Upright Living

Upright Living

We are strongly encouraged to live holy, upright lives in the Scriptures.  Here are several instances:

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.  (Tit 2:7-8 NIV)

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  (1 Tim 4:12 NKJV)

. . . having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  (1 Pet 3:16)

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—  (1 Pet 2:15)

Why is this so important to the Lord that He would repeat it many times throughout the Bible?  It’s because the Lord has designed us to be His light in this ever-darkening world.  His plan is that through our upright and holy lives, we may silence all who try to defame us and vilify us in public. 

Our Lord Jesus was our example.  He lived a holy, sinless life on this earth and went about teaching the people about God and the Kingdom.  Jesus also performed signs, wonders and miracles continually.  It is such good works as His that we should yearn to imitate. 

I encourage us all to follow our loving Savior’s example of a righteous life.  God bless you.

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!

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

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, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

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.

Signs & Wonders Win the Lost

Signs & Wonders Win the Lost

Did you know that when unsaved people see and experience signs, wonders, and miracles performed in the name of Jesus, that it wins many hearts to Jesus Christ?

Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.  (Joh 11:45)

Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.  (Joh 2:23)

And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”  (Joh 7:31)

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—  (Act 2:22)

God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?  (Heb 2:4)

As we read these passages of Scripture shown above, we can easily see that human beings consider signs, wonders, and miracles to be a confirmation and a witness from God that Jesus is, indeed, the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.

How can we, who are alive in 2020, turn up our noses at signs and wonders, and decide that the “age of miracles” has passed?  It is unthinkable and hard to fathom that anyone would believe such a thing. 

There are signs, wonders, and miracles happening all over the world right now—in our present time.  I have personally experienced miracles throughout my life, and many people that I know can also testify the same thing.  Once you have experienced and seen a miracle for yourself, you will never again doubt that Jesus is still performing signs and wonders.

The Bible says:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  (Heb 13:8)  This means that whatever Jesus did in the past, He will continue to do forever. Whatever qualities and personality traits that Jesus demonstrated in Bible times are still active and operational today.  It also means that His personality and His mission have not and will never change. Hallelujah!

Who are we to disagree with the God of all creation?

Are You an Overcomer?

Are You an Overcomer?

What does the word overcomer mean?  It is synonymous with conqueror; victor; champion; or winner. 

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)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  (Rom 8:37)

The verses above imply a battle, a war, or a competition of some kind.  But where is the battleground and over what do we fight?  The Bible teaches us that the world is the battleground.  The battle is for the souls of men, women, and children.  

On a day to day basis, overcomers are followers of Christ who hold fast to faith in Christ under all circumstances.  Whether their challenge is financial, physical, mental, or emotional, the believer trusts in God and in His Word.  He/she will find Scripture verses that address the trial that they’re facing and such verses will cause their faith to grow stronger and firmer.

God doesn’t leave us defenseless in this world.  He has given us the armor of God to equip us in battle.  (See Eph 6:11-17)  This armor is available to all believers. 

We come through trials by the power of the Holy Spirit, and by perseverance in faith. 

For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end . . .  (Heb 3:14) Steadfast means constant, stalwart, and unwavering. 

Hold on firmly and resolutely to your faith in Jesus Christ.  He will not fail you.  You ARE an overcomer! 

Good Things to Know

Good Things to Know

Greetings, friends!  Here are some lessons I’ve learned along my way.  These are applicable to and useful for all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

  • As soon as you receive an assignment from the Lord (which might come through your Pastor; the person who is your spiritual covering; or the Holy Spirit), you’re anointed to fulfill it!  (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18)  Anointed = empowered or enabled to act; set apart
  • Jesus is the Lord of your spirit, soul, and body.  (Acts 2:36; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 2:11)
  • Your anointing is sufficient for your life and your world.  (2 Cor. 1:21, 22)
  • We’re anointed to KNOW things.  (1John 2:20)
  • Decree and agree with what the Bible says about you.  (Numbers 22:35, 38; Mark 11:23)
  • Guard your heart.  (Prov. 4:23-27; Phil. 4:7)
  • Pray in the Spirit.  (Romans 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:13-15; Ephes. 6:18)
  • Walk in love; faith works by love.  (Gal. 5:6)  Daily life will test your love. 
  • A disciple of Christ performs signs and wonders.  (Acts 2:43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8)
  • Meditation upon the Scriptures transforms our belief system!  (Ps. 19:14; 49:3; Phil. 4:8; 1 Tim. 4:15)
  • You are delivered from the POWER of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  (Colossians 1:13, 14)

Enjoy your extraordinary, spiritual journey, friends!

How Can I Go to Heaven? Part 2

How Can I Go to Heaven? Part 2

We are continuing with our topic from the last article. 

Here are various Bible passages that tell us what we need to do in order to go to heaven when our physical body dies.

  • Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. (Mt 10:32)  Jesus is speaking in this verse.
  • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16)
  • And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (Joh 6:40)
  • And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Joh 10:28)  Jesus is speaking here.
  • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lor (Rom 6:23)
  • . . . 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 5:19)
  • For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor 5:21)
  • In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 Joh 4:9-10)

In order to enter into heaven, all of these Scriptures point us to the person of Jesus Christ.  Once we believe the truth of these verses and accept Jesus as our own, personal Savior and Redeemer, we are born again or “born anew.”  In fact, we become a new creation in Christ Jesus.  (2 Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10; Rom 6:3-4) 

Once we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we’re qualified to enter into heaven.  We also become eligible to receiving the benefit of every promise of blessing that is shown in the Bible!  Knowing that this is true prepares each one of us to lead lives of significance in the here and now.  Choose living for Jesus right now, and an eternity  in Heaven for yourself today!

Beauty

Beauty

“Beauty will save the world.”  ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.  (Ps 50:2)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
  (Isa 52:7)

What is Zion and why is it important to Christians? 

Jerusalem and Zion are one and the same city.  Zion was the place of God’s special presence among His people, and the place where they turned for help and deliverance.  Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE (before Common Era).  During classical antiquity, Jerusalem was considered the center of the world, where God resided.

What does all of this have to do with our topic of beauty?  Because God promises to shine forth out of Zion, which is called the perfection of beauty

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.  (Ps 33:1)

The Word of God reminds us that praise is beautiful—not only in the sight of God but in the sight of men, as well.  If I happen to find a television program that is broadcasting a praise and worship service, I find it so beautiful to see that I’m moved to tears.

. . . rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.  (1 Pet 3:4, emphasis added)

In this verse from first Peter, the Word of God tells us that a gentle and quiet spirit is indestructibly beautiful!  It is also very treasured by our God.  So, we see that God considers salvation to be a beautiful thing, along with our praises to Him.

It is this inner quality of beauty that God commends and which the entire world unerringly recognizes!  We will achieve this level of beauty as we obey God and seek to follow Him.  He is the only One who transforms lives because He is the glory and the lifter of our heads!  (Ps 3:3)  Because His Spirit lives within each one of us, His beauty will shine forth through us.

This is why Isaiah 52:7 (at top of this article) calls the feet of those who spread the Gospel “beautiful feet”!  We all may confidently pursue this beauty that shines forth from our inner man.