Faith is a Gift

Faith is a Gift

Remember that faith is a gift from God!  It is a precious gift and vital to our daily life in the service of the Kingdom of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8 NKJV)

Each and every believer has been given a measure of faith.  Be sure to make good use of what you have been given.  Use your faith constantly either for yourself or on behalf of other people, which is the highest and best use for this beautiful gift.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  (Rom 12:3 NKJV, emphasis added) 

Some believers have even been given an unusual gift of faith that stands well above the norm.  To all such believers, I encourage you to pray, pray, pray for other people and help them to receive everything that they need from the Lord—the chief need being salvation!

. . . to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit . . . (1 Cor 12:9 NKJV)

We must serve God by USING the spiritual gifts that He has given to each and every one of us.  It is our responsibility and our joy to discover what our spiritual gifts are and then to use them in spiritually productive ways on behalf of the Kingdom of God and of His people. 

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  (1 Cor 13:2)

We must use all of our spiritual gifts—whatever they may be—with LOVE!  God is love (1 Joh 4:8), and all who serve His kingdom must flow in LOVE. 

Note that love is the FIRST fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  God bless you!

We Were Washed & Sanctified

We Were Washed & Sanctified

God’s Word has given us great and precious promises which belong to every believer.  We need to study and comprehend all of the priceless treasures that we have been given.

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”  (Zech 13:1 NIV)

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  (Ps 51:7 NKJV)

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.  (1 Cor 6:11 NKJV)

Jesus suffered at the hands of His enemies; shed His blood on Calvary; died a shame-filled death; and was resurrected on the third day and ascended into Heaven.  By fulfilling His calling on this earth, He not only purchased salvation for every person who accepts Him as their Savior and Lord.  He also is our source for continuous cleansing, washing, and sanctification.

Jesus is the living Word of God. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (Joh 1:1)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:13)

Jesus is the fountain spoken of in Zechariah 13:1.

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  (Joh 7:38 ESV)

Jesus cleanses us from unrighteousness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 Joh 1:9)

Through Christ we are justified.

. . . and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  (Ac 13:39)

Through faith in Christ we are sanctified.

. . . to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.  (Ac 26:18)

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.  (Rom 3:28)

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

Let us rejoice and praise the Lord for the benefits and blessings of our mighty salvation!

No Rock Like Our God

No Rock Like Our God

The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is our rock.  What does that mean for us and for our lives?

For their rock is not like our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.  (Deut 32:31)    

No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.  (1 Sam 2:2)

For who is God, except the Lord?  And who is a rock, except our God?  (Ps 18:31)

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  (Ps 118:22)  – Jesus is the “stone” which the builders rejected.  A cornerstone is another word for foundation or basis. 

“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  (Ac 4:11-12) – Salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. 

Not only is Jesus our Rock, but His gospel is, too.  And we, His followers, are chosen by God, and we are precious to Him.  We are a spiritual house built upon faith in Jesus Christ, our Rock and our Redeemer.  (Ps 78:35) There is no Rock like ours who is faithful, loving, and eternal.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”  (1 Pet 2:4-6)

We are God’s holy priesthood called to offer spiritual sacrifices to God. Spiritual sacrifices would include:

  • Obedience to God and His Word;
  • Cooperating with His re-shaping our values and lives;
  • Loving our neighbors;
  • Acts of kindness and service to others;
  • Praising and worshipping God; and
  • Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.   (1 Peter 2:17)

Remember that Jesus is our Foundation for all of life and faith.

The Word says that all who trust in Jesus will never be put to shame. Praise God!

Unfailing Love

Unfailing Love

God, alone, is capable of bestowing UNFAILING love upon a person or a group of people.  Since God is love (1 Joh 4:8), we can see why this would be possible as well as understandable.

Here are three different versions of the same Bible verse about God’s love:

Because your faithful love is right in front of me—I walk in your truth!  (Ps 26:3 CEB)

For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.  (Ps 26:3 NKJV)

. . . for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness.  (Ps 26:3 NIV, emphasis added)

There are many more verses in the Word that talk about God’s precious, beautiful, unfailing love (all NIV):

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.  (Ex 15:13)

Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.  (Ps 6:4)

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  (Ps 13:5)

See also Psalm 18:50; 21:7; 32:10; 33:5, 18, 22; 36:7; 44:26; 48:9; 51:1; 52:8; 62:12, and many more!  Further research into this truth will strengthen and support your faith in all circumstances.

What I hope to accomplish here is to remind us all how very deeply and how faithfully God loves each one of His children.  God’s love is unfailing, and it is unconditional.  There is no love anywhere else in creation like the love of God for His people.

God’s love is dependable, constant, consistent, unshakable, and enduring.  His love is more important than anyone else’s.  When you are the object of His love, His love for you makes you a better, kinder, and more loving human being.  His love enables you to love others in a more mature way than ever before. 

Meditate upon His unfailing love. Make it a practice to have an awareness of His constant, abiding love.  It will bless your life and faith immensely.

Loving God’s Law

Loving God’s Law

Should we really love “God’s law” (synonymous with “God’s Word”)?  Yes, we should be devoted to God’s Word and regard it as precious to us.  This also means that we choose to live according to and in obedience to God’s Word.

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.  (Ps 119:165)  In this verse, the word stumble means to be offended.  Studying God’s Word and obeying it will mature us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.  What a beautiful blessing.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  (Isa 26:3)  As we focus on the Lord and His love and goodness, He allows His peace to flow into us and to fill us with assurance. 

Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  (Pro 3:17)  This verse is referring to Wisdom, and 1 Corinthians 1:24 reminds us that Christ is the wisdom of God!  The ways of Christ are peace-filled and pleasant.  Praise His Holy Name!

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.  (1 Joh 5:3)  This verse reminds us that when we love God, we obey His Word—and do not consider His Word difficult or oppressive.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Ps 19:8-10)  This passage from the Bible points out that God’s Word blesses us in many ways.  It:

  • Gives us joy,
  • Illuminates concepts of faith for us, and
  • Is better than gold and sweeter than honey for us.

The entire 119th Psalm is all about God’s Word and how it is a blessing to all who love it and obey it.  Study this Psalm and seriously meditate upon its riches.  God bless you!

Chosen and Precious

Chosen and Precious

Do you know that not only are you chosen by God, but that you are also precious to Him?  This passage of Scripture has much to teach us, but for today, I want to concentrate on how dearly loved and cherished each one of us is by God.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  (1 Pet 2:3-5, emphasis added)

A portion of the New International Version of this passage reads, “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him . . .”  (1 Pet 2:4, emphasis added)

The word precious means costly; priceless; exquisite; favorite; honored; and treasured.  These are the feelings that we humans feel for our very own children.  Yet God is telling us that He feels this way about each and every one of us!  Why else would He send His one and only Son to become our Savior and Redeemer?

Here are several verses of the Bible that echo the idea that God deeply loves each one of us:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Joh 3:16, underscoring added)

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  (1 Joh 4:11, underscoring added)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  (Joh 15:9, underscoring added)

Each and every one of us may have been rejected by people at one time or another in our lives.  Some of us have lived with a sense of rejection hanging over us due to past life experiences which were evil.  But in Christ, we need to remember that we were personally selected by Him to receive His gift of salvation so that He might help us to come to know His perfect, unending and unconditional LOVE.  He never forgets about us; He has written us upon the palms of His hands.  Each one of us is treasured and honored by our loving God.

In Isaiah 49:15d-16a the Lord says:  Yet I will not forget you.  16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. . .

Love was God’s reason for salvation and for all of the attendant blessings and scriptural promises that are bestowed upon us.  I believe that the apostle Paul echoes the heart of God when he says:

You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men . . . (2 Cor 3:2 NASB)

We, individually, are indelibly written on the tablet of God’s heart never to be erased.  The Lord moves heaven and earth to bless us; to save, deliver, heal, and protect us; and to grow us in wisdom and spiritual maturity.  Entrust yourself to the incomparable love of God from this moment forward, O beloved child of the King of Kings!

Beauty

Beauty

“Beauty will save the world.”  ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.  (Ps 50:2)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
  (Isa 52:7)

What is Zion and why is it important to Christians? 

Jerusalem and Zion are one and the same city.  Zion was the place of God’s special presence among His people, and the place where they turned for help and deliverance.  Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE (before Common Era).  During classical antiquity, Jerusalem was considered the center of the world, where God resided.

What does all of this have to do with our topic of beauty?  Because God promises to shine forth out of Zion, which is called the perfection of beauty

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.  (Ps 33:1)

The Word of God reminds us that praise is beautiful—not only in the sight of God but in the sight of men, as well.  If I happen to find a television program that is broadcasting a praise and worship service, I find it so beautiful to see that I’m moved to tears.

. . . rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.  (1 Pet 3:4, emphasis added)

In this verse from first Peter, the Word of God tells us that a gentle and quiet spirit is indestructibly beautiful!  It is also very treasured by our God.  So, we see that God considers salvation to be a beautiful thing, along with our praises to Him.

It is this inner quality of beauty that God commends and which the entire world unerringly recognizes!  We will achieve this level of beauty as we obey God and seek to follow Him.  He is the only One who transforms lives because He is the glory and the lifter of our heads!  (Ps 3:3)  Because His Spirit lives within each one of us, His beauty will shine forth through us.

This is why Isaiah 52:7 (at top of this article) calls the feet of those who spread the Gospel “beautiful feet”!  We all may confidently pursue this beauty that shines forth from our inner man.