Being Far Off

Being Far Off

All mankind was, at one time, far off from God.  We were far off from His presence, from His righteousness, and from His standards for living.  Occasionally, it’s beneficial for us to remember how very far we have come by God’s mercy and grace.

Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6) who brought all believers near to God through the reconciliation of the cross.   (2 Cor 5:18)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  (Eph 2:13 ESV)

All who have made Jesus Christ their Savior and Lord have been brought near to God through the blood of the Lamb.  (1 Pet 1:19)  Jesus is the Lamb of God.  (Joh 1:29, 36)

For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.  (Ac 2:39)

The gift and promise of salvation is offered to every human being upon the earth—to every race, tribe and nation.  The Lord calls all people to salvation, but not everyone accepts His free gift.   

. . . and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  (Eph 2:16-17)

Jesus, our Prince of Peace, has put to death every hostility, unfriendliness, and antagonism by preaching peace to all.  He has reconciled (reunited) us with our Father God.  What an awesome gift from God! 

We are no longer far off, but we have been made the children of God.  (Joh 1:12; Rom 8:16; 1 Joh 3:1-2)  All glory to God most High!

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

A Shield Called Faith

A Shield Called Faith

. . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  (Eph 6:16, emphasis added)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4, emphasis added)

We see that the Bible mentions a “shield of faith” in Ephesians chapter six.  This is quite an important concept, when you think and meditate upon it.  Shields were used to in ancient times to block attacks from hand-held weapons like swords as well as from projectile weapons such as arrows. 

The shield can also symbolize steadfast principles, commitment, loyalty and protection, which are afforded to us by taking up the spiritual “Shield of Faith” in Christ Jesus, our Savior.  This spiritual shield protects our hearts and minds from the attacks of the enemy which are designed to rob us of peace and joy.  Our spiritual shield also enables us to persevere in times of trials and crisis.

Cling to your confession of faith, brothers and sisters!  Heed Romans 10:8-9:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Obedience to God’s Will

Obedience to God’s Will

The Bible says that all those who obey God’s will (which is His Word) live forever and are members of His family. 

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:17)

For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.  (Mk 3:35)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  (Mt 7:21)

Clearly this an important subject to the Lord, and it should be important to us, as well.  The Lord says that obedience is better than sacrifice.  (1 Sam 15:22)  Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth to become the Savior of the world.  And we are all the beneficiaries of Jesus’ obedience.

Let’s look at the Bible again:

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3 ESV)

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him . . .   (1 Joh 2:4 ESV)

There is no way to follow Jesus without obedience to the Word of God.  This is an ongoing choice that we make daily—even moment by moment—as we continue to live by faith.  Blessings upon you.

One Blood

There is no room for prejudice against other people due to the simple fact that we are all ONE BLOOD (one race) that have descended from Adam and Eve.  All tribes and nations are descended from the same parents.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.  (Gen 3:20, emphasis added)

These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated(Gen 9:19, underscoring added)

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth . . .  (Ac 17:26a, emphasis added)

Discrimination and bigotry based upon skin color, eye shape, hair types, or any other exterior trait is ridiculous and unjust.  Over the centuries and decades since the Lord created the heavens and the earth, changes have occurred in humanity.  However, they are just that:  exterior. 

Blood types are the same the world over, as are the physical attributes of males and females.  Every nationality of people have the same internal organs and number of bones in their bodies.  We all need teeth to chew our food, tongues to communicate with each other, and arms and legs to get around and to do our work. 

The Father God needed to send only ONE Savior to earth to redeem all of mankind back to Himself!  Jesus is the Savior of every nation, tongue, and tribe on earth.  

One day, ALL of the redeemed from all over the earth will be gathered together to praise, honor, worship and to serve Him for all eternity.  Glory to God!

A Steadfast Heart

A Steadfast Heart

Steadfast means committed, unwavering, reliable and trustworthy.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  (Ps 112:7, underscoring added)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.  (Pro 1:33)  Wisdom is speaking in the passage.  When we obey wisdom, we obey God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yahweh, the Lord, is everlasting strength.  (Isa 26:3-4)  When we are focused upon the Lord, with absolute trust, our hearts will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  (Joh 14:1) Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He’s encouraging us to believe in Him.  He’s inviting us to rely upon Him and to have confidence in Him.

The point of these verses that I’ve shared is that under all circumstances, even in the midst of challenges and painful trials, a believer knows the beautiful character of Jesus, and is able to trust Him effortlessly.  Why?  Because Jesus is a good and loving Savior.

The Lord’s plans for us are good plans intended to give us a good future.  We can see the only person who can prevent those plans from coming to pass when we look into the mirror! 

If we don’t cooperate with the Lord, if we don’t trust Him and place all of our faith in Him, then we cannot blame God for whatever mess in which we eventually find ourselves.

Place all of your hope, faith and trust in the Lord.  Yield to God’s plans and His ways, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

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!

Hold Fast

Hold Fast

Today, we are meditating upon “holding fast to the confession of our hope,” as well as to the faithfulness of God.

Our hope is in the perfect and eternal salvation that was provided by God through Jesus Christ.  Once we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we confess that He IS our Savior. 

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.  (Heb 10:23)

But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.  (2 Thes 3:3)

 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  (Heb 4:14)

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, set your focus on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.  (Heb 3:1 BSB)

When we “hold fast” to something, we cling to it or grip it securely so as not to let it go.

A confession is a declaration, affirmation, profession or statement.  So, we must hold fast to our declaration that Jesus Christ is our Savior and our Lord.

Since we have made Him our Lord, that means that we love His Word and we obey His Word.  We live according to the standards He established in His Word, and we trust in His faithfulness to every single promise that He has made to us in His Word.

As you research the Bible, you will see that salvation through Jesus Christ furnishes us who love and obey Him with many blessings and benefits:

  • He gives us the desires of our hearts. (Ps 37:4)
  • He daily loads us with benefits and blessings. (Ps 68:19)
  • He gives good things to those who ask Him. (Mt 7:11)
  • He promises us a long life. (Ps 91:16; Pro 3:2; Eph 6:2-3)
  • He is with us always. (Mt 28:20)

This is just a small sampling of the many promises that God has showered upon us through His Word.  And the fulfillment of each and every promise was paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice.  Hallelujah!