Be Watchful

Be Watchful

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (2 Tim 4:5)

. . . praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—  (Eph 6:18)

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  (1 Pet 4:7)

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  (1 Cor 16:13)

Often the Bible urges us to watch as well as to pray.  (Mk 13:33; 14:38; Lk 21:36; Eph 6:18)  It’s important that these two actions go hand in hand. 

Watch means to stay awake; to be sleepless.  We need to take this command literally as well as spiritually.  We are meant to be vigilant, on guard, alert, and intently aware.  Spiritual watching combined with prayer will give us the strength we need to resist temptation and to overcome difficult situations in life.

Staying awake is connected with righteousness.  (1 Cor 15:34)  If ever there has been a time to stay alert and focused, it is NOW.  Many scholars believe that we are living in what is called the “end times.”  We must focus on strengthening our relationship with Jesus Christ and living a holy life, by the grace which He imparts to us.

Believers must be prepared for the return of Jesus Christ; we must guard against temptation; and we should pray without ceasing.  We should prepare for the completion (conclusion) of our salvation!

“Vigilant watchfulness is a manifestation of genuine spiritual life.” ~ Billy Graham

No Discrimination in Christ

No Discrimination in Christ

Here’s a reassuring thought:  God has no favorites and He shows no partiality!  If you grew up feeling that your mom or your parents had a favorite child (who was not you), this will be very meaningful to you.  It will give you reason to feel more thankful than you might have previously.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Gal 3:26-28)  We are all children of God.

For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (Gal 5:14)

So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality . . . (Ac 10:34)

For God shows no partiality.  (Rom 2:11)

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.  (Rom 12:16)

These passages from the Scriptures advise us to love all people and to freely associate with everyone.  We are all equal in His sight because each and every human being was created in the image of God.  God wants every human being to be saved by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

God offers salvation to all mankind as a free gift.  He isn’t withholding it from certain continents, from specific nationalities, or from people with a certain blood type.  His invitation is open to each and every person on planet earth.  Glory to God!  And He has given us each a free will so that we can choose our own destiny.  We can say “yes” to God or we can say “no.”  The choice is ours.

And then, we must keep on choosing, day by day, to serve the Lord with a joyful heart and to remain steadfast in Him.  As long as we stay in close relationship with the Lord, He gives us His gift of grace to make such choices easily and with a sense of contentment.  Hallelujah!

JOY

JOY

We don’t really think about joy very often, do we?  Even we believers don’t realize that joy is a consequence of our salvation! 

Joy can be recognized in various forms:  happiness, enjoyment, delight, wonderment, elation, or pleasure.

You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  (Ps 16:11)  In God’s presence is the knowledge and the experience of joy genuinely felt.

The king shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!  (Ps 21:1)  When we consider the blessings and benefits of our salvation, joy should well up within us.  Our salvation makes us kings and priests before God!  (See Rev 1:6; 5:10)

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  (Ps 32:11)  Our joy should be so powerful that it causes us to want to shout about it, on occasion.

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God, my God.  (Ps 43:4)  Our joy will certainly move us to praise and rejoice in the Lord.

Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.  My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.  (Ps 63:4-5)  All throughout our lives, as a result of our blessings and our acknowledgement of our salvation, we should savor the utter joy of life.

Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let Your saints shout for joy.  (Ps 132:9)  We are the “saints” referred to in this verse, and we should cry out in utter astonishment and exultation about the goodness of our salvation.

Begin today to savor the joy of your salvation!

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

The Unchanging Nature of Salvation

In this article, we’re considering the unchanging nature of our salvation.  As I think about this subject, I believe that our salvation is based upon three important cornerstones.

God’s Will for Mankind

The covenant God made with His children is unwavering, for God (who cannot lie) has made a promise and then confirmed it by an oath.  (see Num 23:19 & Heb 6:13-18)

For I am the Lord, I do not change . . .  (Mal 3:6a)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  (Jam 1:17)

God’s Word

God’s Word is eternal.  The Bible reminds us that we should never add to or delete anything from God’s Word. (Deu 4:2; 12:32; Pro 30:5-6) 

The Bible also warns us not to confuse the teachings of men with the Word of God.  (Mt 15:8-9; Mk 7:6-8)

God’s Word will stand forever; it shall be entirely fulfilled.

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.  (Isa 40:8)

. . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever . . . (1 Pet 1:23)

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.  (Mt 5:18)

Our Savior—Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)

But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.  (Heb 7:24)

Jesus, who is the Living Word, has an unchangeable priesthood and an unchanging character.  He is steadfast and trustworthy.  He has completed the mission that our heavenly Father gave to Him.  He has redeemed mankind and reconciled to the Father all who have accepted Christ as their Savior and Lord.   All glory to God!

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.