Choose Boldness & Endurance

Choose Boldness & Endurance

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Tim 2:12)  We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33)  Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him.  This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23.    (Source:  http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)

We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world.  One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:14-16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.  We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus.  (See Acts 4:13) 

For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.  (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)

Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.

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.

Preach on the Housetops

Preach on the Housetops

Good day!  As a believer in Jesus Christ, what is your calling or assignment in life?  Well, I’m sure it’s multi-faceted. 

You’re called by God to be a loving and faithful spouse (if married); you’re called to be a loving and responsible parent (if you have kids); you’re to be a good steward of all that God has given to you; you’re to bring glory to God by being a good, diligent worker; AND you’re called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

As you can see, we all have multiple responsibilities to fulfill in life.  Not the least of these responsibilities, as a servant of Christ, is to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God with everyone as we have opportunity.  We need to stir up our resolve from time to time to actually fulfill this crucial responsibility.

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.  (Mt 10:27)  When the Holy Spirit teaches us something through the Scriptures, He would like us to meditate upon it and pray over it; and then share it with others.  In other words, “broadcast” it to the neighborhood.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  (Mt 28:18-20)

We are given the assignment to preach and to make disciples of all nations!  Of course, the Lord will honor our support of our church ministry both in working as a volunteer and in our financial giving.  The Lord also considers us as taking part in preaching the gospel when we financially support ministers, evangelists, and missionaries who travel throughout the world sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It’s also a good idea to set a goal of some sort—known only to ourselves and God—of how many people we would like to share a testimony with in a given period of time (i.e., a month or a year). 

Any testimony that we share with someone gives them a glimpse of the love and faithfulness of God to us.  Our testimony also demonstrates that we have a strong, personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior; so it is clearly a powerful tool to use.

We’re called to preach on the housetops!  Be blessed!

 

God’s Invisible Qualities

God’s Invisible Qualities

How can we be sure of a God whom we can’t see, and be confident of His goodness when it is equally invisible to us?

Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.  (Rom 1:20 NIV)  The Bible says that we need to look around us at the evidence that is VISIBLE.

The touch of the Master’s hand is all around us.  We see it in the order, beauty, and dazzling variety in creation.  The great expanse of space with its billions of planets and the incredible world of the microscopic are all testimony to an “Orderer” of great creativity.  God has left his fingerprints all over his world so we can know he is here.  (Source:  www.crosswalk.com)

The evidence that there is a Creator God who is good is literally all around us.  Look at the intelligent design in all of creation—from its plants to its animals to the uniqueness of every, individual human being.

Ponder the vastness of the heavens and the inevitability of the tides, and you will glimpse the scope of God’s mighty power.  Take time to observe the beauty of creation (flowers, sunrises and sunsets, beautifully colored birds, etc.) and the multiplicity of foods that are available to human beings in order to grasp God’s great love for mankind.

God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth in the form of an infant born of a virgin. (Mt 1:18-25)  Jesus was human and visible, approachable, and loving.   He demonstrated the heart of God to us by:

  • Teaching the Good News of the Kingdom (Mt 4:23; 9:35);
  • Healing many, many people (Mt 4:24; 8:16; 9:35; 12:15; Mk 1:34; Lk 4:40; 6:19; 8:47);
  • Miraculously feeding huge groups of people (Mt 14:13-21; Mk 6:31-44; Lk 9:12-17; Joh 6:1-14 and another instance in Mt 15:32-39; Mk 8:1-9); and lastly,
  • Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:6-9; Joh 3:16; 15:13; 1 Joh 3:16; 4:9-10)

God the Father has spoken to all mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ.  (See Heb 1:2-4; Col 1:15-17; 2 Cor 4:4)  Jesus is referred to in the Bible as:

“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person . . . “  (Heb 1:3)  Jesus, while on earth, demonstrated to us all the heart of His Father and the goodness of His Father.  Thankfully, we have the written Word of God which gives us reliable testimony concerning these things.

Take time to ponder God’s beautiful qualities which Jesus so amply displayed while He was on earth.

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 2

There’s Power in the Blood, Part 2

This is our second article about the power of the blood of Jesus.  Here are some Scripture passages on the topic with my comments following:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.  (Lev 17:11)  We all know that the life of any flesh, human or animal, is in the blood.  And the Lord shed the blood of animals and brought the animal skins to cover Adam and Eve’s sin when they sinned in the Garden of Eden.  Therefore, we may reason that the blood of Jesus sustains our spiritual life, as well as cleanses us of sin.

. . . without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  (Heb 9:22 ESV)  The Old Testament model of shedding the blood of animals to cover sin, is the basis of this verse in Hebrews.  In the New Testament, we see that Jesus is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God (Joh 1:29) and that His shed blood washes us from our sins. (Rev 1:5)

. . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.  (1 Joh 1:7)  Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin—not only once—but on a continual basis as we lead our daily lives.  Glory to God most High!

Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  (Ex 12:13)  The Israelites were instructed by God to put lamb’s blood on their doorposts, and when the avenging angel came by, he would not visit the homes that had the blood on the lintels.  In spiritual terms, the blood of Jesus protects us from plagues, illnesses, disease and destruction.

And they overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.  (Rev 12:11, parenthesized text added)  We can overcome every temptation of the enemy when we are covered by the blood of Jesus, and when our testimony coincides and agrees with what God says.  Our testimony must always be:  “I am redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ.”

. . . how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience . . . (Heb 9:14)  Jesus Christ is the Lord, our righteousness (Jer 23:6; 1 Cor 1:30); and because He is, we have a purified conscience.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus . . . (Heb 10:19) The blood of Jesus enables us with faith and confidence to enter the presence of the Lord in thanksgiving, prayer and praise.  (Heb 4:16)

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate.  (Heb 13:12)  We are made holy by the blood of Jesus poured out on Calvary, as are all who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

We have every reason to rejoice in our salvation!

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

We continue our study on making peace.  We serve the God who is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), so we must always cooperate with Him.

Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (Jas 3:18)

A very vital spiritual discipline is to pray for the other person involved in the broken relationship.  Never try to “get even,” because that motivation does not come from the Spirit of God but from the pit of hell.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you . . . (Mt 5:44)

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.  (Rom 12:14)

Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people.  (1 Thes 5:15)        

If you’re the offended person and you receive a text, email, or note in the mail similar to what was described in our previous article, pray deeply and sincerely about your response.  Weigh the pros and cons of what actually happened between you. Was it an uncommon occurrence on the other person’s part?  Was it out of the ordinary or some kind of misunderstanding? 

Ask the Lord to give you His supernatural grace to forgive; and understand that when you ask Him to do something according to His will (1 Jo 5:14-15), that He hears you and gives you exactly what you’ve requested. 

Remember that you are also forgiven by the Lord.  The Lord said:  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Mt 6:15) 

If you’re able to forgive the other person, it is a victory for the Kingdom of God!  And it will enrich your life and the lives of those who may be aware of the problem.  Forgiveness and reconciliation is a testimony to God’s goodness, mercy, and grace. 

If you honestly and sincerely feel that the circumstance(s) that caused a rift between you was a predictable event, and that it will certainly happen again, then you still need to forgive the person.  But you can choose NOT to resume a relationship with the person who hurt you.  However, you should respond to their overture and let them know that you do forgive them, and that you wish them the very best.  You can then indicate that due to the history between you, you feel it’s best for you that you don’t resume a relationship with them. 

In following these guidelines, you will have cooperated with the other person (and with God) in establishing peace between you.  (2 Cor 13:11) God bless you.

My Healing Testimony

My Healing Testimony

In the spring of 1974, I was experiencing severe pains in my left side. 

These pains concerned me because I had experienced similar pains in 1966, and they had been diagnosed as an ovarian cyst on my right side.  I was 18 years old in 1966, and my family doctor recommended surgery, since the pain was increasing.  When he removed the cyst, which was as large as a navel orange, he also needed to remove the right ovary because it had been distorted.  Later, the physician told me that if I had waited any longer, I would have gotten peritonitis because the cyst was beginning to rupture.  He also told me that he didn’t know if I’d be able to have children, because everyone’s body responds differently to the surgery and to having only one, remaining ovary.

In 1974, I was attending a good, Foursquare Gospel Church where miraculous healings were common.  I knew a number of Scripture verses concerning healing, and wanted the Lord to heal me.  I was a baby Christian, and this was a big step of faith for me to take.  First, I went to see my doctor who looked very worried, and told me I had a cyst on the left ovary.  Because I was young, he was reluctant to immediately schedule surgery for me because it would effectively sterilize me, so he gave me some medication to take for three months.

A friend (who later became my husband) and I prayed every day for three months for my healing. Our prayers were based upon: For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26 – as well as Mal 4:2; Mat 4:23; 8:17; & 1 Pet 2:24)  

One Sunday night, just before I was scheduled to return to my doctor for a checkup, our church was holding a Candlelight Communion Service.  We were taught regularly by our Pastor to expect to receive healing during the Communion Service, therefore I participated in the service with great hope in my heart. 

After receiving Communion, the congregation was quietly and worshipfully singing:  “Reach out and touch the Lord as He goes by . . . you’ll find He’s not too busy to hear your heart’s cry . . .” Just at that moment, I became physically aware that the Lord Jesus was close to me, while I simultaneously felt His overpowering love, a sensation like warm oil flowing down over my body, and something like an electrical charge surging through me.  It all happened so very, very quickly.

Instantly, I turned to my friend to tell him that I was healed, as tears of joy and thankfulness streamed down my face.  He was astonished but rejoicing with me.  He told me that he had felt someone brush between us.  He had even opened his eyes to look because the impression was so vivid, but he saw no one.  After hearing my testimony, he understood that he had felt the presence of Jesus!

The next morning (the day after I was healed), I was scheduled to return to my doctor.  He completed the exam and confirmed that the cyst was gone!  And I told him that I had been instantly healed by Jesus.  He was happy for me, although I think that he was slightly skeptical.

I will remember this miracle forever.  I have honored the Lord for this breathtaking miracle every Thanksgiving Day since then by thanking the Lord for the gift of my four, beautiful children.  Without that miracle, I would have been sterilized and unable to have children.  I also recall and re-live the depth of the love and caring that Jesus communicated to me in that miracle moment, 43 years ago.  This memory will remain with me forever.

Additionally, I have personally experienced many, many miracles since then.  So have my husband and children.  My life with Jesus has been exciting, occasionally challenging, and incredibly worthwhile.  I’m a senior citizen now; and look forward to the days ahead because the Lord tells me that the best is yet to come!  Praise the Lord!

God’s Promises

God’s Promises

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me, Silvanus, and Timothy—was not Yes and No, but in Him was Yes.  For ALL the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  (2 Co1:19-20, emphasis added)

Every beautiful promise in the Scriptures is for us believers.  The Lord says “Yes” to us concerning each promise, meaning that we may have it.  There is an eternal “Yes” through the name of Jesus to everyone who has accepted Jesus as their Savior.

Every blessing, benefit, and miracle that we receive brings God glory:  by the testimony of our lips in answer to simply believing, resting in, and receiving the Word of God as our guarantee.  The scriptural promise is God’s verification that our blessings are inevitable. 

Just remember that we can’t dictate how the blessing will come or how it will look.  That part is in God’s hands, and we must trust Him to do it well.  Study God’s Word to find several promises that will bring you the answer that you desire; believe them; rely upon them; and trust God.