Being Far Off

Being Far Off

All mankind was, at one time, far off from God.  We were far off from His presence, from His righteousness, and from His standards for living.  Occasionally, it’s beneficial for us to remember how very far we have come by God’s mercy and grace.

Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6) who brought all believers near to God through the reconciliation of the cross.   (2 Cor 5:18)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  (Eph 2:13 ESV)

All who have made Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord have been brought near to God through the blood of the Lamb.  (1 Pet 1:19)  Jesus is the Lamb of God.  (Joh 1:29, 36)

For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.  (Ac 2:39)

The gift and promise of salvation is offered to every human being upon the earth—to every race, tribe and nation.  The Lord calls all people to salvation, but not everyone accepts His free gift.   

. . . and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  (Eph 2:16-17)

Jesus, our Prince of Peace, has put to death every hostility, unfriendliness, and antagonism by preaching peace to all.  He has reconciled (reunited) us with our Father God.  What an awesome gift from God! 

We are no longer far off, but we have been made the children of God.  (Joh 1:12; Rom 8:16; 1 Joh 3:1-2)  All glory to God most High!

Two Things That Can Never Be Changed

Two Things That Can Never Be Changed

God’s promises and God’s vows are two things that can never be changed.  What a firm foundation for faith this fact provides for us!

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.  (Ps 33:11 NKJV)

So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18 God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.  We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us.  (Heb 6:17-18 CEV, emphasis added)

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.  (Isa 14:24 NKJV)

The Bible tells us in various passages and in different language that God cannot and will not lie.  (Tit 1:2; Isa 40:8)  You can count upon and rely upon the promises of God.  His Word is tested and true.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about this.

Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  (Pro 30:5 NASB)

Your word has been tried and tested; your servant loves your word!  (Ps 119:140 CEB)

Your kingdom will never end, and you will rule forever.  Our Lord, you keep your word and do everything you say.  (Ps 145:13 CEV)

We must stand upon the truth of the Word of God and rely upon His promises to us.  God is the One who guarantees that His Word will most certainly come to pass, and all that we need is faith and perseverance.  Don’t give up and don’t watch the clock or the calendar!  Focus upon God’s nature and His faithfulness.  Focus upon His love for you and upon His past blessings upon you.  Meditate upon all of the answered prayer that you have received, and remember that God hasn’t changed. 

God is the only Being who is the very definition of reliable.  Praise the Lord most High!

Obedience to God’s Will

Obedience to God’s Will

The Bible says that all those who obey God’s will (which is His Word) live forever and are members of His family. 

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:17)

For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.  (Mk 3:35)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  (Mt 7:21)

Clearly this an important subject to the Lord, and it should be important to us, as well.  The Lord says that obedience is better than sacrifice.  (1 Sam 15:22)  Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth to become the Savior of the world.  And we are all the beneficiaries of Jesus’ obedience.

Let’s look at the Bible again:

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3 ESV)

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him . . .   (1 Joh 2:4 ESV)

There is no way to follow Jesus without obedience to the Word of God.  This is an ongoing choice that we make daily—even moment by moment—as we continue to live by faith.  Blessings upon you.

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.  (Mt 5:3-12)

In this passage of verses from the Bible, Jesus describes the categories of people that He says enjoy special favor with God. 

These are desirable attributes and personality traits in God’s sight, so we would do well to consider them.

  • The poor in spirit,
  • Those who mourn,
  • The meek,
  • Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
  • The merciful,
  • The pure in heart,
  • The peacemakers,
  • Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and
  • Those who are reviled and persecuted for Jesus’ sake.

Jesus said that if any of us see ourselves in this list that we should rejoice and be extraordinarily happy because we will receive a huge reward in heaven.  People who are described by this list are those who truly follow Jesus Christ, honor Him and respect Him as their example of faith and holiness. 

As we see Christianity more and more under attack around the world, we do well to nurture and build up our faith while we still have the time and opportunity to do so.  Draw near to the Lord with all of your heart and soul, mind and strength, in Jesus’ name.

Inner Strength

Inner Strength

God gives inner strength to every person who trusts in Him and in His salvation.  Here are several Bible passages on the topic:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Isa 41:10 NKJV)

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves . . .  (Eph 3:16 GNT)

. . . strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy . . . (Col 1:11 NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Phil 4:13 NKJV)

This is one of the blessed benefits of our salvation—to receive inner strength and perseverance from God, our Savior.  Whenever we face difficulties, challenges, sorrows, or calamities, we may cry out to the Lord in our trouble and He will deliver us. Take note of these Bible verses:

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.  (Ps 107:6)

. . . persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.  (2 Tim 3:11, emphasis added)

What a loving and mighty God we serve!  Look at just some of the blessings that He pours out upon each and every one of His people:

  • He is always with us and will never reject us. 
  • He upholds and sustains us.
  • He gives us grace to enable us to serve Him and to fulfill our callings. 
  • He provides health, healing, reconciliation, and mercy continuously. 
  • He justifies us and grants us peace with our Father God. 
  • He loves us perfectly
  • He has given us a salvation that will provide us with joy in the presence of the Lord now and for all eternity.

Become aware of and use the inner strength that God has given to you.  Study these blessings and benefits of our salvation in order to support and to sustain your inner strength.  Blessings upon you!

Power Belongs to God

Power Belongs to God

All power and all authority belongs to God.  That also means that any power or authority that anyone exercises in any position of authority comes FROM God!  That’s why the Word instructs us to obey governing authorities. 

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  (Rom 13:1 NIV)  We’re instructed to obey all who are in authority.

By me kings reign, and rulers decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, all the judges of the earth.  (Pro 8:15-16 NKJV)  The Lord reminds us that He is the One who establishes kings, princes, nobles, judges, and all who are in positions of authority.

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11 NKJV)  This verse is yet another reminder from God that it is always to Him and to HIS POWER that we submit.

For all power belongs to God, now and forever. Amen.  (1 Pet 5:11 VOICE)  God holds and owns all power FOREVER.

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (Rom 13:2 ESV)  If we resist authority, we resist God Himself, and we invite judgment from God.  Doing such a thing is not a wise move.

Titus 3:1 implies that being submissive to rulers and authorities is the same as being ready for every good work!  If you would like the Lord to credit you with performing good work, submit to and obey those who have authority over you in the world—whether in your family, your church, your community or your work environment. 

God loves to bless the obedient because to Him, obedience is better than sacrifice!  (1 Sam 15:22b)

Lord of the Living & the Dead

Lord of the Living & the Dead

As Christians, we belong to Jesus Christ.  Once we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we became a member of His family.  He remains our Lord from that moment on into and throughout all eternity.  How blessed we are!

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  (Rom 14:9 NIV)

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.  (1 Pet 4:5)

The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—   (Ac 10:36)    

Jesus Christ is the Lord of both the living and the dead—and there is no conflict in His role.  He is Lord of ALL. 

Jesus created everything that exists and because of that, no one can claim any authority over creation or over mankind other than Him.  (See Exodus 19:5)

When the Scriptures speak of Jesus being the Lord of both the living and the dead, it is addressing the fact that Jesus is the Lord of all people: 

  • Those who are spiritually dead and those who are spiritually alive;
  • Those who are physically dead and those who are physically alive.

Jesus’ perfect sacrifice reconciled us to our Father God, and brought peace between us and the Father.  Jesus has established the ministry of reconciliation.  Glory to God!

How much more do we (all born-again believers) belong to Jesus since He has ransomed us from sin and from satan? 

There is a prophecy in Isaiah that reminds us that we have everlasting joy bestowed upon us:

So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads.  They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.  (Isa 51:11)  Glory to God!

Secrets: Hidden Things Coming to Light

Secrets:  Hidden Things Coming to Light

All human beings—no matter what nationality, race, or creed—have secrets.  Some secrets are fairly harmless and others are very serious, and yet other secrets are actually very dangerous.  Most of us fall into having the “fairly harmless” category of secrets.

One important thing to know is that God promises to uncover secrets and hidden things.  One way or another, all dark and secret things will be exposed by the Lord.  Those of us who follow Jesus Christ need to know this truth and to live in the light of it.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.  (1 Cor 4:5)  The word counsels means advice, information, or instruction. 

 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  (Heb 4:13)  The Lord our God sees everything and knows even the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  (Heb 4:12)  Even the content of our hearts will be revealed.  That’s a sobering thought.

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.  (Lk 12:1-3, underscoring added)

We all have challenges, desires, disappointments, and heartaches. Most human beings have areas where they are weak, and they may occasionally fail and sin.   In all of these things, the Lord cares about us, and wants to help us.  As the Bible passage above reminds us, our innermost secrets—which may have been whispered in the dark—will one day be heard by all. 

A daily review, before the Lord, is the best way to deal with everything:  sins, challenges, secrets, disappointments, etc.  Bring it all to the Lord at the end of each day, and ask His forgiveness for sins, and His help and wisdom with problems and heartaches.  Seek His hope and grace to carry you through disappointment and heartache. 

Above all, whatever secrets you have, share them ALL with the Lord now.  Ask Him how to deal with them, and follow His guidance.  If you’re having difficulty in hearing from the Lord, go to a wise, mature, and trustworthy brother or sister in Christ, and request their wise input. 

We must all learn to live honest, holy, and productive lives that will bring glory and honor to the Lord.  Learning how to bring our secrets into the light of the Lord’s love and mercy is an integral part of holy living.  Our loving God supplies us with the grace and the ability to accomplish this goal.  May God richly bless you.

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..

God Satisfies Us with Good Things

God Satisfies Us with Good Things

. . . for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.  (Ps 107:9 NIV)

Psalm 107 is a song of praise to God for His many blessings.  He gives food and drink to the hungry and thirsty.  Praise God!

The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:10)

When we focus upon the Lord and upon His promises to us, and ask Him to provide what we need, believers will receive answers to prayer. 

. . . who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. . .  (Ps 146:7)  The Lord feeds and delivers all those who trust in Him.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.  (Mt 5:6)  Those who crave God’s spiritual blessings shall be filled or overwhelmed with them thanks to the salvation that God has supplied through Jesus.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.  (Lk 1:53)  We can trust that when we are hungry or needy for God’s help and deliverance, He will faithfully meet all of our needs through our Savior and Lord, Jesus. 

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.  (Ps 103:5)  By God’s generous hand, believers can retain youthful vitality like the eagles. 

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11) This verse insists upon the goodness of God by stating—unequivocally—that there is NO GOOD THING that God will deny to or withhold from the upright. 

If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, then you are justified by the blood of Jesus and you qualify as “upright”!!  These precious and reliable promises are for you.  Hallelujah!