Looking for Blessed Hope

Looking for Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . . (Tit 2:11-13, emphasis added)

I think it’s too easy in this age of high pressure and constant stress overlaid by tense world events for us to lose sight of our HOPE.  We need to meditate more frequently and regularly upon the truth that we are expectantly waiting and watching for our blessed hope which will be evidenced by the glorious appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ! 

Here is what the Bible has to say about it:

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  (Mt 24:30-31) 

The righteous rejoice to even anticipate this event, so think of what the reality of it will be like!  In the meantime, we have many responsibilities to attend to—not only those of being responsible spouses, parents, children, or friends—but also the responsibilities that we have to Jesus, our Savior.  We have an active and eager enemy according to the Bible.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Pet 5:8) 

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.  (1 Thes 5:6)

Do not be taken unawares.  Do not be drowsing or spiritually dull.  Keep yourself spiritually keen, effective and alert.  Read the Scriptures; praise and worship God regularly; fellowship with other believers, and be a witness of what Jesus has done for you.  This lifestyle will energize your faith and move you forward in realizing your purposes in the Kingdom.  God bless you.

Be Ready!

Be Ready!

Why does the Lord want us to be ready to tell people about salvation at a moment’s notice?  One reason is that the Lord is not willing that any should perish; He wants everyone to be saved.  (2 Pet 3:9)

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  (2 Tim 4:2)  He wants us to be ready whether it’s convenient and whether it’s inconvenient—when the world mentality (at any given time) is “pro-Christian” or “anti-Christian.”  Our heart attitude should be eager to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.  (2 Tim 2:3-4)  The warfare in which we’re engaged is to share the gospel with as many people as possible, regardless of their response or reaction.  Leave that part in God’s hands.  When we accepted Christ as our Savior, we were automatically enlisted as a soldier in the army of the Living God. 

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men . . .  (2 Cor 3:2) Not only do we share the gospel with our words, but we share it by the lives that we live.  People will read us as easily as they read a book or a letter. 

What are you sharing through your day-to-day life?  Is your readiness joyous and filled with hope and courage?  If so, then it will be good and edifying to read!

The Name of Jesus

The Name of Jesus

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus.  (Lk 1:31)  God the Father told Mary, through an angel, the name that she was to give to her firstborn child.  (You may read Luke 1:26-35 for the entire account of Mary’s encounter with the angel.)

. . . but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  (Joh 20:31)

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:38)

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”  (Acts 3:6)

Today, we’re considering the Name of Jesus and some of the blessings that we enjoy through His name.  The first blessing that we receive through faith in the name of Jesus is salvation and eternal life. 

We’re also baptized into His name, and through it receive the Holy Spirit.  In Acts 3:6 we observe that there is healing in the name of Jesus.  Hallelujah!  There’s deliverance In the name of Jesus.  (Acts 16:18)  We believers are washed, sanctified, and justified in His name.  (1 Cor 6:11)

In the name of Jesus, we’ve been given power and authority over evil spirits and over all of the power of the enemy.  (Lk 10:18-20)

. . . which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church . . . (Eph 1:20-22)

This verse in Ephesians demonstrates that God has elevated the name of Jesus above ALL names—in this age and in the ages to come.  God has made Jesus to rule over all things and to be the Lord and Master over all. 

Let us honor the beautiful name of Jesus.

No Condemnation

No Condemnation

Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.  (John 5:24 KJV)

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

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  (Rom 8:1)

The free gift of salvation by faith which we received through Jesus Christ results in our justification!  We have truly passed from death (eternal condemnation and punishment) into LIFE—eternal love and unity with the living God.  We’ll spend eternity living and serving God in the light of the love of Jesus Christ.

Because we are not under condemnation (Rom 8:1), and because we have entered into eternal life NOW, we have a Mediator and an Intercessor:  Jesus Christ!  He represents us and fights for us!

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.  (Heb 9:15 NKJV)

A Mediator is an arbitrator; umpire, referee, or intermediary.  Jesus is all of these things for us.  Jesus is our Mediator SO THAT we may receive our eternal inheritance!  Our eternal inheritance is rich and abundant; it is available to us NOW.

Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.  (Job 16:19-21 NIV1984)

Jesus pleads with God, on our behalf, as Someone pleading for a friend!  Jesus is our Witness—He knows and TESTIFIES that we are justified and set free because He gave His ALL for us! And we accepted His free and generous gift.  We accepted not only salvation, but all of the blessings, benefits, and promises that are part and parcel of that perfect and eternal salvation!

As we live out our salvation, life (and people) may still inflict hurts.  Yet, our God provides a remedy:  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [sorrows].  (Ps 147:3)  The Holy Spirit is your Comforter who pours out love upon you.  (John 14:16; Rom 5:5)

 Abundant life is ours!  (John 10:10)  A life rich in freedom, health, healing, reconciliation, prosperity, mercy, wisdom, grace, joy, and many more blessings are ours—in Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God that was slain!

You are without condemnation.  You have been and are justified—you are redeemed!  You are consecrated to God in order to live for Him.  Enjoy the blessings of eternal life, O child of the Most High God!

A Stumbling Stone

A Stumbling Stone

Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone.  (Rom 9:32)

Behold I lay in Zion a stumbling stone, and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.  (Rom 9:33)

. . . and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.  (1 Pet 2:8)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is distasteful to many unbelievers.  The salvation that God has provided through Jesus Christ becomes a stumbling stone and a rock of offense to them.  The Bible tells us that this will be so.

Unbelievers may stumble or be offended about a number of points.  Let’s look at several of those points.

  • The Bible tells us that Jesus suffered, died, and was resurrected. If someone doesn’t believe in resurrection, this can be a point of stumbling.
  • The simplicity of salvation, because it is a gift to be accepted/received, may be “too good to be true” for many. It’s just not complicated enough and doesn’t include enough works for them.
  • Some people think the church and its people are weak. The church has no political agenda, and we have no military might.  This is not attractive to the carnal mind.
  • Yet other folks believe that they are good people, and have never done anything seriously evil. Therefore, they believe, that they don’t need anything more than that.

Our own attitude towards Jesus and His gospel determines our spiritual welfare.  He is a sanctuary to those who bless Him. He is a place of refuge, peace and security to those who believe in Him. However, to those who reject Him, He becomes a stone to trip over. He becomes a devastating stone of judgment to the proud of heart. Many people crash into Him and trip over Him because they try to live as if He doesn’t exist. Jesus Christ will always be a stumbling stone to those who refuse to trust in Him.

How very blessed are all those who love the Lord Jesus!

Forget Not

Forget Not

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases . . . (Ps 103:2-3, emphasis added)

We, as God’s children, mustn’t forget all of the benefits and blessings of our salvation.  The verse above mentions two of these blessings:  forgiveness and healing.  These are supernatural benefits of our salvation.

This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.  (Ps 119:50, 52)  The Word of God gives us life—life in every facet and dimension of our lives.  He is the one who actually upholds and sustains our lives!  (Ps 3:5; 71:6; Isa 46:3b, 4)

There are so many blessings that God pours out upon us, that we can become oblivious and even numb to them!  We need to wake up and start noticing what God has done and is doing constantly for us.  Look around you and perceive your blessings.

And the covenant that I have made with you, you shall not forget, nor shall you fear other gods.  (2 Kgs 17:38)  God does not forget the covenant that He made with man.  He wants us to remember it, too.  Not only that, but He says that He will NEVER forget us!  (Isa 49:15) Nor do we ever need to fear other gods or the gods of other people.

So we should find it pretty easy to REMEMBER and to meditate upon the fact that the Lord is:

  • Our reward (Gen 15:1)
  • Our Rock (Ps 18:2; 31:3; 71:3)
  • Our very present help in trouble (Ps 46:1)
  • Our open heaven (Joh 1:51)
  • Our Comfort (Ps 86:17; 2 Cor 1:3-4)
  • Our Deliverer (Ps 18:2; 40:17; 70:5)
  • Our Redeemer (Ps 19:14; 78:35; Pro 23:11)
  • Our Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)

The list above is very abbreviated.  I could go on and on; and still not cover every blessing that the Lord bestows upon those who love and serve Him.  Remember these blessings and be thankful.

God Fights on Behalf of His People

God Fights on Behalf of His People

. . . for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.  (Deut 20:4)

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes . . .  (Deut 29:29-30)

Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive against me; fight against those who fight against me.  (Ps 35:1)

For I will contend with him who contends with you.  (Isa 49:25c NKJV)

Our Father God is all-powerful.  He is willing and able to uphold His children in the challenging and frightful situations of life on earth.  He willingly steps between us and danger to protect us and to fight on our behalf.

God shows up and fights for His people, and for the hearts of His people.  His timing may not be what we want—but He is always in control.  No matter the nature of the attack—injustice, lack, ill health, broken relationships, or corruption—nothing is unknown to Him.

There are evil forces and evil spirits who will try to prevent God’s answer from reaching us, but as long as we hold on to God’s promises with perseverance and faith, nothing can prevent God’s salvation from reaching us.

Our confidence in every situation of life must always be placed IN CHRIST alone.  Jesus is our Savior, Redeemer, High Tower, Hiding Place, Refuge, Deliverer, etc., etc.  In union with that, it is wise to know God’s Word and to rely upon it in faith.  He and His Word are one; they cannot be separated.  Trust His Word, persevere through any delay, and see the salvation of our God come to pass for you.

He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?  (Rom 8:32 AMP)