Made Alive

Made Alive

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor 15:21-22)

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!  (Rom 5:15-17)

Because all humanity is descended from Adam, we are all going to experience death someday.  In a similar way, everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will one day be made alive.

What does that really mean to us? 

It means that we, upon accepting Jesus as our Savior, have been born into the family of God.  Having accepted Jesus as our Savior and keeping our relationship with Him alive throughout our lives means that:

  • We belong to Jesus;
  • We are His seed and offspring;
  • We serve Jesus because He is our covenant Head and Representative; and
  • We shall be raised [resurrected] to immortal life in and by Jesus Christ.

One day, we will have eternity to spend in the presence of our living God who is love.  We will eternally be surrounded by perfect, unfailing, unending Love.  This is a blessing of our salvation for which we may continuously praise and thank God!

Call the Walls Salvation

Call the Walls Salvation

Here are a couple of prophetic verses from the Bible.

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.  (Isa 60:18)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:  “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.  (Isa 26:1)

There is a day coming when Jesus Christ shall gather His church together, and the verses above foretell of that victorious time.  There will be no need of gates or walls for protection, because the walls will be the very salvation of our God, and the “gates” that we enter will be praise unto our God.  Praise opens all gates into the presence of our living God.

God has shown Himself well able to protect His people.  He says that He is a wall of fire around His people.

‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  (Zech 2:5) 

God is already the glory in our midst—right now. 

He is our Protector and Deliverer.  (2 Sam 22:2-3; Ps 5:11; 34:17; 91:9-12; 2 Thes 3:3)  As we walk with Him and obey His Word willingly, He takes care of all of our individual needs.  Surely, our relationship with Jesus Christ is a fortress and a protection from evil.  The walls of this fortress are called “salvation.”

We Beheld His Glory

We Beheld His Glory

What does the word glory mean?  It means:  splendor; wonder; brilliance; or exaltation. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  (Joh 1:14)  This verse is describing Jesus and His glory.  It says that “we beheld His glory” which means that we can see it and recognize it.

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.  (Joh 2:11)  Any time that Jesus performed signs, wonders, and miracles, He manifested His glory clearly for all to see.

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  (Joh 11:4)  The only way that a sickness can be for the glory of God is when the sick person receives their complete healing by faith in Jesus Christ and they give all the glory, honor and praise to the Father God. 

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 4:6)  The “light” that was given to man was Jesus Christ, the light of the world.  (Joh 8:12) As we look into His face and accept Him as our Savior, He shares with us His own glory and relationship with the Father.

In Matthew 5:14 we are told that WE are the light of the world because we are the followers and disciples of Jesus, and we carry Him in us and with us wherever we go.

As we obediently follow Jesus, the Light of the World, we share His light and His life with others.  In His name, we pray for people to be saved, delivered, and healed. We are also privileged to see miracles and wonders done in the mighty name of Jesus.

We cannot hide our light, but rather we must allow it to shine brightly in the darkness for we are merely reflecting the glory of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the world.

What Are Idols?

What Are Idols?

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.  (Deu 6:14)

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  (Deu 8:19)

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  (1 Joh 5:21)

What is an idol?  An idol can be a statue, a god or deity, a symbol, a hero, or an obsession.  Hollywood and movie industry stars can be idols for people, as can a certain model of a car, or a favorite brand of watch or any number of other things.

The key is, what is the most important thing in life to you?  What do you talk about the most?  What do you think about and dream of daily?  Around what are your goals centered?  Are you determined to achieve riches and fame?  Influence?  Do you dream of becoming a political influencer? 

Any of these things, and more, can become idols in a person’s life.  But God’s Word warns us strongly to stay away from these things.  Therefore, we need to take stock of our thoughts and to acknowledge what we value in our hearts. 

A follower of Jesus would value their relationship with their Savior more highly than any other thing in their lives.  Equally, Jesus’ followers would highly value the Word of God.  And of course, we also choose to honor and to consistently obey the teachings of the Bible. 

We may each joyfully pursue our relationship with our Lord, and endeavor to mature in faith in our Redeemer.  Life is all about Him—not about us.  Our true hero is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Glory to God!

Check Out Your Clothes!

Check Out Your Clothes!

Do you realize that the Bible is concerned with how we clothe ourselves?  Isn’t that an interesting and provoking idea?

For example: 

  • We are invited to clothe ourselves with Christ in Romans 13:14.
  • We are instructed to dress modestly, with decency and propriety but also to clothe ourselves with good deeds in 1 Timothy 2:9-10.
  • Colossians 3:12-14 directs us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It also prompts us to put on love which is the personality trait which binds all the others together in unity.

Out of all of these instructions, the encouragement to perform good works is probably one of the most frequently mentioned.

. . . having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.  (1 Pet 2:12 NKJV, emphasis added)

. . . who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.  (Tit 2:14 NKJV, emphasis added)

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.  (Tit 3:8 NKJV, emphasis added)

The only way to truly clothe ourselves with good works and holy virtues is through the empowering and enabling grace that we receive through our ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.  Walk in the “Clothing of Salvation”: 

  • The love of God,
  • The grace from God,
  • Faith in God, which is a gift from Him (Eph 2:8-9)
  • The LIFE of God, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit (Pro 12:28; 1 Cor 6:19)

Cling to your relationship with Jesus even as a drowning man clings to a life preserver thrown to him by rescuers.  Jesus provides new grace and strength for each new day, and He will never leave you nor fail you.  Glory to His Holy Name!

Union With Christ

Union With Christ

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  (Rom 6:5-6 NIV)

. . . always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  (2 Cor 4:10 NKJV)

. . . even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . (Eph 2:5-6 NKJV)

These Bible passages are discussing a believer’s union with Christ.  Union with Christ refers to the relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ.  It also refers to a willing loyalty of Christ to the believer, as well as a loyalty of the believer to our Lord Jesus. 

The first 14 verses of Ephesians, chapter One, explain some of the blessings that we receive from being united with Christ.  These passages reinforce our understanding that we are blessed and highly favored by God. 

Unity in Christ—a result of our salvation—brings about an ongoing redemptive work in a believer’s life and conduct.  As we come to know and understand our Savior, and through the Bible learn about our untold blessings, we yearn to live in a manner that is completely pleasing to the Lord.  This is understandable. 

Even as a small child who is loved, valued and protected by their parents will choose to please and obey those good parents—so also does a believer desire to please and to obey our loving and merciful Savior.  From His hand we receive forgiveness, favor, health, prosperity, protection, provision, and the gift of grace to enable us daily. 

Our God is a good God.  He blesses people and nations, whether they acknowledge Him or not.  He places people in governing positions for the sake of giving people order and safety in the world.  He blesses believers individually as we love, obey, and serve Him.

In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness. (Hos 3:5b NLT)  As this Scriptures states, in the end times we will tremble with awe because of the Lord’s magnificence and His unimaginable goodness to mankind.  Glory to God!

What Is a Backslider?

What Is a Backslider?

A backslider is someone who has reversed their direction in a given area.  In terms of Christian faith and life, it usually refers to a person who at one time had a vital, meaningful relationship with Jesus as their Savior but who has turned away from the values of following Christ and living a moral, upright life. 

But the Lord says, in the verses below, that He loves the backslider, that He is married to them, and that He will heal their condition by bringing them back to Himself.  Glory to God!

Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you.  (Jer 3:14a)

Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.  (Jer 3:22a)

I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely . . .  (Hos 14:4a)

This turning away from faith may happen if a person isn’t connected to a church or a body of believers with whom to fellowship.  It may also occur if someone becomes neglectful about Bible reading, prayer, and praise and worship.  These are all forms of communication with the Lord, and any relationship will wither and collapse without ongoing, regular communication. 

So we can’t allow our affections for the Lord to cool down by discarding the habits that uphold and sustain our faith in Jesus.  It’s always good to review our conduct occasionally to make sure that we’re making decisions that will positively impact our life of faith.  Our life habits should sustain and nurture our Christian faith, so guard them well.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord . . . (Ac 3:19) Our sympathetic Savior is happy to restore and to revive our relationship with Him at all times.  And He says that times of refreshing will follow, times of rejuvenating the relationship with Him and pouring out grace upon you to inspire you in fresh ways.

Anyone who has backslidden from their faith in Christ has hope.  The Lord is loving, merciful, and kind.  He longs for us to return to Him and to reestablish our relationship with Him—the God who is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)  God bless you.

Reasoning with God

Reasoning with God

It is sometimes a shock to believers to realize that God wants us to respectfully argue with or debate with Him over answering our prayers!  He calls it “reasoning together.”  This is to be more in the manner of talking something over with a dear friend.  Let’s look at the Bible verses.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isa 1:18)

Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.  (Isa 43:26)

Take words with you, and return to the Lord.  Say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.”  (Hos 14:2, emphasis added)

The Lord wants us to come to Him when we are in need.  He is pleased when we talk to Him and hold up His own Word to Him to remind Him of His promises.  He loves our attention to His Word, and He loves our trust in Him and in His Word.

When we have a need for finances and we hold up His Word to Him concerning His promises to supply all of our needs (Phil 4:19), and remind Him that He said that hard-working people gain riches (Pro 10:4; 13:4), the Lord is happy with the manner of our approach to the throne of grace.  Glory to God!

The “words” that the Lord wants us to bring with us (Hos 14:2) to His throne are His own words.  He is giving us a spiritual key to effective prayer, so we should pay attention to it.

In the same way, when we have any need—regardless of the nature of the need—it is good to find Bible verses to stand upon in faith.  These are the words or promises of blessing that we would bring to the Lord in our prayer for our needs.

We must ask Him for what we need.  Here are Scripture references for you to check out on this topic:  John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24, 26; Eph 6:18; 1 Thes 5:17. 

We bring God’s Word to Him when we ask Him to answer our prayers because He tells us to do so.  We are being obedient, and He said that obedience is better than sacrifice.  (1 Sam 15:22)

When we go to Him and reason with Him, we are communicating.  This is something that all people do who are in relationship with each other.  As we reveal our hearts to God, we are offering ourselves freely to Him which is the best gift that we can ever give to Him!  Blessings upon you.

Friends

Friends

Have you experienced some relationship catastrophes in your life?  Have one or two friends decided, for various purported reasons, to “unfriend” you?  Well, I want to reassure you that you have a Friend who will NEVER treat you like that!

Jesus is your Friend who sticks closer than a brother, and He told us that He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us!  (Pro 18:24; Heb 13:5)  Hallelujah!!

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Joh 15:15 ESV, emphasis added)

Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13 ESV)

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Prov 17:17 ESV, emphasis added)

What kind of “friend” decides to end a relationship of many years’ standing simply because of one or two tiny incidents?  Why would they not rather choose to communicate with their friend about what happened and how they felt, in order to restore harmony and unity in the relationship?  This person would be a poor example of a friend.

Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Mt 28:20 NKJV)  Jesus is the friend who will never leave us.  He promises to be with us ALWAYS.  Glory to God!

Not only are these points significant, but Jesus is a very special Friend indeed.  (All verses below NKJV)

  • He is our Friend who LOADS us daily with blessings and benefits (Ps 68:19).
  • He gives us the desires of our hearts, as we delight in Him.  (Ps 37:4)
  • He gives us great and precious promises through which we be may be partakers of His divine nature.  (2 Pet 1:4)
  • He does whatever we ask Him to do!  (When we ask in His name – Joh 14:13-14)
  • In Christ Jesus, our Friend, all of God’s Biblical promises have been answered:  “Yes!” and “Make it so!”  (1 Cor 1:20)
  • If we ask anything according to God’s will (which is His Word), we know that the Lord hears our request.  And when we know that He has heard our prayer, we know that He has answered our prayer, “Yes”.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)
  • Jesus is our healer.  (Isa 53:4-5; Mt 8:17; 1 Pet 2:24)

There is no other Friend who loves us, blesses us, and cares for us like He does! 

Have Confidence in the Lord

It is vital for us to have confidence in the Lord.  I’m talking about having the kind of confidence in the Lord that Paul had when he wrote this verse:

But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29)

Paul could make this bold statement because he knew who he was in Christ.  He had confidence in the Word of God, and he had confidence in his relationship with Jesus, our Savior.  This is the same confidence that each and every one of us may have.  All we need to do is to nurture our confidence!

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31 preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.  (Ac 28:30-31)

For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.  (Pro 3:26)

But “he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”  (2 Cor 10:17)  Another word for “glories” is boasts.  So this verse reminds us to boast in the Lord.  Paul knew how to do that.

We know that when signs, wonders, and miracles take place in our ministry, it is the Lord who performs those wonders!  We know that He alone is the Healer and Deliverer.  Paul knew that it was natural and normal to expect good things from the God who is good all the time.  This is the kind of confidence that we want to nurture in our hearts.

We nurture our confidence in the Lord by reading and meditating upon the Scriptures.  We do it with praise and worship of our God on a regular and ongoing basis.  As our relationship with the Lord stands the test of time, we mature and grow in our faith as well as in our confidence.

Trust the Lord and His Word.  Rely upon His Word and believe it when it says of itself:

Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass. (Josh 21:45)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.  (Mat 24:35)

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)

Feed your confidence!