Being Strengthened & Established

<strong>Being Strengthened & Established</strong>

As we live our daily lives as believers and followers of Jesus, there should come times when we are strengthened and established, or recognized, in our faith.  Let’s take a look at some Scriptures concerning this topic:

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:11-12 NKJV)

Paul was writing to believers in Rome, saying that he wished to see them in order that he could impart [pass on] a spiritual gift to a number of them, and that he could encourage them in their faith—and be encouraged himself by them. 

First of all, do you realize that praying for each other is encouraging? 

And do you also realize that by praying for one another, we may reveal our own spiritual gifts and may even pass them on?  Well, it’s absolutely true! 

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 NKJV)

Paul was confident that when he saw the believers in person, that he would be operating in the FULLNESS of the blessing of Christ’s gospel.  What faith!  This demonstrates the confidence of a man who relies completely upon the Word, and lives his life accordingly.  Glory to God!

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.  (Ac 16:5 NIV)

When we are strengthened in our faith, we can’t help but share our experiences and testimonies with others.  When we do that, other people visit our churches in order to discover what is happening.  Their curiosity is provoked, and they want to investigate for themselves.

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  (Ac 19:6 NIV)

Praying for people, as you touch them, is a biblical and correct form of prayer.  This verse tells us that when Paul did this, the people that Paul touched came under the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit.  As a result these same people actually spoke in tongues and prophesied.  Hallelujah!  These are biblical results and we should be encouraged by them, and use them as our example.

A key tactic we can use to strengthen our faith is to read the Bible, and to the meditate upon it daily.  God bless you.

The Nature of Love

The Nature of Love

What is the nature of love, especially God’s love?  The Scriptures teach us what we want to know. 

We need to ask the Lord to give us wisdom, insight and revelation knowledge about these passages.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  (1 Cor 13:6-7 NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous; love does not brag, it is not arrogant.  (1 Cor 13:4 NASB)

. . . but love covers all offenses.  (Pro 10:12b NIV)

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.  (Joh 3:16 CEB)

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  (1 Pet 4:8 NIV)

God’s kind of love, which we should desire to imitate, is described in these terms.

LOVE does not:

  • Delight in evil;
  • Is not jealous;
  • Does not brag; and
  • Is not arrogant.

LOVE:

  • Rejoices with the truth;
  • Always protects;
  • Always trusts;
  • Always hopes;
  • Always perseveres;
  • Is patient;
  • Is kind;
  • Covers all offenses;
  • Gives; and
  • Covers many sins.

This is the kind of love that God showers upon us each and every day.  And in order to be His ambassadors on this earth, it is our calling to share this same love with everyone.  Glory to God!

Secrets

Secrets

Are you a person who enjoys having a secret?  Do you have secrets of your own to protect—that you do not want to be revealed?

Well, our Father in heaven has secrets that He will share only with His children.  God also knows every secret of every human being on earth; nothing is hidden from Him.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.  (Isa 45:3 NKJV, underscoring added)  There are hidden riches in undisclosed places which are known only to God, and He has promised to give these blessings to His own children.

He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.  (Dan 2:22 NKJV)  Only our God and Savior is able to reveal to us His deep and secret things in such a way that they will be useful, helpful, and fruitful to us.

When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.  (Mt 6:6 CEV)  When this passage states that God knows what happens in private, it is saying that God sees and knows what is done secretly.

This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, 16 when God appoints Jesus Christ to judge everyone’s secret thoughts, just as my message says.  (Rom 2:15-16 CEV)  God knows even our secret thoughts!  And He loves us no matter what they may be.

Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about Jesus Christ. For ages and ages this message was kept secret . . .  (Rom 16:25 CEV)  We are so blessed that the Good News of salvation is no longer a secret but has been revealed to all mankind.  Glory to God most High!

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.

Secrets: Hidden Things Coming to Light

Secrets:  Hidden Things Coming to Light

All human beings—no matter what nationality, race, or creed—have secrets.  Some secrets are fairly harmless and others are very serious, and yet other secrets are actually very dangerous.  Most of us fall into having the “fairly harmless” category of secrets.

One important thing to know is that God promises to uncover secrets and hidden things.  One way or another, all dark and secret things will be exposed by the Lord.  Those of us who follow Jesus Christ need to know this truth and to live in the light of it.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.  (1 Cor 4:5)  The word counsels means advice, information, or instruction. 

 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  (Heb 4:13)  The Lord our God sees everything and knows even the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  (Heb 4:12)  Even the content of our hearts will be revealed.  That’s a sobering thought.

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.  (Lk 12:1-3, underscoring added)

We all have challenges, desires, disappointments, and heartaches. Most human beings have areas where they are weak, and they may occasionally fail and sin.   In all of these things, the Lord cares about us, and wants to help us.  As the Bible passage above reminds us, our innermost secrets—which may have been whispered in the dark—will one day be heard by all. 

A daily review, before the Lord, is the best way to deal with everything:  sins, challenges, secrets, disappointments, etc.  Bring it all to the Lord at the end of each day, and ask His forgiveness for sins, and His help and wisdom with problems and heartaches.  Seek His hope and grace to carry you through disappointment and heartache. 

Above all, whatever secrets you have, share them ALL with the Lord now.  Ask Him how to deal with them, and follow His guidance.  If you’re having difficulty in hearing from the Lord, go to a wise, mature, and trustworthy brother or sister in Christ, and request their wise input. 

We must all learn to live honest, holy, and productive lives that will bring glory and honor to the Lord.  Learning how to bring our secrets into the light of the Lord’s love and mercy is an integral part of holy living.  Our loving God supplies us with the grace and the ability to accomplish this goal.  May God richly bless you.

Beautiful Feet

Beautiful Feet

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”  (Rom 10:14-15)

Another version of the final line in the above Bible verse is:  “Beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!” 

We’re not talking about just any old type of good news, but specifically about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  This is the good news that tells how Jesus purchased salvation for all who accept Him as their Savior and Lord!  Hallelujah!

This is the “almost too good to be true” kind of news that no one readily believes in this cynical, unbelieving world. 

This very genuine good news MUST be passed on and accepted before its power can take effect.  When we each accepted Jesus as our own Lord and Savior, one of the main assignments we were given was to share our testimony of God’s love and forgiveness.  Consider this passage:

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:18-19, emphasis added)

Jesus fulfilled His mission of reconciling mankind to His Father, and has committed the same ministry to us.  We are called to the Ministry of Reconciliation through Jesus Christ.  However, we don’t need to die as Jesus did but to simply tell our own testimony to everyone who will listen to our story.  As the Scriptures say, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  (Mt 10:8)

While we are still able, while a measure of freedom of speech remains, we must endeavor to fulfill this honored calling and mission entrusted to every believer by Jesus..

Holy Boldness

Holy Boldness

Spending time in the presence of the Lord Jesus will impart holy boldness!  What a beautiful sign of how God sanctifies and prepares us for ministry.  The Bible informs us of this blessed benefit in several passages.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.  (Acts 4:13)  Notice how other people observe and remark upon the impact of Jesus upon His followers.  God calls and anoints ordinary people to serve Him.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.  (Acts 4:31)  Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ courageously with other people is a sign of Jesus’ influence upon us.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—  (2 Cor 3:12)  Hope imparts boldness!

. . . in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:12)  In Jesus Christ, we have both holy boldness and assurance of our salvation through faith in Christ.   We have access to the throne of God through faith in Jesus.

Why do I call this article “Holy Boldness”?  I do so because the unique boldness imparted to us through our relationship with Jesus is a consecration and sanctification of our very persons. 

We are set apart for service unto our Lord and King.  We are destined to bring glory to God, our Savior, as the verses quoted above confirm.  So, brothers and sisters, share your testimony with holy boldness.  It is within you; it’s available to you through Jesus who lives within every believer.  God bless you.

Walk Worthy of God

Walk Worthy of God

The Bible calls us, as believers, to “walk worthy” of God and of our calling.  Here are some examples:

. . .  who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well . . . (3 Joh 6)

. . . that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.  (1 Thes 2:12)

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . (Eph 4:1)

. . . that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . (Col 1:10)

We are called to walk in a way that corresponds to and is in harmony with the glorious nature of our Savior God, whom we serve.  He is loving, kind, merciful and forgiving.  We must use His nature as our example.  We must see the blessings of our salvation and realize that our calling is to share them with as many people as we possibly can.

Our own value is not in question here due to the fact that the Lord has already demonstrated our extreme value by sending His own, beloved Son to be our Savior.  Jesus came to suffer, die, and to be resurrected in order to reconcile each one of us to God, the Father.  We have already been reconciled to God!  Hallelujah!

Here is a wonderful insight into this topic by Ed Elliott:

“Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus while he sat in a Roman prison. He didn’t identify with being a prisoner of Rome. He saw himself as a prisoner of the Lord. He was locked in God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. Paul walked worthy of the Lord by knowing whose prisoner he really was.” – Ed Elliott (referring to Ephesians 4:1)

The Inexorable Force

The Inexorable Force

Our God is the Inexorable Force of the universe.  What He says always, ALWAYS comes to pass.  When we become born again, He places His hand upon us in such a way that we must share His Truth and His Word.  These verses illustrate what I’m saying:

But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Ac 4:19-20 NIV, underlining added)

But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones.  I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.  (Jer 20:9 NIV)

 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”  (Num 22:38 NIV)

In our hearts, we feel that force within us that compels us to testify that Jesus is the Redeemer of all mankind—the hope of all the world.  If we are not aware of an inner inducement to share the Good News with others, then it is time to renew our commitment to the Lord and to rededicate ourselves to His purposes.

In Acts 17:16-17, we read that Paul was provoked to share the gospel message with the people in Athens.  Jesus addressed His followers in Acts 1:8 to tell them that they would be His witnesses in this world.

We must confess, along with 2 Samuel 23:2:  “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue.”  Let us lift our voices and testify to the loving goodness and kindness of our God and Savior.  The Holy Spirit (The Inexorable Force) within each one of us lovingly requires it of us all.

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!