The Crown of Life

The Crown of Life

Believers in Jesus Christ receive the crown of life. Let’s remember that before Jesus came, God had made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Jesus came so that the Gentiles might also be saved, and that atonement might be made for the sins of all of mankind.  Jesus is the Lamb of God, and he was the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind.  (see John 1:29, 36)

Believers are not promised an easy life in the Bible.  We are warned in 2 Timothy 3:12 that those who desire to live godly in Jesus will suffer persecution.  We must stop and realize that the enemy would not be attacking Christians so desperately if we did not possess something of great value.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.  (Jas 1:12 NIV, emphasis added)

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer for ten days. But be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life.  (Rev 2:10 NCV, emphasis added)

Trials of various types test a Christian’s faith, develop endurance in their lives, and help develop spiritual maturity in them.  We can all read in 1 Peter how Jesus responded to persecution:

Although he was abused, he never tried to get even.  And when he suffered, he made no threats.  Instead, he had faith in God, who judges fairly.  (1 Pet 2:23 CEV)

The Lord will give every believer the sustaining grace that they need to go through such trials victoriously.  We just need to hold onto our faith in God and in His ability to uphold and sustain us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally through persecution.

Let’s consider how we can stand firm in our resolve to continue speaking the Word of Life boldly, even under the threat of persecution.  

Before persecution begins, we must prepare for it by cultivating the Word of God in our hearts. This means that we memorize various passages from the Bible and review them regularly to make sure we retain them.

Scripture teaches that we carry the Word of God in two places: in our mouths, and in our hearts (see Romans 10:8, and Deuteronomy 30:14).  Remember this vital truth:  Whenever persecution attempts to silence the Word that is in our mouths, it is the Word that is in our hearts which will sustain us. 

We carry the incorruptible Seed of the Word of God in our mouths and in our hearts, and we cannot begin to fathom the fruit that will come from that Seed.  Hold fast to the Seed that has been sown in your hearts, brothers and sisters!  It will uphold and sustain you, along with the very real presence of the Prince of Peace who never leaves us.  Glory to God!

Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us

The Scriptures tell us in many different ways and in various passage that angels walk among us.  It’s a fact that we need to know and to acknowledge.

And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.  (Ac 7:30)  An angel appeared Moses in a burning bush. 

Acts 7:35 states that God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.  Angels can be sent to us by God to give us instructions or information from God.

They passed the first and second guards and came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. After leaving the prison, they proceeded the length of one street, when abruptly the angel was gone. (Ac 12:10 CEB)  This angel was sent to Peter to lead him out of prison and to keep Peter safe until he reached freedom.  When the angel completed the mission, he disappeared.  Angels can be sent to us to set us free.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out . . .  (Ac 5:19)  The angel led the apostles out of prison, and then gave them a message from the Lord (v. 20):  “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

And the apostles obeyed the angel and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  (Lk 1:11)  An angel appeared to Zacharias while he was serving in the temple.  The angel informed Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son.  The angel told Zacharias to name the boy John.  Zacharias heeded the angel.

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  (Mt 1:20)  An angel told Joseph to fulfill his plan to take Mary as his wife because the baby whom she carried was a holy child.  And Joseph obeyed God’s directions–which came through the angel.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.  (Heb 13:2) This verse in Hebrews reminds us to be hospitable to strangers, because they may be angels in human disguise!  We may not always know that an angel has spoken to us, but something about the encounter will impress us, remain in our hearts and in our memories, and influence us with heavenly wisdom.  Remember to welcome strangers!  Glory to God!