The Resurrection & the Life

The Resurrection & the Life

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  (Joh 11:25-26)

In this passage of Scripture, Jesus claims to be the Resurrection and the Life.  The reason for this is that without Christ, there is no resurrection.  Without Christ, there is no eternal life.  Because Jesus IS life, death has no power over Him.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.  (Joh 5:24)  All who accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, pass from death into eternal life.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.  (Joh 6:44)  Jesus, the Resurrection, will raise up His followers at the end of time.

This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”  (Joh 6:50-51)  In the ceremony of Communion, which remembers and honors Jesus’ sacrifice, we symbolically eat the Bread of Heaven, Jesus’ flesh.  (Represented by bread or a small cracker.)

Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.  (Joh 8:51)  Jesus powerful atoning blood covering each obedient believer will usher us into eternal life; we shall not see death.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  (Joh 10:28)  Jesus says that we are safe in His hand, and no one has the power to take us out of His hand.

. . . and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.  (Act 3:15 ESV)  In this verse, Jesus is called the “Author of life.”

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  (Col 3:3-4)  Upon accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we become hidden with Christ in God; and immediately, we enter into life.   This passage says that Christ is our life.

Let us appreciate and honor the quality and characteristics of the life that Jesus gives to us.  Glory to God!

The Meekness of Wisdom

The Meekness of Wisdom

Wisdom is a gift from the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:8)  How can wisdom be characterized as meek?

Let’s understand meekness as it was understood in Bible times.  True meekness is power under control such as when a horse is trained to accept a saddle and to obey the will of its rider or owner. 

The training of the horse does not make the animal less strong.  The submission of the horse does not make it less strong.  Neither the training nor the act of submission makes the horse less than he was when he was running untamed.  It actually makes him more valuable and useful!  That’s something to think about for several seconds.

Jesus was described as meek, and yet He had supernatural power available to Him.  All He had to do was to speak to access His miraculous power, but He didn’t do it.  He humbled Himself to the will of His Father to complete His assignment to become our Redeemer.  He was as meek as a Lamb.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  (Rom 12:16 ESV)  Jesus did associate with the lowly and actually became lowly by becoming a man!

Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for him.  (Pro 26:12 NKJV)  Spiritual wisdom is actually a connection with the heart of God.  There is no room for haughtiness or pride when we understand that any wisdom we have is given to us directly by the Lord.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  (Jas 3:13-17, emphases added)  The meekness referred to here is two-fold:  our submission to God’s will combined with our knowledge that the wisdom that is given to us is God’s own wisdom.

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.  (1 Cor 3:18)  Jesus seemed foolish to many of the people in Biblical times.  Some felt that He should have defended Himself.  Others wanted to fight and to start a battle.  But Jesus, obeying the wise plan of His Father, didn’t do those things.  He was in complete control of Himself out of love for His Father.

Notice that James 3:17 names the “wisdom that is from above,” meaning that it is from God, and the verse talks about what personifies this spiritual and supernatural kind of wisdom.  Jesus did personify heavenly wisdom by being pure, peaceable, gentle, yielding, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality or hypocrisy.  Jesus was meek as well as wise.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus actually became for us “wisdom from God”!  Jesus embodies wisdom.  Jesus’ life in each one of us contains the wisdom of God.

 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—  (1 Cor 1:30)

Jesus is the perfect example of the Meekness of Wisdom.  Glory to God!

Benefits of Our Salvation

Benefits of Our Salvation

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  (Ps 23:6)

We determine that we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and that goodness and mercy shall follow us by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord.  With that one decision, we also decide to accept all of the benefits and blessings of our salvation—which are unlimited!

Of course, the Bible also informs us that there will be persecution for our faith for which we must be prepared.  (Mt 5:44; 10:23; Lk 21:12)  But we can and should expect both, especially God’s blessings.

The blessings of salvation are many, varied, and unlimited.  You truly need to study the Bible to locate all of the promised blessings, but I love to list at least some of them for people to meditate upon and to rejoice over!

  • God is our shield and surpassingly great reward (Gen 15:1)
  • The Lord is our healer (Ex 15:26)
  • His joy is our strength (Neh 8:10)
  • Jesus is our Open Heaven (Joh 1:51)
  • All of God’s promises to us are answered “Yes” and “So be it” through Jesus, our Lord (2 Cor. 1:20)
  • The Lord gives us a long life (Ps 91:16)
  • God gives us good things to eat and renews our youth (Ps 103:5)
  • God gives us an incorruptible inheritance (1 Pet 1:3-4)
  • God give us eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)

These are just a small handful of the benefits of trusting in God and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.  Meditate on how much God loves you, and how very much He wants to bless you every single day of your life!  Hallelujah!

He Remembers that We Are Dust

He Remembers that We Are Dust

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.  (Ps 103:13-14 NIV)

The Lord knows all about our frailties, and that our earthly bodies—formed from the earth—will one day decay and die.  We are compared to the grass which rises from the earth, and eventually wastes away and returns to it.

As human beings, we grow and mature and become strong and healthy.  We may be blessed with robust health, and even grow to be quite tall and attractive to others.  If we blossom in health and beauty, and riches and honor; even then we are destined to live only a certain number of years and then pass away, certain to be buried in the earth.

However, in spite of all of that, because the Lord made us in His own image, He has created us to be eternally valuable.  (Gen 1:27)  He calls mankind His special treasure. (Ps 135:4)

But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them.  Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath; 39 for He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.  (Ps 78:38-39)

Because God is full of compassion, He never turned His full anger upon mankind.  Instead, He demonstrated His great love for us by sending Jesus, His Son, as our Savior and Redeemer.  (Joh 3:16; Rom 5:8)

God has poured His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  (Rom 5:2-5)  The Holy Spirit is our teacher and our guide.  (Joh 14:26; 16:13)

God has even made us conquerors through Jesus Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His powerful, unending love.  (Rom 8:37-39)  You are special in God’s sight, and you’re the apple of His eye!  (Zech 2:8)

The Lord calls you CHOSEN and PRECIOUS.  (1 Pet 2:4)  Glory to God!

God’s Invisible Qualities

God’s Invisible Qualities

How can we be sure of a God whom we can’t see, and be confident of His goodness when it is equally invisible to us?

Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  (Rom 1:20 NIV)  The Bible says that we need to look around us at the evidence that is VISIBLE.

The touch of the Master’s hand is all around us.  We see it in the order, beauty, and dazzling variety in creation.  The great expanse of space with its billions of planets and the incredible world of the microscopic are all testimony to an “Orderer” of great creativity.  God has left his fingerprints all over his world so we can know he is here.  (Source:  www.crosswalk.com)

The evidence that there is a Creator God who is good is literally all around us.  Look at the intelligent design in all of creation—from its plants to its animals to the uniqueness of every, individual human being.

Ponder the vastness of the heavens and the inevitability of the tides, and you will glimpse the scope of God’s mighty power.  Take time to observe the beauty of creation (flowers, sunrises and sunsets, beautifully colored birds, etc.) and the multiplicity of foods that are available to human beings in order to grasp God’s great love for mankind.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth in the form of an infant born of a virgin. (Mt 1:18-25)  Jesus was human and visible, approachable, and loving.   He demonstrated the heart of God to us by:

  • Teaching the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 4:23; 9:35);
  • Healing many, many people (Mt 4:24; 8:16; 9:35; 12:15; Mk 1:34; Lk 4:40; 6:19; 8:47);
  • Miraculously feeding huge groups of people (Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:31-44; Lk 9:12-17; Joh 6:1-14 and another instance in Mt 15:32-39; Mk 8:1-9); and lastly,
  • Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:6-9; Joh 3:16; 15:13; 1 Joh 3:16; 4:9-10)

God the Father has spoken to all mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.  (See Heb 1:2-4; Col 1:15-17; 2 Cor 4:4)  Jesus is referred to in the Bible as:

“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person . . . “  (Heb 1:3)  Jesus, while on earth, demonstrated to us all the heart of His Father and the goodness of His Father.  Thankfully, we have the written Word of God which gives us reliable testimony concerning these things.

Take time to ponder God’s beautiful qualities which Jesus so amply displayed while He was on earth.

Be an Encourager

Be an Encourager

That’s why you must encourage and help each other, just as you are already doing. (1 Thes 5:11 CEV)

So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words.  (Ac 15:30-32)

The Bible reminds us to encourage one another in our faith.  That also means that we should encourage each other in every area of life, since faith touches literally everything in our lives.  The Scriptures are full of encouraging words to guide our lives and to spur us on to faith and action.  Here a just a few of those passages:

  • For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory. (Deu 20:4)
  • Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Ps 34:10b)
  • But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:31)
  • Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isa 41:10)
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (Mt 11:28)
  • No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)
  • I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)
  • And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

Take as many opportunities as you can to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ to cling to the Lord and to their faith in Him.  You will be blessed and encouraged as well.

Clothed With Humility

Clothed With Humility

The Bible has much to teach believers on the topic of humility.

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  (1 Pet 5:5, underscoring added)

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering . . .  (Col 3:12, underscoring added)

. . . to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  (Tit 3:2, underscoring added)

What is humility?  It’s a covering of meekness, unpretentiousness, gentleness, and peacefulness.  It’s a character trait that is evidenced by our willingness and ability to submit to God in obedience to His Word. 

A humble person is one who accepts the chain of authority, and therefore is able to submit to their supervisor on the job.  Another area where humility is evident is when a driver submits to the rules of the road, and obeys the traffic signs.

Humility is the quality that enables us to become good citizens, valuable church members, and contributors to society.  Humility is seen in the lives of public figures that are admired, as well as in the lives and actions of certain Kings and Queens throughout history. 

Jesus humbled Himself by obedience to His Father and dying a criminal’s death on the cross.  (Phil 2:8)  There is no greater example of humility.

One critical lesson to learn from the Scriptures is that we have the ability to HUMBLE OURSELVES!  We are the only ones who can do it, and God will most certainly reward us for our obedience to Him.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.  (Jas 4:10)

Sin Hardens the Heart

Sin Hardens the Heart

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .   (Heb 3:12-14)

This passage of Scripture above, says that we can become hardened by the deceitfulness [false-heartedness; faithlessness] of sin.  I believe that is referring to developing a hard heart

The last portion of the passage in Hebrews (above) says that we have become “partakers of Christ.”  What does that phrase signify?  It means that we are members of the body of Christ, and as such, we are His accomplices or assistants.  Remember that Paul tells us that we are “workers together with God” in 2 Corinthians 6:1.

Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the Lord had said. 23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. Neither was his heart moved by this.  (Ex 7:22-23, underscoring added)

Hardness of hard refers to a heart that cannot be moved, stimulated, or motivated to a different path or a better way of responding.  It’s what happened to Pharaoh.  We must guard our own hearts carefully against the formation of such a tendency in ourselves.

When we walk in the light with Jesus, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from sin.  (1 Joh 1:7)  So be mindful of staying in the light of God’s truth by reading the Word, obeying the Word, praying, and having fellowship with other believers.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  (Phil 2:3-4)  Following this admonition will also keep us tender-hearted and humble before the Lord.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:21)  We’re indwelt by the Overcomer—the Victorious One—so that we are empowered to actually overcome evil with good!  Glory to God!

God’s good plans for each one of us are that we be blessed and that each of us bring blessings to many others.  (Jer 29:11)

The Seed of Abraham

The Seed of Abraham

 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.   (Heb 2:14-18, emphasis added) 

Jesus is referred to as the singular “seed of Abraham” in the passage below; and it was to Him (Jesus) that the inheritance of Abraham was promised.

Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.  (Gal 3:16)

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  (Gal 3:29)

Even as Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6), even so all of us today who believe in Jesus as our Savior—apart from the Law—are justified.  Therefore, Abraham is the “father” of all who believe.  (Rom 4:11-17)  See Galatians 3:29 above once more.

Naturally, the “seed of Abraham” also refers to the Hebrew people who descended from Abraham through Isaac. Even more generally, the seed of Abraham could include Arabs, who trace their lineage through Ishmael. This is the physical seed of Abraham. The spiritual seed of Abraham (believers in Jesus Christ) is comprised of people of all nationalities and ethnicities but who have the same Redeemer & Lord. 

Being the spiritual seed of Abraham is much more important than being a physical descendant of Abraham when one is considering eternal truths.  Jesus reminds us that we must be born again.  (Joh 3:3)  Those of us who are born again, are Abraham’s seed, and we are guaranteed a lavish inheritance in Him! 

. . . giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  (Col 1:12 – see also Col 3:24, Heb 9:15, 1 Pet 1:3-4)

Predicted Perilous Times

Predicted Perilous Times

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come . . .  (2 Tim 3:1)

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!  (2 Tim 3:2-5)

Many of you already know that the Bible repeatedly mentions the last days.  This is a term that typically is understood to refer to a period when historical events would reach a final climax.  Whether or not theologians disagree on the terminology, we can all agree that we are living in perilous times. The Scripture passage shown above in 2 Timothy 3:2-5 describes what types of behavior we would see in the last days

If we are very honest, we have to admit that yes, we do see all of these behaviors in evidence in our world today.  So how should we respond to our perilous times?

The Bible shows us the way:

  • Read the Bible. (Josh 1:8; Neh 8:3; Ro 10:17)
  • Obey the Bible. (Joh 14:23; Jas 1:22)
  • Understand that Christians will at some point or other suffer persecution. (Mk 10:30; 2 Tim 3:12)
  • Follow Christ’s example in all things. (Joh 13:13-16; Lk 9:23; 1 Cor 11:1)
  • Allow the Scriptures to read you, correct you, and to transform you. (Heb 4:12; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Rom 12:2)
  • Love your enemies; pray for those who hurt you or abuse you. (Lk 6:27-28)
  • Resist the devil. (Jas 4:7)

Let us be obedient to the Word of God, and followers of Jesus, our example.