Support Missionaries & Evangelists

Support Missionaries & Evangelists

We should always be hospitable to and support fellow Christians, especially those who have served as missionaries and traveling evangelists.  The Bible tells us that we should aspire to become fellow workers for the Kingdom of God.

. . . because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth.  (3 Joh 1:7-8 NKJV)  We should receive fellow Christians and missionaries into our homes as a way of supporting them.  The Word says that by doing this, we may become fellow workers.

Here is the same verse in the New International Version:

It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.  (3 Joh 1:7-8 NIV)

Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.  (Phil 4:3 NIV)  This verse is appealing to a Philippian friend to help and support the women who labored in furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Hospitality is one way of doing this.  Another way was to befriend these women and stay in relationship with them. 

As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ.  (2 Cor 8:23 NIV) 

All of these Scriptures remind us to be hospitable and supportive of all those who preach the Word and share the Good News of Jesus with the unsaved.  When we obey these verses, we reap blessings upon ourselves and our families.  Pray for, encourage, and help those who are missionaries and evangelists.  God will reward you and credit you as co-laborers with them.  Now that is good to hear!

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mk 4:23 NKJV)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  (Mt 11:15 NKJV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  (Rev 2:29 NKJV)

The Scriptures talk about people having “ears to hear” quite a bit.  What can that mean to us as believers?

Do you know that God is always speaking to His people?  And our relationship with our Savior is based, as any true relationship is, upon communication! 

To quote Kris Vallotton (Bethel Church, Redding, CA), “Communication is probably the single greatest vehicle of any relationship.”  Prayer is part of our communication with God and listening for His voice is the other part of that two-way communication.  It is our responsibility to do the listening!  Pay attention because the Lord’s voice will often be quiet and unobtrusive. And He may speak to you in ways that you don’t recognize.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  (1 Kgs 19:11-12 NKJV, emphasis added) 

The wonderful thing about God is that He may use various ways to communicate with us.  He uses the Scriptures to communicate clearly with us, but he may also use any of these other methods as well. 

  • Visions:  The Lord may give us visions which are simply images and concepts that play upon the screen of our imagination within our minds.  Visions frequently require interpretation.  So, when the Holy Spirit uses this method to communicate, we need to ask Him to clarify the meaning of the vision.  (See Acts 2:17-18)
  • The still, small voice of the Lord:  This can be perceived as a transient thought, an abrupt but strong impression, or an inner perception of a message from the Lord.  (See 1 Kgs 19:11-13)
  • Creation:  The very creation that God made speaks to us of His power, strength, creativity, provision, and beauty.  Pay attention to any message that the Lord may give you through His creation.  For me, when I was a brand-new believer, I was asking the Lord to show me His love.  I was out with my fiancé driving on a country road.  I kept looking at the beautiful sky above me that was just full of large, puffy, billowy clouds as far as the eye could see in EVERY direction.  As I was observing those clouds, a church song came into my heart in which the chorus includes the phrase:  Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray, in fathomless billows of love!  (Song Wonderful Peace, lyrics by Warren D. Cornell, music by W. George Cooper – 1889) 
    The Lord used nature to communicate His great love for me with the image of fathomless billows of love that were demonstrated to me by the huge, billowing clouds before my own eyes—as far as the eye could see in every direction.  To this day, 50 years later, I have never forgotten that message from the Lord that was just for me.  I cherish it.
  • Circumstances:  God is able to speak to us and to direct us through the circumstances of our lives.  He can open doors of opportunity, or close them, as a way of directing us.  However, we can easily misread a blockage that has been erected by the enemy and think that it is God directing us.  But we would be wrong.  Consequently, we should always seek wise counsel from our Pastor and from other mature believers whom we know very well, and who know us.  Also, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us about every step we need to take in our lives.

So, look back upon your life and recall the times when God used any of these various methods to speak to you or to direct you.  Or, you may have a new example of how God communicated something to you.  But the important thing to recognize is that there is communication flowing in your relationship with the Lord.  Thank and praise the Lord for it! When you can receive such communication from God and ACT UPON IT, then you can be assured that you DO have ‘hearing ears’!  God bless you.

Taught by God

Taught by God

As followers of Jesus Christ, we can’t forget that Jesus came, in obedience to His Father, in order to save people and to reconcile them back to our Heavenly Father.  God is constantly ready to forgive and to save all who believe in Jesus.

Today we’re concentrating on Scriptures that tell us that all of our children shall be taught by the Lord. 

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.  (Isa 54:13)  We are drawn closer to the Lord by submitting to His teachings.  Our relationship grows deeper and stronger the more we read, meditate upon, and study the teachings of the Bible.

It is written in the Prophets, and they will all be taught by God.  Everyone who has listened to the Father and learned from Him comes to Me.  (Joh 6:45 CEB)  All who receive the internal, spiritual illumination concerning Jesus Christ, the Savior, is drawn to God and to the teaching that comes from God through His Word, His Spirit, and His ministers.

The Spirit will bring glory to me by taking my message and telling it to you. 15 Everything that the Father has is mine. That is why I have said that the Spirit takes my message and tells it to you.  (Joh 16:14-15 CEV)  The Holy Spirit is our helper and our teacher.  He gives us wisdom, insight, and illumination into the teachings of the Bible.

Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another . . .  (1 Thes 4:9 ESV)  This is a confirmation by the Scriptures that those who belong to the Lord are taught by the Lord and are influenced daily by what they have learned.

All those who are taught by God (those who accept and act upon what they learn) will always turn to Jesus and receive Him as their Savior and Lord.  And once they have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, they will continue serving Him and obeying His leading and guiding through His Word and through the Holy Spirit.  We are not only the servants of God, but we are the children of God. All glory to God most High!

An Everlasting Covenant

An Everlasting Covenant

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.  (Ezek 37:26 NKJV)

From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing.  I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.  (Jer 30:19 NIV)

For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.  (Zech 2:5 KJV)

A covenant is an agreement, pledge, bond, or contract.  The Bible reminds us that God cannot lie (Tit 1:2) and that His Word is tested and true.  (Ps 119:140, 142)

God’s promises to His people, based upon the passages above, are that:

  • He will establish us;
  • He multiplies us;
  • He gives us His peace;
  • He lives within us;
  • He will bring us honor;
  • He guarantees that we won’t be disdained;
  • He protects us as a wall of fire; and
  • He is the glory within us.

He will establish us by confirming that our faith us genuine and that our relationship with Him is legitimate.

He multiplies us by adding other believers to our numbers, and by giving us literal children of our own, as well as spiritual children whom we parent as spiritual mentors.

He gives us peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:7) because He is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

He lives with every believer because we are individually (and collectively) the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19)

How does God bring honor to any believer?  Some of the ways He will honor us is by hearing and answering our prayers for other people.  When we lead people to accept Jesus as their own personal Savior, we are being honored by God.  When God performs signs and wonders in response to our prayers for someone, he is honoring us.  He is responding to the genuine faith that we are using by praying on behalf of other people.  Hallelujah!

The final three promises are that we won’t be disdained; that He protects us; and that His glory is within each of us.  These are things that we have to simply trust Him to perform.  We don’t need to do anything about them; we just need to continue in our relationship with Jesus Christ and keep on serving our Savior, who is a Covenant-Keeping God.  Glory to God!

Where is God?

Where is God?

Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock?  Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them . . .  (Isa 63:11 NIV)

. . . just as I promised your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Don’t worry. My Spirit is right here with you.  (Hag 2:5 CEV)

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.  (Zech 4:6 ESV)

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Heb 13:5 NKJV)

For all of us who wonder, “Where is God?”  The Scriptures have given us answers as we can see from the passages shown above.

The Lord, who created us in His own image, has promised that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  In the midst of sorrow, pain, and challenging circumstances, meditate upon these Bible passages. 

When we fancy that God is far from us, and is not moving in any way to help us—we must realize that we are mistaken.  We are in too much pain or in too much worry to see the truth.  The enemy of our souls will do everything within his power to prevent us from seeing the truth—that God is with us at all times. 

God is supplying His grace and His mercy to whatever our situation is.  He is operating in the spiritual, unseen realms to bring us to His victory:  for which Jesus has already paid the complete price.

Meditate upon the stripes that Jesus bore; the painful crown of thorns that were beat into His head by Roman soldiers; the cross that He carried for miles; and the ignominious death that He suffered all for you and for me.  After Jesus’ death, the mighty power of the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead, and carried Him to the right hand of God in heaven. 

Jesus fulfilled His destiny, so that all human beings would be able to have a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord.  He has promised He is with us to the end of the age.  (Mt 28:20) Oh, joy!

Purify Yourself as Unto the Lord

Purify Yourself as Unto the Lord

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  (1 Joh 3:2-3 NKJV)

Just as the Lord is holy, He desires His children to live morally clean, wholesome lives guided by obedience to the Word of God. 

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  (Col 3:4)

If we live a life of Christian purity and devotion now, ‘when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory.’  This is a promise from God that shall absolutely be fulfilled. 

That’s why it’s crucial that we keep our relationship with the Lord Jesus in good shape and current by reviewing ourselves daily.  If we slip and commit sin, turn to the Lord in repentance, knowing that He forgives and provides repentance and the grace that we need to renew our commitment to holiness.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  (Rom 8:18)

Living obediently for the Lord has its certain rewards.  One day, we won’t even remember the pain and suffering that is a consequence of living on this sin-filled planet!  All of the pains that we receive from human frailties, betrayal, abuse or wickedness will be as nothing when compared with the glories that will be revealed in the future to all who believe in Christ.  Such glory is incomprehensible to us now but God promises that we will surely experience it.  Glory to God!

Don’t Seek the Dead

Don’t Seek the Dead

The Bible gives believers important instructions and guidelines for living a life of faith.  One point that is very important is that we should never turn to mediums, wizards, or fortunetellers for information about our future

Wisdom teaches us to place our trust in the Lord, knowing that He loves us and has plans to give us a blessed and meaningful future.  We already know that we will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord, and we may surely rejoice in this truth.

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?  (Isa 8:19, emphasis added)

Note, this passage asks: “Should not a people seek their God?”  This is a hint from the Holy Spirit to us that it is only the Lord, Himself, who is capable of knowing the future.  And He is the only Being who has the power to change the future! So, we must turn only to the Lord Jesus when we are grieving, sad, or uncertain about what is to come.

And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.  (Lev 20:6)

In the above Scripture, the Lord warns us that He will be in opposition to anyone who puts their trust or hope in mediums or soothsayers; and that He will cut such a person “off from their people” which is actually a sentence of death upon that person.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1)

2 Peter 2:1 states plainly that believers who turn to false prophets have brought upon themselves SUDDEN destruction.  We must avoid this at all costs! 

We are called to turn to the Lord Jesus for direction and guidance in the course of our daily lives.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we must jealously and conscientiously protect, defend and cherish our relationship with our Savior.  It is the most important aspect of our lives. May God surround you with His love and wisdom.

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

My Shield and My Glory

My Shield and My Glory

The Scriptures tell us about the depth and blessings of our relationship with our Savior and Redeemer.  God tells us that He is our shield (armor, defense, protection) as well as our glory.  Any praise, appreciation, exaltation, or credit that we receive in life is thanks to His life and presence within us.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.  (Ps 3:3 NIV)

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.  (Ps 119:114)

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”  (Gen 15:1 ESV)

In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  (Ps 62:7)

According to these passages from the Bible, God is present in us and with us in these capacities:

  • He is the One who enables us to lift up our heads without fear or shame,
  • As our Hiding Place,
  • As our Reward,
  • As Savior,
  • As our Strength, and
  • As our Refuge.

Glory to God!  We have reason to rejoice and to praise and thank our God continuously.

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

The Lord urges us in His Word to avoid trusting in riches just like we would avoid a plague.  True wealth is given by God to the righteous. Let’s read the Scriptures.

He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.  (Pro 11:28)

Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.  (Ps 52:7)

Why do you brag about your strength?  Your strength is exhausted,you rebellious daughter.  You trust in your treasures, never imagining who would attack you.  (Jer 49:4 CEB)

Don’t trust in violence or depend on dishonesty or rely on great wealth.  (Ps 62:10 CEV)

Jesus said clearly in Mark 10:23-25 that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for people who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven!  Wow!

Jesus told a parable about a rich fool in Luke 12:16-19.  This fool had accumulated so much wealth that he had to build larger barns to hold it all, and then he decided to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’  And God said to him (v. 20-21):  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

This is wisdom from God for us.  In providing for ourselves, our children, and our retirement, we mustn’t allow ourselves to start trusting in and relying upon the money that we have set aside for emergencies or for a retirement fund.  Our faith in God and our relationship with the Lord Jesus must always be the main focus and core of our lives. 

Even though the Lord gives us power to get wealth (Deu 8:18; Ecc 5:19), we must never lose sight of the fact that this is a GIFT from God.  It is a reason for thankfulness and rejoicing over the goodness of God.  We need to consider this blessing as part of our heritage from God, and by acknowledging God’s central part in it, we may then rejoice in our labor.

Let us daily concentrate upon our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.  Here are worthy things upon which to meditate:

  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isa 9:6
  • Redeemer – Isa 59:20
  • Immanuel (God with us) – Mt 1:23
  • King of the Jews – Mt 27:37
  • Lamb of God – Joh 1:29
  • Bread of Life – Joh 6:35
  • Living Stone, Cornerstone – 1 Pet 2:4-8
  • Alpha and Omega – Rev 22:13

We must intentionally make Jesus the heart and focus of our entire lives.  Our trust and our entire reliance should eternally be upon Jesus Christ, who is our life!  (Col 3:4)  May God richly bless you.