must make a decision whether to serve Jesus, the Son of the Living God; or to serve satan, known as the accuser of the brethren.  (Rev 12:10)

What does the Bible say about Jesus?  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10b NKJV)

The Scriptures warn us to “make our election sure.”  The Lord tells us in His Word how each and every believer may confirm and safeguard his future in eternity:

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.  10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2 Pet 1:5-11 NKJV, emphasis added)

After we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, we do well to submit ourselves to the cleansing that comes to us through daily reading and meditation upon the Bible.  Read for yourself the truth of this statement:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  (Eph 5:25-27 NKJV, underscoring added)

Also, the Holy Spirit will teach us and lead us into all truth as we read the Word of God regularly.  (Joh 16:13) 

Trust the Lord to teach you and to guide you.  Allow Him to make changes in your life day by day, year by year, and decade by decade.  In so doing, you will bear fruit and make your calling and election sure!  God bless you.

What is ‘Devout’?

What is ‘Devout’?

Can you be called devout?  The definition of devout:  heartfelt; spiritual; fervent; pious; dedicated and committed.

When the Scriptures speak about someone who is devout, they are giving recognition and praise to such individuals. 

. . . a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.  (Ac 10:2)

Alms means donations, gifts, or offerings.  This verse from the Bible says a devout man gave donations and gifts generously to people, AND he prayed to God continuously.  That sounds very spiritually impressive, doesn’t it?

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.  (Ac 2:5)

Notice that devout men (and women) can and should come from everywhere on the earth!

Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.  (Ac 13:43)

A proselyte is a person who has converted from one opinion, religion, or party to another.  These new converts followed Paul and Barnabas around, learning from them and wanting to spend time with them.  Paul and Barnabas were in Antioch where Paul’s teachings about Jesus were well-received by some of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. So, when Paul explains God’s salvation has come through Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, the listeners joyfully realize that formal worship in Jerusalem isn’t required or necessary. God will meet them wherever they are, and be with them without sacrifices of any kind.  

Paul and Barnabas encouraged these devout new converts to continue in the grace of God and to remain in His favor.  They encouraged the new believers to carry on in faith and prayer, and obedience which would be connecting with God’s favor. The “gospel” is called the grace (favor) of God, and the new converts were exhorted to persevere in their connection to the gospel by continuing in faith to trust in Jesus.

If we all would like to be categorized as devout, then we should continue in the grace of God also.  God bless you.

Be Steadfast

Be Steadfast

Be steadfast in your spiritual life.  Steadfast means unwavering, unfaltering, loyal, devoted, or constant.  So how can we be steadfast and in what ways?

. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer . . .  (Rom 12:12)  Continue in daily prayer interceding for yourself and for other people and for our leaders—both spiritual and national.

For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  (Gal 5:5)  As we eagerly wait for the return of Jesus (or to arrive in heaven ourselves), wait with a sense of anticipation, eagerness and joy. 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (Joh 16:33)  The Lord warns us that we’ll experience tribulation somehow, at some point in our lives, but that we should be cheered up knowing that Jesus has already overcome the world.  So be loyal and stalwart in believing the truth of this Scripture.  Remember that the Lord is with you and that He fights FOR you.  (Deu 3:22; Josh 23:10)

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  (1 Cor 15:58)  Be devoted to thriving in the work of the Lord, knowing that one day you WILL receive your reward.  The “work of the Lord” involves ministering to others (by prayer, service, or helps); sharing the gospel with others; and baptizing new believers or bringing them to church so that they can be baptized in water.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.  (Ac 2:42)  Be unwavering in having fellowship with other believers; in sharing meals with them; in taking communion with other believers, and in prayers with them and for them. 

Above all, rejoice in hope! 

Worthy to Be Praised

Worthy to Be Praised

My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  (Ps 71:15 NKJV)

I will praise you every day; I will praise you forever and ever.  (Ps 145:2 NCV)

On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.  People will speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.  They will burst forth in speaking of Your abundant goodness, and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.  (Ps 145:5-7 NASB)

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.  (Ps 18:3 NKJV)

These passages from the Bible remind us of one vital truth: 

That God is worthy to be praised!

Worthy means commendable, admirable, exemplary, and excellent!  God is the model of who is eligible for praise and what sort of being has earned praise.  He is the standard against whom all persons will be compared and judged!

When we meditate upon God’s glory, splendor, majesty, and His works, we cannot PREVENT ourselves from breaking into spontaneous praise and adoration.  It bursts from us in an unstoppable flow, and causes us to shout joyfully praising God’s righteousness.  Hallelujah!

And this is the same God who has provided salvation as a free gift to all of mankind.  All He asks in return is that we place all of our faith, hope and trust in His Son, Jesus, who is our Savior and Redeemer.  What a deal!

Jesus Reveals the Father

Jesus Reveals the Father

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Mt 11:27)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:15)

Jesus has a distinctive and unmatched relationship with the Father.  Since His relationship with the Father is personal and direct, ONLY Jesus can accurately disclose God the Father to us. 

How has Jesus revealed the Father to us?  Through His life and through His acts, He has displayed His Father’s character and heart for all to see and understand.  Here are just a handful of gifts that the Father has given to believers:

  • Love (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 3:1)
  • Freedom from Guilt (Rom 8:1)
  • Health, healing (Ex 15:26; Isa 53:5; Mt 12:15;Lk 5:17)
  • Daily benefits [blessings]  (Ps 68:19)
  • God hears and answers our prayers  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

As we study the Word of God and think deeply about it, we gradually learn more and more about the character and nature of God.  And the more we learn of Him, the more confident that we can be in the fact that He loves us; that He enjoys blessing us; and that He’s always with us.  Have a wonderful day!

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.  (Pro 12:25 NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine . . . (Pro 17:22a NIV)

We all experience days when we feel a little down or maybe worried or stressed out.  On days like those, we all appreciate a cheerful word or a phone call from a friend.  We all need encouragement, and we need other believers to come alongside of us occasionally to strengthen us.

We need a fellow believer to encourage our faith, to remind us of God’s goodness and glorious attributes, and to let us know that we are loved by God.  Only another person who follows Jesus, and has experienced life’s challenges and victories is able to help us in this way.  I encourage us all to cultivate friends who are fellow believers and who have been serving the Lord longer than we, ourselves, have.

Jesus taught us to love one another, and to be kind to one another.  He gave us His own example of how to live like this.

Offering hope, support, and cheer to one another is a wonderful and practical way to spread God’s love in this stress-laden world.  It’s important to encourage yourself first, in the Word of God. Another way to encourage yourself in the Lord is to remember all of the answered prayers you have experienced, and to remember all of the miracles that God has performed in the past in answer to your prayers. Rejoice! Thank and praise the Lord for these past testimonies and victories. Once you have done these things, you will have the strength to minister to others.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33 NIV)

The Good News is still true.  The Lord is always reliable, and we can depend upon His Word and His matchless love.  He has overcome! 

So take a little time every day to share joy and cheer with everyone around you—with your family, friends, and co-workers.  Hallelujah!

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

The Lord has outlined everything in the Bible that believers need to know about life and godliness. (2 Pet 1:3) 

The Scriptures appeal to followers of Jesus to defend the destitute and the oppressed—those who can’t speak for or protect themselves. 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  (Pro 31:8 NIV) 

This verse tells us to uphold (endorse) the rights of the destitute.  Destitute means deprived, underprivileged, impoverished, or disadvantaged.

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.  (Ps 82:3-4)

In the passage above, the psalmist encourages us to defend:

  • the poor,
  • the orphaned,
  • the afflicted and
  • the needy

. . . from evil, wicked people as well as from wicked factions, lobbies, programs or organizations.

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the oppressed.  (Job 36:6)

God will ensure that all of the oppressed [tyrannized, persecuted, repressed, tormented] people on the earth will receive His justice.  We, His servants, must cooperate with and collaborate with the Lord in this undertaking.

Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  (Ps 146:7)

The Lord achieves justice for the all of the oppressed.  Jesus, our Savior, feeds the hungry and liberates the prisoners from every form and every type of imprisonment.  Glory to God, most High!

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’  (Deu 1:21)

Discourage means to dishearten; to dash someone’s hopes; to hinder or to restrain.  When you discourage someone, you hinder them from a plan or a project that they intended to complete.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Act 11:23, underscoring added)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)

Encourage means to embolden; to inspire; to support or assist someone.  When you encourage someone, you inspire them.  You assist them by expressing your confidence in their ability and their resolve to complete their mission.

As followers of Jesus and children of the living God, let us be channels of blessing on the earth to encourage fellow believers in their faith, and to encourage non-believers to accept the precious gift of salvation offered to them by God, our Father.

The Bible demonstrates in many passages that believers encourage one another in their faith, and it strengthens them.  (See Ac 11:23; 16:40; 20:2; Rom 1:12; Eph 6:22; Col 2:2; 4:8; 1 Thes 3:2)

The Word pleads with us in this verse:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  (1 Thes 5:14 ESV, emphasis added)

Here is another Scripture passage that demonstrates a way to encourage one another:

Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; you will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts . . .  (Eph 5:19 ISV)  If we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord—even alone in our quiet time with the Lord—we will encourage and embolden ourselves in our faith.  God bless you.

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Jesus told us that the kingdom of God has come upon us, and that the kingdom is within each and every believer.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Mt 12:28 NIV)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit . . .  (Rom 14:17 NIV)

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  (Lk 17:20-21)

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  (Lk 9:2)

‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’  (Lk 10:11)

The Kingdom of God arrived on earth in the person of Jesus, and was established in the hearts of all believers when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples.  This is described for us in Acts 2:1-5.

Since then, all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord have also received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  We are told in the Word of God that we are the very temple (house, dwelling) of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) Glory to God!

The gift of the Holy Spirit is referred to in Scriptures as:

  • The promise of the Father (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4)
  • The Helper (Joh 14:26; 16:7-16)
  • The Spirit of Truth (Joh 14:16-17; 15:26)
  • The Breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4)
  • Advocate (Joh 14:16 NIV; 1 Joh 2:1)
  • The Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)
  • Lord (2 Cor 3:17)
  • Intercessor (Rom 8:26-27)
  • Teacher (Joh 14:26)
  • Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3)
  • Spirit of Glory (1 Pet 4:14)

We are temples of the Living God.  We are highly blessed and favored, and we need to meditate upon that truth more frequently.  It’s almost too monumental of a concept to grasp with our human intellect.  The Kingdom of God dwells within you and me!  Rejoice!