DISCIPLES OF JESUS MINISTRY

Where He leads us we will follow

The closing of the end

                                    The closing of the end

                                                              By

                                                 Raymond McGough

 

                                                      Introduction

 

        This is more about living out Biblical Theology, than just studying it. You can only live out something when have studied the subject, and  started applying it in your own life. Biblical Theology is all about God from the New Testament Greek, “Theos.”When you have been called to be a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, you are in actual fact a follower of God. To say that you are not interested in Biblical Theology is a contradiction.

        The Bible is the Word of God given to us for our instruction with the help of the Holy Spirit. He helps us and energizes us to do the things that please God our Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. To put into practice that which we read from the Word of God.

       It is more important than ever that we live out the Theology contained in God’s Word in today’s society, and the future. Why do I say that? Because we are living in what scholars and theologians call the End Times. The world you and I live in God is going to bring to a close in the future. We need to know what God expects of us and act accordingly, as the closing of the end gets nearer. This little book is not exhaustive, but my prayer is that it will help you, as it has helped me.

 

                         (a)         To know God, and do what he asks of us.

          

        I turn to the First Letter of the Apostle Simon Peter, addressed to the saints or believers, who have been scattered through out all Asia Minor, because of persecution, for executing their belief in the risen Lord. (1.Pet.2:11, 12.) Reading from the N.K.J.V, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, (12) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may be, your good works which they observe, glorify God in the Day of visitation.”

 

                  The whole problem of coming to the Lord is that each of us is to carry a cross. There is no salvation without it. I believe this is exactly the point the author of this letter is making to the sojourners and the pilgrims in Asia Minor. A sojourner is someone in temporary residence, not in a place of permanency. When you and I were saved by the grace of God, we have the phenomenon in which our physical presence is in the world, but our inner being or our spirit is in both heaven, and earth, both at the same time. However; while we live down here you and I are traveling through earth in our earthly bodies towards heaven. I do not want to deter anyone from coming to Jesus by calling the cross a problem, it is only a problem if they see it as such. Jesus Christ carried a cross, and those who truly follow him, he will help them to carry theirs with the help of his Spirit, overcoming the obstacles that come against you. If you love him as he loves you nothing will stand in your path.

                 I believe this is exactly what Simon Peter is pointing out to those to whom he writes, including us. The author goes on to describe them as pilgrims, a word that has stayed with us, even into this century. We hear in the Daily News Reports of how once a year, many pilgrims travel to Mecca to worship Allah. Obviously not what the Apostle is meaning here. Interestingly the word has stayed with us. Biblically, particularly in the Old Testament the word signifies people who are in transient. I believe the Apostle has the same thought in mind for those to whom he writes, for himself, including you, and I.

       We need to take that thought on board, that although, we are in the world, we are not of the world. All of us need to see the deep spiritual significance of this, to ask God to help us to see it from his perspective, nailing down the gray cells of our mental faculties, the brain, seeing the vision of the glory of God. Only then we will know how to respond!

        The brain belongs to our physical bodies and is of the earth; because of this the enemy or the Devil brings temptation to us through this control centre. He speaks to our eyes by what we see, whispers to our earthly brain or mental faculty to commit things that are wrong for our own selfish pleasures ,which quite neatly fits into what the Apostle speaks of in the next part of the verse, “ …abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul,”

        When you and I were saved it did not take out our old nature, even although we had been given our salvation from the Lord. I would go as far as to say, that within us there is a war that is raging between our spirit, and our old nature. We can no longer do what pleases you, and me, when it clearly is displeasing to God.Abstain, means that we should stop, exactly what the Apostle is instructing the believers in exile to do. Stop what? Those things that clearly displease God the author describes as fleshly lusts.Why, because they war against the soul. Nobody is immune; if that were the case the Apostle would not have noted it for our instruction.

        James the brother of Jesus gives us more detail on this to further our understanding, (Jm.4:1) “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” The operative words, your desires for pleasure not what God desires and not of his will. (12) “ ..having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles,” How you live, and speak among those who do not know God, must make God visible to them through you. Vocal testimony to the fact that they believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, acting under the Spirit of the living God by making visible the gifts, and the fruit of the Spirit. Honorable conduct, despite all that comes against you in the shape of persecution,oppression,and hostility. The exiles were already going through these trials, and times of testing, which begs the question, why is the Apostle being so hard on them? But this only brings more questions than answers, is he?

        I believe the Apostle is looking back to another bitter experience of his life, when he had retaliated against Christ’s enemies by cutting off a servant’s ear, but was miraculously healed by Jesus. He had been taught a valuable lesson by the Lord. Now he is warning them not to retaliate. You and I are to show the love of Christ to all whom we meet, including our enemies. Difficult, but it was even more so for the believers in exile.

      How can you and I be like this? We need to give ourselves wholly to God, embark on a selfless life in sacrifice to our Lord. When we do that, we become more and more like our risen glorified Lord, the object of the exercise of being His children. The great Apostle Paul added lustre to this concept. (Phil.2:15) “ ..That you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” Is the world any better than the time of the Apostles, Simon Peter, and Paul, the answer is a resounding no!    Continues to be a very dangerous place, and yet we have to go out into it, letting the light of Christ within us pour out upon the darkness. How can we let the light of Christ within us shine when we do not let it. Do we really love Jesus? The question we all need to ask ourselves, or is it an exercise of mental intellectual consent? This presupposes the question, why do we call ourselves Christians, thinking a passive faith is enough to get by on. Not according to our Lord and his Apostles.

     “…that when they speak against you as evil doers, they may, be your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation,” What does the Apostle Simon Peter mean? How are you and I to understand what the Apostle is trying to convey? The Gentiles spoken of here are pagans or heathen. They have no knowledge of God. There are many in the world of today who fall into this heading. But why should we who know God be called evil doers by those who do not know him? I can only conclude on what Jesus was reported of saying, in the accounts of the gospel, to forgive your enemies, and do well towards them. Perhaps through these good works that God does through us they will repent towards God, and glorify him. The good works that God does through us are for friend and foe. When God asks you to do something, no matter how outlandish it may seem, and the voice of God has spoken, do it. The day of visitation can be at any time, in judgment or mercy, whatever his choice. (Lk.1:68) “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His People.”  (Deut.5:9, 10.) “..you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,(10) but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and observe My commandments.” We need to see this in the context of God visiting the unsaved in a special way, either in mercy or judgment, before the Second Coming of Christ. I would like to suggest that the word visitation expresses a divine visit, not of someone coming and taken up residence, as will happen in the second glorious return of the risen Christ.

 

 

                                  (b)   Called and chosen to be a Blessing

 

         To be able to do, what I was talking of earlier, we need to love one another with the love Christ gives to us. Again, I am staying in the First Letter of the Apostle Peter. (1.Pet.3:8, 9)  “ Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be humble; (9) not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

 

        Now if we were all to live like that, loving each other in practical ways, what an impact  that would be upon the world, instead of spouting empty words to one another that changes nothing, including the world we live in.

        Let us take an in depth look at what the Apostle is instructing the believers to do in Asia Minor. “Finally, all of you be of one mind,” To be of one mind, we know who the apostle is referring to, no other, than that great illustrious person of our risen glorified Lord, Jesus Christ. We are to be of his mind that is what we all diligently seek in this life.

       We are all to see the same things that he sees, through his eyes, think the way he thinks, allowing the Holy Spirit to enable us to do that, submitting our selves to the control of our Lord, by listening to what the Spirit would have to say to us, and being obedient to Him. It is only by these means, when we let the Spirit permeate the whole of our spirit within us, that we can have the mind of Christ; only through this method can we be one in Christ. This enables us to do the next couple of things that we are instructed to do by the author, having compassion towards one another, showing brotherly love in the manner our Brother Christ loves us, by being tenderhearted and humble amongst one another. We can only achieve this by the operative power of God the Holy Spirit who lives within each of us. Listening to him, and being obedient.(9)…not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” I am not to be like this world, seeking vengeance for any evil done against me, nor revile someone who has reviled me. (Prov.17:13) “Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.” The next clause highlights what I am to be like in this world. “..but on the contrary blessing,” I have to bless others just as God blesses me. These are the words of Jesus to you and me,(Matt.5:44) “ 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.” It is only by these means that I can inherit a blessing. I can see this in the reading of the later chapters of Matthew. (Mtt.25:34.) “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:”   You and I need the Spirit of the living God to put into action what he requires of us without him it is impossible.

 

               (c)                           The closing of the end                        

                    

            I had mentioned earlier in the first section that God would bring to a close the world as we know it. Nothing is certain in a world of transition only uncertainty, the only certainty we have is God. The only other certainty is death. All die, the godly and the ungodly, it is where you and I go from that point which is crucially important to the soul. Those who know God believe in his Second Coming in the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

            For information on this we turn to the Apostle Simon Peter’s Second Letter. (2.Pt.3:10-13) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (11) Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, (12) looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? (13) Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

     (10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.             

     Let’s take the first part of the verse, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night,” Nobody knows when the return of the Lord will be? It could be anytime, but in the meantime, we are to hold onto what we have heard and received, the Good News of Jesus Christ, by putting it into action through his Spirit within us. Our risen glorified Lord spoke on this subject to John in his exalted glorified state. (Rev.3:3) “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”

          We are to live as he lived showing compassion, mercy, kindness, and longsuffering to all whom we meet on our paths in the very same manner that he does for us.

           Those who know and love God the Psalmist marks out from those who do not. (Pss.102:25, 26)  “Of old You laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. (26) They will perish, but you will endure; Yes, they will grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed.”

       (11) “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.” The challenge is there for all who love the Lord to be like him in the whole of our lives 24x7. Writing of the characteristic trait of our Lord the Apostle had this to say,( 1.Pt.1:15,) “…but as He called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”

        (12) “ Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?” But before any of this happens ,we who love the risen glorified Christ will already have been taken up to be  with him in the clouds. The day spoken of here is judgment which will take place after the Rapture of the church. ( 1.Thess.3:13-17) “ But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have died, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.(14) For if we believe Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who died in Jesus.(15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are dead.(16) For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.(17) Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

      This is why we should be praying for the coming of the Lord, because after God’s people are taken into heaven, then we will see the formation of new heavens, and a new earth, where the righteousness of Christ will dwell.

      A fact that fits quite snugly into the last verse of the paragraph.(13) “ Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

The Bible Teaching on Salvation

                                                                                    


The Biblical Teaching on Salvation

 

The word salvation comes from the Greek expression soteria meaning to deliver, save, and rescue morally and physically. We find that in the Old Testament God is revealed to be the one who saves his people (.Ps.27:1.The Lord is my light and salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?) Salvation comes from the Lord. Ps.88.1; cf Deut 26.8, (and the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with a outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders: ) The Israelites had been taught by God to remember what He had done for them and to continue to remember what he was still doing. Their existence and redemption was built upon that premise. The nation was held responsible for declaring publicly all that God had done for them To show thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation they were to respond by bringing offerings with joyful hearts, show goodness to others, and to be obedient to his commands.

            (   Isaiah.53:5……with his stripes we are healed) A reference to the suffering servant Messiah who we know now to be our risen glorified Lord once known as Jesus of Nazareth is Jesus the Christ. It also points to spiritual physical, and moral healing which is included in salvation.

             The New Testament describes salvation as the path or road leading through our earthly lives to having eternal life and fellowship with God in heaven(.Mtt.7:14.because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.) Jesus taught this and it holds fast for the present and the future the fact that of the populations that populate the world we live in there will not be many who will follow him on the road to eternal life.

 

(a)                                  To enter the gate of eternal life we must show repentance in and through the lives we lead it must be true and genuine repentance. Deny self and humbly follow Jesus. Seek to be obedient to his commands earnestly seeking his kingdom with his righteousness persevering to the end in one’s true faith, purity, and love to be found in the few not the many                                                                                       (b)  In his sermon on the mount Jesus spoke of the great blessings that would follow his disciples who are in his kingdom ( Mtt5 3-12) But he warned there would be persecution that would follow the blessings             ( Mtt. 5: 10-12)

Salvation is not cheap it is indeed costly getting saved is the easy part leading the life of a true disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ is something else. Following Christ involves a heavy responsibility towards the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ accepting persecution, love for our enemies, and self denial. cf. Mk.12:14; Jn.14:16.

       To be able to meet the requirements of what it means to be a disciple of our Lord he promised to send the comforter to us who would enable us to meet what our Lord expects of us. The Holy Spirit who would and will abide with us forever. (Acts.16:17 ;)

         The road to salvation. (2 Pet.2, 21 ;) Command and a warning to stay on the road of salvation. ( Acts.9:2,22:4; Heb.10:20.) We are to walk on the road of salvation to the very end of our earthly lives when we will be called home to be with our Lord in glory. Salvation has only one route with two links

 

Salvation can only come from one singular route which leads us to Christ He it is who leads us to the Father.( Jn.14:6; Acts.4:12.) Salvation comes only from God He provides this to us freely an unmerited gift received in and through His Son Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul writes to the believers in Rome on this very subject in order to give them some understanding of the meaning of grace. The unmerited favour of God .The apostle comments ( Rom.3:24: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.) Rooted and grounded upon his death.( Rom.5:8.But God commendeth his love towards us,in while we were yet sinners,Christ died for us.) The resurrection.( Rom.5:10 For if, we were enemies,we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,much more,being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.) Who continues to plead and intercede upon the believers behalf..( Heb.7:25.)

 

(b) Two links of salvation. Salvation is the gift of the grace of God that can only be received in and through faith in Jesus Christ.( Rom.3:22.Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe:for there is no difference:)

         Meaning God extends it to us because of his unmerited favour his love unwarranted by human kind.( Jn.1:16.And of his fullness have all we received,and grace for grace.) The second link of our salvation is our response we believe and we accept by faith God’s gracious gift.( Acts.16:31;and they said ,believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,and thou shalt be saved,and thy house.) cf.Rom.1:17; Eph.1:15; 2:8;

                                                                                                                    (c) Salvation consists of  three parts

(1) The first part lies in the past personal experience of the forgiveness of sin as of believers when we received salvation as that of a free gift.( Acts .10:43.To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.) When this is done we pass from spiritual death to spiritual life from the enslavement to sin over us to the power of God who frees us.( 1.Jn.3:14.We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.He that loveeth not his brother abideth in death.)From the devil’s rule over us to the rule of God our Father over us.(Acts.26:18.To open their eyes,and to turn from darkness to light,and from the power of Satan unto God,that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith which is in me.) It is upon this solid ground that brings us into a new and living relationship with God.( Jn.1:12.But as many as received him,to them gave he power to become the sons of God,even to them who believe in his name: ) Because of this we have been saved from sin including the penalty that came with it spiritual and physical death.( Rom.1:16.For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;to  the Jew first,and also to the Greek.)

           (2) Our salvation as it stands will save us from our old nature and that was to do what pleased you and me even when it meant rebellion against God. To enable us to overcome this each of us has been given God the Holy Spirit who Himself has brought us into fellowship with him and God the Father and God the Son our Lord Jesus Christ. A new and dynamic relationship with the living God because we as believers can approach him and call him Father in similar manner we approach his Son Jesus Christ and call him Saviour and Lord  or Jesus.( Mtt.6:9.)We as believers are now to reckon ourselves dead to sin. (Rom.6:1-14.)Looking at the last verse in particular. ( For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace.) We are to be obedient to the voice of the HolySpirit(Rom.8:1-17.)See verse 14 of the same passage. (For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God) Submitting to the word of God. ( Jn.8:31.If ye continue in my word then are ye my disciples indeed) God our heavenly Father demands that we keep ourselves from sin. Our lives are to be separate from it (Rom.6:1-14) SEE VERSE 12(Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof,) neither are we to conform to the present corrupt generation. (Acts.2:40; and with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourself from this untoward generation.)

           Of crucial importance is our call to contend for the advance of God’s Kingdom against the Devil and his demonic hordes. (Eph.6:11.Put on the whole armour of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.)

            (3) What our salvation means to us in the future. We will be kept by the power of God through faith in him until the very end when he will reveal Himself to us. (1.Pet.1:5.) Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Deliverance from God’s coming fearsome anger. (Rom.5:9 ;) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. We will share in Christ’s glory. (Rom.8:30.) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Believers will receive a resurrected and new transformed body in the rapture. (In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.1.Cor.15:52.) As faithful believers overcoming the enemy we will be given rewards. (Rev.2:7,)Future salvation is what we must march towards with the help of God the Holy Spirit who abides in us. (1.Cor.9:24-27.)

         All the present warnings, circumstances, trialsof our faith and discipline including rebukes are to increase our dependency on God who will bring us through to his great salvation and in so doing we will not forfeit such a prize.( Heb.12:1,) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

 

 by Raymond McGough

AUDIO TEACHING

What the Bible teaches us about Satan
by Raymond McGough                                                          




HEBREWS1:1-3

                                                                                                  



Heb 1:1 God who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;


We do not know who the writer was of the book of Hebrews, sufficient for us to know that the writings were accepted into the canon of the New Testament by the disciples and the apostolic fathers very godly men From the very first opening line the writer draws our attention to the focus of his mind The person he brings before you and I and by so doing diverts our interest and intellect away from himself to a vastly superior greater person in magnitude glory, and transcendent splendour far above any earthly human being or created power. He uses only one word to describe all of this. The word is God. Before anything was and that includes you and me there was God. God before anything else. This may trouble and upset you and I do not apologize for what I am going to say, in the light of what I have just said against all that God is you and I are nothing. We are nothing. We are nothingness. When we acknowledge and recognise that we are indeed nothing only then will God begin to work in our hearts. When we begin to think we are someone. God can’t work within us .If I do not think of myself as being nothing apart from Him God cannot work in and through me. Either God is in control of the whole of me or he is not You think perhaps I am a little crazy.


If loving God means people think I am crazy, my family ,my employers, and neighbours. Then so be it, so what a place to start for you and I to begin with where we find the source of our beginnings God Himself. If what God has to say to you through me brings you closer to Him that will give Him tremendous joy it will also give you great joy and I will feel the joy of God in my own heart. The whole of heaven, the universe and all of God’s people the saints, angels, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, the one triune God totally rejoicing with gladness as we lift our hearts upwards towards Him who is a great God. So for today let’s forget about ourselves concentrate on who God is and what he would have to say to each of us regarding His person. I would like you to think and imagine that you are right there in there in the centre of the Holy of Hollies standing right there at the front of the mercy seat of God His Majesty is sitting there right in front of you. What would our reaction be? I believe it would be to fall at his feet praising, worshipping him in song and voice with tremendous joy, devotion and love, with reverent respect, awe and excitement. This is exactly what we should be doing now because we are all in God’s house. When we are in God’s house everyone of us are before God. You and I can sense the glorious presence of His Shekinah glory. Great is our God the Majestic Father of our Lord Jesus Christ the Son the only begotten of God the father. This is the very August divine person that we have gathered together to worship. Worship and praise that comes from our very hearts. My heart and yours. No wonder the writer with awe and astonishment from the very bottom of his soul with the deepest of reverent respect declares to those to whom he writes and all of us God just that one name. The Lord of Lords and God of Gods because that is exactly who He is.

Can you sense that deep within your soul because I know I can. It fills me with tremendous excitement, Hallelujah! Bless the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is our wonderful Redeemer and Saviour. A great eternal High Priest. Who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets. Who? God that’s who! Who at various times through different agencies and in many diverse phenomenons spoke in ancient times gone by in history to the fathers by the prophets. At various times through different agencies. God is never quiet its you and I who imagine he is because we can‘t see his person in a vision before our eyes. Nevertheless He is visible in his Spirit towards our own spirits within our bodily tabernacles. Your spirit my spirit within our physical flesh. God communes with his Spirit to the spirit within us. God has never stopped speaking to the whole of creation his creation let’s not make any mistake about that he owns the whole of the universe all of the created matter which includes you and I. Our God created everything there are those however who would not agree with this but this does not concern God because he is their creator too! He is God who continues to speak to all of us. From the very first time He brought into being the very creation we find ourselves living in we only need to look around us to see that our God speaks specifically when it’s a beautiful day with blue skies and the sun shining directly down upon us there we see the handiwork of God our Father. How awesome is our God that the very universe in which we live shouts praises to his glorious name glorifying him over and over again. T here we see one of the agencies that God can speak to us through. He also speaks at various times. Turn to Numbers 12.6, but look at verse 5 before that [And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud and stood in the door of the tabernacle] A tremendous phenomenon a supernatural event transcending all earthliness. The agency is the pillar of the cloud. God shrouded Himself in the cloud because no human could look upon his countenance and continue to live physically and spiritually. God in his foreknowledge and mercy knew this. We have a loving and merciful God in the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Great God! In all of this I would like you to see that it is God who takes the initiative to come and speak to us. Us meaning you and me.

Do you listen to God’s voice? I was speaking of how God spoke at various times through different agencies and diverse ways. Now we come to diverse ways. You cannot pin our God down to speaking to us in only one type of revelation. In verse 5 he had come down in the pillar of the cloud when we come to verse 6. God speaks of revealing and speaking to the fathers through the prophets. Another completely different diverse manner of revealing Himself look at verse 6, [And He said, hear now my words; If there be a prophet among you. I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision and will speak unto him in a dream, ] But looking at that verse and I would like you to keep the page open there do you notice something and it ties in with what God has already been saying to us. The positivity is that even although man had fallen from grace because of his sin that had been committed in the Garden of Eden God continued to show mercy and love towards him but because of mans sin against God the man could no longer have direct access to God. Therefore; our God mindful of the fact that his Shekinah, radiant glory was an all consuming fire when facing those whom he loved and spoke with veiled and covered his glory so that they could approach and speak with Him who was their God He would have loved them to have been able to look upon him but because of their sin they could not and our God knew that. So that everything on the pages of the Old Testament was a pale reflection of things to come.
However, the O. T. points to the love, the mercy, and the compassion of God towards all of his people. We have to remember too the O. T. points to the new and more superior way forward continuing as with the old the constant love of a merciful God which He blesses us all with. The key to this is that our God is changeless continuing to be what He has always been The Great IAM that IAM, Hath in these last days; If the writer then recognized that while he was living here on earth he was in the last days then we are very much into the last days now. What do I mean by that? I mean that Christ could arrive at any moment for his church. Are you ready for being raptured, to go to be with the Lord to meet with him in the heavenlies? You and only you have the answer to that .I know that I am ready to go are you?
Listen to the apostle Paul as he speaks on this subject the words themselves speaks volumes [that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, which are on earth; even in Him A very clear indication to the heavenly Rapture of the church but that is another subject.

                   The emphases of verse 2 are how God has spoken to us by and through His Son. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his son. At the birth of Christ the last days had began and that was 2000 years ago the last days are counting down now spoken unto us by his Son making himself visible to man by becoming a man in and through Jesus Christ his Son our risen glorified Lord. The great difficulty about the idea of Jesus Christ being both God and man has been a hard one for the whole of godless mankind to accept. They accept that Jesus Christ was a true historical figure but to accept him as God pretty hard to swallow but that is exactly what the text speaks plainly of here. God who spoke unto us by his son .His Son God’s Son. Jesus Christ was not only a man important as that was He is God. Before anything was and is God’s son existed as God like his father. He had no beginning and has no end self sustaining, self existing, eternal God one with his father God and God the Holy Spirit the Godhead reigning throughout eternity.


How awesome this is when you and I look back as far as our earthly minds are capable of we can only see as far back as God allows us too. The awesomeness of the concept of He who made us in His own image included his Son who is was and is God. Jesus Christ as a man existed in the flesh from when he was born. However; Jesus Christ the Son of God Himself God is was and is God. He exists in eternity the here and now the present the future as well as the past .We know that in the first verse of Genesis and at chapter one the author makes a colossal statement affirming the glorious existence of our God he simply writes; In the beginning GOD] This we should understand and importantly so is equally applied to GOD the SON and GOD the HOLY SPIRIT but here in the epistle to the Hebrews the emphases is on God the Son. Therefore; what can be said of God the Father can be equally applied to the Son of God. So when the author of Genesis opens with the statement " In the beginning God " he is also thinking of God the son. God the father Jesus Christ the Son of God therefore God himself the first two persons of the one glorious triune God have always reigned together in majestic harmony along with God the Holy Spirit ruling in glorious sovereignty apart from the time when Jesus Christ spent a brief interlude as a man here on earth on our behalf still continuing to be the Son of God .How awesome and incredible that the Son of God verily God should become a man for you and I.

Jesus Christ did this miraculous work within his own person and body for all of us because He chose to, God choosing to become a man. Words do not describe an event like the one we have before us. Is it any wonder that the apostle and disciple whom Jesus loved could say of our Lord [For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.] Great is the greatness of our Lord. Whom he hath appointed heir of all things. I had alluded to the fact of the sovereign of God the father along with God His Son. Now God the father hands over the rule of all things to his glorious son our risen Lord. He is to be the heir of all things. God has handed over ownership of everything to his son. All things that is exactly what God means and has intended. All things the whole of the created universe including you and I the godless too as well as the god of this age and the dark spiritual forces. All have been handed over to the ownership of Christ the Son his control is slowly but surely beginning to take a grip of the world and the universe we live in. Psalm 2.8 has much to say on this very important matter [Ask of me, and I shall give ye the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession] Ask of me] Me is God the Father. Ye and Thine is the son. The Son by whom he made the worlds. When God made this world he made it in and through his Son our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I would like you to think and ponder over this Jesus Christ as the Son of God has always been God He along side God the father with the God the Holy Spirit were in existence before you and I were even thought of but still He continues to love us. .Before anything was Christ the son God is. When there was nothing created no mortal creatures no living thing the one triune God is forever existing living without end.

The disciple, apostle and prophet John of our Lord Jesus Christ affirms what the author to the Hebrews speaks of here in the account of his gospel of our Lord. “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made.” This means nothing was made without Jesus Christ the Son of God. There is nothing that has been made including ourselves, whether we can see it or hear it or not that has not been made by Him. All things including Lucifer before and after he became the devil, the angels who rebelled and went with Satan, they and us were made through the Son of God who has triumphed over them, the dark spiritual forces who will on the day of God’s judgement have to give an account. Today we either stand in God’s grace or judgement. The worlds mean the whole of the universe, the planets, the stars, the galaxies and outer space. All of this was made by God, through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. How breathtaking is that to our earthly minds, let the Holy Spirit transcend your mental faculties into the mind of God our Saviour, the anointed Son of God who lives forever and ever, who being the brightness of His Glory, who is the Son of God, He is the brightness of His Father’s glory. How totally astonishing brothers and sisters, and it is that astonishing when you consider the brightness and glory of God the Father would have consumed earthly mortal creatures like ourselves as seen in the Old Testament, but here we have an entirely different concept the brightness of the glory of God the Father as seen in His Son is tempered with mercy. Again look at what the apostle John speaks of concerning the extraordinary mercy of God.

Joh 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The word grace contains within it the mercy of God our Father which He showers upon us through Jesus Christ, His Son and our Lord. Our Lord, God’s Son radiates God’s glory because He shares God’s nature and essence. Whatever God is in character and nature Jesus is the express image. Essence simply describes all that God the Father is, His Son Jesus Christ our Lord is in the whole sum and substance of His being.“Upholding all things by the Word of his Power”. When you look at this part of the verse it shows or illustrates to us that you and I are totally dependant on Christ Jesus to keep this world continuing in existence. The Son of God continues to do this in order to win back His People who remain in captivity under the devil. Do not think it is because you and I have been saved by our risen glorified Lord that somehow we achieved this, that is not the case. There is no merit in it for us. The merit, the glory and the majesty belongs to Christ and only Him in the light of this we are nothing in ourselves. The prophet John continues this. “ Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. “(Rev 4:11)



by Raymond McGough

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

 

                                                                       

Mar 10:15 I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

Luk 8:1 After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the
kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,

The message of the Kingdom was right at the heart of Christ's teaching from the very beginning. The four Gospels use the term "
kingdom of God" in 53 verses. The gospel Jesus Christ brought is clearly about this Kingdom..
Jesus called the twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the
kingdom of God and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:1-2)

In Luke 10 he sent seventy others aside from the disciples. Jesus told the seventy to proclaim, "The
kingdom of God has come near to you"

Look at the beatitudes. The message of the Kingdom comes across there.

Mat 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ………….
Mat
5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Do you see what our Lord says here? The commandments apply today the just the same.

Mat
5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Mat
5:18 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.
Mat 5:19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat
5:20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
The key to our understanding of seeking and living in the promises of God is contained in the following words of our Lord. We need not be anxious about tomorrow what we shall eat or drink or anything.

Jesus said “But seek first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Mat 6:33) We have a responsibility, we are instructed by our Lord to seek first the Kingdom and all these things will be added unto us. Seeking to enter the Kingdom of God should be our top priority.

Jesus used parables to illustrate aspects of the Kingdom. (Matthew chapters 13, 20, 22, 25; Luke chapters 13, 19) In some of His last words before His crucifixion, He remarked to His disciples that He would not partake of the emblems until He would once again do so "with you in My Father's kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).

Over a 40-day period immediately after His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ was seen by His followers. Notice that even then He continued "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God"
Act 1:3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

See also how John the Baptist commanded people to repent, announcing that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" (Matthew 3:2). The disciples continued to proclaim the Kingdom after His crucifixion. The importance of Jesus Christ's life, sacrifice and resurrection was a vital part of the message taught by the apostles. The apostle Peter made this clear in his first public preaching on the day of Pentecost after the miraculous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He had a new boldness because the Holy Spirit was empowering him.

Look at those verses. Surely this was the full gospel of the Kingdom.

Mar 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Here we see instructions to take the gospel message, to see people healed spiritually and physically. I believe this applies to us today too.

This was the Lord’s promise to the disciples.

Joh
14:12 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
Joh 14:13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
Joh 14:14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.


The prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesians here I am sure he would pray for us also.

Eph 1:15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
Eph 1:16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
Eph 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
Eph 1:20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21 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.
Eph 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
All things are under His feet V22.


1Pe 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

All powers and authorities are subject to Him.

Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
He is the ruler of the kings of this earth, although they may not acknowledge Him

Rev 2:26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations--
Rev 2:27 "He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'
He has power to rule the nations with a rod of iron

1Ti 6:15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
1Ti 6:16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords

1Th 2:10 You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe;
1Th 2:11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children,
1Th 2:12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

We are called into the Kingdom and His glory.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

We have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places for we are in Christ.

Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise to the praise of His glory.

Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love

WE ARE CONVEYED INTO HIS KINGDOM.

Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Heb
12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

We are received into the Kingdom.

Rev 1:9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called
Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

We are companions in the Kingdom.

1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

We need to confess Jesus as Lord

Psa 110:1 The LORD said to my Lord,
"Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."
Psa 110:2 The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of
Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!
Psa 110:3 Your people shall be volunteers
In the day of Your power;
In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning,
You have the dew of Your youth.


We need to submit ourselves to our Lord in the day of His power, which is the here and now.

.THE BLESSINGS WE HAVE AS PART OF THE KINGDOM


We are forgiven.

Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.


We are cared for and God is our provider.

Mat
6:25 "Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Mat
6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Mat
6:27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?
Mat
6:28 "So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;
Mat 6:29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Mat 6:30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Mat
6:31 "Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?' or "What shall we drink?' or "What shall we wear?'
Mat
6:32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Mat
6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Mat
6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


We are part of the church family

Col 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. .

He has given us His Spirit.

Joh 7:37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
Joh 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
Joh 7:39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified

Act 2:38 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.
Act
2:39 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."

Rom
14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

We are drawing closer to this day for the gospel message is touching nations throughout the world.

Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
We are called to preach the gospel of the kingdom, the full gospel.

. Luk 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires t o come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

We are not promised \an easy road, but when we follow Jesus we can be assured that he is with us every step of the way.
Being born again is not the ultimate goal of the gospel; it is the beginning of the greatest quest and journey toward the full maturity of what we are called to be. It is now time for the Church to go on to maturity, and this must begin with our message. It is the greatest message of hope, but also a call to battle.

Gal 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

Kingdom living is walking in the Spirit, our lives are changed.

The gospel of the kingdom leads to true salvation, which is why the Lord Jesus Himself preached this gospel, as well as the first century apostles. Redemption, healing, reconciliation, and restoration are all part of the gospel of the kingdom, and these are reasons for which the kingdom is coming. The gospel of the kingdom does include much more than the salvation of believers for it is the message that the rightful King is coming to take over lives.

Jesus said we were to take the gospel of the Kingdom, He said we were to make disciples of all nations.

The message of the Kingdom is life changing.

We need to put Religious pomp and ceremony aside, and replace it by the reality of the joy, power and love of intimate relationship with God and with fellow believers. The focus on "me" and "my needs" should become a focus on God and His desires. Our will should fade into His will We should seek His will. Our ways should begin to transcend into His way. Only man is made in the image of God and today can be filled with the life of the Spirit of the resurrected Christ. Only man has the God-given place to rule and reign with Christ on earth because of who we are in Christ. We have an authority that comes from Christ to go into battle against the forces of darkness, for the battle has already been won by our Savior. I want to live in the reality of Kingdom living, I want to walk the walk, draw closer to my King and serve Him in the here and now.

Remember we have the promise of the future Kingdom too, but that's a topic for another day.

LET THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OUR KING BE LIFTED HIGH OVER ALL THE EARTH. HE IS KING OVER ALL THE EARTH.
_________________

ABRAHAMIC COVENANT


      

God is interested in us and has promised us healing, prosperity, family well being and salvation in the covenant He made with Abraham. (We as Gentile Christians are grafted into these Abrahamic blessing promises right along with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Israel.)

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds," as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed, who is Christ.

Gal 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 

Gen 28:3 "May God Almighty bless you,

        And make you fruitful and multiply you,

        That you may be an assembly of peoples;

Gen 28:4 And give you the blessing of Abraham,

        To you and your descendants with you,

        That you may inherit the land

        In which you are a stranger,

        Which God gave to Abraham."

 

 

God teaches us, that individually we will profit. We do not have to learn this by ourselves. God teaches us to profit in accordance with the promise He made to  Abraham regarding prosperity. He is JEHOVAH  JIREH

 

Gen 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, "In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

 

Gen 28:13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: "I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.

Gen 28:14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

 

 We are the seed of Abraham God wants to bless us.

 

Isa 48:17 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,

        The Holy One of Israel:

        "I am the LORD your God,

        Who teaches you to profit,

        Who leads you by the way you should go.

 

God actually wants His servants to prosper.

 

Psa 35:27 Let them shout for joy and be glad,

        Who favor my righteous cause;

        And let them say continually,

        "Let the LORD be magnified,

        Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant."

 

God does not reject the prayers of the destitute and poor. He does not refuse to answer their prayer and hence cause their lack of prosperity.

 

Psa 102:17 He shall regard the prayer of the destitute,

        And shall not despise their prayer.

 

God hears the prayers of the destitute and needy.

 

Even Job could see these things he realised that God would  not turn his back on the needy. He would not cast them aside. God would hear their prayers and do something about their problems. Even in the face of great adversity, Job could see these things

 

Job 36:11 If they obey and serve Him,

        They shall spend their days in prosperity,

        And their years in pleasures.

 

Job 36:15 He delivers the poor in their affliction,

        And opens their ears in oppression.

 

The Bible sets a principle of giving. What you plant is what comes up in your harvest. Farmers plant corn, cotton and tomato seeds. These same things, corn, cotton and tomatoes, grow for them in the time of their harvest.

 

Pro 11:24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more;

        And there is one who withholds more than is right,

        But it leads to poverty.

Pro 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich,

        And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Pro 11:26 The people will curse him who withholds grain,

        But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

 

The Bible teaches on the principle of tithing.

 

Neh 10:38 And the priest, the descendant of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes; and the Levites shall bring  up a tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the rooms of the storehouse.

 

 

Mal 3:8 "Will a man rob God?

        Yet you have robbed Me!

        But you say,

        "In what way have we robbed You?'

        In tithes and offerings.

 

So we have a responsibility to give unto the Lord.. God will reward our faithfulness when we give unto Him., Biblical stewardship calls a Christian to give back to God through tithing. The word "tithe" merely means "a tenth." A Christian, therefore, ought to set aside a tenth of his or her income for God.

For God, tithing is not only about a percentage. Tithing has more to do with one's heart during the act of giving then the actual amount given to God. The widow woman who brought her two small coins gave all that she had to God where as others gave out of abundance..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Luk 21:1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,

Luk 21:2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.

Luk 21:3 So He said, "Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;

Luk 21:4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had."

 

  God will prosper us as we give of ourselves and bring our tithes to Him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

ETERNAL SECURITY

                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Psa 84:11 For the LORD God is our light and protector. He gives us grace and glory. No good thing will the LORD withhold from those who do what is right.

We can see that grace comes from God. Grace isn’t earned, see the verses below. It is God's unmerited favour extended to us.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

God by His grace decided to offer us the gift of salvation. Nothing we can do can earn it. You simply have to receive it with faith and thankfulness. Faith doesn't save a person. Everybody has expressed faith at some point or another. Yet not everyone will spend eternity in heaven. It is God's grace that saves us. Our faith, however, is the thing that bridges the gap between our need and God's provision; specifically, it is a point in time at which the expression of faith in Christ brings God's provision together with our need. Faith is simply the way we can say yes to God's free gift of eternal life. Faith and salvation are not one and the same anymore than a gift and the hand that receives it are the same. Salvation or justification or adoption—whatever you wish to call it—stands independently of faith. So , God doesn't require us to have a constant attitude of faith in order to be saved, only an act of faith.

What happens we take that first step of faith, when we truly repent of our sins, recognising who we are in the sight of a Holy God.

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

We become a new creation, we are born again, we are justified.

Rom 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Rom
8:10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you……                                                                                                         Rom
8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Rom
8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father."
Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,


The Holy Spirit indwells the believer, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. We are children and we are heirs and God does not take te Holy Spirit away from us .

Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

It is true we can grieve and quench the Spirit wihin us, but we are sealed, get that, if you are saved you can have the assurance of eternal security. Praise God!

Pro
18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.

Psa 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Psa 46:2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Psa 46:3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.Selah

Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The most powerful security in this world is knowing that nothing can separate us from God's love. God does not withdraw His free gift of salvation. The Holy Spirit can't leave us.

Tit 3:4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
Tit 3:6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Tit 3:7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


Our Lord Jesus Christ has declared us not guilty before His Father and because the work oif regeneration has already been done, we are justified by His grace, His mercy extended towards us, sinful undeserving mankind. God alone can bestow grace.

We were all due condemnation and the wrath of God . Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
Rom 3:22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all[8] who believe. For there is no difference;
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Rom 3:24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
Rom 3:25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
Rom 3:26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Grace is 100% God's grace. There is no price a sinner can pay to save himself. Jesus has paid the price for our sin's. He suffered bled and died for us. Grace is God's gift, coming freely from his heart because he first loved us and given to many as many as receve in faith and come thankfully on their knees before him.

ETERNAL SECURITY                                                                                                           Study Romans chapter 3 and Ephesians, we can learn plenty about God's grace there.

So brothers and sisters:
Phi 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Phi 4:5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Phi 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
Phi 4:7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Give thanks for the wonderful gift He has given you. Give praise to His Name.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

John Newton 1725-1807

LIVING WATERS AND THE BREAD OF HEAVEN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Isa 55:1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
Isa 55:2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Isa 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you--
The sure mercies of David.


“Ho” (or Hoy or Hokee in Hebrew) is like saying “pay attention.” Here we see the heart cry of God to every one to pause and consider His salvation. This invitation is to every man, woman, and child on the topside of the earth. It means every man of every station in life, in all strata of society, from every race, tribe, tongue, condition, and color. All are included. The invitiation is “Ho, every one.” Jesus alluded to this passage in Isaiah on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7: 37-38

What Jesus offers is free

Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life

The invitation is for us to drink deep and long of the eternal springs. At the crossroads of life God has put up a sign: “THIRSTY?” Ho, every one that is thirsty. Are you tired of this world? Have you found that it does not satisfy? Do you long for something better? God says, “I have something for you.” Then He mentions a variety of things and says that you can buy these things without money. God’s offer is without money. Why? Because back in Isaiah 53 the Lord Jesus paid the price for it on the cross. This is God’s invitation to you, “Come ye, buy, and eat.” Not only drink, but He offers the bread of life, too.

We read throughout God's Word, the Bible, references made to Living Water the Living Waters come from the deepest well, of all the Holy Spirit, you need never thirst because the waters are free flowing from there and the free flowing rivers of living waters.

The bread of life comes from God’s Word.

Joh
6:35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Joh 6:41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven."


Joh
6:48 I am the bread of life.
Joh 6:49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
Joh 6:50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
Joh
6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world."

The bread that comes from Jesus is manna from heaven. If we come to Him the living bread we shall live forever. The payment has been paid, Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross.

The cost is simply the cost of following Jesus.

Luke 14:27-30 Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
Luke 9:23,24 "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."

Jesus has promised that He will pour out His Spirit But we need to come thirsting for the Holy Spirit and hungry for our Lord. How much do you desire to know Him? How much do you long for His Presence?

 

Act 2:17 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your young men shall see visions,
Your old men shall dream dreams.

  

Walk in the Spirit

                                                                                                            


Gal 5:16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,
Gal 5:21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Gal 5:23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Gal
5:24 And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


WALK IN THE SPIRIT.

To be able to please God we must learn to walk in the Spirit. God the Holy Spirit indwells the souls of all who confess Jesus Christ to be their Lord and God, the God of the whole of their lives. Every detail of my life and your life must be handed over to God to enable Him to use our lives to attract others to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. But without the help of God the Holy Spirit, it will be impossible to do anything that is why Paul the apostle in his epistle to the Galatians Ch5.16 ff writing to the saints has this to say[This I say then, Walk in the Spirit,] How to please God - walk in the Spirit. Therefore, we are commanded to walk in the Spirit. When you and I repented from sin it was because God the Holy Spirit had been at work within our hearts when for the first time we had heard the gospel of Christ being preached through one of his servants accompanied by the power and influence of God the Holy Spirit who entered into our hearts and convicted us of sin and led us to repentance All of this is the work of God the Holy Spirit He is the third person of the trinity. Jesus called Him the Comforter. God the Holy Spirit has many other titles but without his help you and I can do nothing. God the Holy Spirit is actively at work within a person’s mind, soul and Spirit He never ceases.

BEING FASHIONED BY GOD
We may not like what He does as He fashions us into the likeness of Christ in every day we live and breathe. He helps us all to conform to the mind and image of Jesus Christ our risen glorified Lord in the world we live in at present. If you and I think that it was because we in ourselves had some redeeming feature or something that was good in us in the natural then we have missed the point entirely and the grace that God bestows upon us – through Jesus Christ His Son means nothing. Absolutely nothing in any shape or form and we may as well be dead in our sins because any self- righteousness that you and I think we possess is nothing but filthy rags in the sight of a holy and righteous God such as ours. It doesn’t matter what position we hold within the church because if we misuse it against a brother or sister in the Lord, God will take it away from us. The positions that God gives to you and I, those of us who hold positions are in order to bring His people closer to Himself in order that He might glorify Himself through them. Positions have tremendous privilege but they carry with them great responsibility especially within the church of Christ. They are not to be abused and misused for our own personal gain because they are not ours to do whatever we feel like. They belong to the Head of the body which is the church, the Head being the risen glorified exalted Lord the Lord Jesus Christ and the body is His church which is us. But like every brother and sister in Christ our Lord we must learn to walk in the Spirit.[and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh]What is the lust of the flesh they are many and varied. It can be what pleases you and me but doesn’t please God whatever it may be. My own self interests what I want self-centredness. I am quite sure none of you suffer from that do you? When I or any brother or sister envies the gifts that our Lord has bestowed upon them and they seem to be better equipped than me who am I to question the grace of God that has been bestowed upon them .Can I question God’s bounty freely given to whoever He is pleased to give it to? Can I say to God why do you make him or her a more gifted person than what I am? Who am I to question God? Why, because of jealousy and envy towards another brother or sister?

WHO ARE WE WITHOUT HIM?

In the eyes of God without Christ I am nothing, thankfully we are in Christ, and if we start to envy one another because of the gifts that the Lord has freely given to us it brings disunity within the devil likes to see nothing better than God’s people arguing with one another because he has achieved his aim bringing enmity and division among the flock fulfilling the lust of the flesh. There are times too when we hold on to the positions that God freely and graciously gives to us and they become more important than God Himself and perhaps even more telling the work that he gives to one of his servants to do has now come to an end. And the time is right for that person or persons to move on but instead stays in his comfort zone. God is the one who has to be in control of us not the me that would be the lust of the flesh. However, you can see where I am coming from here we see the pride of life and the lust of the flesh impinging on my own personal spiritual walk with our Lord. Without the help of God the Holy Spirit the lust of the flesh can and will effect our walk with God. We have to continue in our love for each other despite our differences because God loved us and continues to love us and loved us before we loved Him. It’s certainly not about you and me. The gospel is about God the Son and his love that he gives to all of us without exception. We live and breathe because its God’s good pleasure that we do so, the gospel is not about me or any other man or woman. The gospel is about Jesus Christ and knowing Him as Lord. What is Paul’s aim to promote the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and for those who have been converted to Christ Jesus through the power and influence of the Holy Spirit to show the fruits of the Spirit in our own lives to everyone we meet regardless of who they may be .In verse 17 we are told that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit. What is it exactly is meant by these words and what does Paul mean us to understand them by.

WE ARE AT WAR WITH OUR OLD FLESH NATURE
The flesh is the sinful nature that you and I still possess within us. Our ability to do what we know to be wrong and transgress against God is still there painful as that can be. When we do something we know in our hearts to be wrong our conscience speaks to our spirit bearing witness to the fact that we have done something wrong and it is up to us to put it right .Paul speaking of this struggle about the war that goes on and continuous within our minds speaks of it this way,Romans.7.23;[But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,]This is applicable to what we think within our grey cells of our minds the brain or mental faculty .The thought patterns. How you and I think Paul here is writing of himself and by writing about himself he includes every individual born again Christian.
The apostle writes to the saints in Rome. All of those that have been born again are separated from the world that we find ourselves living in to be obedient to God our Father in heaven so that we will serve the living Christ our risen glorified Saviour and Lord while living in this present age. Can you see what this great godly man is pointing out here the struggle within his mind to do that which is pleasing to God. Now if he struggled as he did within his own mind how does that effect us. It means that we struggle as well to do what we believe to be right within our own minds. Do I struggle? Of course I do. It is a continuous struggle a war as Paul quite rightly calls it. The choice belongs as always to you and I to do what am right before God. But it is war between self and God. When our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ chose us to be his disciples He did not transform the old nature within us. We must remember too He chose us we did not choose Him. The old nature still remains within us if we had been immediately transformed there would have been no necessity for the Cross that He had died upon. From which God raised him from the dead. What he did do was to send the Comforter God the Holy Spirit to each and everyone of us to enable you and I to overcome the old mind set that is still there within our heads because we have been called to carry a cross each of us The devil didn’t make it easy for our Lord so he certainly isn’t going to make it any easier for us. He certainly did ‘not make it easy for Paul and you only need to read the Pauline Epistles of the New Testament to be able to see that.[Bringing me into the captivity of sin] What brings us into the captivity of sin our own minds of course. You see Paul had it precisely right he knew within his own mind that he could do absolutely nothing to please God. I would like you to think for a moment what this great godly man is saying here it is important that we as a body of Christ individually and collectively capture and enshrine this vital truth within our hearts crucially important we do that. Do you really think that I can contribute something to God from myself, totally impossible after all it was God who created me. If we think like that along those lines then we certainly do not belong to Christ. The problem is that we are allowing the old self to dominate and control us exactly the apostle’s point. But that is why Paul writes in such a fashion not to put us down but to encourage us by helping us to see the obstacles that lie ahead so that we can ask God our Saviour to help us to overcome these barriers through the influence and power of God the Holy Spirit Who indwells the hearts of all believers who are born again in the Spirit of Christ Jesus our Lord. Continuing with verse 17 of chapter 5 we come to the cardinal principle of what it means for you and I to walk in the Spirit as Paul had done. Do you believe and most importantly do you want this tremendous Holy Spirit help for yourselves so that you too can be on fire for the Lord just like the apostle Paul so that you too can be an effective witness and testimony to what God has done in your lives and what He can do for others. If you feel that God’s Spirit has been speaking to you then I would like you to seek the Lord on this, the anointing of God the Holy Spirit and his power and influence is for every born again believer in Christ Jesus. You need this to enable you to live in a manner that pleases God .What does the Holy Spirit do for you and I He equips us to enable us to serve the risen glorified Lord. He gives to you and me words of wisdom, understanding, patience and longsuffering all of these comes from God the Holy Spirit when we are anointed by Him He is readily available I would like to point out that I am only a man made from the dust of the earth just like you were made from the dust of the earth and without Christ I am nothing.

It is the Spirit of Christ who is in me who speaks through me to you and that same Spirit of Christ can speak to you wherever you are. There is nothing special about me. I am only an earthen vessel chosen by God such as you. God made man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into him. God is the person who is in total control over all things. Jesus Christ our risen exalted glorified Lord is God in every sense of this word and expression, He is God.

WWE ARE TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT MAN
Now we come to the phrase or clause the Spirit against the flesh. The spiritual war that continues to rage within us will continue to do so while you and I live on earth. A frightening thought but it is nevertheless very true. This battle involves the whole of our own person it rages on within me and within you. The struggle to see whether you and I will surrender to our old nature which is sin, submitting ourselves to it’s control over our lives or yield to God the Holy Spirit’s demands upon us and continue to be under Christ’s sovereign rule over the whole of our earthly lives. You cannot be for both, you can only be for the one. You cannot have one foot in heaven and one foot in the world. You are all for God or you are not. The decision belongs to you and me, I urge you to stand on the side of Christ. You will find He will never let you down if you continue to trust in Him always, God the Holy Spirit will make a tremendous difference in how you live out your Christian lives as He does for me, so I encourage you to seek His help.



by Raymond McGough

Do not harden your hearts

                                                               



Heb 3:12 [Therefore beware] brethren, take care, lest there be in any one of you a wicked, unbelieving heart [which refuses to cleave to, trust in, and rely on Him], leading you to turn away and desert or stand aloof from the living God.

Unbelief is caused by a hardened heart, which is caused by the deceitfulness of sin and it causes you to walk away from the Lord.

Heb 3:13 But instead warn (admonish, urge, and encourage) one another every day, as long as it is called Today, that none of you may be hardened [into settled rebellion] by the deceitfulness of sin [by the fraudulence, the stratagem, the trickery which the delusive glamor of his sin may play on him].

Exhort one another daily with the truths that will strengthen their faith in Christ, such as the truths contained in scripture. Encourage one another to continue in their walk with God so that none of us will fall away due to the hardened hearts deceived by sin. That encouragement can come from an example shown in your own Spiritual walk.

Heb 3:14 For we have become fellows with Christ (the Messiah) and share in all He has for us, if only we hold our first newborn confidence and original assured expectation [in virtue of which we are believers] firm and unshaken to the end.

G3353
μέτοχος
metochos
met'-okh-os
From G3348; participant, that is, (as noun) a sharer; by implication an associate: - fellow, partaker, partner.

The word in the AV is partakers but here in tbe Amplified the word Fellows is used. Being a fellow or a partaker with Christ requires us to continue in faith, not merely have a one-time experience.
Heb 3:15 Then while it is [still] called Today, if you would hear His voice and when you hear it, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion [in the desert, when the people provoked and irritated and embittered God against them].

Psa 95:7 For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice,
Psa 95:8 Harden not your hearts as at Meribah and as at Massah in the day of temptation in the wilderness,

We can’t make the same mistake our Old Testament forefathers made of hardening our hearts for we will end up with that wilderness experience. We need to be prepared to listen to and listen for the voice of the Lord.

Heb 3:16 For who were they who heard and yet were rebellious and provoked [Him]? Was it not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses?

Rebellion. The rebels were all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses. Caleb and Joshua were the only ones who entered into the promised land, yet Moses had come face to face with God, he had walked with God, but he had also disobeyed Him..

Heb 3:17 And with whom was He irritated and provoked and grieved for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose dismembered bodies were strewn and left in the desert?

Provocatoin of God’s anger. There were about 600,000people in rebellion, and by the time the forty years were ended, the desert had 600,000 graves.

Heb 3:18 And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His word and who refused to be compliant or be persuaded]?

Retribution. Those rebellious people were excluded from the land of Canaan because of their disobedience.

A. T. Pierson emphasizes the seriousness of Israel’s sin as follows:
Their unbelief was a fourfold provocation:
1. It was an assault on God’s truth, and made Him a liar.
2. It was an assault upon His power, for it counted Him as weak and unable to bring them in.
3. It was an attack upon His immutability; for, although they did not say so, their course implied that He was a changeable God, and could not do the wonders He had once wrought.
4. It was also an attack upon His fatherly faithfulness, as though He would encourage an expectation He had no intention of fulfilling.
Caleb and Joshua, on the contrary, honored God by accounting His word absolutely true, His power infinite, His disposition unchangingly gracious, and His faithfulness such that He would never awaken any hope which He would not bring to fruition. (Believers Bible Commentary)

Heb 3:19 So we see that they were not able to enter [into His rest], because of their unwillingness to adhere to and trust in and rely on God [unbelief had shut them out].

. Their unbelief kept the rebellious children of Israel out of the promised land, and it is unbelief that keeps man out of God’s inheritance in this day of grace. There is a strong warning for us in this passage to avoid unbelief. Enter into God's rest and stay there.

All scriptures unless aforementioned from AMPLIFIED BIBLE

Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible,
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

_________________

Psalm 91

Psalm 91

 

Psa 91:1 HE WHO dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].
Psa 91:2 I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!
Psa 91:3 For [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
Psa 91:4 [Then] He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.
Psa 91:5 You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day,
Psa 91:6 Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.
Psa 91:7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.
Psa 91:8 Only a spectator shall you be [yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High] as you witness the reward of the wicked.
Psa 91:9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place,
Psa 91:10 There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.
Psa 91:11 For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service].
Psa 91:12 They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Psa 91:13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot.
Psa 91:14 Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness--trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].
Psa 91:15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
Psa 91:16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation. (AMPLIFIED VERSION)


Those that dwell in the secret place of the most High know what it is to dwell in His Presence, to be at rest for they know at all times God is with them. They will stay under the protection of God who is God almighty and against Him no foe, can stand. All the forces of darkness are under His feet. Speak it out for God is my refuge and yours and He is our protector. You and I can lean on Him and rest in Him in each and every circumstance of life. So let us declare that our trust, our faith is in God to watch over us, to protect us and guide us. Our confidence is not in the things of this world instead it is in Him and Him alone, for He is over all things. The Psalmist knew God would save him from the purposes of wicked people, and from the powers of darkness. We are His children God will deliver us from all the things that come up against us. Ancient Jewish commentators considered these verses descriptive of demonic attacks. Demonology was a large part of Hebrew theology at the time of Christ’s advent.

Mat 9:34 But the Pharisees said, He drives out demons through and with the help of the prince of demons.

God will deliver them from pestilence. It meant plagues and sicknesses. Here is the Good News Bible rendition here.

Psa 91:3 He will keep you safe from all hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases. GNB

From the Hebrew - deh'-ber
(in the sense of destroying); a pestilence: - murrain, pestilence, plague.


V4 .God’s tender, personal care is likened here to that of a mother bird with her young. He protects us under His wings. We are protected in the faithfulness of God. God’s promises are sure. What He has said, He will do. This is the believer’s shield and buckler.

We need not live in fear. Four types of danger are mentioned that commonly cause apprehension: This again can be attacks of a demonic nature.
Attacks made by an enemy under the cover of night are especially terrifying because the source is hard to identify. The arrow that flies by day may be understood as a literal missile or as a figure for “the evil plots and slanders of the wicked”. The Psalmist portrays that God’s protection of those who dwell in the secret place is constant, never failing day or night. This could be a reference to protection during war, but it also relates to protection from the evil darts of the evil one. The Psalmist makes the point that although thousands shall fall around us, although many might succumb to the plagues and disease we shall stay under God’s protection and stay unscathed, when we rest in His Presence.

Rev 4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this."
Rev 4:2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. (NKJV)


91:9 A Promise of Divinely Protected Health, DIVINE HEALING. This passage promises protection from sickness as a blessing of the redeemed life. The word “plague” (Hebrew nehgah) is used of something “inflicted” on a body, and specifically was used to refer to “spots of leprosy.” Here the Lord describes an abiding defense against “inflicted” disease, but the promise is conditioned upon making the Lord our true refuge and habitation. How can we do this? Two Hebrew words in v. 9 give us the answer. The word makhseh, translated “refuge,” means “a shelter,” “a place of trust,” and derives from the root khawsaw, meaning “to flee forprotection,” “to confide in.” Maween, translated “dwelling place,” indicates “a retreat.” It comes from the root åonah, which describes the security of intimately “dwelling together as in marriage.” These key words elaborate a principle. When we make the Lord our refuge and habitation by trusting Him—taking our cares, fears and needs to Him; by seeking His counsel, spending times of refreshing with Him; and by loving Him and walking closely with Him through every day, we enter into a sheltered place of promise regarding health. This truth safeguards against making prayer for healing only a recourse for emergencies, though some do, in sickness or emergency, find repentance and renewed fellowship with God and discover His mercy.( Spirit Filled Bible)

v11f. We have our own private guardian angels. Billy Graham, looking at the plural here, concluded that each believer must have at least two angels who are assigned to protect them. The angels are strong, they will bear us up in their hands. Verses 11 and 12 was quoted by Satan to mislead Jesus in His wilderness temptation by attempting to coax Him into irresponsible behavior Mat 4:6 And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

V13 see . Luk 10:19 Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.

Rom 16:20 And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with you.

It is interesting that when Satan was tempting Jesus in the wilderness he stopped before getting to this verse. If he had quoted it, he would have been describing his own doom! The devil is presented in Scripture as a roaring lion.

1Pe 5:8 Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.

And as an age old serpent

Rev 12:9 And the huge dragon was cast down and out--that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him.

As a lion, he is the loud and a persecutor using physical violence. As a serpent, he employs wily strategies to deceive and to destroy.


The last three verses :
Because on me he set his love,
I’ll save and set him free;
Because my great name he hath known,
I will set him on high.
He’ll call on me, I’ll answer him;
I will be with him still,
In trouble to deliver him,
And honour him I will.
With length of days unto his mind
I will him satisfy;
I also my salvation
Will cause his eyes to see.
—from The Scottish Psalms In Metre.


God has promised that He will deliver those who love Him, He will set them free.

Joh 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
He will set us on high in heavenly places because we know Him and are gaining in Godly wisdom and have faith and trust in Him.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

When we call upon the Lord He will answer us. We are kept by the power of God through faith.. He will indeed bless us when we keep our minds and hearts fixed on Him. We have the promise of a long life and in fact eternal life with Him because we are His children, we know the wonder of His grace and mercy towards us, and that salvation which is oh so sweet.


 

 

 

Psalm 100

                                                         


Psalm  100

 

Psa 100:1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
Psa 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Psa 100:3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Psa 100:4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
Psa 100:5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.



What do you think the Hebrew people thought of as a joyful shout? I remember back in the seventies going on a Jesus march as a teenager. We met in George Square in Glasgow and large crowds of people , mainly under thirties from all over Scotland knew what it was to shout and declare the name of Jesus loudly, so that you could imagine the whole city could hear our shouts and we were not ashamed. We wore our large Jesus badges and T Shirts declaring openly that we belonged to Jesus. Then we marched through the city centre streets singing and shouting praises to our King. I remember being so exited and marvelling that here we were in one accord declaring the Lord’s name, there was joy behind those praises that day. Over the years though that boldness, that freeness in just shouting loudly praises to our God seems to have for the most part even in our churches to have really died a death in the face of middle class respectability.
Yet the Hebrew word here רוּע rûa‛ meant a shout that was to figuratively split the ears (with sound), that is, a shout (for alarm or joy): - blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.
It was a triumphant shout that the Psalmist was picturing here. So, ask yourself do you loudly and triumphantly shout joyfully praises to your God? Does that seem unseemly to you? We should be entering into God’s presence by means of real dynamic praise, which includes singing, gladness, thanksgiving, and worship coming from the very depth of our being. This Psalm is a call to all the earth to worship God. Its summons goes beyond the narrow confines of Israel to all the Gentile nations. We are to make a joyful noise of praise to God. We are to serve Him gladly, we are called to worship.

Seven different elements of worship are suggested:

Shout joyfully (v. 1).
Serve the LORD with gladness (v. 2a).
Come before Him with singing (v. 2b).
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving (v. 4a).
Enter His courts with praise (v. 4b).
Be thankful to Him (v. 4c).
Bless His name (v. 4d).

We should praise Him because of who He is. He is our LORD; our God; our Creator; we belong to Him and He is our Shepherd.

Look at verse 3 the LORD is God; this means that He is unapproachably high. Then we read that we are His; and this tells us that He is intimately near. It is because He is so near to us that the Psalm breathes gladness and singing instead of dread and fear.
In the first three verses picture God as our Creator but the last two verses bring us to entering through His gates. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Although the mention of gates and courts is usually referring to temple worship, there is also a metaphorical reference to the very presence of the Lord God. It is a call to worship, a call to praise, and a call to thanksgiving. Be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Giving thanks unto God is the joyous privilege of all who love Him. It isn’t hard to see the cross of Calvary here because nowhere else do we see so clearly His goodness, His mercy, and His faithfulness. We have entry into those gates, into the very presence of God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us, when He shed His blood for us on the cross of Calvary. Praise be to God for His wonderful grace and mercy.

Psa 100:5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.


Our God is a good God, a wonderful God .He is forever merciful. A joyful noise is to be made unto the Lord God, for his truth endures to all generations. Our God is no fickle God, promising and then not performing. He is faithful to generation after generation. He is God, He does not change. 2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

So let’s make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye His people. Give praise to His Name.

 

 

Tear Down Your Walls OF Jericho!

                                                


Tear Down Your Walls OF Jericho!



Heb 11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days (NKJV).

The land of Jericho lay before the children of Israel. The children of Israel had been promised a land flowing with milk and honey. The walls around Jericho were supposed to be about 50 feet high and fifty feet wide, not quite a city waiting to be conquered. Yet God told Joshua what to do, and Joshua obeyed God. He had the faith to believe that God was the God of the impossible.

The Israelites marched around the city once a day for six days, on the seventh day they encircled the city seven times. On the seventh time around, the priests blew the trumpets, the people shouted and the walls fell flat.

What can we learn from this, by having faith to believe God we can be victorious. The devil puts up walls in our lives, obstacles that stop us from fulfilling the plan God has for us, from being all that we can be for Him.

We need to learn through looking at God's word ,through submitting ourselves to God how to allow God to destroy these walls we put up in our lives, so we can possess and enjoy God's promises n our lives.

The promised land represents God's rest and peace for His people. The book of Hebrews chapter 4 gives us that the reasons for not entering that rest.

Heb 4:1 God's promise of entering his place of rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to get there.
Heb 4:2 For this Good News – that God has prepared a place of rest – has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn't believe what God told them.
Heb 4:3 For only we who believe can enter his place of rest. As for those who didn't believe, God said, "In my anger I made a vow: 'They will never enter my place of rest,'" even though his place of rest has been ready since he made the world. (NLT)


Only people of faith can enter that rest.

Jos 5:13 As Joshua approached the city of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man facing him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you friend or foe?"
Jos
5:14 "Neither one," he replied. "I am commander of the LORD's army."At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. "I am at your command," Joshua said. "What do you want your servant to do?"
Jos
5:15 The commander of the LORD's army replied, "Take off your sandals, for this is holy ground." And Joshua did as he was told.(NLT)

We need to be able to see God rather than our problem. Don't ignore problems, that doesn't do us any good but they shouldn't blind us to the reality of the Lord's presence. God shows us how to take care of our problems. He shows us how to tear down the walls we can't tear down.

Joshua had a huge wall before him, yet he fell down on his face and worshiped God, because he knew God had the answers. True faith leads us to worship because we understand that no problem is too big for God to take care of.

Our faith will be challenged and put to the test, that's all part of the Christian life.

Jos 6:1 Now the gates of Jericho were tightly shut because the people were afraid of the Israelites. No one was allowed to go in or out.

The people of Jericho were locked up as though in bondage, for they were afraid if the Israelites. They knew nothing of God's promises. The devil wants to keep us in bondage too.

Luk 4:18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; (NKJV)


Jesus came to set the captives free.

God's strategy for the walls was so much simpler than ours would have been. They weren't told to get battering rams and ladders to climb the walls, instead they had to walk around the city seven times

1Co 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;(NKJV)

2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,
2Co 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (NKJV)


The only way for us to conquer our Jericho is by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Word of God and in the blood of Calvary's cross, the blood shed for us- our way of entry into that rest.

Even when the walls don't seem to be tumbling immediately we must walk in obedience.

Gal 6:9 And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. (AMP)

Keep focussed and you will reap.

Jos 6:10 Now Joshua had commanded the people, saying, "You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I say to you, "Shout!' Then you shall shout."(NKJV)

If the people had talked while walking around the wall, disuity and negative criticism may have occured, they had to focuss on the task at hand. Negative criticism is contagious it can counteract faith.

Pro 10:14 Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites trouble. (NLT)

The Israelites had to have patience.

Heb 10:36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.(NLT)

We need to learn to wait upon God and His timing.

They needed strength and so do we.

Isa 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (NKJV)


The walls only fell when the Israelites gave the victory shout.

Jos 6:16 And the seventh time it happened, when the priests blew the trumpets, that Joshua said to the people: "Shout, for the LORD has given you the city! (NKJV)

I wonder what their shout was? I believe they would be proclaiming victory in God's Name.

So what can we learn from this? How did they get victory?

1) They got a word from God. Jos 6:2-6

2)They believed God. Jos 6: 8-20

3) They acted in faith. Heb 11

4) They did it God's way.

5) God gave them the victory.


The walls fell because the people had faith, they believed God.

Mat 9:29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, According to your faith and trust and reliance [on the power invested in Me] be it done to you;(AMP)

If we really have faith we will be prepared to press on in obedience to God even when we don't see the fruits of our labour right away.

What kind of walled cty are you facing right now? Does it appear unconquerable? Those walls can fall down flat. As Christians we all have the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is there to give us power for this walk of faith. We need to be open to the Holy Spirit.

Eph 3:16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].
Eph
3:17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,
Eph 3:18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God's devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];
Eph 3:19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!(AMP)


God excels in moving mountains we think are unmovable , in tearing down walls we think are immovable. Trust in Him, come by faith believing that God is all powerful and can tear down those walls in your life today? He is still a God of miracles, for too long the Church has been weak and been prepared to believe in an almost inaccessable God, yet Jesus came so that we might come unto the Father shouting "Abba Father!" I believe God is the same yesterday, today and forever. We need to keep on believing God whatever the obstacles, if we believe it He will tear down those walls.

Come Holy Spirit, tear down all our walls which stop us from fulfilling all that we can be in Christ.

 

 

 

God is the Healer of the Broken Hearted


                                                               

God is the Healer of the Broken Hearted

God is the healer of the brokenhearted. No matter what we have to face in this life, God wants to lavish His love on us.


Psa 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
Psa 147:4 He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.

God is in the business of restoring, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The God who numbers the stars and calls each of them by name, surely numbers His people and knows each one of us individually and intimately. Indeed, he has numbered even the hairs on our heads.


Luk 12:7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

So, in God's eyes we are so very important.

Jer 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

He wants to give us a future and a hope. He is Jehovah Shalom and wants us to have peaceful hearts.

With His healing hand on a broken heart,
And the other on a star,
Our wonderful God views the miles apart,
And they seem not very far.
—M. P. Ferguson


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

God's Word says that we as believers are overcomers. So let's take that to heart.


Psa 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

God wants to restore our joy.Confess to the Lord any unconfessed sin.

Joh 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

ASK; RECEIVE; JOY

Rom 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We are warriors who are ready to conqer,for we have Jesus on our side.


Isa 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.


The Lord loves you, and He desires for you to be kept in perfect peace of heart and mind.

Phi 3:7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
Phi 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

We need to get our perspective right. The most wonderful thing to gain of all is Jesus Christ. Jesus needs to take first place in every area of our lives.


Psa 30:4 Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
Psa 30:5 For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

Joh 16:31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe?
Joh 16:32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.
Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."


The trials and tribulations of this life pale into shadow for joy comes in the morning. God gives us peace. He has overcomethe world. In Him we have the victory no matter what is coming up against us.Praise God!

Psa 46:1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

Deu 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He will thrust out the enemy from before you,
And will say, "Destroy!'

When we are downhearted we should run into the loving arms of our Lord and Saviour. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is our refuge. Run to Him and rest in Him, the battle is already won.


Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

God will restore the years the locusts have stolen from us when we give it all over to Him. He wants us to be more than conquerors in him. He will give us the strength we need for each and every situation. Aren't you glad that Father loves us so much? So if you are feeling down and brokenhearted today run into the arms of Abba Father(Daddy)

He will wipe away all our tears and give us strength and restore our joy. Hallelujah!


_________________

 

 

 

 

LOVE IS THE FIRST FRUIT IF THE SPIRIT

                                                                  


 LOVE IS THE FIRST FRUIT IF THE SPIRIT And this is not by chance.

 

1Cor 14:1-4
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
NKJV


Notice the order here we are to seek love first then desire spiritual gifts. We are to seek and develop the gifts of the Spirit but our main goal should be love.

We need to desire to walk in love, manifesting the fruits of the Spirit.

I Cor 13: 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails

We may all desire to have the gifts of the Spirit, but what does Paul say? Without love those things are but a pale shadow, they are in fact ineffectual. We should be motivated first and foremost by love, the love of God and our fellow man. The gifts of the Spirit are as available to us today as they were in New Testament times but they should be sought out of love, for the edification of the body, to enable us to spread the gospel, and to intercede for others. We should desire the gifts of the Spirit but that should come out of love for God first and foremost, the gifts are as important today as they ever were, they are for the church today and it is right that we should desire them but love should come first.

Gal 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
NKJV .


The very first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love so if we desire to experience the full power of the Holy Spirit in our lives we need to walk in the love of God. The greatest of these is love. .



Mat
22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat
22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat
22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat
22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Do you see the importance Jesus lays on those two commandments? Firstly we are to love God, secondly we are to love our neighbour as ourself.

The first four commandments (Deut. 5:6–15) are about loving God:
• no other gods before me,
• no carved images to worship,
• no taking the name of the Lord in vain, and
• observe the Sabbath.

The last six commandments (Deut. 5:16–21) are about loving other people:
• honor your father and mother,
• no murder,
• no committing adultery,
• no stealing,
• no bearing false witness, and
• no coveting.

Do you notice that loving God and loving others go together? We can't do one without the other. The more we love God, the more we must become involved in helping others, and if we want to love others, we need to stay close to the Lord.

1Jo 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jo 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jo 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jo 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jo 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jo
4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jo 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jo
4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Jo 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jo
4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jo 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.


HERE IS LOVE, AGAPE LOVE.

God first loved us, He sent His Son to be propritiation for our sins. Love made perfect.

We have the gift of the Holy Spirit verse 13.

1Jo 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.


We are to love our fellow Christians, but the hard one is we are to love our enemies also.


Luk 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you ,

The Lord Jesus unveils to His disciples a secret weapon from God Himself—the weapon of love. This will be one of their most effective weapons in evangelizing the world. When He speaks of love, He is not referring to the human emotion of that name. This is a supernatural love. Only those who are born again can know it or display it. It is utterly impossible for anyone who does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to be able to love with this kind of love. (agape Love)

Let's pray that the love of Christ our Saviour will shine through us to all we come in contact with.

1Cor 13: 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love God, Love People.

                                                                                           


Love God, Love People.

 

Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat
22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat
22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat
22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Do you see the importance Jesus lays on those two commandments? Firstly we are to love God, secondly we are to love our neighbour as ourself.

The first four commandments (Deut. 5:6–15) are about loving God:
• no other gods before me,
• no carved images to worship,
• no taking the name of the Lord in vain, and
• observe the Sabbath.

The last six commandments (Deut. 5:16–21) are about loving other people:
• honor your father and mother,
• no murder,
• no committing adultery,
• no stealing,
• no bearing false witness, and
• no coveting.

Do you notice that loving God and loving others go together?We can't do one without the other. The more we love God, the more we must become involved in helping others, and if we want to love others , we need to stay close to the Lord.

1Jo 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1Jo 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1Jo 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
1Jo 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1Jo 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1Jo
4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
1Jo 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jo
4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
1Jo 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1Jo
4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1Jo 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.


HERE IS LOVE, AGAPE LOVE.

God first loved us, He sent His Son to be propritiation for our sins. Love made perfect.

We have the gift of the Holy Spirit verse 13.

1Jo 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.


We are to love our fellow Christians , but the hard one is we are to love our enemies also
.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Luk 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you ,

The Lord Jesus unveils to His disciples a secret weapon from God Himself—the weapon of love. This will be one of their most effective weapons in evangelizing the world. When He speaks of love, He is not referring to the human emotion of that name. This is a supernatural love. Only those who are born again can know it or display it. It is utterly impossible for anyone who does not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to be able to love with this kind of love. (agape Love)

Let's pray that the love of Christ our Saviour will shine through us to all we come in contact with.

 

The Shepherd who hears the cries of his sheep, Psalm 77

 

The Shepherd who hears the cries of his sheep, Psalm 77

 

Psa 77:1 I cried out to God with my voice--
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.
Psa 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing;
My soul refused to be comforted.
Psa 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled;
I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.Selah


Look here at what the Psalmist did when his mind was troubled with something, he cried out to God, he sought the Lord. The desire in his heart was to seek the Lord's presence, at all times. This wasn't silent prayer he cried out from the depths of his heart giving voice to his prayer.

Psa 77:4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
Psa 77:5 I have considered the days of old,
The years of ancient times.
Psa 77:6 I call to remembrance my song in the night;
I meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.
Psa 77:7 Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
Psa 77:8 Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
Psa 77:9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?Selah



He searched for answers,"My spirit makes diligent search." Worry and anxiety still ruled his life so that he couldn't sleep.Now look, he voiced the six questions that puzzled as well as troubled him. He could not understand why a God of mercy and compassion should remain silent and inactive.

1) Will the Lord cast off forever?
2) And will He be favorable no more?
3) Has His mercy ceased forever?
4) Has His promise failed forevermore?
5) Has God forgotten to be gracious?
6) Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?

The psalmist ponders here as to whether God would cast off the nation of Isael his people forever. Ah, but look now at the next section when Asaph realises that God is God and He hasn't changed.

Psa 77:10 And I said, "This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High."
Psa 77:11 I will remember the works of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
Psa 77:12 I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
Psa 77:13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
Psa 77:14 You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples.
Psa 77:15 You have with Your arm redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph.Selah


And I said, "This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High."

He remembers what God has done in the past, remembering the wonders of God in past days brings hope for the psalmist. God has shown himself to be one who does wonderful deeds,he has declared his strength, and has redeemed the children of Israel. So, the Psalmist is coming to the conclusion that God can redeem Israel again, for God is God
Psa 77:16 The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You, they were afraid;
The depths also trembled.
Psa 77:17 The clouds poured out water;
The skies sent out a sound;
Your arrows also flashed about.
Psa 77:18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
Psa 77:19 Your way was in the sea,
Your path in the great waters,
And Your footsteps were not known.
Psa 77:20 You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.


"The waters saw You, O God"Asaph has difficulty understanding how the waters can see God, but to mankind He is afar off, or ignored by them. Those verses relate to the deliverance from Egypt. The waters retreated in terror when the red sea parted. God provided a way for His people through the Red Sea and they were led throgh the wilderness by Moses and Aaron to the land of Canaan.

So, what can we learn from this God is Lord of His people, He is the Shepherd who still leads His flock. Jesus is our shepherd and He will lead us through all kinds of trials and tribulations in this life. We can cry out to Him from the depths of our being and He will hear our prayers.

Heb 13:20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Heb 13:21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.


May we serve Him well and do His will, for He alone is worthy;our Lord ,and our Saviour. Selah!

JUDAS ISCARIOT


                                        

JUDAS ISCARIOT


Luk 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.
Luk 22:4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.
Luk 22:5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.
Luk 22:6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.


Luk 22:14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.
Luk
22:15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;
Luk
22:16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
Luk 22:17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves;
Luk
22:18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."
Luk 22:19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
Luk 22:20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
Luk 22:21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table.
Luk
22:22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!"
Luk 22:23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.

Mat 26:14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests
Mat 26:15 and said, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.
Mat 26:16 So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.


Mat 26:47 And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
Mat 26:48 Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him."
Mat 26:49 Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.
Mat 26:50 But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?"
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.


Act 1:16 "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;
Act 1:17 for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry."
Act 1:18 (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.
Act 1:19 And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
Act
1:20 "For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
"Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it';
and,
"Let another take his office.'



Judas was numbered among the twelve apostles yet he betrayed Jesus. It is probably significant that Judas knew Jesus as His Master and His Teacher, but never acknowledged Him as his Lord. While the other disciples wondered what manner of man Jesus was, this man that could calm the sea by a word, Judas accepted him only as Rabbi.
The 12 disciples were called apostles (chosen sent ones) prior to the resurrection but they did not really become the apostles of the Church until the resurrection, for the church was not officially born until the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. It was at this time that the apostles started their ministry of teaching, planting churches and doing miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Judas was chosen by Jesus like the other disciples but his position was temporary for Jesus knew what was going on all along. He was given the job of treasury but he was secretly a thief. Jesus put Judas in charge of the very thing that would give either wings to his hearts corruption or for his repentance, money. Judas heard Jesus speaking on how money can corrupt and stop people from seeing the kingdom, if they make an idol of it, but it did not change him. The possibility for repentance was always there but it did not occur because he was not inclined to obey the words spoken by the Lord Jesus.


Joh 12:2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
Joh 12:3 Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
Joh 12:4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said,
Joh 12:5 "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"
Joh 12:6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
Joh 12:7 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.
Joh 12:8 For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."


The above passage shows what his heart was like when he complained about the oil was poured over Jesus’s feet by Lazarus’s sister Mary.

Joh 17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

There are two people in the Bible who are called the “Son of Perdition,” Judas and the Antichrist!! The Bible says that the Pharisees loved money and so did Judas, so they had something in common. This is why they were able to bribe Judas to betray our Lord.
Judas was one of the disciples, even one of the 12 who were appointed to be an apostle.

. Mar 3:14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach,Mar 3:15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:

Mar 6:7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.

Mat 10:1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.

Luk 9:10a And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done…..


Judas was numbered among them.
How did Judas become one of the 12 see the power and all these miracles and then apostatize?

Joh 13:10 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."
Joh 13:11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."


Judas it appears was never saved, he was not cleansed by the Word of God. He didn’t drink in the teachings of Jesus, his heart was not changed. Judas a perfect example of those claiming to do miracles in Christ’s name and where Jesus turns to them saying he never knew them (Mt.7:21). Jn.17:12 tells us no one will be lost, but the son of perdition, who is Judas. It would appear he lost his position of apostle, not salvation for he was not saved. At the last supper Jesus even washed Judas’ feet, showing love to his enemy, but this not guarantee he would repent.
“Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve.” It is obvious that Judas had already been influenced by Satan which gave him full leeway to enter him. He knew the ministry of Jesus was drawing to a close. Judas loved money and so even though he was among the disciples and spent three years by Jesus side, he was easily influenced to become the one guilty of the greatest betrayal in history.

Joh 13:26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
Joh 13:27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."
Joh
13:28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.
Joh 13:29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.
Joh 13:30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.


Satan had the audacity to enter Judas at the last supper, right in front of Jesus. (See above verses) At the last supper we find Judas partook of the bread a symbol of Jesus’ body, Judas dipped with the bread with Jesus but he left before he could partake of the wine, a symbol of Christ’s blood shed on the cross.
Judas sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, which was the price of a dead slave. While the disciples slept as Jesus was praying in the Garden about his soon coming sacrifice Judas is awake betraying him. The devil never sleeps Judas used the most intimate way to show his betrayal, with a kiss.

Mat 27:3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,
Mat 27:4 saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."
And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"
Mat 27:5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Judas is sorry for his betrayal but it was not a godly sorrow that would lead to repentance for salvation. Judas hung himself.

Mat 27:6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood."
Mat 27:7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
Mat 27:8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
Mat 27:9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,
Mat 27:10 and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."


Under Jewish law ill-gained money cannot be put in the temple treasury. The chief priests used the thirty pieces of silver for purchase of the Field of blood.

Mt. 27:3-10 tells us Judas hung himself. But Acts 1:18-19 states he fell down a cliff and his guts were spilled put. Is there a contradiction in the Bible between these two stories?
There is no contradiction because Jewish law stated there is to be no dead body within the walls of Jerusalem or it would be defiled, unclean and the Passover sacrifice could not be offered. So they took Judas’ already hung body and threw it over the wall into the valley of Hinnom and his guts split open.


Psa 69:25 Let their dwelling place be desolate;
Let no one live in their tents.

Psa 109:8 Let his days be few,
And let another take his office.

Act
1:20 "For it is written in the Book of Psalms:

"Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it';
and,
"Let another take his office.'


When the original group of twelve disciples became eleven, the apostles sought someone to take Judas’ office.

Act 1:23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
Act 1:24 And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen
Act 1:25 to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place."
Act
1:26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
After drawing lots Matthias was numbered among the Apostles.
Judas recognized that Jesus was a good teacher, he was prepared to call him Master, but Jesus was never his Lord. He never gave his heart to Jesus. He never knew true repentance and He betrayed Him with a kiss. How sad that this man who walked by Jesus side for three years could betray Him in such a way. You either serve Jesus or serve Satan, there are only two choices.
Mat
7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.
Mat
7:14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

If you don’t know Jesus be sure to enter by that narrow gate today.

 

 

 

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

                             

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (MATT 5:3)

 


Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
Augustine was said to have described the Sermon on the Mount as a perfect standard of the Christian life. Dietrich Bonhoeffer based his classic book The Cost of Discipleship on an exposition of the Sermon on the Mount.

Here is a quote from John Piper.
Any Messiah who comes along and proposes to replace self-reliance with childlike God-reliance, and self-confidence with submissive God-confidence, and self-determination with sovereign grace and self-esteem with magnificent mercy for the unworthy—that Messiah is going to be a threat to the religion of self-admiration. That religion has dominated the world ever since Adam and Eve fell in love with the image of their own independent potential when they it saw reflected back to them in the eye of the serpent: "You will not die; you will be like God."

 

blessed”
(Gk. makarios) (Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20–22; Rom. 4:7, 8; James 1:12, 25) Strong’s #3107: This Greek word is derived from the root mak, which means “large” or “lengthy,” and means “fortunate” or “happy.” The Greek word was used in Greek literature, in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT), and in the NT to describe the kind of happiness that comes from receiving divine favor. The word can be rendered happy. In the NT it is usually passive; God is the One who is blessing or favoring the person.  Nelson's Bible Commentary



The beatitudes (from Latin beatus meaning “blessed”) are comprised of three elements: a pronouncement of blessing, a quality of life, and the reason why the recipient should be considered blessed. The pronouncement of blessing is found in the word Blessed which introduces each beatitude. In the Greek it literally means, “Oh, the happiness of _” Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

The idea of God blessing the humble and resisting the proud can also be found in those verses.

Pro 3:34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.

Jam 4:6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble."


Christ alone can bring those blessings. Today only the sinner coming before the Lord with a contrite heart can know his poverty of spirits—“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Only those who have come before the throne of grace for salvation can know that poverty of spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal that poverty of spirit. We as Christians have spiritual riches to impart to those around us
2Co 6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
What does this mean? What does it mean to be poor in spirit? To find out let's look at some great men of God in Scripture.

Abraham:

Here he is talking to the Lord about Sodom and Gomorrah.

Gen 18:27 Then Abraham answered and said, "Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord:

Jacob:

When Jacob returned to the promised land after spending 20 years in exile, he wrestled with God in prayer .

Gen 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies.

Moses:

Look at what Moses said when God came to him with a mission to lead his people out of Israel.

Exo 3:11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of
Israel out of Egypt?"

Exo 4:10 Then Moses said to the LORD, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue."


The reason God got angry at Moses is not because of his humble assessment of his own abilities, but of his lack of faith in God's ability. See God’s response to Moses.
Exo 4:11 So the LORD said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD?
Exo 4:12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say."


What is the Biblical solution when somebody is paralyzed by a sense of guilt or unworthiness or uselessness? I believe that the solution is not self-esteem. God did not say to Moses, "Stop putting yourself down. You are somebody. You are eloquent." That is not God's way. What God said was, "Stop looking at your own unworthiness and uselessness and look at me. I made the mouth. I will be with you. I will help you. I will teach you what to say. Look to me and live!"


Isa 41:13 For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you.'


See Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart--
These, O God, You will not despise.

Isa 6:5 So I said:
"Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts."

Do you see the poverty of spirit in those verses?

Poverty of spirit is a sense of powerlessness in ourselves
It is a sense of spiritual bankruptcy and helplessness before God.
It is a sense of moral uncleanness before God.
It is a sense of personal unworthiness before God.

This is the position of man, although most don’t realize it. Everybody, whether they sense it or not, is powerless without God and bankrupt and helpless and unclean and unworthy before God. But not everybody is "blessed". Blessed are those who are driven to the grace of God out of their own poverty of spirit. Blessed are we when we no longer look to ourselves but to God’s Holy Spirit for empowerment, for in ourselves we are powerless, but the Holy Spirit will empower us for whatever task the Lord lays before us.

THE GREAT REWARD FOR THE POOR IN SPIRIT IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN."

They must firstly possess the qualities that are prerequisites for membership in Christ's kingdom, the church.

Humility: Mat 18:3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 18:4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


It takes an attitude of complete spiritual poverty to accept God's plan of salvation.

Eph 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.


It is only when we realize that we in ourselves are nothing and humble ourselves, surrendering ourselves over entirely to Him and letting the Holy Spirit take control that we can be truly effective as witnesses for the Kingdom of God. So, folks it's time for us to surrender, give our all to Jesus.

 

 

 

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM


                                                       

SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM

 

Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.


This one verse speaks volumes doesn’t it? Jesus says if you will put God’s interests first in your life, I will guarantee your future needs. If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then I will see that you never lack the necessities of life. Rather than being as we so often are preoccupied with material things, our desire should be to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, knowing that as we do so, He has pledged Himself with covenant faithfulness to respond—all these things shall be added to you. Do we really desire to see God’s righteousness rule this earth? Our first thoughts should be on the Lord Jesus Christ. Our thoughts should be on eternity. Do we really crave to see our Lord face to face? Do we seek His face each day? Is He at the centre of our lives? When we fix our eyes upon Jesus a love stems out from that for those around us. When we have our eyes fixed on the Lord we desire to be holy for He is holy, we desire righteousness. Our confidence on all things should be on God. We must mind heaven as our end, and holiness as our way.

Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not 3arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?


Why do we worry about whether God will provide for us? What lack of faith for God has even numbered the number of hairs on our heads. He loves us so much, why can’t we take it in?

(1.)You have greater and better things to take thought about, the life of your soul, your eternal happiness; that is the one thing needful (Lu. 10:42), about which you should employ your thoughts, and which is commonly neglected in those hearts wherein worldly cares have the ascendant. If we were but more careful to please God, and to work out our own salvation, we should be less solicitous to please ourselves, and work out an estate in the world. Thoughtfulness for our souls in the most effectual cure of thoughtfulness for the world. (2.) You have a surer and easier, a safer and more compendious way to obtain the necessaries of this life, than by carking, and caring, and fretting about them; and that is, by seeking first the kingdom of God, and making religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve, no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world.
(Mathew Henry)


1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

2Ch 1:11 Then God said to Solomon: "Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life--but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king--
2Ch 1:12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like."


It would bring some change in our hearts and lives, if we believed this truth, that the best way to be comfortably provided for in this world, is to be most intent upon another world! We begin at the right place, when we begin with God. If we give heed to make sure to ourselves the kingdom of God and it’s righteousness, in the way we do to the things of this life, Jehovah-Jireh—the Lord will provide as much of them as he sees good for us, and more we would not wish for. Have we trusted in him for the portion of our inheritance at our end, and shall we not trust him for the portion of our cup, in the way to it? God’s Israel were not only brought to Canaan at last, but had their charges borne through the wilderness. If only we were more thoughtful about the things that are not seen, that are eternal, then we would not be so concerned about temporal things.
It is foolish to take worries upon ourselves this day by care and fear, which belongs to another day, and will be never the lighter when it comes. We can conclude that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that his disciples should not be their own tormentors, nor make their passage through this world more dark and unpleasant, by living in a state of worry and fear. We need to take our worries and concerns before the throne room of God in prayer so we may receive the strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us.

SO FIX OUR EYES UPON JESUS AND HIS KINGDOM, OUR GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF THE REST





BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS

                                      


BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS


Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Firstly I am going to look at what peacemakers are .A peace-maker is a man who, being is with a generous public spirit, works for the public good, and feels it is more important to promote the interests of others: so, instead attempting to fire strife, he uses his influence and wisdom to reconcile contending parties, adjust their differences, and restore them to a state of unity.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Pro
14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

Pro 14:30 -
The foregoing verse showed how much our reputation, this how much our health, depends on the good government of our passions and the preserving of the temper of the mind. 1. A healing spirit, made up of love and meekness, a hearty, friendly, cheerful disposition, is the life of the flesh; it contributes to a good constitution of body; people grow fat with good humour. 2. A fretful, envious, discontented spirit, is its own punishment; it consumes the flesh, preys upon the animal spirits, makes the countenance pale, and is the rottenness of the bones. Those that see the prosperity of others and are grieved, let them gnash with their teeth and melt away, Psa_112:10.
Rumpatur, quisquis rumpitur invidia.
Whoever bursts for envy, let him burst. (Gill’s Commentary)

Where do we get this kind of peace that gives a sound heart?

Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

If we walk in the Spirit we will have this kind of peace.

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law



sha^lo^m
BDB Definition:
1) completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
1a) completeness (in number)
1b) safety, soundness (in body)
1c) welfare, health, prosperity
1d) peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
1e) peace, friendship
1e1) of human relationships
1e2) with God especially in covenant relationship
1f) peace (from war)
1g) peace (as adjective)

Ah, now we are getting somewhere, notice that peace is actually one of the fruits of the Spirit.
But what does it mean for us actually to be at peace?

Are we at peace with ourselves? In whom do we place our trust when we come across lives trials?

Isa 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Isa 55:2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Isa 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Isa 55:4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.
Isa 55:5 Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.
Isa 55:6 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Isa 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isa 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isa 55:13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.


If we thirst after righteousness, seek the Lord first, spend time in the word of God then we shall find joy and peace.

Pro 16:7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee
5
Rom
8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


If we trust the Lord with all our minds and all our hearts and stay focused in His word, spending time with Him we shall know that peace.

You may say but my life is full of problems, I can’t be at peace, I can’t stop worrying.

[b]1Pe 5:6 Therefore be humbled under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time,
1Pe 5:7 casting all your anxiety onto Him, for He cares for you.


The Amplified Bible says, "Casting the whole of your care, all of your anxieties, all of your concerns, all of your worries once and for all." Don't do it every day - casting your cares on the Lord and then taking them back again. No, do it once and for all; then that's the end of it! Cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares about you affectionately! Remember if you know Jesus as your Saviour you are a child of the living God.
שׁלם / שׁלום

 

 

 

 

An Inclusive Community


                                                            

An Inclusive Community

 

Luk 19:1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.
Luk 19:2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
Luk 19:3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.
Luk 19:4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
Luk 19:5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house."
Luk 19:6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
Luk 19:7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."
Luk 19:8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold."
Luk 19:9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;
Luk
19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Zaccheus was a social and religious outcast. As a tax collector and a head one at that he was seen as co-operating with the Roman Government who were occupying the land. Zaccheus desired to see Jesus and because he was a small man he could not see among the crowds, so he climbed up into a sycamore tree to allow him to see Jesus. Although he was a man of authority being a chief tax collector he was prepared to do something radical and unconventional and he made the effort to run ahead of crowd so he could cilimb up this tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus.
When Jesus saw him he looked up a him and asked Zaccheus to come down for He was going to stay at his house that day. Do you realise that this is the only time in the gospels where we see te Lord Jesus Christ invite Himself to someone's house.
The crowd of onlookers were astounded, Jesus was looking at this man who was a sinner and was going to be a guest at his house., this was wrong in their eyes, why should Jesus want to eat with this man? They overlooked the fact that the only homes our Lord could visit here in this world were sinner's homes.
v6.So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. It is most likely that Zaccheus was converted at this time. He received the Lord joyfully.
Salvation had brought a radical change in the life of Zaccheus. He informed the Savior that he now intended to give half his goods to the poor. He also planned to make fourfold restitution for any money he had gained dishonestly. This was more than the law demanded (Ex. 22:4)

Exo 22:4 If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double.

He was now blessed by the Lord.

Psa 41:1 Blessed is he who considers the poor;
The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.


John the Baptist had counselled tax collectors not to collect more than that which they should collect.

Luk 3:12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?"
Luk
3:13 And he said to them, "Collect no more than what is appointed for you."

When the Pharisees and Scribes complained against the disciples as to why Jesus sat with sinners. He answered them that it was the sick who needed a physician.
He had come to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous.

Luk 5:30 And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
Luk
5:31 Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Luk 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."


See below: The tax collectors were ready to follow the Lord and they did.

Mar 2:14 As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." So he arose and followed Him.
Mar 2:15 Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.
Mar 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"
Mar 2:17 When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."


Tax collectors and sinners were often mentioned in the Scriptures, they signified a group of people who by vocation or lifestyle took themselves apart from being socially included amongst God's covenant people. Jesus came to be a physician to those in genuine need., He came to heal those who were sinners and in need of a healer. Jesus mixed with tax collectors, the poor, prostitutes, those the world shunned and those He called to repentance.

We should contemplate what can we learn from the example of Jesus?

Jesus came to save sinners, now those among the Scribes and the Pharisees were so full of their own self righteousness that they could recognise that they were sinners and needing to repent before God. Do we even as Christians today sometimes make that mistake of being so pious that we fail to see what sins may be standing in the way of a truly repentant heart?

If someone comes into church who looks as though they haven't had a good wash for months, do we shun them and push them away, do we edge along the seat a bit after all we can't sit too close to those people or can we?

What would Jesus have us do?

I am pretty sure He would not have that attitude.

Luk 10:27 So he answered and said, ""You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and "your neighbor as yourself."'

Jesus wants us not only to show love among our brothers and sisters within the church but to love others as well.
Are we ready to go out into the highways and the byway and mix with sinners, to take the message of the gospel to them?

We have all been charged with the great commision, we can't just live in holy huddles. God forbid.

Mat 28:19 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,
Mat 28:20 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.


We have been told to go and make disciples of all nations, an inclusive ministry and preach the gospel. So, whether it be within a church building or out in our communities let us firstly show God's love in action and be the Lord's witnesses in this world today.

AN ATTEMPT TO FIND A BALANCED VIEW REGARDING BIBLICAL TEACHING ON PROSPERITY.

                                           

                                               

AN ATTEMPT TO FIND A BALANCED VIEW REGARDING BIBLICAL TEACHING ON PROSPERITY.

 


The Lord has promised to bless the obedient, believer with all heavenly and earthly blessings. All things that pertain to life and godliness, prosperity of soul and health of body as well.

1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
1Pe 1:5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Pe 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
1Pe 1:7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,


But and there is a but, we are not promised an easy passage at all times, we may face trials at times to test us and help us grow in our faith, that the genuineness of our faith might shine through, because if we truly love the Lord, our faithfulness will shine through for we will still rejoice in Him through the trials.

Some other verses on prosperity.

3Jo 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Deu 29:9 Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

Psa 122:6 Pray for the peace of
Jerusalem:
"May they prosper who love you.

Psa 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Psa 37:4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Psa 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.


We can receive great blessings from God. So often, the only thing that stands as a barrier to us receiving everything from God is our lack of understanding on the biblical truth concerning prosperity and a lack of faith and patience.

Let’s apply the Word to our lives and Christian experience.

Mat 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Our response to the blessings God gives us should be to give praise and thanks.

Psa 107:31 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

1Th
5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

“Jehovah-Jireh" means "God our provider." It is when we have faith like a little child that we are able to receive and joy in all the provisions our Good Heavenly Father supplies to us. Would you tell your child when he asks for candy or a visit to the zoo, that he should ask for meat instead.

Mat 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will.
Mat
10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat
10:31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The Lord even has the number of hairs on our heads counted. Why should we question whether He wants to bless those who love Him? God is interested in all our needs.

Psa 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psa 34:9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
Psa 34:10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.


The riches of any blessing brings the admonition for believers to be spiritually responsible. Discipleship may come with a cost which the Bible also teaches us but we should not reject the blessings God has to offer us, to do so is to reject His Will. Let's keep everything in Biblical Balance, including our understanding of Christian Prosperity.

1Ti 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.



Mat 6:19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;
Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Mat
6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Our thoughts should be mainly on laying up treasures in heaven, because where our treasure is our heart is.

 

 

Eph 1::3- 14 To the praise of His glory

                                                               


Eph 1: 3-14, to the praise of His glory

 

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
Eph 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--
Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
Eph 1:8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
Eph 1:9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
Eph 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
Eph 1:12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
Eph
1:14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

1. We are adopted into His family, we are the children of God, heirs to the Kingdom.The believer is in Christ and Christ is in the believer. We are joined to Him. The head is in the body and the body is in the head. My body can’t move without the head directing it. The church, which is “the body of Christ” is in Christ, the Head. He’s blessed us, and He’s done it in Christ.“In heavenly places in Christ.” The fact of the matter is, you are in the heavenlies in Christ even when you are down in the dumps. Everyone who is in Christ is seated in the heavenlies in Him. That’s the position which He has given us. Canaan is a picture of where we live today. It could never be heaven because there were enemies to be fought and battles to be won. Down here is where the battle is being fought. When we get to heaven, there will be no more battles. The interesting point here is that God gave them Canaan. All they had to do was lay hold of their possession. God told Joshua, “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses” (Josh. 1:3). Joshua could say, “Well, Lord, you’ve already given it to us. You let us walk in and take it.”

Several of these blessings are listed here: we are chosen, blameless (1:4), we are adopted, and accepted (1:5, 6), we are redeemed and forgiven, predestined, and sealed (1:7, 11, 13). We are enlightened (1:8,9) We are given an inheritance (1:11) And finally we are assured, we have a guarantee of our inheritance. Praise the Lord!


PYRAMID OF BLESSINGS

................... blessing ..................
............. spiritual blessing ...............
............every spiritual blessing ...........
.....every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places....
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ


2. The moment we came to Jesus we received them, we already have them positionally but we receive them by faith.

Col 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
Col 2:10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

The authority and power of the Lord Jesus lives in us through His Holy Spirit.

3. 1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1Pe 2:10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.


We have been chosen by God to be holy and blameless, for He is Holy living lives to the praise of His glory. He chose us even before the foundations of the world. SEE Col3:1-4. We are raised with Christ, we are to seek the things above for our Lord is seated at the Father’s right hand and we have been raised with Him. We have died to our old man and have been hidden with Christ in God. At the time of the Second Coming we the bride, will appear with Him in glory. As Christians we have experienced a radical change of spiritual environment and this should affect our whole mode of life. Having been raised with Christ, we now move in a new sphere.
Normal human ambition sees things in terms of this world. But we have been raised with Christ and should see things from an eternal perspective, and so should want our lives on earth to be reflect the pattern of life seen in the glorified Christ...to “seek those things which are above” is to aim at emulating the characteristics of the Christ in glory’ The character of God should be seen in us.

Col 1:27
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:



God's Word declares that it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Not only are we "seated in the heavenly places in Christ," but it also says that it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."


4.His grace is glorious. Grace is God’s free gift to us the unmerited favour of God.
He has forgiven our sins. We are the redeemed, we are new creations.
The greatest evidence of His grace is in Him forgiving us of our sins. His blood poured out for us to wash away our sins.


Eph 1:10 This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head. (GNB)

5.The fulfillment of God’s plan when Jesus comes again. A new Heaven and a New earth. The New Jerusalem- Christ reigning as King over all. The coming of the Kingdom.

1Co 15:24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
1Co
15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
1Co
15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1Co
15:27 For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
1Co 15:28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.



It was the power of God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
It was the power of God that seated him in the heavenly places.
It was the power of God that set him far above all principality and power….
It was the power of God that put ALL things under his feet.
If we are part of his body, then all things, too, are under our feet spiritually.

Rev 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.
Rev 21:2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


1Jo 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.



6. We shall be like Him. No more sorrow, no more pain. We shall no longer sin for we
shall be holy, fully sanctified, for we are at present only sanctified in part, as this is an ongoing process. We shall forever be in the presence of the Lord, we may think we know something of that, but we have only tasted a small part of that which is to come. It is too awesome for our finite minds to comprehend what heaven’s glory will be like but when we see Him we shall be like Him.

If God did not mean "seated in the heavenly places in Christ", then why did He say "seated in the heavenly places in Christ?" If God did not mean "far above all principality and power," then why did He say "far above all principality and power?" If God did not mean "Christ in you, the hope of glory," then why did He say "Christ in you, the hope of glory?" Could it be that we the church have rationalized God's words and substituted our own words in thinking about our spiritual position?

We are sealed by the Holy Spirit, we have the Holy Spirit to empower us. Let's do all things to the praise of His glory. Dig deep in the Word, spend quality time with the Lord. Pray, meditate and praise Him who has the Name above all Names.

 

 

 


 

HE HAS QUICKENED US BY HIS SPIRIT, Ephesians 2:1-3

                                    


HE HAS QUICKENED US BY HIS SPIRIT, Ephesians 2:1-3

 

Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Eph 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.


We have been quickened(AV) or made alive, we have been resurrected to a new life in Christ, for although we once were spiritually dead because of trespasses and sins. In chapter one we see the mighty power of God as it raised Christ from the grave and crowned Him with glory and honor. Now we see how that same power has worked in our own lives, raising us from spiritual death and seating us in Christ in the heavenlies.
Paul speaks of man’s condition outside of Christ in those verses. Man is described in these verses as (1) a corpse (v. 1), (2) one who is controlled by the world, Satan, and the sin nature (vv. 2, 3), and (3) one who is justly condemned (v. 3b).
Paul reminds us that we need to understand our former state, having been in a spiritually dead, and helpless state before he can fully appreciate the salvation provided in Christ. In Christ we have been (1) made alive (spiritually), (2) raised up, and (3) seated in heavenly places. These positional privileges will in the future be experientially realized in full, which for now we realize only in part but by drawing closer to the Lord we can realize much more at this present time.
Now though, our lives have been profoundly changed we are alive in Christ. We are new creations in Christ. We have a new hope for eternity. For us all things are new.Rev 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

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

We who were once afar of have been brought near, because of what our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has done for us by the shedding of His blood, by paying the once for all sacrifice for our sins, hallelujah, isnt it wonderful what grace, what mercy, that Christ our Lord, should leave heavens glory, become as a man, tempted in every way such as we are yet remain the Sinless Spotless Son of God who gave Himself for us, but the grave could not hold Him. He is the risen ascended and glorified Lord and is seated at God's right hand. It is the Holy Spirit who quickens us, don't you feel the Spirit within you quickening at the presence of the Lord? He is our Lord, He is our soon coming King and He loves us so.

We should experience to some degree, experientially that which we have positionally.

Eph 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

WOW! CAUGHT UP IN THE HEAVENLIES WITH CHRIST- PRESENT TENSE!

Say to yourself "I am seated in the Heavenlies with Christ." Doesnt that give you a different perspective in life it does with me!
How then can we reject our call to Holiness? We can't.

whistling2.gifAll to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Refrain

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

Refrain

 

PUT ON THE NEW MAN, OFF WITH THE OLD





PUT ON THE NEW MAN, OFF WITH THE OLD

 

Eph 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
Eph 4:18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
Eph 4:19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
Eph 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ,
Eph 4:21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus:
Eph 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,
Eph 4:23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
Eph 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Christians need to avoid and reject the world’s way of thinking. We are in the world but not of this world. Realize that thinking as the world does will unavoidably lead to sensuality and impurity.

We see here, Paul admonished the Ephesians not to live the lifestyles that were typical of the unbelieving Gentiles all around them. The unbeliever’s lifestyles were characterized by “futility,” being empty and without purpose. The understanding of unbelievers had been darkened because they had chosen to reject God’s revelation, their hearts were blinded.

2Co 4:3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
2Co 4:4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them
.

These people remained “alienated” or separated from the life of God and so they could not hear His voice; they were willfully ignorant of God and His truth. The Lord Jesus is the Shepherd and His sheep hear His voice. If you haven’t heard His voice, then you are not one of His sheep. The believer looks to the Lord Jesus as his Shepherd. He listens to His Shepherd and he follows Him.

Their hearts had become blinded and hardened so that they were insensitive to God and had no fear of the consequences of their actions.

Moule translates it: “having got over the pain.” How expressive! When conscience is at first denied, there is a twinge of pain; there is a protest that can be heard. But if the voice is silenced, presently the voice becomes less clear and clamant; the protest is smothered; the twinge is less acute, until at last it is possible to “get over the pain.”

1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

They had given themselves over to self-indulgent immorality characterized by greed for more.

Joh 12:37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him,
Joh
12:38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
"Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"
Joh 12:39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
Joh
12:40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them."


New man.
(Gk. kainos anthropos) (4:24; Col. 3:10) Strong’s #2537; 444: This Greek word for new does not mean something more recent in time, but something having a different quality or nature. Thus, the new man is the new humanity created in Christ, of which all believers partake, both individually and corporately. Since Paul has already spoken of the new man created in Christ in terms of a new unified corporate humanity (2:14, 15), the new man in this verse must also be thought of corporately (Col. 3:9–11). In the immediate context, Paul is exhorting each believer to put on his or her new human nature.
Nelsons Bible Commentary.

Just like the Ephesians we as believers are to put off “the old man,” a phrase referring to the old sinful lifestyle driven by desires that deceptively promised joy but did not give it; we are to allow the Holy Spirit to renew our thought patterns and renew our minds. The putting off the old man and putting on the new man cannot be done by self-effort, nor can it be done by striving to imitate Christ’s conduct. The Holy Spirit indwells every believer and it is the Holy Spirit that brings forth change in us.
We are told in Romans that the old man has already been crucified in the death of Christ.

Rom 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
So, the old man has already been crucified with Christ, and we are to put it off by the power of the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean that the flesh, the old nature, is ever completely eliminated in this life. However, we do have a new nature and this is the result of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for if any man is in Christ he is a new creature. We are to live in that new nature, that new man. Since we have been declared righteous and we are in Christ seated in the heavenlies, (See Eph1:20) our walk down here should be commensurate with our position.. Righteousness means right conduct toward others. Holiness is “piety towards God, which puts Him in His place,” as F. W. Grant defines it. We are to become like Christ. We who were once afar off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. see Eph 2:13. Praise be to God! We are to be holy for he is holy.

1Pe 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
1Pe
1:16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

When we get new clothing do we want to hark back to the old stuff we have binned? No, I'm not going to rake through the bin, are you?

So, let us put on the new man, and put aside the old, let us strive towards holiness, and righteousness with the help of the renewing power of the Holy Spirit.

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

 

 

My soul thirsts for you, Psalm 63: 1-8

                                               

My soul thirsts for you, Psalm 63: 1-8

Psa 63:1 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
Psa 63:2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Psa 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Psa 63:4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psa 63:6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Psa 63:7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
Psa 63:8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.


We can see how the psalmist David acknowledged a personal, intimate relationship with God in which his longing for God is as intense as the longing of dry, parched lips for water. He cried out for God with a thirst that could not be quenched and a hunger that could not be satisfied. He longed for God with every fibre of his being and we can see that clearly in this Psalm.
You know the Psalmist was looking forward to the cross, whereas we are looking back to the cross, he did not have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit like we do, yet he knew well what it was to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, but do we long for God the way David did? He longed to behold His glory, His shekinah glory. Do we long to behold the fullness of His glory? Do we long for His glory to fall down and touch us reviving us afresh? Is Jesus more important to us than any other thing?
The Hebrew word for praise used here is shabach, it means to praise, adore and glory in something. The psalmist is totally involved in this worshipful hymn to God: he uses his eyes to see God more clearly(see, v. 2), his lips joyfully sing praises to God (v. 3),he lifts up his hands in praise to His God (v. 4),his soul thirsts for God (v. 5),he praises God with his mouth (v. 5), and his mind meditates on God even as he goes to sleep, v.6) Isn’t this the example of true worship. Is this not an example for us to follow. Do we long for the reality of His Presence, for Him to pour out His Spirit and to effect a change in us? I know I do. I long to behold His glory, I love Him in a way that I once thought wasn’t possible for us in this earth.
No matter what comes against us we are shadowed by His wings, so we can raise our joyful song of praise to Him, for He alone is Worthy, and give Him all the Glory. When we turn all over to Him in loving dependence and in conscious need, He preserves us from dangers seen and unseen, the principalities and powers of the air and through His Spirit empowers us to press on toward the mark for the prize.


2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Think on this beholding as in a mirror “reflecting” as well as “looking into.” We are meant to behold something of the glory of the Lord, the veil has been rent in two, we are to be continually transformed into the same image by the Spirit of the Lord. We with ever-increasing glory, are to reflect what we behold, to become more and more like our Lord.

 

 

 

 

Ezekiel 18:23-31, A New Heart and New Spirit

                                                                     


Ezekiel 18:23-31, A New Heart and New Spirit

 

Eze 18:23 Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?" says the Lord GOD, "and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
Eze 18:24 "But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die.
Eze
18:25 "Yet you say, "The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?
Eze 18:26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies.
Eze 18:27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive.
Eze
18:28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Eze 18:29 Yet the house of Israel says, "The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
Eze
18:30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.
Eze
18:31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?

God has no pleasure in seeing men and women perish, God says he wants men to turn away from sin, and they shall live. . Life and death is a matter of vast importance and man ought to consider that. Everyone is judged equally and as individuals for their response to God. For, God does not enjoy condemning a person, but He is just and righteous in dispensing His judgments. People continued to accuse God of being unjust, but He shows us that there is no injustice because even a wicked man can be saved by turning from his sins, and that is what the Lord would have us do.

Eze 18:22 None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.

When God forgives he forgets, our sins are reckoned unto us as righteousness

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Take a look at verse 28, a man or woman who is truly repentant considers and turns away from their transgressions. People go on in their sin because they cannot see where they are heading, but if the Prodigal realizes what state they are in and seeks God’s forgiveness, He is ready and able to forgive that sin. (Luke 15: 7; 11-32) Look at the encouragement here for a repentant sinner to hope for pardon and life according to the promise, he shall surely live.

Verse 30 calls for true sincere repentance. We have to seek God for a new heart and a renewed spirit. It is important for us to understand that true spiritual transformation involves repentance.

Is Ezekiel telling us that God’s people only pay lip service to dealing with sin? Sin has to be thoroughly dealt with.

God desires to give us a new heart and a new spirit.

Eze 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

When you come to Christ you are as new creations and you have that new heart and new spirit within you and we are meant to flee from sin, for Christ is in us. We are not left to do this on our own for the Holy Spirit is there to transform us, we have to die to self, die to sin and seek to be holy for Christ is holy.

2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.


Eph 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.


So, as we begin another New Year let us think of it as a time for renewal of our hearts and minds. If you don’t yet know Jesus why not come to Him and confess your sins now? And if you are a Christian, are things right between you and your Lord, do you need to come before Him and ask Him once again to cleanse your heart, to forgive you for maybe trying to go your own way, to stop paying lip service to the Lord but give Him your all. God wants to pour out His grace and mercy on us, it requires us to first come to Him. Prodigals won’t you come home to Father.

 

DISCONTENTMENT


                                                                 

DISCONTENTMENT

Admit it, Do you have an element of discontentment?
1Jo 5:19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the power and control of the evil one.
1Jo 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we are in God because we are in his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.
1Jo 5:21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.


We need to remember that Satan is a liar and deceiver. He has no power over Christians, because Christ indwells us, but he tries to deceive us into seeking joy, contentment, and fulfillment from the world around us instead of from God. He uses the world to deceive Christians. The Bible indicates that, although God is Sovereign and rules over all, Satan is loose in planet earth for a time. At the moment the restrainer is still here so he is curtailed. Satan hates us, especially when we are abiding in Christ, so he will interrupt our walk in any way he can. What does he do to us when he sees us busy about the things of God, he looks for cracks in our armor to penetrate and bring us down. Have you your helmet of salvation on? Are you carrying the sword of the Spirit and the shield of faith? Have you your breastplate of righteousness, your belt of truth and shoes of peace? We need to keep that armor intact.

1Jo 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1Jo 2:16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
1Jo
2:17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Most Christians are discontent at least some of the time, because we seek "life" from the world instead of from Our Lord.. We may not even realize we do, but in truth we do. You may say but I don't do that , but think about it some more. God paid a dear price to bless us "with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." We have been filled with "God's glory"--that is, the very life of Christ through the Holy Spirit:
Remember Jesus is able to give us complete contentment at all times no matter what the circumstances, but we are often deceived into thinking that, in order to be content, we need something other than Him, such as:
• More money. Not a lot more, just enough to have this or do that.
• A " more successful" ministry
• More Spiritual gifts (God isn’t going to bless us with more if we don’t utilize what we have.
• Power and authority over other people
• A better relationship with our spouse, child, parent, neighbors or associates from work
• A simpler life--fewer gadgets, more free time, less hassle
• Release from slavery to our job, chores, or financial difficulties
• Better health
• More time with our family

Those are not bad things to desire. . But God wants us to learn to be content now through our fellowship with Him in Christ. If nagging desires, even desires for things that seem right and good, keep us from rejoicing right now, then we are not resting in the Lord as we should be!
We as Christians so often have no more joy and contentment than unbelievers, because we seek it from the same source: our circumstances i.e. the world. If we seek life from the world instead of from Christ, we will "rejoice" only when things are going well, have "peace" (false peace) only when immediate struggles are gone, and give thanks only when God provides the things that we think we need--money, food, good health, etc. No wonder unbelievers are confused by Christians. We speak of peace and joy in knowing Jesus but they see us restless, frustrated and discontent.

Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

And what did Paul say Phi 4:11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
Phi 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
Phi
4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Come on, folks where is that victorious Christian living?


                                                                                                



ISAIAH CHAPTER 54

                                                                  


ISAIAH CHAPTER 54

 


Isa 54:1 "Sing, O barren,
You who have not borne!
Break forth into singing, and cry aloud,
You who have not labored with child!
For more are the children of the desolate
Than the children of the married woman," says the LORD.
Isa 54:2 "Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
Isa 54:3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.
Isa 54:4 "Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed;
Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame;
For you will forget the shame of your youth,
And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
Isa 54:5 For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of
Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.
Isa 54:6 For the LORD has called you
Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Like a youthful wife when you were refused,"
Says your God.
Isa 54:7 "For a mere moment I have forsaken you,
But with great mercies I will gather you.
Isa 54:8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,"
Says the LORD, your Redeemer.
Isa 54:9 "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;
For as I have sworn
That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,
So have I sworn
That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
Isa 54:10 For the mountains shall depart
And the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,"
Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
Isa 54:11 "O you afflicted one,
Tossed with tempest, and not comforted,
Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems,
And lay your foundations with sapphires.
Isa 54:12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies,
Your gates of crystal,
And all your walls of precious stones.
Isa 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD,
And great shall be the peace of your children.
Isa 54:14 In righteousness you shall be established;
You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
Isa 54:15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of
Me.
Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
Isa 54:16 "Behold, I have created the blacksmith
Who blows the coals in the fire,
Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
Isa 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their righteousness is from Me,"
Says the LORD.


It is not purely a coincidence that this chapter begins with the word “Sing!” Coming immediately after the 53rd chapter with its presentation of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and exaltation, there could not have been a more appropriate word.
The future regathering and restoring of Israel is a picture of the wonderful changes God makes when trials and sufferings end. Isaiah contrasts the barren and desolate nation, with the restored and redeemed nation, prolific and rejoicing. Take a look at Galatians 4:21–31 Paul applies those first few verses of the chapter there to the heavenly Jerusalem versus the earthly city.
The barren woman gives birth to so many children that the family tent must be enlarged . All the shame connected with enslavement in Egypt and captivity in Babylon (widowhood) shall be forgotten because Jehovah will bring the nation back into fellowship with Himself. The storm is over and God gives peace, and the covenant sign of the rainbow is in the sky . “ But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
There will no longer be fear of invasion, exile, or oppression. Anyone who causes trouble with Israel will be tried and punished. God decreed that no weapon formed against Israel shall succeed, and that Israel herself shall condemn ... every accuser. This freedom from condemnation and certain victory are the heritage of the servants of the LORD. This is how God will vindicate them in the golden era of peace and prosperity.Times of chastening or suffering may seem spiritually barren to you, but God uses them to give birth to blessings. When wem go through times of sorrow and reproach it is painful, but they can lead to greater joys. Storms are frightening, but they polish God’s jewels (vs’s11–12) and bring Him glory. It is painful to go through the furnace (vs’s16–17), but God uses the experience to make you and I stronger and better tools.
Let’s remember, the best is yet to come!

 

Ephesians 2:11-22, We who were afar off are God's family.

Ephesians 2:11-22, We who were afar off are God's family.

 

Eph 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands--
Eph 2:12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Eph
2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Eph 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
Eph 2:15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace,
Eph 2:16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.
Eph
2:17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.
Eph
2:18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
Eph 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
Eph 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
Eph 2:21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
Eph 2:22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


God's categorization of people as Gentiles or Jews was changed under the New Covenant. Now the focus is 1Jo 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Before the focus was on the circumstances of one's physical birth. But now the focus would be on the circumstances of one's spiritual rebirth. The focus was on the flesh, but now it is on the spirit. The result of salvation is that we are His workmanship—the handiwork of God, not of ourselves.

As far as the community of Israel was concerned, the Gentiles were on the outside, looking in. And they were strangers from the covenants of promise. God had made covenants with the nation of Israel through such men as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and Solomon. These covenants promised blessings to the Jews. Gentiles had been rescued from that place of distance and alienation, and had been elevated to a position of nearness to God. They had been brought into the fold because they were in Christ Jesus.
Before these Gentile sinners could enjoy the privilege of nearness to God, they had to be cleansed from their sins. Only the blood of Christ shed at Calvary could do this. When they received the Lord Jesus by a definite act of faith, all the cleansing value of His precious blood was credited to their account.
Jesus not only brought them near; He also created a new society in which the ancient enmity between Jew and Gentile was forever abolished. Until New Testament times, all the world was divided into two classes—Jew and Gentile. The Lord introduced a third—the church of God .

1Co 10:32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God,
He is our peace: When a Jew believes on the Lord Jesus, he loses his national identity; from then on he is “in Christ.” Likewise, when a Gentile receives the Savior, he is no longer a Gentile; for he is “in Christ.” In other words, believing Jew and believing Gentile, once divided by enmity, are now both one in Christ. Their union with Christ necessarily unites them with one another. Therefore a Man is the peace, just as Micah predicted (Mic. 5:5).

Mic 5:5 And this One shall be peace.
When the Assyrian comes into our land,
And when he treads in our palaces,
Then we will raise against him
Seven shepherds and eight princely men.


His work as our peace is detailed in verses 14–18.
1. It is new that a Gentile should have equal rights and privileges with a Jew.
2. It is new that both Jews and Gentiles should lose their national identities by becoming Christians.
3. It is new that Jews and Gentiles should be fellow members of the Body of Christ.
4. It is new that a Jew should have the hope of reigning with Christ instead of being a subject in His kingdom.
5. It is new that a Jew should no longer be under the law.
The church is a new creation, with a distinct calling and a distinct destiny, occupying a unique place in the purposes of God. Christ also made peace between Jew and Gentile. He did this by removing the cause of hostility, by imparting a new nature, and by creating a new union. The cross is God’s answer to racial discrimination, segregation, anti-Semitism, bigotry, and every form of strife between men.
As well as reconciling Jew and Gentile to one another, Christ has reconciled them both to God. By His death on the cross, the Lord Jesus removed the enmity by removing the cause. Those who receive Him are reckoned righteous, forgiven, redeemed, pardoned, and delivered from the power of sin..
We needed to be reconciled to God. The work of our Lord on the cross provided a righteous basis on which we could be brought into His presence as friends, not as foes. Isn’t it great to know we are reconciled to God?

Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Col 2:14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.


Because we are under the gospel of grace we are reckoned as insiders, fellow citizen's and members of God's family.. In the Old Testament, God had shown himself to be quite distant and hostile to the unholy, only allowing a few to be close to Him. We lose the sense of God's holiness today when Jesus is viewed simply as a friend of sinners. God hates sin and won't allow it in his presence in any long term sense. Sin hinders our intimacy with God. God has dealt with sin, our sins are washed away. For when one becomes a Christian, one agrees for God to remove both the guilt of his sin and his or her sinful nature itself that we may be gradually transformed . (For we won't be sinning in heaven. God could quite simply have justified us and taken away our sinfulness, but He goes beyond this. We are adopted into His family.

By "the foundation of the apostles and prophets" he means the Word of God - the Bible, which is easy enough to understand from an historic point of view. For it is the Bible that tells us of Jesus, the object of our faith, along with his teachings and promises, and the gospel revealed by Paul. Finally, believers have been made members of the church, or as Paul pictures it here, they have become stones in the construction of a holy temple. With great detail the apostle describes this temple—its foundation, its chief cornerstone, its cohesive agent, its unity and symmetry, its growth, and its other unique features.

Jer 51:26 They shall not take from you a stone for a corner
Nor a stone for a foundation,
But you shall be desolate forever," says the LORD.


Jesus himself is also viewed as a foundation in 1Cor 3:11

1Co 3:11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Jesus as the chief cornerstone was also mentioned by the prophets.

Isa 28:16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. (niv)
Zec 10:4 From
Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler. (niv)

If you take away the cornerstone, the whole house falls down. This symbolically happened to the Jews who did not recognize Jesus, their house was quite literally destroyed in 70 ad, including the temple being torn down.
The Christian community is likened to a building 1Co 3:9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building.
We are likened in particular a temple to which people are drawn in their approach to God and in which is prayerful communication with God
.

QUOTE

The unity and symmetry of the temple are indicated by the expression, the whole building, being fitted together. It is a unity made up of many individual members. Each member has a specific place in the building for which he or she is exactly suited. Stones excavated from the valley of death by the grace of God are found to fit together perfectly. The unique feature of this building is that it grows. However, this feature is not the same as the growth of a building through the addition of bricks and cement. Think of it rather as the growth of a living organism, such as the human body. After all, the church is not an inanimate building. Neither is it an organization. It is a living entity with Christ as its Head and all believers forming the Body. It was born on the day of Pentecost, has been growing ever since, and will continue to grow until the Rapture.
This growing building of living materials is described as a holy temple in the Lord. The word Paul used for temple referred not to the outer courts but to the inner shrine (Gk., naos), not the suburbs but the sanctuary. He was thinking of the main building of the temple complex, which housed the Most Holy Place. There God dwelt and there He manifested Himself in a bright, shining cloud of glory.
There are several lessons for us here: (1) God indwells the church. Saved Jews and Gentiles form a living sanctuary in which He dwells and where He reveals His glory. (2) This temple is holy. It is set apart from the world and dedicated to Him for sacred purposes. (3) As a holy temple, the church is a center from which praise, worship, and adoration ascend to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul further describes this holy temple as being in the Lord. In other words, the Lord Jesus is its source of holi ness. Its members are holy positionally through union with Him, and they should be holy practically out of love for Him.
In this wonderful temple, believing Gentiles have an equal place with believing Jews. It should thrill us to read this, as it must have thrilled the Ephesians and others when they heard it for the first time. The tremendous dignity of the believers’ position is that they form a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. This is the purpose of the temple—to provide a place where God can live in fellowship with His people. The church is that place. Compare this with the position of the Gentiles in the OT. At that time they could not get near God’s dwelling. Now they themselves form a good part of it!
And notice the ministry of each of the Persons of the Godhead in connection with the church: (1) In whom, that is, in Christ. It is through union with Him that we are built into the temple. (2) A dwelling place of God. This temple is the home of God the Father on earth. (3) In the Spirit. It is in the Person of the Holy Spirit that God indwells the church (1 Cor. 3:16).  ( Believers Bible Commentary)



It is not the buildings nor the institutions called "churches" which compose God's temple, but rather those of us who have put our faith in Christ regardless of whether we go to a particular building on a particular day of the week. God lives in believers through the Holy Spirit, who imparts spiritual gifts for the mutual edification of the body of Christ. Everyone has an important part to play in the church, we are all living stones.

 

DAVID AND BATHSHEBA.

                                                                             

DAVID AND BATHSHEBA.


DAVID'S SIN

David spent some time afar off from God. David was in the wrong place, he should have been in the battlefield. If he had been out in the battlefield, where the king was supposed to be, instead of hanging around the palace looking at naked women, this whole incident would have never happened. Bathsheba was summoned to the King's palace, she had to come to the palace or risk execution for defying the King. Bathsheba's bathing was not likely to be in a public place, but probably behind the walls of an enclosed courtyard. She did not expect that she would be seen, since the King was, after all, supposed to be out in the battlefield with her husband. David was it would seem abusing his power to satisfy his own lustful desires.

David didn't set out to commit the sins of adultery and murder. By the time he found out who Bathsheba was he was already lusting after her. Had she been unmarried, he would have been quite proper in pursuing her as a wife, and his inquiry would not have been improper. The lustful thoughts in his heart outweighed his good sense and integrity. By now, David's intentions have shifted from an interest in taking Bathsheba as a wife, to just plain taking Bathsheba.

We see though sin had its consequences:

2Sa 11:5 And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."

Oops.

David hadn't even considered that possibility.

David tried to cover up his sin and shift the responsibility to someone else:

THE COVER UP

2Sa 11:6 Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David.
2Sa 11:7 When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered.
2Sa 11:8 And David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah departed from the king's house, and a gift of food from the king followed him.
2Sa 11:9 But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.
2Sa 11:10 So when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?"
2Sa 11:11 And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing."

Bathsheba’s husband, was out on the battlefield where David himself should have been. David called Uriah in from the battle, probably under the guise of a special project or task. He told Uriah to go down to his house, assuming of course that Uriah would have marital relations with Bathsheba while he was home, which would allow him to think that the baby was his, hoping to cover up the incident.
David didn’t consider in this scheme that Uriah had such a sense of honor and loyaltythat he wouldn’t go and enjoy the pleasures of home when his fellow-soldiers were camping in the battlefield. David even attempted to get him drunk, but Uriah’s sense of duty and honor was strong enough to overcome all of David’s tactics.
David got desperate, and like most desperate men, did something really stupid.

2Sa
11:14 In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah.
2Sa 11:15 And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die."

David sent word Joab, the leader of the king’s army, to put Uriah in a place where he would be killed. Although he did not know why the king had ordered Uriah’s death, Joab obeyed his king’s command, believing the King must have good reason.

2Sa 11:16 So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men.
2Sa
11:17 Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

Because of the strategic moves that had to be made to place Urriah in the battlefront we see that many others died also.
A lot of innocent people get hurt while we are trying to hide the truth and trying to cover up . Joab thought that David would react poorly to the battle strategy that led to Uriah’s death so when the messenger went to update David on the war, Joab gave him specific instructions that would tell David that the deed had been done.

2Sa 11:18 Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war,
2Sa 11:19 and charged the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king,
2Sa 11:20 if it happens that the king's wrath rises, and he says to you: "Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall?
2Sa
11:21 Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?'--then you shall say, "Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also."'
2Sa
11:22
So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him.
2Sa 11:23 And the messenger said to David, "Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate.
2Sa 11:24 The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also."
2Sa 11:25 Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab: "Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.' So encourage him."

There is nothing to say that David even flinched at the news. David’s focus was on hiding his sin, at any cost. Matters of state and ethical issues had been pushed down on David’s priority list. Now, with Uriah out of the way, David could make the cover-up complete.

2Sa 11:26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband.
2Sa 11:27 And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

Bathsheba mourned for her husband, as was proper. Then, as a gesture of supposed kindness, the king took the poor widow in and made her one of his wives. “But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” David thought the whole incident was covered. The only living person who possibly had knowledge of the entire truth and could testify against him was Bathsheba, and and her silence was probably motivated by fear for her own life. There also were some men who served the king, who had suspicions , but they remained loyal to the king. He only overlooked one little detail, he forgot you can’t hide your heart from God.

CONDEMNATION AND REPENTANCE.

2Sa 12:1 Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: "There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.
2Sa 12:2 The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds.
2Sa 12:3 But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him.
2Sa 12:4 And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare one for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him."
2Sa 12:5 So David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, "As the LORD lives, the man who has done this shall surely die!
2Sa 12:6 And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity."


Nathan’s parable was a close parallel to what David had done, and had covered up so skillfully. This should remind us that, no matter how hard we try, we can’t hide from God. God knew what David had done. David couldn’t hide.

2Sa 12:7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of
Israel: "I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.
2Sa 12:8 I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of
Israel and Judah
. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!
2Sa 12:9 Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon.
2Sa 12:10 Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.'
2Sa
12:11
Thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.
2Sa 12:12 For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun."'

David was reminded that God is bigger and smarter than him. Nathan, who hadn’t been a party to any of this incident, recited back to David EXACTLY what he had done, in painful detail, and pronounced God’s judgement on the king. On top of that. Nathan risked his life bringing this accusation before the king. The king was the sole power-broker of government; he could have told one of the guards to kill Nathan on the spot. He could have denied his sin, and argued with Nathan and God He could have continued in his denial. The choice was David’s to make. Nathan knew the risk, yet also understood that obedience to God, even to the point of death, is better than long life of rebellion and disobedience.

2Sa 12:13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."

David confesses his sin before Nathan and the Lord. It is when we are truly honest with God that we find His mercy and grace. God showed His grace by forgiving David, and allowing him to live. For the rest of his days, when David opened his eyes in the morning, he knew that he was alive for one reason and one reason only: the sheer grace of God.


And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. This changed the direction of David’s life, and deepened his relationship with God to a level he had never known before. Understanding God’s grace will have the same effect on us.

Psa 51:1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Psa 51:2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.

This Psalm doesn’t contain one single word of self-justification. David didn’t try to blame Bathsheba for his downfall, or talk about the enormous stresses and responsibilities in the life of a great leader. He faced his sin head-on, and called it what it was, his sin.

Psa 51:4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight--
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

His sin was first and foremost sin against God, and his first step of repentance is confession before God.

Psa 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.

David recognized his basic human depravity

Psa 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

He finally came to the point of "truth in his inmost being," and was honest as regards his sins
Psa 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Hyssop was used under Old Testament law for two rituals of purification. It was part of the purification of one healed of leprosy, and of those who had come in contact with a dead body. David saw his sin as a deadly disease that could be cured only by God himself. Only God’s Grace can purify us and forgive our sins.

Psa 51:8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Psa 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psa 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psa 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

David genuinely repented before God. Repentance allows the broken to begin to heal, as God blots out our sin and creates a clean heart within us. David is thinking back to King Saul in verse 11, who failed to honestly repent of his sin of disobedience. As a result, God withdrew his Spirit from Saul, who lived out his days in misery and torment. David witnessed this chapter in Saul’s life, and asked not only for forgiveness, but for a renewed relationship, and deliverance from the fate of Saul.

Psa 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Psa 51:14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
Psa 51:15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
Psa 51:16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart--
These, O God, You will not despise.
Psa 51:18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Psa 51:19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.


. Genuine repentance brings forgiveness, restoration and healing, and the end result of that cycle is action. David committed himself to serving God. It is not our works that bring about God’s favor; it is favor with God, through honest repentance, that makes one a willing servant.

2Sa 12:13 So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."
And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
2Sa 12:14 However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die."
2Sa
12:15 Then Nathan departed to his house.
And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became ill.
2Sa 12:16 David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.
2Sa 12:17 So the elders of his house arose and went to him, to raise him up from the ground. But he would not, nor did he eat food with them.
2Sa
12:18
Then on the seventh day it came to pass that the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead. For they said, "Indeed, while the child was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not heed our voice. How can we tell him that the child is dead? He may do some harm!"
2Sa
12:19
When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?"
And they said, "He is dead."
2Sa 12:20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.
2Sa 12:21 Then his servants said to him, "What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food."
2Sa 12:22 And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, "Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' 2Sa
12:23 But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."


The child’s death does reveal an important truth; our sin affects not only ourselves, but also those around us. The long-reaching effect of a moment of sinful self-indulgence can be disastrous. We seldom pause to consider that factor in a moment of temptation. If we could see the results of our actions, we’d say "no" more often. The judgement proclaimed in verses 11 and 12 came to pass, when in 2 Samuel
16:20-22 David’s rebellious son Absalom publicly went in to his father’s wives and concubines to demonstrate his rebellion to the nation. Bathsheba too had to live with the humiliation. Sin has consequences.

RESTORATION AND HEALING.

2Sa 12:24 Then David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in to her and lay with her. So she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. Now the LORD loved him,
2Sa
12:25 and He sent word by the hand of Nathan the prophet: So he called his name Jedidiah, because of the LORD. The story does not end with the consequences of sin. Where there is sin, there are consequences, but where there is grace, there is restoration and healing. You may have expected the embarrassed and disgraced Bathsheba to tell David that he could just stay on his side of the palace, and that she never wanted to lay eyes on him again. Who would think that a relationship with such a sin-drenched foundation could even survive, far less prosper. God demonstrated His grace in the sanctification of a relationship that had once brought the condemnation of death. This became a "healed and holy household," a union that brought forth Solomon, a child regarded by both sacred and secular authority as one of the wisest men ever born. It was Solomon who built the temple.He succeeded his father as King, and his name appears in the direct bloodline of Christ in the New Testament genealogies.
The Lord sent word through Nathan that He had a special name for this special child: Jedidiah - which means "beloved of God." This child was God’s choice. It is important to note that the healing and reconstruction of this relationship did not happen immediately. It would appear that several years passed between the death of the first son and the birth of Solomon. It is also apparent that, although David had many wives, Bathsheba became his favorite. A marriage built on the healing grace of God always produces very special, intimate, bonded relationships.
God wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us, and goes out of His way to invite us into that relationship. The whole point of Nathan’s charge against David was not to punish him, but to restore him.

It doesn’t matter what you or I have done, God’s healing, restoring grace is available to us, just like it was for David. All you have to do is be willing to face God and admit your sin with the same painful honesty that was David’s first step toward rebuilding his life.

Are you ready for a fresh start? Maybe you have yet to give your life to Jesus? Don't hesitate, the Father is in the business of forgiving and restoring. Your life can be healed, restored, and rebuilt, just like David's was. Like David, we have to be honest with God, and with ourselves.

Christians, if you have unconfessed sin that is interrupting your walk with God- repent, bring your sins to the foot of the cross. God wants to heal and restore you, he wants to rebuild your life. He wants you to walk closely in fellowship with Him.

How can we walk in Spirit- Filled lives if we let sin get in the way? God wants broken and contrite hearts. He wants us to be His willing Servants.

He poured out His grace and mercy in the sacrificial death of Jesus, His blood poured out for you. He will purge away your sins , cleanse you with hyssop and make you what as snow. Jesus uses clean empty vessels. Sin can stop us from fulfilling our purpose for Him.

WALK WITH GOD, WALK IN LOVE.

                                                                    

WALK WITH GOD, WALK IN LOVE.

 

Eph 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.


Eph
5:14 Therefore He says:
"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light."


Anyone sleeping here, come on Church of Jesus Christ its time for us to waken up. Arise out of our slumber and let the light of the glorious gospel shine through us.

Eph 5:15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
Eph
5:16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Eph
5:17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Eph 5:18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,
Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
Eph 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Eph 5:21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.



We as believers are to be imitators of God, especially in the matter of forgiveness. We are to love like Jesus loves, show agape love, love that can only come from the Holy Spirit at work in us. The aroma is to reflect the sweet aroma of the substitutionary, vicarious death of our Lord upon the cross ,the believer is to attain to such an exalted plane of love. Love the unlovely, love those that hurt us. The believer can’t walk with a grieved Holy Spirit, for only the Spirit can bring forth this fruit in our lives. Remember that love is first on the list of the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.

We are to walk wisely Our walk should reveal the urgency of the hour and the importance of living for God. Our entire objective in our walk is to stay in the will of God. We should walk in God’s will and let Him direct our paths, our walk in this world should demonstrate to those around us that we belong to Christ.
When you walk into a car saleroom or electrical store, you will find the salesman in there on his toes: he is dynamic, otherwise he wouldn’t be successful if he could not show enthusiasm about what he is selling. Are we on our toes, are we dynamic? Are we living for God in such a way that folks see that we have something really exciting happening in our lives. A Christian ought to walk in such a way that you know he is a child of God without asking him. We all need to look carefully how we walk.

BEph 5:18 Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. (Message) Be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Overflow with a continual song of praise and thanksgiving to maintain a Spirit-filled flow in your life.
The verb is a command and it really does not leave us as disciples an option in the matter, it is also clear that being filled with the Spirit is not something the Christian achieves through his or her own efforts, but is something that is done for us as and when we submit The state is to be constant , we are to live Spirit-filled lives. The tense used in the Greek for be filled makes clear that such a Spirit-filled condition does not stop with a single experience, but is maintained by “continually being filled,” as commanded here.

We see that one of the evidences of being filled with the Holy Spirit is “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” We can speak this way to one another, encourage one another. If He had said singing, it would have left me out, although I do sing in my own fashion. I think “psalms” refers to the Book of Psalms, as probably all of them had been set to music. “Hymns” were composed by men to glorify God. They were on a very high plane. The “spiritual songs” were less formal than either psalms or hymns. Probably some of them were composed as the person was singing. This is the manifestation of the infilling of the Spirit because He brings joy into the life of the believer.
We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit so that we might radiate the joy of the Lord. The apostle John says that one of the reasons he wrote his epistle was so that “your joy may be full”

Joh 15:11 "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This fullness of joy is to be through our fellowship with the Father and with Jesus Christ .

1Jo 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
1Jo 1:4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Another evidence of being filled with the Spirit is an attitude of thankfulness. We note in the Book of Psalms a great amount of thanksgiving and praise to God. And it is on a high level. We don’t have enough of that among believers today. We should all say, “Praise the Lord, and thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.” Can you say that from the heart? It is no good unless it comes from the heart. The Spirit infilling produces a life of thankfulness so that we can honestly thank God for all things.
When it says here that you and I are to submit ourselves “one to another in the fear of God.” It doesn’t mean we are to salute and fall down before some human being who outranks us. It does mean that in the fear of Christ we are to walk with one another in lowliness of mind, to humble ourselves , to count ourselves as no greater than our brothers and sisters, to be united in being submitted to the captain at the helm of our lives the Lord Jesus Christ, by submitting ourselves to the Spirit’s control. .
Pastors, and elders, members of the church, all of us are to submit ourselves one to another in the fear of the living God. It cannot be a “my way” or “our way” proposition it has to be God’s way. No one can say, “I want you to know that I’ll do as I please. If I want to do it this way, I will do it this way.” That is NOT the attitude of a Spirit-filled believer. Submitting ourselves one to another in the fear of God is another mark of being Spirit-filled.

So who is at the Helm of our lives our churches? Christ has to be at the Helm, it’s not a case of we will do things our way, it has to be God’s way.

Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me


JESUS IS THE WAY, LET THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH BE OUR HELPER AND OUR GUIDE, HOW ELSE CAN WE LEAD SPIRIT-FILLED LIVES.

 

Ephesians 1: 1 - 2: 10, We are blessed in Christ

Ephesians 1: 1 - 2: 10, We are blessed in Christ

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
Eph 1:5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Eph 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
Eph 1:8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
Eph 1:9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
Eph 1:10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.
Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
Eph 1:12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
Eph 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
Eph 1:15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
Eph 1:16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:
Eph 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
Eph 1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
Eph 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
Eph 1:20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Eph 1:21 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.
Eph 1:22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
Eph
1:23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Eph 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
Eph 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them
.

See how the message of Ephesians starts to unfold as being “to the praise of His (God’s) glory” (1:6, 12, 14). We can see that God is bringing the church to its destined purpose in Christ. Isn’t that great. Do you see we already have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ? Several of these blessings are listed here: we are chosen, blameless (1:4), we are adopted, and accepted (1:5, 6), we are redeemed and forgiven, predestined, and sealed (1:7, 11, 13). We are enlightened (1:8,9) We are given an inheritance (1:11) And finally we are assured, we have a guarantee of our inheritance. Praise the Lord!

(1:15–23)
Take a look at this prayer of Paul’s .Christ is “head over all things to the church, which is His body.”
. Our purpose as the church to form a body to express Christ’s fullness on Earth Paul prays that every Christian may see God’s grand purpose in raising Christ as triumphant —that now the church may know the fullness of victorious Christian living because of the position we have in Christ.


At the beginning of chapter 2 Paul having looked at the blessings of a man “in Christ.” speaks of man’s condition outside of Christ. Man is described in these verses as (1) a corpse (v. 1), (2) one who is controlled by the world, Satan, and the sin nature (vv. 2, 3), and (3) one who is justly condemned (v. 3b).

Paul reminds us that we need to understand our former state, having been in a spiritually dead, and helpless state before he can fully appreciate the salvation provided in Christ. In Christ we have been (1) made alive (spiritually), (2) raised up, and (3) seated in heavenly places. These positional privileges will in the future be experientially realized in full, which for now we realize only in part but by drawing closer to the Lord we can realize more at this present time.

We can see that God’s grace has brought together a people in unity among whom He can dwell in His fullness and glory. We are alive together in Christ. His high purpose is to be unveiled through us. It is by God’s grace we have been saved.


Our position in Christ invokes a responsibility from us, we are to live for His glory.

 

 

Romans 12, A living Sacrifice

Romans 12, A living Sacrifice

 

Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
Rom 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Rom 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
Rom 12:7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
Rom 12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Rom 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
Rom 12:11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
Rom 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;
Rom 12:13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
Rom 12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rom 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Rom 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
Rom 12:17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.
Rom 12:18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Rom 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord.
Rom 12:20 Therefore
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."
Rom 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Rom 6:22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.

In light of all God has done for us, particularly all the mercies and benefits God has given to us as Christians, our response should be to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice.
All that we are, should be offered to the Lord, we should submit ourselves wholly to the Lord in His Service. We are to yield “our bodies,” our total personalities. The body is the instrument through which we express ourselves. The mind, the affections, the will, and ofcourse the Holy Spirit can use the body. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Phi 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.

2Co 4:10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. By an act of the will we place our total personalities at the disposal of God. This is
our “reasonable service,” our rational service, and it is well-pleasing to God.
Kenneth S. Wuest has an excellent translation—actually an interpretation—of this verse
-And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being, but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing, and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, placing your approval upon it” (Romans in the Greek New Testament, p. 290). We are in the world but we are not of the world and we are not to be involved in worldly pursuits. The god of this world is satan, Christ died to deliver us from this world. The world is crucified to us, and we are crucified to the world. It would be disloyal to the Lord for us as believers to love the world. Anyone who loves the world is an enemy of God.
Our minds are to be transformed and renewed for we are the children of God, we are new creations, for we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Here are three keys for us regarding how we are to live out this transformation of the new birth . The first is a yielded body, the second a separated life, and the third a transformed mind.

1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1Co 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
1Co 2:16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. God’s word is wisdom, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and to reveal to us the truth in the Word. We are to have renewed minds that are Christ-like in nature – to have the mind of Christ.

Paul says that there is nothing in the gospel that would encourage us to have a superiority complexes. He states that we are to be humble in exercising our gifts. We should never have exaggerated ideas of our own importance and we shouldn’t be envious of others. We should realize that everyone is unique and that we all have an important function to perform for our Lord. We should be happy with the place God has given us in the Body, and we should seek to exercise our gifts with all the strength that God supplies. The church is a unified body under the headship of Christ, but the members have different functions. The health and welfare of the body depend on the proper functioning of each member.
Take a look in your own time at (1 Cor. 12:12–31) which I know most of you are familiar with.

Paul now gives instructions for the use of certain gifts. The list does not cover all the gifts; it is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive. “Gifts” is the Greek word charismata, which comes from the same stem as the word for grace. It can be translated as “grace” or “free gift” and is what the Spirit of God gives you. The gifts here are thought by some to be creation gifts.

God gives the necessary strength or ability to use whatever gifts we have. So we are responsible to use these God-given abilities as good stewards.
Those who have the gift of prophecy should prophesy in proportion to their faith. In proportion to our faith probably means that prophecy of any sort is to be exercised in accordance with the biblical and spiritual maturity God has granted the speaker, recognizing that God is the originator of the gift.
Ministry suggests those who effectively serve the body in physical ways; or those rendering any type of service in the church. Teaching is for those who can teach and instruct God’s word. Those who are called to shepherding or pasturing the flock are called to exhort God’s people through encouragement. He who gives, which isn’t included in 1 Corinthians 12. or Ephesians 4, refers either to those gifted to contribute to the emotional and/or physical support of others; or to those gifted with abundant financial means so as to give more financial support to the work of the gospel. He who leads refers to one who is able to lead others, this person should lead by example. He who shows mercy defines either those with the special gift of strong, perceptive emotions; or those called to special functions of Christian relief or acts of charity. With cheerfulness warns those with this gift not to allow depression or moroseness to overtake them.


Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Eph 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; Love is to be the guiding principle in Christian relationships not only with fellow believers ,but with enemies as well. Paul mentions many specific Christian duties, but love is the dominant note in all the exhortations.

The behavior we see listed in this chapter is that of a Spirit –Filled believer.

1) Love without hypocrisy
2) Abhor evil. 1Th 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.
3) Cling to what is good.
4) Be kindly affectionate showing brotherly love, with honor giving preference to one another.
5) Be diligent
6) Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord
7) Looking after the needs of the saints
8) Showing hospitality to others.
9) Blessing those who persecute you.
10) Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
11) Do not see yourselves as better than others, be humble.
12) Do not repay evil for evil.
13) If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live in peace with all men
14) Don’t avenge yourselves, that is for the Lord to do.
15) If your enemy is hungry feed him
16) If your enemy is thirsty, give him a drink
17) Don’t overcome evil with evil, but overcome evil with good.

There are some hard lessons for us to learn here. But you see in those verses that love is pre-eminent throughout the whole attitude of mind.

1Co 13:4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1Co 13:5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
1Co 13:6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
1Co 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

We want to have the mind of Christ. Love is the key. I want to see the folks round about me the way Jesus does don’t you? That love will help us have unity within the body of Christ and will help us reach out to unbelievers. Before we make decisions about what we are going to do in a given situation, we should ask ourselves what would Jesus do?

What we do for Jesus in this life is the most important thing in our lives.

 

BLESSED ASSURANCE

                                  


BLESSED ASSURANCE
I hope this study blesses you. I pray that all of you may know the true meaning of having assurance of salvation. When doubts come your way look at those verses and cling to them, thank God for his promises.

a-shoor´ans: A term exceptionally rich in spiritual meaning. It signifies the joyous, unwavering confidence of an intelligent faith; the security of a fearless trust. The original words have to do with the heart of vital religion. בּטח, bāṭaḥ, “trust”; אמן, 'āman, “to prop,” “to support,” hence to confide in, to trust. Jesus repeatedly used this word “amen” to express the trustworthiness and abiding certainty of his sayings. πίστις, pístis, “faith”; πληροφορία, plērophoría, “full assurance.” The confidence of faith is based, not on “works of righteousness which we have done” (compare Tit_3:4, Tit_3:5 the King James Version) but on the highpriesthood and atoning sacrifice of Christ (Heb_10:21, Heb_10:22; compare Heb_10:19, “boldness to enter ... by the blood of Jesus,” the King James Version). Assurance is the soul's apprehension of its complete emancipation from the power of evil and from consequent judgment, through the atoning grace of Christ. It is the exact opposite of self-confidence, being a joyous appropriation and experience of the fullness of Christ - a glad sense of security, freedom and eternal life in Him. This doctrine is of immeasurable importance to the life of the church and of the individual believer, as a life of spiritual doubt and uncertainty contradicts the ideal of liberty in Christ Jesus which is the natural and necessary fruitage of “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit ... shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” Paul unhesitatingly said, “I know” (2Ti_1:12) - a word which, oft-repeated in 1 Jn, furnishes the groundwork of glad assurance that runs through the entire epistle. For the classic passage on “full assurance” see Col_2:1-10. (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

Tit 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Tit 3:6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
Tit 3:7 that being justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


We are heirs of eternal life, we can be assured of that if we have truly put our trust in
Christ as Saviour.

Heb 10:21 and having a High Priest over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies having been washed with pure water.


We have a High Priest. If we draw ever closer to him we can know more of the assurance of faith

Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,


How is it that we can have assurance of this faith? It is through the blood Jesus shed for us on Calvary's cross. He died to forgive us our sins, that if we believe in him we might have eternal life.

2Ti 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.


Wow, He is able to keep that which we have comitted unto him against that day.

The Amplified Bible puts it this way

2 Ti1:12 And this is why I am suffering as I do. Still i have not ashamed, for i know(perceive,have knowledge of and am acquainted with) Him Whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on ) and I am (positively) persuaded
that He is ableto guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which ' I have committed (to Him) until that day.

Col 2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;
Col 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
Col 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Col 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.
Col 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
Col 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Col 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:


We are complete in Him. Oh how wonderful those words are. If we stay steadfast in Him we shoiuld be assure of our faith. If we stay rooted in the faith and walk closely with the Lord we should be assured of the hope that is to come.we will know in our hearts that assurance. When the devil attacks us with doudts we should remember that we have a High Priest interceding for us, he has put all things under his feet.

Heb 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.If you have trully asked Jesus to forgive your sins and asked Jesus ito come into your life, he comes in and comes in to stay, what you need is assurance of salvation.

I am including verses on Assurance which may be helpful.

Assurance
Produced by faith

Eph 3:12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God's presence, assured of his glad welcome.

2Ti 1:12 And that is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him [1] until the day of his return.

Heb 10:22 let us go right into the presence of God, with true hearts fully trusting him. For our evil consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Made full by hope

Heb 6:11 Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

Heb 6:19 This confidence is like a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain of heaven into God's inner sanctuary.

Confirmed by love

1Jo 3:14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead.

1Jo 3:19 It is by our actions that we know we are living in the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before the Lord,

1Jo 4:18 Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that his love has not been perfected in us.

Is the effect of righteousness

Isa 32:17 And this righteousness will bring peace. Quietness and confidence will fill the land forever.

I shows in our understanding of the gospel

Col 2:2 My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have full confidence because they have complete understanding of God's secret plan, which is Christ himself.

1Th 5:5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don't belong to darkness and night.

WHAT WE ARE PRIVILLEGED TO HAVE AS SAINTS:

Election

Psa 4:3 You can be sure of this: The LORD has set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him.

1Th 1:4 We know that God loves you, dear brothers and sisters, and that he chose you to be his own people.

Redemption

Job 19:25 "But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last.;

Adoption

Rom 8:16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children.

1Jo 3:12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was right.

Salvation

Isa 12:2 See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation."

Eternal life

1Jo 5:13 I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.

We cannot be separated from the love of God

Rom 8:38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels can't, and the demons can't. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love away.
Rom 8:39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Union with God and Christ

1Co 6:15 Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which belongs to Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never!

2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves to see if your faith is really genuine. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is among you, it means you have failed the test.

Eph 5:29 No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it, just as Christ cares for his body, which is the church.
Eph 5:30 And we are his body.

1Jo 2:15 Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that you do not have the love of the Father in you.

1Jo 4:13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

Peace with God through Christ

Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Preserved by God

Psa 3:5 I lay down and slept. I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.

Psa 27:3 Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident.
Psa 27:4 The one thing I ask of the LORD – the thing I seek most – is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD's perfections and meditating in his Temple.
Psa 27:5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

Psa 46:1 For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah, to be sung by soprano voices. ] A song. God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Psa 46:2 So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Psa 46:3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude

Answers to prayer

1Jo 3:22 And we will receive whatever we request because we obey him and do the things that please him.

1Jo 5:14 And we can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will.
1Jo 5:15 And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

Continuing in grace

Phi 1:6 And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.

Comfort in affliction

Psa 23:6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Psa 73:26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Luk 4:18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors,
Luk 4:19 and that the time of the Lord's favor has come"

2Co 4:8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit.
2Co 4:9 We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
2Co 4:10 Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.


2Co 4:16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
2Co 4:17 For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!
2Co 4:18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.

Support in death

Psa 23:4 Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, [26] I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.


A glorious resurrection

Job 19:26 And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God !

Psa 17:15 But because I have done what is right, I will see you. When I awake, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see you face to face.

Phi 3:21 He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere.

1Jo 3:2 Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, and we can't even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

A kingdom

Heb 12:28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.

Rev 5:10 And you have caused them to become God's Kingdom and his priests. And they will reign on the earth."

A crown

2Ti 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
2Ti 4:8 And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return.

Jam 1:12 God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Be dilligent in the Lord's service

2Pe 1:10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away.
2Pe 1:11 And God will open wide the gates of heaven for you to enter into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Strive to maintain

Heb 3:14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

Heb 3:18 And to whom was God speaking when he vowed that they would never enter his place of rest? He was speaking to those who disobeyed him.

Confident hope in God restores

Psa 42:11 Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again – my Savior and my God!

Paul's example

2Ti 1:12 And that is why I am suffering here in prison. But I am not ashamed of it, for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return.
2Ti 1:13 Hold on to the pattern of right teaching you learned from me. And remember to live in the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 1:14 With the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard what has been entrusted to you.

2Ti 4:18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly Kingdom. To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen.


We all have doubts at times, but remember the Holy Spirit indwells us, lay hold of the promises of those verses, Jesus has put all things under his feet, so tramp on the Devil so to speak.

 

 

THE LORD’S SUPPER

                                             


THE LORD’S SUPPER


1Co 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
1Co 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
1Co 11:25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
1Co 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
1Co
11:27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1Co 11:29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner reats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
1Co 11:30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.
1Co 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.
1Co 11:32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.


The Lord Himself, instituted this practice in the Last Supper


The Lord’s Supper was central to early Christian worship. Believers would gather around one table, as they met with the Lord and with each other in unity. Many  believers are sick because they do not realize what a sacred thing they do when they come around the table.
.

Mat 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."
Mat 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
Mat 26:28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
Mat 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."
Mat 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the
Mount of Olives.


At the time of the Last Supper our Lord’s body had not yet been given, nor had His blood been shed. When the Lord Jesus said, “This is My body,” He meant it was symbolic of His body or it was for us to visualize His body which was broken for us. To eat the bread is to remember Him in His atoning death for us. It is our time to reflect on just what the Lord has done for us.
In the same manner the Lord Jesus also took the cup after the Passover supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” The Lord’s Supper was instituted directly after the Passover Feast. and that is why it says that the Lord Jesus took the cup after supper.

Jesus said it was the new covenant in His blood. This refers to the covenant that God promised to the nation of Israel.

Jer 31:31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah--
Jer 31:32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.
Jer 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jer 31:34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."


This was unconditional promise by which He agreed to be merciful to their unrighteousness and to remember their sins and iniquities no more.

The covenant is also mentioned in Hebrews.

Heb 8:10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Heb 8:11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, "Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."


By His blood we as Christians have been redeemed, His blood has washed away our sins.

When we partake of the elements we are to remember our Lord’s death until He comes. When we come around the Lord’s table we should remember that Jesus is there in the midst of us.

Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

When we come to the Lord’s table we should come openly and surrender ourselves wholly unto God, and ask for forgiveness of anything that is interrupting the depth of fellowship with our Lord. We need to reach out to our Lord and worship Him and thank Him for all He has done for us, allowing His Holy Spirit to flow through us as we come to partake of those elements. We come to the table as Christians knowing that all of our sins have been washed away by the blood which our Lord shed for us as the new covenant says, but our minds and hearts should be focussed on our Lord as we partake of the Emblems.

We are all in ourselves unworthy, But through Christ we have been made righteous. Only true believers should partake of the elements. To eat and to drink in an unworthy manner is to eat and drink judgment to ourselves, not discerning the Lord’s body. The Lord’s body was given in order that our sins might be washed away. We need to examine ourselves in the light of a Holy God and put away sin. It is a very serious matter and all believers should gather together with their brothers and sisters to follow our Lord’s direction on a regular basis “this in remembrance of Me." So let's all remember we should not neglect this ordinance of coming together with other believers to remember our Lord’s death until He comes. The next time any of us meet around the Lord's Table with other believer's let's remember to prepare our minds and hearts.

I want to know the God of Elijah, in one day he brought a nation to repent.

                                                             

I want to know the God of Elijah, in one day he brought a nation to repent.

 

Elijah's name means 'Jehovah is my God.' the name fitted him perfectly. There is a chorus "These are the days of Elijah" We may sing it, but do we really think of what that means.

Israel was rebelling against God, there had been a time of drought.

Elijah’s Mount Carmel Victory
20 So Ahab sent for all the children of
Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. 21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. 22 Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. 23 Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. 24 Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”
So all the people answered and said,“It is well spoken.”
25 Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”
26 So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till
noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.
27 And so it was, at
noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. 29 And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “
Israel shall be your name.” 32 Then with the stones he built an altar in he name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” 34 Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. 35 So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”
40 And Elijah said to them,“Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook ishon and executed them there.



In the days of Elijah Israel was rebelling against God. The tower of Babel was built as a symbol of their rebellion against God. The history of Israel shows that many times they forgot their Gods and began to worship other gods and God had to constantly bring them to the place of repentance. Are we in danger of putting other gods before our God today? Are material things worshipped more than our God? Do we really know the fulness of God's power? Why not? We cry for spiritual revival, yet do we really mean it from the depths of our beings?
Elijah had so much of God's , he called the whole nation of Israel together, and then gathered the prophets of Baal. He was not afraid to call all those who opposed him,even the demon possessed. Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal "Let's demonstrate whose God is real - your gods or my God." The power of God came down with FIRE, because Elijah knew not only how to pray with authority , but how to get an answer to prayer. He prayed believing. If he had failed the prophets of Baal, King Ahab or Jezebel would have killed him, but he prayed believing that fire would fall from heaven and burn wood water and the flesh of the sacrifice - this was heavenly fire that literally burnt the wood water and sacrifice, He believed that God would do this, yet there was no precedent, no-one had ever spoken to God with such faith and authority in a situation like this before in such a dangerous situation. Elijah started with the dry wood, then asked for 12 barrels of water to be poured over the sacrifice, now this wasn't likely to burn. Why did he do that? Elijah believed God. His God was and is a God of power and authority, a God of miracles. The people of Israel cried"The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”
The whole nation repented. We need to be more like Elijah. We have a God who answers prayers, do we really believe HIm? We have the Holy Spirit actually indwelling us yet we so often quench the Spirit. If we believe the power of God then we must act. Faith is where our feet go, faith can move mountains.
Mar 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
I want to learn to pray like Elijah, I have a long way to go. Elijah believed God.


Absolutely nothing is impossible with God we only need the spirit of Elijah.

 

 

 

Our Great High Priest, The once for all sacrifice.

 

Heb 9:11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
Heb 9:12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Heb 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
Heb 9:14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Heb 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Heb 9:16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
Heb 9:17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
Heb
9:18 Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
Heb 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
Heb 9:20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you."
Heb
9:21 Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
Heb 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Heb
9:23 Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Heb 9:25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another--
Heb 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
Heb 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Heb
9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.


9:12 Christ’s Sacrifice, Permanent Relief, THE BLOOD. The Hebrew epistle contrasts the covenants of God through Moses and Christ. The Mosaic covenant provided animal sacrifices that brought temporary relief to man’s guilt and demonstrated the lessons of God’s justice. The covenant through Moses provided a bond in the blood of animals. These sacrifices, however, had to be repeated annually at the tabernacle, which was only symbolic of God’s eternal, heavenly altar. However, Jesus Christ came into history as an eternal priest to offer an eternal sacrifice for sin. The shedding of His blood provided a permanent sacrifice and a permanent covenant bond between God and man. His blood was applied not merely to an earthly altar, but to the very altar of God in heaven, where once and for all it obtained redemption from sin for those who receive Him. The immutable bond that is established through the New Covenant in Christ’s blood is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s covenant-making nature.
(Spirit filled life study Bible)

Only the sacrifice oF Chrst's blood could pay the price of sin once and for all. Jesus Christ as the Great High Priest , the Son of God, eternally God and yet truly human, the sinless and spotless Lamb of God died for us on Calvary's tree. Only the shedding of His blood could atone for our sins. This was the New Covenant a once for all sacrifice.Jesus offered as a sacrifice His own blood. If the sacrifice of animals could achieve ceremonial cleansing, how much more will the spiritual sacrifice of Christ cleanse the soul? Christ's moral perfection qualified Him to bear the sins for all man-kind.

His blood cleanses the believer's conscience from dead works to serve the living God. It is not merely a physical purging or a ceremonial cleansing but a moral and spiritual renewal that purifies the conscience. It cleanses from those dead works which unbelievers produce in an effort to earn their own cleansing. It frees men from these lifeless works to serve the living God

Joh 8:36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

The New Covenant and the sacrifice of our Lord's death also meant salvation for the Old Testament Saints for those people although they knew little or nothing of what was to come by way of the cross genuinely worshiped God and offered up their sacrifices. Christ's death was for them too. His death redeems them from transgressions under the law.

The ancient tabernacle needed to be sanctified by the sprinkling of blood. Nothing was considered as purified without the mark of the shed blood. We see how the writer here compares the old Mosaic covenant and the sacrifices. The writer to the Hebrews sees this as the way to spiritual life. Apart from the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

If Christ had made repeated offerings, that would have meant repeated suffering, since His offering was His own life. It is unthinkable that He should have suffered the agonies of Calvary periodically since the foundation of the world! And unnecessary too!
Under the New Covenant, there is:
1. Positive finality—He has appeared once for all. The work never needs to be repeated.
2. A propitious time—He appeared at the end of the ages, that is, after the Old Covenant had conclusively demonstrated man’s failure and powerlessness.
3. A perfect work—He appeared, to put away sin. The emphasis is on the words put away. It was no longer a matter of annual atonement. Now it was eternal forgiveness.
4. A personal sacrifice—He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. In His own body He bore the punishment which our sins deserved.
(Believer’s Bible commentary)
Jesus Christ came to Earth to accomplish His atoning work (v. 26). Then He entered “into heaven,” opening the way of access to God (v. 24); one day He will reappear to consummate our salvation.

Right now our Great High Priest is sitting at the Father's right hand interceding for us. Isn't that wonderful.

Rom 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.


Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood;
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
—Philip P. Bliss

 

HOW SHOULD I DEAL WITH LIFE'S CONFUSION?

                                                          

                                                                    

HOW SHOULD I DEAL WITH LIFE'S CONFUSION?

 

Psa 94:19 When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.(NLT)

When we are confused about something if we focus our time and thoughts on God it becomes clear that no matter what is happening around us He is still on the Throne, we can be assured of that and put our faith and trust in Him. He is the God of order and peace , he will direct our ways and our lives will become less confusing. God is in control, isn't it wonderful to know that. When we are confused, our God has an answer and we just have to ask Him.

Psa 75:3 When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. Interlude ( NLT)

Isa 45:18 For the LORD is God, and he created the heavens and earth and put everything in place. He made the world to be lived in, not to be a place of empty chaos."I am the LORD," he says, "and there is no other (NLT).

Isa 45:18 For thus says the LORD,
Who created the heavens,
Who is God,
Who formed the earth and made it,
Who has established it,
Who did not create it in vain,
Who formed it to be inhabited:
"I am the LORD, and there is no other. (NKJV)



With the help of a Sovereign God confusion seems much more manageable.
We can have confidence that there is a day coming when there will be no more confusion.

Pro 20:24 A man's steps are directed by the LORD .
How then can anyone understand his own way? (NIV)

Jam 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jam 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (NKJV).


Our own vision is limited and it causes us to suffer from doubts and confusion. God will guide us to make the right choices in life if we ask Him too. He will direct our paths and show us the way ahead.

2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right.(NLT)

When we focus on God's Word and look to it for instruction and understanding we can be assured that God will give us wisdom to deal with any situation. When we study the Bible we can see how God views things.

Joh 16:13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (NKJV)

1Co 2:9 But as it is written:
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1Co
2:10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
1Co
2:11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1Co 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (NKJV)


We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading because He will help us deal with confusion. We as Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, so when we in ourselves lack understanding we need the One who understands and knows all things to guide us.

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word of God. Be persistent, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.
2Ti 4:3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. (NKJV)


This is an exhortation to those of us who teach the Word of God, stay focussed on the truth of the Word of God and be consistent , responsibility is also given lest people follow their own desires and stop listening to good teaching.

Eph 4:14 Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth (NLT).

We need to stay focussed on the truth, listen to teaching that is consistent with the Word of God and spend time studying the Word under the Holy Spirit's direction we an grow to maturity. As we grow more spiritually mature it is easier for us to handle confusing things in life.

Let's see what the Bible says about avoiding confusion.

Pro 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.(NKJV)


If we devote our livees totally to the Lord focussing on Hm and serving Him in whatever way we are called to do so, we will have less confusion for the Lord will show us the way ahead.

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

Trust God and be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Remember He is there to guide us through all kinds of situations in life.

Lam 3:40 Let us search out and examine our ways,
And turn back to the LORD;

Gal 6:4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. (NKJV)


Examine your heart to see if you are right with God . If you are out of tune with Him you are bound to have a degree of confusion.

1Pe 1:10 This salvation was something the prophets wanted to know more about. They prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you, even though they had many questions as to what it all could mean. (NLT)

We don't need to be Theologians to follow the Lord, we can obey the Lord regardless of our level of understanding, we can be about His service. The more we commit ourselves to the Lord the less likely we are to dwell in a state of confusion. God is not the author of confusion. Sometimes His timing is different from ours, sometimes He will close doors, but our God is a God of order and peace not confusion.

CLOSING THOUGHT: We can be confident that if we trust Him completely He will show us the way ahead, He will direct our paths.

 

 

GAINING WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT

                     


GAINING WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT

 

Jam 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Jam 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
Jam 1:7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
Jam 1:8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. NKJV

Psa 119:125 Give discernment to me, your servant; then I will understand your decrees. NLT


If I am confused and unsure of anything, or want to understand something, where do I turn?


Discernement is the ability to interpret events and to understand the true nature of people and situations. It is part of being wise, to have discernment. Discernement shows us what is confused thought or distractions. When we seek God and ask for discernment regarding spiritual things He will give discernment to those who earnestly seek it.

1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
1Co 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
1Co 2:15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
1Co
2:16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us. Without the Holy Spirit who is part of the Godhead , the apostles could never have received the divine truths of which Paul is speaking and which are preserved for us in the New Testament. Those who know Jesus as their Saviour will have found that God has given them a new perspective in life.
The man who is living a Spirit filled life can discern these wonderful truths even though men in this world may not esteem him highly. Maybe he is a labourer, a plumber, or a fisherman; yet he knows and understands so much of the Scriptures.

QUOTE

“The Spirit-controlled Christian investigates, inquires into, and scrutinizes the Bible and comes to an appreciation and understanding of its contents” (KSW). To the world he is an enigma. He may never have been to college or seminary, yet he can understand the deep mysteries of the word of God and perhaps even teach them to others.
2:16  The apostle now asks with Isaiah the rhetorical question: “Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” To ask the question is to answer it. God cannot be known through the wisdom or power of men. He is known only as He chooses to make Himself known. However, those who have the mind of Christ are able to understand the deep truths of God.  ( Believers Bible commentary)



We have the mind of Christ if we live close to the Lord, His word speaks to us, He speaks to us through a still smal voice or even at times an audible voice,the Holy Spirit guides our thoughts and our decisions if we are truly open to His leading.

As most of you will know the book of Proverbs shows us the value of having discernment.

Pro 3:13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;

Pro 3:21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes--
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
Pro 3:22 So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
Pro
3:23 Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.

Pro
4:12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.


When we have wisdom and discernment on Spiritual matters it will prevent us from stumbling, from falling into the snares of the devil. We will also recognise when something is not of the Lord, such as messages from false prophets.

1Jo 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.

Do you know what it is to live in the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit?
With God's word our hands and the Spirit of God in our hearts, we have all that we need for instruction in the truth of God. It doesn't mean ignore the word that Bible Teachers give, because God has given people gifts to teach, to preach, to pastor and to prophesy but it means that we should stand on the Word of God alone , if anyone teaches additional truth, they are like the gnostics and the Holy Spirit will give us discernment to recognise when someone is adding to, or taking away from Scripture.

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

What can we learn from this verse?

1) We are to let the word of Christ dwell richly in us, we are to become immersed in the word of God. The word of Christ refers to the teachings of Christ as found in the Bible. As we saturate our hearts and minds with His holy word, and seek to walk in obedience to it, then the word of Christ becomes really at home in our hearts.

2) In all wisdom we should be teaching, encouraging and admonishing one another. We all have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ concerning this. Teaching has to do with doctrine, whereas admonishing has to do with duty. We owe it to ourbrothers and sisters to share what we have learned from God's Word with them, and to try to help them through any difficulties by giving them godly counsel.If admonishing is done wisely, it is more likely to be accepted. All should be done in love. The love of God 'Agape' love should shine through us in our relationships one with another. People should look at us and see Christ's love in us
3) With psalms and hymns and spiritual songs we should sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. How much time do we actually spend praising the Lord? I love listening to Worship Songs and praising the Lord in song.

So if we seek discernement we should focus in on Gods word, spend time with the Lord in prayer, get to know the Lord, seek to do His will by serving Him as He would have us do. A Chrisdtian will never really grow if the only time they open God's word is in Church on a Sunday. How can we understand His word if we don't study it and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us through It?

Pro 1:23 Come here and listen to me! I'll pour out the spirit of wisdom upon you and make you wise.NLT

ARE YOU READY TO LISTEN TO THE LORD? DO YOU WANT THE KIND OF WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THAT ONLY HE CAN GIVE? DO YOU SEEK A DEEPER RELATOINSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST? DO YOU WANT TO LIVE AND BREATHE THE WORD OF GOD? I KNOW I DO.

Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. AV

All scriptures from NKJV except where indicated.

Jesus said "TAKE UP YOUR CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME."


                                                                        

Jesus said "TAKE UP YOUR CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME."

 

Luk 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Luk 9:24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.
Luk 9:25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
Luk 9:26 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.


I'm sure most of us who are Christians have read those words so many times. Do we really think upon what it means though to actually take up our cross and follow him? To take up a cross and carry it meant rejection by the people, i.e. a criminal going to his death.Disciples of Jesus will be rejected in this world by unbelievers.
We need to be preppared to deny ourselves, to give our all for Christ, We need to ask ourselves if we were to face real persecution and even martyrdom for our faith would we remain strong? Are we prepared to go all the way for the Lord? After all, the spotless, sinless Son of God, our Lord and Saviour went all the way to the cross of Calvary for you and me.
This world and our time in it are fleeting. We live but 70 to 100yrs at the most. If things of this world are more important to us and we deny our Lord, if we are ashamed of Him, He will be ashamed of us.
“Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed.” Ask yourself what kind of Christian are you today? Are you one who acknowledges Him and serves Him and attempts to glorify Him? This is so important because we are living in the last days and we are his witnesses in the world today.

Luk 14:26 "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.

This doesn't mean we are to hate our families, but it does mean that our love for Him must come before all else.

Luk 14:27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Denying ourselves means means being willing to renounce any so-called right to plan or choose, and to recognize His lordship in every area of life. To take up the cross means to deliberately choose the kind of life He lived. This involves:
—Coping with opposition of loved ones.
—Coping with reproach from the world. – Forsaking all else for Him if need be, and the comforts of this life.
—Complete dependence on God.
—Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
—Proclaming an unpopular message.
—Being lonely. .
—Suffering forthe sake of righteousness.
—Enduring slander and shame.
—Pouring out one’s life for others.
—Death to self and to the world, denial of self.


It also involves laying hold of life, real life in Jesus! It means finding out the real reason for our existence. And it means eternal reward. We so often run away from a life of cross-bearing. Our minds are reluctant to believe that this could be God’s will for us. Yet the words of Christ “If anyone desires to come after Me” mean that this is the cost of discipleship for each of us, but consider the blessings to follow, and the joy that comes from living close to the Lord.
When we meet the Lord on that day to we want Him to say  "Well done my good and faithful servant"

PSALM 34


                                                   

PSALM 34

                       
The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God


A Psalm of David When He Pretended Madness Before Abimelech, Who Drove Him Away, and He Departed.


1 I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.


The Lord is surely worthy of all praise and honor, what wondrous grace what love He has shown to me a sinner, this wonderful gift of salvation. Praising His name at all times could never be too much.

2 My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.


I am unworthy, yet Jesus saved me. So my boast should be in Christ alone.

Gal 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.


Come on all my friends here who love the Lord let us sing His praises together, let’s worship Him, for He is worthy to be praised. SELAH.

4 I sought the LORD, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.


When we seek Him. He hears us and He delivers us from all our fears. When we trust Christ as Lord and Savior we hear His words of absolution: “Your sins are forgiven; go in peace!”


I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
He moved my soul to seek Him, seeking me;
It was not I that found, O Savior true.
No, I was found of Thee.
—Anonymous

5 They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.


When we truly look to the Lord our faces are radiant because of the One to whom we are looking. We rejoice in Him.

6 This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.


David was saved from his troubles by crying out to the Lord. When we are facing troubles and adversity we know to whom we should turn..

2Co 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

7 The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.


This is not just an angel of the Lord, but “the captain of the LORD’S host” who appeared to Joshua (Josh 5:15), the Lord Jesus Christ manifesting Himself in the Old Testament. (KJV Bible Commentary)

8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
9 Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.


Spend time with the Lord, Study His Word, spend time in prayer. We have been given a commission to share the word with others..W hile young lions can lack food and suffer hunger, if we seek the LORD shall lack no good thing, for our Lord is our great, all- sufficient Provider!

11 Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
14 Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.

So here the psalmist offers practical instruction to his sons on what constitutes the true fear of the LORD.
34:12–15
1. A controlled tongue—one that is free from evil and deceit.
2. A separated walk—separated from evil and separated to good works.
3. A peaceable disposition—as Paul said, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18).
Peter states in 1 Peter 3:9, “Knowing that you were called to this [blessing others], that you may inherit a blessing.” He then quotes verses 12–16a of this Psalm to reinforce his teaching that we should not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but that we should rather bless. The blessing is the favor of the Lord; His eyes are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry (Ps. 34:15).(Believer's Bible Commentary)

16 The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.


Believers are not free from troubles, we have troubles too, but we have a strong deliverer.

18 The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.


When we come to the Lord with a broken and contrite heart realising who we are in the face of a Holy God He is always at hand to rescue our crushed Spirit.

19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.


34:19 The righteous do have many afflictions. Perhaps we will find someday that we have had more than the ungodly. But at least all our troubles are confined to this life. What is more, we do not have to bear them alone, for our eternal Friend is by our side. We have the assurance of complete and final deliverance from afflictions through the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Because He has risen from the dead, we too shall rise someday, forever free from sin, sickness, sorrow, suffering, and death! (Adapted from Believers Bible Commentary)

20 He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.


Joh 19:36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, "Not one of his bones will be broken,"

21 Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.


Because we trust in God we shall never be condemned. Our sins are forgiven. We are saved, kept and abundantly satisfied. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

LET'S JUST PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE IS WORTHY, BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD.

In whom do we have confidence?


                                                   

In whom do we have confidence?

 

Psa 118:6 The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
Psa 118:7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
Psa 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
Psa 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.


It is better,
(1) because man is weak - but God is Almighty;
(2) because man is selfish - but God is benevolent;
(3) because man is often faithless and deceitful - God is not (4) because there are times when man cannot help us, however faithful, kind, and friendly he may be - but there are no circumstances in this life, and none in death, where God cannot help us; and
(5) because the ability of man to help us pertains at best only to this present life - the power of God will be commensurate with eternity.

We can have confidence in God because He is totally trustworthy.

Zec 4:6 So he answered and said to me:
"This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel:
"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,'
Says the LORD of hosts
.



"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,'

I love this, we can be confident not in our own accord but because we have the Holy Spirit to empowering us.

Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Confidence comes with having security in Christ based on God's call in our lives.

1Ki 18:36 And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word.
1Ki 18:37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again."
1Ki 18:38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.
1Ki 18:39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!"


See here how Elijah's confidence in God and his boldness on Mount Carmel begun to free the nation from the wicked influence of Baal worship.

Joh 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

This is our promise from God, we can be overcomers as followers of the Lord.

 

A PSALM OF PRAISE


                                                                    

A PSALM OF PRAISE

 


Psa 146:1 Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul!
Psa 146:2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Psa 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
Psa 146:4 When his breath departs he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.
Psa 146:5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Psa 146:6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
Psa 146:7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
Psa 146:8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
Psa 146:9 The LORD watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Psa 146:10 The LORD will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Psalms 146-150 all start and end with “Praise the Lord”
.
The word “soul” here is equivalent to mind or heart: my mental and moral powers, as capable of understanding and appreciating his favors. The soul of man was “made” to praise and bless God; to enjoy his friendship; to delight in his favor; to contemplate his perfections. It can never be employed in a more appropriate or a more elevated act than when engaged in his praise. (Barnes notes)

Psalm 146 uses the same language as verse 2 as Psalm 104 which uses “ as long as I live”, here the Psalmist says he will praise God while he has his being.

Psa 104:33 I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

Four themes run through Psalm 146.

1)Verses 1-2 The Psalmist’s aim and purpose is to praise God.
2) Verses 3-4 Trust should not be placed on man, even princes because all are mortal.
3)Verses 5-9
God is the only Being on whom we can rely,
(a) Verse 5 the blessings and happiness one can have in that reliance
(b) Verses 6-9 give the reasons why we should rely on God, He is the Creator of all things; he keeps truth; he executes judgment for the oppressed; he shows his kindness toward the hungry, the prisoner, the blind, the bowed down, the righteous, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow.

4)Verse 10. Our God will reign for ever, and he is the God of Zion so His people should praise Him.

We can see in this Psalm that the Psalmist is intent on explaining why God and not man is worthy of our full, confiding trust.. The best of men are men at best. They cannot save themselves, let alone others. When man’s heart stops beating, he dies, is buried, and his body returns to dust.
Man is temporal , but God is the Omnipotent Creator, He made all things .He is the Eternal King . He shall reign forever and ever and He is worthy to be praised.

SO LET’S OFFER ALL PRAISE AND WORSHIP FROM THE VERY DEPTH OF OUR BEING TO THE LORD!!


A BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO READ REVELATION

 


A BLESSING FOR THOSE WHO READ REVELATION

1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. 2 And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. NKJV.

Revelation is a word which has been translated from the Greek term”apokalypsis”an unfolding of things previously unknown such as matters in heaven, future events revealed to an individual by special disclosure from God.
apokalupsis
ap-ok-al'-oop-sis
disclosure: - appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.
by special disclosure from God.

It is the apokalupsis, that is, “the uncovering, unveiling, or revelation” of Jesus Christ.

“To shew unto his servants things which must shortly take place.” In the last chapter of Revelation, John is instructed, “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:10)

This revelation of future events was given by God to Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus, in turn, committed it to His angel, and the angel made it known to His servant John. We can therefore say that the unveiling is from Jesus Christ.

The revelation is made through either God speaking directly to that person on a one to one basis or by an intermediary such as an angel, one of God’s messengers who have been used to take a message from God to man. The book of Revelation is a book which belongs to what is known as apocalyptic literature. The only other book that comes remotely near this in apocalyptic literature is Daniel – but there is a distinct difference. God spoke to Daniel and gave him the prophetic message. The book of Revelation is primarily a book of future events. John’s purpose in writing the Book was to share the information with the Lord’s servants, that is, with all true believers. It isn’t a sealed book, not like Daniel. Where Daniel was instructed to seal the book, because it would not be understood to the end times, a blessing was offered for all who read the words of this book of Revelation. See verse 3.

Dan 12:4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

Rev.1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.


Do you realize that we as Christians have a responsibility to read this book and let the Holy Spirit be our guide. It is the only book in the Bible where such a statement is made that those that read it will be blessed. The Lord wants to show us the things which must surely come to pass, the prophesies contained within this book and other prophetical books in the Bible. We look around the world today and I am sure most of you will agree we are living in the end times. The things mentioned in the book of Revelation will shortly come to fulfillment. Some day soon Jesus is returning for His Church. That day is getting closer; Israel has returned to the land, we see an increase in wars, earthquakes and lawlessness.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Let’s read. 13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


This is the event we refer to as the rapture. it is distinct from the second coming. At Christ’s second coming he will return to the earth again. This is an event that happens prior to the millennium but at the end of the great tribulation. The rapture I believe will occur prior to the tribulation a period of seven years in which the Anti-Christ will reign.

Wow, what a day that will be when Christ Jesus face we see, What a thought we shall be caught up in the air to meet with our Saviour and Lord. Friend are you ready for that day, have you given your life to Jesus. You don’t want to be left behind. Watch the clock ticking, any time now we know not when but Jesus could return and your friends and family who know the Lord could be taken and if you don’t know him you will be left behind.. This is the day of grace the Church Age, today is the day of salvation. If you don’t know Jesus I implore you put your trust in Him now while there is still time.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, AV

Jesus is the witness here, this same Jesus who shed his blood for you and me on Calvary’s tree. We are all sinners and the only way we can have our sins forgiven and be reconciled with God is through accepting Jesus as Saviour for he gave Himself as the Sacrificial Lamb for our sake. Without the shedding of blood there could be no reconciliation but Jesus died to save mankind. He died for you and he died for me. He rose again on that third victorious day and now he is sitting at the Father’s right hand on high.

Col 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;


Brothers and sisters, reading the book of Revelation and what I have studied of prophecy has certainly blessed me. Read it and let the Holy Spirit be your guide. May the Lord bless you in the reading of His Word.

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Rev 22:21
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH

SPIRITUAL GROWTH
One Day at a Time


How much do you understand about the faith? Do you wish you knew more? Perhaps others intimidate you with their knowledge and familiarity with Scripture.
If so, Jesus’ work with His disciples (Mark 4:33–34) can lend some helpful perspective. Just as our biological lives unfold slowly, so do our spiritual lives. God offers us what we can understand as soon as we can handle it, but not before. Most parents would consider explicit lessons on sexuality to be premature for preschoolers. Likewise, driving lessons for little kids of ten would be inappropriate. And some athletic activities can cause great damage if children engage in them too early in their development. In the same way, God holds back certain lessons until we’re mature enough to handle them.
Jesus called the disciples to follow Him one day at a time (Luke 9:23). But He also promised them that the Spirit would come later and lead them into truths that they could not handle then (John 16:12–16). We do receive the Holy Spirit at the time we get saved, but we do not necessarily receive the fullness or the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at this time. Like those first disciples, we as Jesus’ modern-day followers are not to know the end from the beginning, but to learn something from Him every day, applying it to our lives. Faith is not a badge to be worn or knowledge to be flaunted, but a little seed to be nurtured (Mark 4:26–32).
Paul in Perspective
The Bible offers many examples of people who struggled as they tried to live for God. Their stories are meant to encourage us. But sometimes comparing ourselves to the “heroes” of the faith only intimidates us. Paul, for instance, was a learned scholar, a fervent evangelist, a compassionate pastor, a competent businessman, and a diplomatic statesman. So when he tells us to follow his example as he follows Christ’s example (1 Cor. 11:1), it sounds a bit unrealistic. How could we ever emulate a super-saint like Paul?
But Paul didn’t view himself as a super-saint. On the contrary, he grew in the faith with some difficulty. Notice how his view of himself changed over time (dates given are estimates):


• About a.d. 55: “I am the least of the apostles” (1 Cor. 15:9).
• About a.d. 57: “I know that in me… nothing good dwells” (Rom. 7:18).
• About a.d. 60: “[I am] less than the least of all the saints” (Eph. 3:8).
• About a.d. 63: “Jesus came … to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).


It sounds as if Paul was perhaps more “average” than we often think. In fact, look carefully at some of the highlights (and lowlights) in his life. If one changes a few particulars and develops the wholehearted commitment to God that Paul had, then his story could well be anyone’s. That’s because Paul was as human as any of us. His life challenges us to ask whether we are growing, struggling, and changing as he did. If so, then there’s hope for us!


Reference Tool used and edited : A mixture of my own thoughts and the author of the article.
Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2001. What does the Bible say about-- : The ultimate A to Z resource fully illustrated.

The Priesthood of all believers

 

                                                          

>The Priesthood of all believers

 

The Bible is quite clear in teaching the concept of the priesthood of all believers.


QUOTE

1Pe 2:9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light



Now who do you think Peter was talking about here? He was talking about the Church of Jesus Christ all those who know Jesus as Saviour.We are a royal priesthood, we are God's own people. As believers in Christ weas Christians present ourselves a living sacrifices and we should carry out God's work in his service.

Wow, we are to be living sacrifices , live holy lives in a manner pleasing and acceptable to God, we are to serve God . We are not to follow the ways of this world..


QUOTE

Heb 4:14  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.



Jesus is our High Priest, he is our intercessor between God and Man Note in verse 16 we can come boldly into the throne of grace and it is from Him our High Priest that we can obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need.

Even in the Old Testament there was reference to God's people, being a kingdom of priests, and being a holy nation.


QUOTE

Exo 19:6  And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel



The priesthood of all believers means that all Believers have access to God through faith in Jesus Christ without needing a human mediator.It also means that all Christians are called to be priests, we are part of the body of Christ, the Church and we are to minister to one another and share with one another asnd show God's love to others in the world. Our position as priests and being part of that priesthood is not something to boast about.


QUOTE

Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.



We are undeserving of this position of priest
hood                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I

 

Family Life!

                                                                              


Family Life!

“Who is My mother, or My brethren, for whosoever will do
the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and Mother.” (Mark 3:33-35)


I wonder – has that never troubled you just a little? Did Jesus in effect disown His Mother and His brothers and sisters? But let’s leave that for now.

If you are like me you have probably wished that we had some record in scripture of those so called ‘Silent Years’ when Jesus was growing from Babyhood to infancy to manhood?….to have a little glimpse into that wee family home in Nazareth when that lovely couple Mary and Joseph were rearing their family!

We don’t have much but what there is becomes all the more precious to us…so I want for a wee while to talk in a simple way about that family and our Lord’s attitude to it.

After His immaculate birth we first encounter the Lord in Scripture, when as a boy of just 12y of age He astounds the learned men in the Jerusalem Temple where He astounds them with His wisdom and knowledge.

Then we read how He went back to Nazareth with Mary and Joseph, and was subject unto them, and increased in wisdom and stature and found favour with God and with men.

But after that visit to Jerusalem we hear no more about Joseph, his name disappears from the Gospel record. It is generally considered that Joseph died during the early youth of Jesus?

If this was indeed the case then, as the eldest son, Jesus would bear the financial burden for the family’s support until His brothers were sufficiently grown-up. And so Jesus became the Carpenter of Nazareth….some have thought this was why He waited until He was 30y old before He commenced His public ministry? NO!

The Lord had to experience all of life…so that He could relate to His creature man. So He worked as a Carpenter

The marks of His practical craft and His life with poor, plain people are evident in His Parables and metaphors.
· As a Carpenter He could point out the kind of foundation on which a house would be built (Matt. 7:24).
· He would understand the importance of carefully calculating the cost before starting to build. (Luke 14:28)
· As a country boy – He knew about foxes and their lairs, birds and their nests. (Matt. 8:20)
· The agriculture of the peasant farmer (customers) was a favourite place for Him to find an illustration.
· As a Poor Boy; He knew the cost of sparrows, sold as cheap food in the market place. (Matt. 10:29)

Widows:
The Lord had a particular soft spot for Widows.
· He’d seen His widowed mother mend garments until they were beyond repair, and no new patches could go on. (Matt. 9:16)
· When He wanted to picture helplessness, He pictured a widow who continually pestered a judge with her petitions. (Luke 18:1)
· The widow who cast her mites into the temple treasury; giving a gift worth far more than all the offerings of millionaires in His view (Mark 12:41-44)

But just imagine the happiness of that home in Nazareth as sons and daughters were added, one by one, to the family, this was all in God’s plan.

Think how it must have been as they each passed through the various stages of infancy, childhood, adolescence, and then to young manhood and womanhood.

These brothers and sisters had a wonderful role model in their perfect older brother Jesus. They would learn how to be obedient to their parents from Him, they would see incarnate holiness in every stage of their lives together; a perfect example in godly living; what a lasting influence this must have had on them all.

I wonder was there a physical family resemblance/mannerisms?

When we consider the tenderness of the Saviour towards little children, that quality must have commenced in that Nazareth home where Jesus practically became a father-figure to His younger brothers and sisters after the death of Joseph?

· Matthew 18 introduces us to the Lord’s thinking about the artless innocence, humility, and sincerity of small children.
· These qualities were valued by the Saviour, they were to Him the best example of the qualities/attitudes needed to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
· To wrong such a small child was a crime for which no punishment would be too severe said the Lord.

In Mark’s Gospel, this affection of the Lord for children is shown in a beautiful ‘word picture’ when ‘He took them into His arms and blessed them…’ (Mark 10:16)

Think how it must have been to grow up with such a perfect big brother! Think how close and intimate that Mary’s family must have been! How His younger siblings must have loved Him and looked up to Him. What He must have taught them?

How Jesus must have missed that humble home. The comfort of being at home with His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Jude, how He’d miss the love of His sisters.

As we consider this thought, that statement of His takes life
‘The foxes have holes, the birds of the air
have nests, but the Son of Man has not where
to lay His head.’ (Matt. 8:20)

Was the Lord homesick?

When He was welcomed into the home in Bethany of Lazarus and his sisters, this was like the family life from which He had been shut out for so long.

But James and his brothers and sisters did not always believe on Jesus during His lifetime.

Mary, His mother, would remember her miraculous conception, the visits of the shepherds and the wise men. She’d remember Simeon and Anna…and how that wee 12y old boy’s wisdom had astounded the learned men in the Temple as He conversed with them. Mary had no trouble in accepting His claims, but even she worried about her son…He was upsetting too many powerful people, what was going to happen to Him?

After the first miracle at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, the family all seemed happy and friendly enough as they travelled with Him and His disciples (Jn 2:12)…when did they begin to distrust Him?

I wonder was it when He returned to His home town of Nazareth and read the lesson in the Synagogue…boy! Did He get everyone’s attention at the claims He made…and boy! Were they full of anger and resentment!

Possibly His brothers and sisters shared the resentment of their neighbours in Nazareth (Luke 4:14-29).

Then one time when even His friends feared that He was mentally unbalanced, His brothers and His Mother came to try to shield Him by trying to take Him home….this treatment by His own family led Him to assert openly that those who listened to His teachings eagerly and obediently were His real family, He said:
“Who is My mother, or My brethren, for whosoever
will do the will of God, the same is My brother,
and My sister, and Mother.” (Mark 3:33-35)

When His family came to call Him away from His mission, He could not avoid a clash! It must have hurt Him deeply, this would be one of the biggest sacrifices – humanly speaking – of His life; what it must have cost Him!

As He looked around Him in that room, He would see His disciples who had left homes and families to serve Him…He knew what that had cost Him…and what it would have cost them!

From that point on, Jesus defined true devotion in terms of being willing to give up one’s family for Him.

But this did not mean He was disowning His family.
The lasting devotion, the tenderness, Christ felt for that family of His was revealed when on the cross, midst all the agony He made provision for His Mother…
To Mary – ‘Woman behold thy son’.
To John – ‘Behold your Mother’. (Jn. 19:26,27)

I often think about James, probably the closest in age to Jesus (always mentioned first!), and what kind of relationship they must have had. He grew up alongside Jesus and saw Him through all those Silent Years. James would possibly know more about Jesus, humanly speaking, than anybody else.

But James was certainly one who had grave doubts that Jesus was the Son of God, as He claimed. James joined with His three other brothers in opposition to the Lord Jesus during the early years of His ministry, sometimes even mocking Him. Even calling Him mad. How this must have hurt the Lord!

Yet in 1 Cor. 15:7 among all the resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus, we read that ‘He was seen of James!’

Then in Acts 1:14, a number of people are recorded as meeting for prayer with the apostles as they awaited Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit; and among them are included ‘Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and His brethren’.

Christ must have prayed often for His family…for years they didn’t believe on Him, but after His death and resurrection the Lord’s prayers were answered and they finally knew Him for who He was.

The conversion of His brothers and sisters should be a real encouragement to those of us who have relatives as yet unsaved.

That perfect life, backed by His attractive wisdom, those wonderful miracles, failed to win them to Him while He was alive.

You see even Jesus didn’t win His family during His lifetime…it was not until after His death that they accepted Him as their Saviour and Lord. And James and Jude, two of His brothers, went on to write two of the NT books.

James the Leader:
But why did the Lord make a special appearance to his brother James after the resurrection? (1 Cor. 15:7)

As we’ve already said James would possibly be the next in age to Jesus, maybe he had accepted the burden of being head of the family when Jesus left home.

The Lord knew that this brother had the strength of character, the honest integrity, and leadership qualities needed for the infant Church in Jerusalem and so James became the acknowledged leader of the Jerusalem Church. How did this come about?

Why was one of the apostles not chosen for this important task, Peter, or John or one of the others? After all they’d spent the last three years in close intimacy with the Lord.

But then, James had spent the best part of thirty years in the company of the Lord Jesus. He’d grown up in the same household, he’d worked in the Carpenters shop with Him.
And I’d love to know what kind of conversations these young lads had as they were maturing… as they shared their thoughts….the wonderful knowledge James was exposed to as he grew up in that home in Nazareth…James would have been exposed to the Lord’s thinking on so many things. The Lord would be preparing James for service without his knowing it.

Tradition has it that, after the ascension, Peter, James, and John selected James the Just, the Lord’s brother to be the first Bishop of Jerusalem.

Five events show that James was a top figure in the Church.

1. The night Peter escaped from prison, just before he was to be executed, he arrived at Mary’s house where many were gathered to pray for him….after calming down the assembled company peter gave this request, ‘Go show these things unto James and to the brethren (Acts 12:17) This singling out of James implies that by that time he had become an authority in the Church there.
2. Then immediately after his conversion Paul went to
Arabia for three years, then returned to Damascus. “After three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” Paul’s main purpose was to get to know Peter better. Paul added that he didn’t see any of the other apostles except for James the Lord’s brother. (Gal 1:18,19)
3. After an interval of 14y, Paul again visited Jerusalem. On this later visit the leaders of the Jerusalem Church offered Him the right hand of fellowship…the leaders mentioned by name were James, Peter, and John. (Gal.2:1-9)

4. James presided over the great Council in Jerusalem, to settle a very contentious issue (Acts 15), and had the courage and discernment to deliver the final verdict. A decisive decision which would affect biblical liberty for all time, and enable the Church to grow as it did. By taking precedence over the apostles James showed how his authority was recognised in the early Church.
5. After his 3rd missionary journey, Paul returned to Jerusalem and was received gladly by the believers (Acts 21:17). The next day who does Paul visit? It is to James’ home where all the elders had assembled.


Chosen Vessels: Can we doubt that this brother of Jesus, who had opposed Him in life. Was just as much God’s chosen vessel as was another unlikely man, Saul of Tarsus, the worst persecutor of the early Church.

Though an unbeliever before Christ’s death. James must have heard His teaching, many of Christ’s sayings, even before His Public ministry would be lodged in James’ memory cells.

Some have considered James to be too severe, they point to His letter and say that His emphasis is too much on WORKS. Martin Luther, that great man of FAITH, called James’ letter an ‘Epistle of straw’ when James asserted that Faith without Works is dead…

It has been said that you can’t read the book of James without being struck by it’s likeness to the teachings of Christ…were some of James words of wisdom really some unrecorded sayings of Christ?

It has been said that if you place the epistle of James alongside the Sermon on the Mount you will find countless parallels. (James there?)

So before anybody tries to disparage the teaching of James he should consider the possibility that he is perhaps disparaging the very teachings of the Lord Himself.

James, of all people, would know that salvation comes by faith. Paul deals with the Root of Salvation which is Faith, while James deals with the Fruit of Faith which is Works.

Paul became the great Missionary Apostle, and James became the leader of that infant Church in Jerusalem, where his teaching and wise guidance over contentious matters allowed that Church to become established and to become an example to all the young churches Paul was planting.
Silent Years:
That the Lord’s family was important to Him is seen in the way all His teaching is couched in ‘Family Terms’. His Ideal for all humanity is a Family Ideal.
· His dominant thought of God is not as a King, or a Judge, but as a loving Father.
· When He looks at man it was not in terms of friendship but in ‘Brotherhood’ ….when the Prodigal returned, the elder son said to his father; ‘this thy son…’, his father told him in response ‘this thy brother…’ (Luke 15:29-32)

Surely a real lesson for each one of us in this!

Jesus ever saw God as the Father and men and women as Brothers and Sisters in the Family of God. Oh yes that loving family He grew up in was important to Him.

And I believe that Christ’s vision for His Church on earth is as just such a loving family.



Adapted from a sermon by my own father.

 

 

LOVE IS THE GREATEST THING THAT A CHRISTIAN CAN HAVE

LOVE IS THE GREATEST THING THAT A CHRISTIAN CAN HAVE


I Cor 13: 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Cor 13: 4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails

We may all desire to have the gifts of the Spirit, but what does Paul say? Without love those things are but a pale shadow, they are in fact ineffectual. We should be motivated first and foremost by love, the love of God and our fellow man. The gifts of the Spirit are as available to us today as they were in New Testament times but they should be sought out of love, for the edification of the body, to enable us to spread the gospel, and to intercede for others. We should desire the gifts of the Spirit but that should come out of love for God first and foremost, the gifts are as important today as they ever were, they are for the church today and it is right that we should desire them. So, don't mistake what I am saying. Just, love comes first


1 Cor 14:1-4
1 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
NKJV


Notice the order here we are to seek love first then desire spiritual gifts. We are to seek and develop the gifts of the Spirit but our main goal should be love.

We need to desire to walk in love, manifesting the fruits of the Spirit.


Gal 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
NKJV .


The very first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love so if we desire to experience the full power of the Holy Spirit in our lives we need to walk in the love of God. The greatest of these is love.

 

 

THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE


                                                                                                                

THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

 

Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can't tunnel through?
God specializes in things thought impossible;
He does the things others cannot do. -Eliason



Some of you will know this verse; we used to sing it in Sunday School when I was a child. But do we really believe it? Do we believe our God is the God of the impossible?

Jer 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and inscrutable things which you do not know.


Jam 1:5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and with no reproach, and it shall be given to him.
Jam 1:6 But let him ask in faith, doubting nothing. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven by the wind and tossed.
Jam 1:7 For do not let that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord;
Jam 1:8 he is a double-minded man, not dependable in all his ways.



If we pray and ask God to do something for us, do we pray believing he will, or do doubts persist. I know I pray at times and then doubts arise not as to whether God can answer my prayers but as to whether he will, or is it in accordance with his will.

Luk 12:7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not fear, you are of more value than many sparrows.

Should we doubt that God can answer prayer when he even knows the number of hairs on our heads? He cares for us. He is our loving Heavenly Father.

Luk 11:9 And I say to you, Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened to you.

What happens when we ask? We shall receive an answer to our prayers. Sometimes it is not the answer we want, but our Lord and Heavenly Father knows what is best for us. We need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and allow him to lead us through our day.

Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
If we are truly walking in the Spirit we will not doubt that all things are possible with God.

Luk 18:27 And He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Mar 9:23 Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.


QUESTION:  SO, WHO DO WE WORSHIP?                                                                 ANSWER: THE GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE.

Guidance, where can we get this?


                                        

Guidance, where can we get this?

 

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Joh 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you


How are we to interpret and understand the scriptures better, is it from reading loads of commentaries then making up our minds which we think is right? Is it through attending church, attending conferences, seminars or visiting sites like this on the web?
I don't think so all those things are great but first and foremost we need to be open to the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Since the day of Pentecost believers have had the wonderful privillege of having the indwelling Holy Spirit.Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: Prior to Pentecost it is true theSpirit would come upon Godly men. Now in this the Church age we have the wonderful privillege if we have truly given our hearts to the Lord of having the Holy Spirit actually indwell us.It is he who will guide us into truth as long as we do not quench the Spirit, we have to be open to His leading.

1Co 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.


but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. It is the Holy Spirit within us that will help us and guide us to proclaim the Christian Gospel, to witness to others. It is the Holy Spirit who can lead us into interpreting what the Scriptures are actually saying to us, including in mattersv of prophecy as to what is right. Now he may help us to open our eyes through the words of others and their interpretation of certain Scriptures, but we have to be open to his leading. The word of God is the first place to start when we wish to find the answer to anything, pray to the Lord, ask for guidance. He will help us to munderstand even matters of Prophecy.

1Th 5:19 Quench not the Spirit;

As long as we do not quench the Spirit within us, we can grow in understanding.
He shall glorify me the Spirit of God within us ministers to us.
for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you
He will help us to understand the doctrines of the Gospel and the deep things of God and lead us into a closer walk with Christ our Lord as long as we are open to his leading.

To summarise here in what I am saying, is that we should always remember that we have the Holy Spirit for guidance in all areas of our lives whether it be for interpreting Scriptures or knowing God's calling in our lives.

YOU ARE AS CLOSE TO GOD AS YOU WANT TO BE.

                                                         


YOU ARE AS CLOSE TO GOD AS YOU WANT TO BE.

 

Paul's first priority was to have a close relationship with the Lord, his focus was directed totally on serving the Lord. This is the reason God used Paul so mightily.


Phil 3:10. that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death
(NAS)


Phil3:10. (For my determined purpose is) that I may know Him (that I may progressively become more intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the Wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly) and that I may so share in his sufferings as to be continually transformed (in spirit unto His likeness even) to His death. (in the hope.) (AMP)


The truth is we are as close to God as we choose to be.

Have you lost your first love?

Sometimes God allows us to go through certain experiences in life to give us a wake up call. If you desire to have a closer relationship with the lord ask the Lord to give it to you, but remember to be right with the Lord we have to bring unconfessed sin to the foot of the cross, we need to be prepared to give Him our all.

HE DESERVES OUR ALL, HE IS WORTHY OF ALL OF OUR LIVES SURRENDERED FULLY AND COMPLETELY OVER TO HIM!

 

Can you be a Christian in name only?

Can you be a Christian in name only?

 

There are people have attached themselves to Christ’s name. Yet they did so wholly on their own. Our Lord won’t have any part of such an arrangement.

Isa 26:8 Yes, in the way of Your judgments,
O LORD, we have waited for You;
The desire of our soul is for Your name
And for the remembrance of You.
Isa 26:9 With my soul I have desired You in the night,
Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

For when Your judgments are in the earth,
The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.


The wise virgin has great passion for the bridegroom. She constantly longs for intimacy with him. “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16). Surely the cry of a true Christian is, “Lord, I don’t want just your name. I desire you at all times. I think of you every night, as I go to bed. And every morning when I wake, my heart goes out to you.”

Psa 42:1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?

Are you thirsty for God? Do you long for Him with your whole heart?

There are many people calling themselves Christians who have no intimacy with Jesus Christ. They spend no time in prayer , nor do they pick up their Bibles to see what he desires of them.

There are those who claim to love Christ who can’t even take five minutes to get on their knees and say, “Thank you, Lord.” He or she is in danger of becoming a Christian in name only.

Why would the Lord want sleeping, lukewarm, disinterested followers in heaven with him? Why would he want those who are ashamed of him here on earth, who are bored with the things of God, who couldn’t care less about church, fellowship and intimacy with Christ? Our purpose in heaven will be to worship the Lord and serve him forever. How can anyone expect to enjoy eternity there, if they don't really want to walk with Jesus Christ here?


Pro 4:20 My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.
Pro 4:21 Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.
Pro 4:22 For they are life to those who find them, healing and health to all their flesh.
Pro 4:23 Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life. AMPLIFIED BIBLE

Ask yourself do you attend to the Word of God, does it get kept at the center of your heart? When we live for Jesus we desire to read His Word and to talk toHim. Folks it's about relationship.

Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

CONSUMING FIRE - Have you thought about what that means? God should be like a consuming fire to you and I consuming the very core of your being.

Signs all around us are pointing to the Lord’s soon return. Christ will return for his true bride, if you have any doubts in your mind today, or you have slipped along the way, renew your commitment to Jesus Christ.

Scripture says

Luk 10:27 So he answered and said, ""You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and "your neighbor as yourself."'

This short study has me thinking and me examining myself. I want the Lord to consume my very being. Don't you?

Thirsting for God, Ps 63

                                      


Thirsting for God, Ps 63

 

Psa 63:1 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
Psa 63:2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Psa 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Psa 63:4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psa 63:6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Psa 63:7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
Psa 63:8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

We can see how the psalmist David acknowledged a personal, intimate relationship with God in which his longing for God is as intense as the longing of dry, parched lips for water. He cried out for God with a thirst that could not be quenched and a hunger that could not be satisfied. He longed for God with every fibre of his being and we can see that clearly in this Psalm. The soul that finds satisfaction in God, feasts on Him, and holds fast to Him , the result is joy, sheer joy.
You know the Psalmist was looking forward to the cross, whereas we are looking back to the cross, he did not have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit like we do, yet he knew well what it was to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, but do we long for God the way David did? He longed to behold His glory, His shekinah glory. Do we long to behold the fullness of His glory? Do we long for His glory to fall down and touch us reviving us afresh? Is Jesus more important to us than any other thing?
The Hebrew word for praise used here is shabach, it means to praise, adore and glory in something. The psalmist is totally involved in this worshipful hymn to God: he uses his eyes to see God more clearly(see, v. 2), his lips joyfully sing praises to God (v. 3),he lifts up his hands in praise to His God (v. 4),his soul thirsts for God (v. 5),he praises God with his mouth (v. 5), and his mind meditates on God even as he goes to sleep, v.6) This is the surely the language of intoxication. The Psalmist Isn’t this the example of true worship. Is this not an example for us to follow. Do we long for the reality of His Presence, for Him to pour out His Spirit and to effect a change in us? I know I do. I long to behold His glory, I love Him in a way that I once thought wasn’t possible for us in this earth.

No matter what comes against us we are shadowed by His wings, so we can raise our joyful song of praise to Him, for He alone is Worthy, and give Him all the Glory. When we turn all over to Him in loving dependence and in conscious need, He preserves us from dangers seen and unseen, the principalities and powers of the air and through His Spirit empowers us to press on toward the mark for the prize.

Psa 63:1 O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
Psa 63:2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Psa 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Psa 63:4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
Psa 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
Psa 63:6 When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches.
Psa 63:7 Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
Psa 63:8 My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

We can see how the psalmist David acknowledged a personal, intimate relationship with God in which his longing for God is as intense as the longing of dry, parched lips for water. He cried out for God with a thirst that could not be quenched and a hunger that could not be satisfied. He longed for God with every fibre of his being and we can see that clearly in this Psalm. The soul that finds satisfaction in God, feasts on Him, and holds fast to Him , the result is joy, sheer joy.
You know the Psalmist was looking forward to the cross, whereas we are looking back to the cross, he did not have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit like we do, yet he knew well what it was to experience the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, but do we long for God the way David did? He longed to behold His glory, His shekinah glory. Do we long to behold the fullness of His glory? Do we long for His glory to fall down and touch us reviving us afresh? Is Jesus more important to us than any other thing?
The Hebrew word for praise used here is shabach, it means to praise, adore and glory in something. The psalmist is totally involved in this worshipful hymn to God: he uses his eyes to see God more clearly(see, v. 2), his lips joyfully sing praises to God (v. 3),he lifts up his hands in praise to His God (v. 4),his soul thirsts for God (v. 5),he praises God with his mouth (v. 5), and his mind meditates on God even as he goes to sleep, v.6) This is the surely the language of intoxication. The Psalmist Isn’t this the example of true worship. Is this not an example for us to follow. Do we long for the reality of His Presence, for Him to pour out His Spirit and to effect a change in us? I know I do. I long to behold His glory, I love Him in a way that I once thought wasn’t possible for us in this earth.
No matter what comes against us we are shadowed by His wings, so we can raise our joyful song of praise to Him, for He alone is Worthy, and give Him all the Glory. When we turn all over to Him in loving dependence and in conscious need, He preserves us from dangers seen and unseen, the principalities and powers of the air and through His Spirit empowers us to press on toward the mark for the prize.


2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
2Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Think on this beholding as in a mirror “reflecting” as well as “looking into.” We are meant to behold something of the glory of the Lord, the veil has been rent in two, we are to be continually transformed into the same image by the Spirit of the Lord. We with ever-increasing glory, are to reflect what we behold, to become more and more like our Lord.



Think on this beholding as in a mirror “reflecting” as well as “looking into.” We are meant to behold something of the glory of the Lord, the veil has been rent in two, we are to be continually transformed into the same image by the Spirit of the Lord. We with ever-increasing glory, are to reflect what we behold, to become more and more like our Lord.

Do you see men as trees walking? Have you clarity of vision?

                                                              


Do you see men as trees walking?  Have you clarity of vision?

 

2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.


Mar 8:22 And he cometh to Bethsaida: and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
Mar 8:23 And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw aught.
Mar 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
Mar 8:25 After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.



Do you see clearly or do you see men like trees walking? Once we were blinded by sin, but now we can see, we see Jesus don’t we, or do we? Do we really see Him? Do we see people around us clearly as Jesus sees them? I have to confess that sometimes I see them like trees walking, my vision is not too clear, you see he or she may have done something that hurt or offended me in the past. Maybe it’s time for us to let the Lord Himself put His hands upon our eyes and look up and allow the Lord to clear our vision?


2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

You see Satan is a liar and a thief and he wants to keep us from seeing too clearly, ,from loving people around us the way He loves them. We’ll not have full 20/20 constant Spiritual vision until we see Him face to face but that should be our desire to see Him face to face.

1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Here at Bethsaida when Jesus healed the blind man, he touched his eyes. So this man experienced a touch from God which restored His sight so He could see clearly. Is that not what you and I want today? If not it should be.

Do you notice also that the blind man was brought to Christ by his friends, with a desire that He would touch him? Do you see here the faith of those that brought him—they didn’t doubt that one touch of Christ’s hand would recover him his sight; but the man himself did not show that earnestness for, or expectation of, a cure that other blind men did. If those that are spiritually blind, do not pray for themselves then we as their friends, colleagues and relations should pray for them, that Christ would be pleased to touch them.

Jesus anointed the blind man’s eyes with His own saliva that He might see. In the first instance his sight was only restored in part. He needed an extra touch from the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that what we need today a touch from our Lord that we might see Him more clearly and see others as Christ sees them? I know I am always greedy for a touch from my Saviour that I might become more and more like Him.

ALL OR NOTHING



                      

 

ALL OR NOTHING

 

Mat 16:24 Then Jesus said to the disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.
Mat
16:25 If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.
Mat
16:26 And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?
Mat
16:27 For I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds.

Following Christ should be all or nothing. We are all called to be His disciples

As someone aptly put it, "Christ must be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all."

Jesus himself said: "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Mat 6:24 Jesus said "Anyone who isn't helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me.” Luk 11:23 There is no halfway place. We can’t hold Christ in one hand and the world in the other. It must be one or the other, it's all or nothing.

Our faith either means everything to us or it means nothing. It
should erase the past, cleanse the present, give perspective for the future.

Jesus in calling His first disciples said some things which we might find hard to take.

Mat 10:37 If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine.
Mat 10:38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine.


Ask yourself who is your first love?

Do you see what Jesus said to the disciples?
Mat 4:18 And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
Mat 4:19 Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matt 4:20 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.


Are you a fisher of men, do you take on board the great commission?


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QUOTE

As Russel DeLong says  “When the rich young ruler came to Jesus seeking eternal life. He was educated. He had power. He possessed wealth. He held position. He was moral. He kept  most all of the commandments. The fact is, he was better than most of the present-day church members. But that wasn’t enough. Jesus said, "One thing thou lackest." In other words, the young man was unwilling to surrender something. The terms of Jesus were "All or nothing." Our surrender to Him should be complete and unconditional.”

To the rich young ruler He gave this command, "Come, take up the cross, and follow me"
Mark 10: 21.

We might well connect this to the call of the disciples when He said, "Follow me, and I
will make you fishers of men." Let us put a period after the "you" and let the two passages read, "Come, take, follow, and I will make you."

Christ-made men are Christ-surrendered men and Christ-transformed men.

Consider the three verbs-words of action:

1. Come -- A Change of Place

Come always means leave. Leave the old life, leave the old places, leave the old habits,
leave the old companions, leave the old ideals, leave the old pleasures, leave the old sins. Before one can come one must leave. That is step number one.

2. Take -- A Change of Activity

Instead of pleasure and comfort take up thy cross. There are duties and responsibilities in
the world as well as rights and pleasures. There is a task to be done that requires sacrifice and toil, but with it come the greatest of satisfaction and the thrill of achievement.

3. Follow -- A Change of Allegiance

Before the call my loyalties are to self and Satan. When Christ taps me on the shoulder and I turn around and follow Him, my loyalties are shifted and my allegiance is given to a new Leader and a new life. One is never the same after that tap on the shoulder. It is life's supreme moment. If one rejects, life becomes miserable. If one accepts, life becomes happy. If one spurns the call of Christ, he becomes disloyal to the truth and murders his own best self. If he responds to the call a new day dawns, a new life comes, a new inspiration thrills.

4. The fourth verb is make. "I will make you." Jesus will change you so that your old
environment will not be attractive any more.

He'll change you so that your old habits will not control you any more.

He'll change you so that your old companions will not dominate you any more.

He'll change you so that your old ideals will not govern you any more.

He'll change you so that your old loyalties will not bind you any more.

Luk 14:27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.

Denying ourselves means being willing to renounce any so-called right to plan or choose, and to recognize His lordship in every area of life. To take up the cross means to deliberately choose the kind of life He lived. This involves:
—Coping with opposition of loved ones.
—Coping with reproach from the world. – Forsaking all else for Him if need be, and the comforts of this life.
—Complete dependence on God.
—Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
—Proclaming an unpopular message.
—Being lonely.
—Suffering for the sake of righteousness.
—Enduring slander and shame.
—Pouring out one’s life for others.
—Death to self and to the world, denial of self.


It also involves laying hold of life , real life in Jesus! It means finding out the real reason for our existence. And it means eternal reward. We so often run away from a life of cross-bearing. Our minds are reluctant to believe that this could be God’s will for us. Yet the words of Christ “If anyone desires to come after Me” mean that this is the cost of discipleship for each of us, but consider the blessings to follow, and the joy that comes from living close to the Lord.
When we meet the Lord on that day to we want Him to say " Well done my good and faithful servant.”

So it is all or nothing. What a change is wrought in our lives when we surrender our all to the Lord.

The hymn writer expressed the truth of this when she wrote:

All for Jesus! All for Jesus!
All my being's ransomed powers,
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours!

It was not until after Pentecost that the disciples started to take the gospel out to the people.

Luk 24:48 And you are witnesses of these things.
Luk 24:49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of
Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." Don’t forget that we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us now and we need to surrender to the Lord allowing the Holy Spirit full sway in our lives. The Holy Spirit is there to direct us, to empower us for service and to help us to be obedient to our Lord. He transforms and renews our minds leading us in the paths of righteousness.

ASK YOURSELF HAVE YOU GIVEN JESUS YOUR ALL? THERE ARE NO HALF WAY MEASURES.

 

IS GOD EVER SO FAR AWAY THAT WE AS BELIEVERS SHOULD FEEL ENSTRANGED?

IS GOD EVER SO FAR AWAY THAT WE AS BELIEVERS SHOULD FEEL ENSTRANGED?

 

Joh 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,



He came to give us abundant lives. It's the devil who wants to steal that from us.

Psa 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Psa 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psa 51:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Psa 51:12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Psa 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.
Psa 51:14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
Psa 51:15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
Psa 51:16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
Psa 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart--
These, O God, You will not despise.
Psa 51:18 Do good in Your good pleasure to
Zion;
Build the walls of
Jerusalem.
Psa 51:19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.



The devil wants you to believe you are too far away for God to listen, he doesn't want you to live a full Christian life.

The Psalmist came to the Lord with a broken and contrite heart recognising where he had sinned against God and he asked God to restore him believing he would and God restored him.

1Pe 1:8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

God doesn't want you to live a defeated Christian life, are you aware that if you are born again you have the Holy Spirit indwelling you? We should have that joy for we have Jesus. Do you understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit?

Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever--
Joh 14:17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Do you know that the Bible says we are overcomers?

1Jo 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.

I suggest you do a private study of who you are in Christ. (Look at the blessings He has given you) Above all else pray even when you don't feel anything. Read the word of God. Ask God to reveal Himself to you once again. He will. Do you know God loves you? You are a child of the living God. Isn't that great?

So, think about every single thing you have to thank God for. Write it all down and just thank Him. Prayer is more than a list of requests. You have to praise God too. Be prepared to listen to His voice.

Are your batteries charged?

                                                                          


Are your batteries charged?

 

I have a cupboard without a light in it. So ofcourse the answer is to use a torch or a flashlight to see into he depths of the cupboard. I picked up my torch though and the light wouldn't go on. I played about with the switch some more, nothing happened.
What was wrong? The batteries in the torch had lost their power.I had to get new powerful batteries to power my torch and bingo the light shone out of it.
That reminded me of how we as Christians need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit for our light to shine properly.

Joh 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."

Eph 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

Eph
5:14 Therefore He says:
"Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light."

Rom
13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Act 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in
Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Do you know that all who are born again have the Holy Spirit indwelling them, to empower them? Are you really tapping into that powrr? Or has your light gone dim?
Do your batteries need to be recharged?

Rom 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1Co 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Focus your eyes on Jesus, surrender yourself to Him, and ask for the Holy Spirit to fill you up to overflowing to make sure your batteries are fully charged. Charge those batteries for Jesus.

Unity in the Church, and where does our allegiance lie?


                                                             

Unity in the Church, and where does our allegiance lie?

 

 

1Co 1:10 Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.
1Co 1:11 For some members of Chloe's household have told me about your arguments, dear brothers and sisters.
1Co 1:12 Some of you are saying, "I am a follower of Paul." Others are saying, "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Peter, " or "I follow only Christ."


Paul is addressing the Corinthians here at a time of divisions starting up in the Church. He appeals to the believers at Corinth as a brother to stop arguing amongst themselves and to be united in thought and purpose. Now when can this be possible, where you find people gathered together from diverse backgrounds, they are bound to have different ideas about how to run things and about different concepts and ideas too. The Apostle though pleads for harmony in the church, for them to have one mind.
The only way this unity can be accomplished is for them to get their focus right, to focus on Christ and Christ alone, to be united in prayer, to be united in their service of the Lord. Ofcourse they as people may have a difference of opinion but they should not harbour anger against a brother or sister, you see if they they all have their focus and vision on the Lord the differences pale into insignificance as they are united in Him. Being Christians gathered together is not enough on it's own if our focus is not right.
Now we go on to see the reasons why there were so many problems in Corinth. So many of those Christians were following the preachers and teachers. Most of you will have seen it happen at least once, if a Pastor moves from one church to another a small number of his flock decide to follow. Paul warns against that though, he does not want men to follow him or Peter or Apollos but rather he wants to direct them to follow Christ.
As for me my desire is to follow the Lord, and I want to help others get closer to the Lord. The Christian life is a learning curve, we are all a work in progress. There are many lessons I have to learn, my prayer is that all of us should have our focus and desire to focus on Christ and Him alone.
For He alone is worthy to receive all honour and glory and praise. There is none like Him, Jesus the Author and the Finisher of our Faith.

 

WE ARE HERE TO WORSHIP!

                                                              


WE ARE HERE TO WORSHIP!

 

Rev 4:11 "You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created."

Psa 149:4 For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation.
Psa 149:5 Let the faithful rejoice in this honor. Let them sing for joy as they lie on their beds.
Psa 149:6 Let the praises of God be in their mouths, and a sharp sword in their hands


Do those verses tell you anything? Why were we made? Have you got it?

God was smiling on the day you were born, you were made for his pleasure. The day you were born again Your Father in Heaven rejoiced.


We are made to worship God. Anything we do that brings glory to God is an act of worship.

Psa 147:11 The LORD is pleased only with those who worship him and trust his love.

The Father seeks worshipers

Joh 4:23 But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.


Worship is more than music, it's true that it's a wonderful way of expressing our worship, but it's not the only way

Who is worship for? Is it for us, is it for our edification? Who are we worshiping? .

Isa 29:13 And so the Lord says, "These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote.

We are to worship Him continually.

Psa 105:3 Exult in his holy name; O worshipers of the LORD, rejoice!
Psa 105:4 Search for the LORD and for his strength, and keep on searching.

Psa 105:5a Think of the wonderful works he has done,


Worship is not for a part of our lives, it is our purpose for being, to worship God.

Psa 113:1 Praise the LORD! Yes, give praise, O servants of the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD!
Psa 113:2 Blessed be the name of the LORD forever and ever.
Psa 113:3 Everywhere – from east to west – praise the name of the LORD.
Psa 113:4 For the LORD is high above the nations; his glory is far greater than the heavens.


Our first thoughts on wakening on the morning should be to worship Him.It should remain so throughout the day.

Psa 5:3 Listen to my voice in the morning, LORD. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

David had a heart for worship.

Psa 34:1 A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away. I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.
Psa 34:2 I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are discouraged take heart.
Psa 34:3 Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness; let us exalt his name together.


Whatever we do should be for the glory of God.

1Co 10:31 Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God.
Col 3:23 Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
Col 3:24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ.


Everything we do should be as unto Jesus.

Rom 12:1 So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.

We can only really and truly worship like this when we fall in love with Jesus.

We are heirs of the King

We are heirs of the King

 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [1 Peter 1:3-5]

Our God in His wisdom revealed through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ our relationship with Him … past, present, and future!

Praise the Lord we are related to Him …

through grace … we are§ no longer debtors!
through death … we’re no longer bound by it!§
through life … we have received a new nature, the old has passed away!§
through citizenship … our home is not of this world!§
through the Gospel … we’re stewards of the Good News; we’re ambassadors for the Prince of Peace and Reconciliation!§
through blood … we are now in the wonderful position of being§ part of the family of God!
through hope … we’re heirs of the King!§

And our God has never, ever broken His Word!

 

Hebrews 12

                                                                                        

WE ARE TO RUN THE RACE WELL

Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Heb 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.


The cloud of witnesses mentioned here is referring to the Old Testament Saints mentioned in Hebrews 11.They are witnesses, who, like spectators in a vast arena, watch us progress in the course of the of faith.The superfluous and unnecessary that might hinder must be cast aside. Each individual must decide what is shallow and superfluous. But what is clearly sin allows us no individual choice; it needs to be cast aside immediately upon recognition lest it trap the unwary. This kind of sin would istop our running, or slow us down; sowe need to flee from it , cast it aside.
Let us run with patient endurance (Davidson, Epistle to the Hebrews, p. 232) combines exhortations to run and to endure in the light of the example of those who have already run this course faithfully. We need to look unto Jesus, the supreme or ultimate example available to us. What did Jesus do? He endured. In this he is the author and perfecter or finisher of our faith.

The Discipline of God
Heb 12:3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Heb 12:4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.


At God's right hand Christ performs all the functions of ruler, high priest, and advocate, yet he came to that place through suffering and endurance,by dying for us on the cross.

Heb 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
Heb 12:6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives."
Heb 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
Heb 12:8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Heb 12:9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?


QUOTE
Heb 12:5-9
The writer uses Prov 3:11 ff. to remind the reader-hearers that chastening is a part of the love relationship, and he also describes this relationship by means of the analogy of father and son. The exhortation begins at the end of the quotation. Sons who are worthy of their sonship must endure or bear chastening. Sometimes we do not understand chastening, but we are still to accept it and endure it as a necessary part of our training. For by it we are acknowledged as true sons, rather than spurious sons. Since a worthy earthly father corrects his sons, it should not surprise the spiritual sons of God to learn that their heavenly Father chastens them. Such knowledge will help believers to be genuinely in subjection or submissive as true sons.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)


Heb 12:10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
Heb 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.


Children of earthly parents often find chastening painful, they don't like to be disciplined but they learn from it, in the same way we need to accept the discipline of our Heavenly Father and learn from it. It is only throgh this that we can become all that he wants us to be, to become more like Jesus, partakers of His Holiness

QUOTE
Behind the Scenes
The readers must not assume that the sufferings they are enduring as a result of their Christian profession mean that God is unconcerned about their welfare. Far from neglecting them, He shows Himself to be a true Father in the experience of discipline.
“Chastens” describes corrective discipline used in training a child. Such treatment is administered not harshly, but in love, with the well-being of the child in mind. Instead of becoming discouraged, the readers should view their persecutions as evidence of God’s love for them as His children, bringing them to spiritual maturity.
The writer does not suggest that God is responsible for the sufferings that hostile sinners bring upon them, but he does indicate that God uses even adverse circumstances as instruments to accomplish His purpose
Hayford, J. W., & Snider, J. 1997, c1994. Beyond the Veil  : Unveiling Christ's Fullness: A study of Hebrews. Spirit-Filled Life Bible Discovery Guides. Thomas Nelson: Nashville


Renew Your Spiritual Vitality
Heb 12:12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,

This exhortation is taken from this verse:- Isa 35:3 Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.

It is about gathering our strength, the weak cannot run a race, they need renewed strength.
Heb 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.

We need to walk a straight path following the Lord not wavering and our conversation should be worthy of Christians.

Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

12:14 Christians should work towards having peaceable relationships with all people and at all times. This exhortation is especially needful when persecution is prevalent, when some are defecting from the faith, and when nerves are frayed. When under stress it is all too easy to vent one’s frustration and fears on those who are nearest and dearest.

THE HOLINESS WE SHOULD STRIVE FOR.

1) Firstly we have been set apart
1Co 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

2)Practical Sanctification : This is progressive as we grow.
1Th 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3) Complete or perfect sanctification: This takes place in heaven

What we are to pursue is practical sanctification.We do not strive after positional sanctification; it is ours automatically when we are born again. And we do not strive after the perfect sanctification that will be ours when we see His face. But practical or progressive sanctification is something that involves our obedience and cooperation; we must cultivate this holiness continually.


Heb 12:15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Heb 12:16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.


QUOTE
The next two verses seem to present four distinct sins to avoid. But there is a strong suggestion in the context that this is another warning against the single sin of apostasy and that these four sins are all related to it.
First of all, apostasy is a failure to obtain the grace of God. The person looks like a Christian, talks like a Christian, professes to be a Christian, but he has never been born again. He has come so near the Savior but has never received Him; so near and yet so far.
Apostasy is a root of bitterness. The person turns sour against the Lord and repudiates the Christian faith. His defection is contagious. Others are defiled by his complaints, doubts, and denials.
12:16  Apostasy is closely linked with immorality. A professing Christian may fall into gross moral sin. Instead of acknowledging his guilt, he blames the Lord and falls away. Apostasy and sexual sin are connected in 2 Peter 2:10, 14, 18 and Jude 8, 16, 18.
Finally, apostasy is a form of irreligion, illustrated by Esau. He had no real appreciation for the birthright; he willingly bartered it for the momentary gratification of his appetite. (Believer's Bible Commentary)


Heb 12:17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

QUOTE
12:17  Later Esau was remorseful at the loss of the older son’s double portion, but it was too late. His father could not reverse the blessing.
So it is with an apostate. He has no real regard for spiritual values. He willingly renounces Christ in order to escape reproach, suffering, or martyrdom. He cannot be renewed to repentance. There may be remorse but no godly repentance.


The Glorious Company
Heb 12:18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
Heb 12:19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
Heb 12:20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow."
Heb 12:21 And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling."
Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
Heb 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Heb 12:24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.


Sinai and Mount Zion are placed in contrast to each other. The setting of the giving of the Law was (1) a mount that burned with fire, enveloped in blackness, darkness, tempest, and (2) the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words. In this setting Moses was so overcome by the presence of God that he greatly feared and trembled

Exo 19:12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, "Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.

Deu 9:19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure with which the LORD was angry with you, to destroy you. But the LORD listened to me at that time also.

QUOTE
12:22  Believers have not come to the forbidding terrors of Sinai but to the welcome of grace:
The burning mount and the mystic veil,
With our terrors and guilt are gone;
Our conscience has peace that can never fail,
’Tis the Lamb on high on the throne.
—James G. Deck  

Now every blood-brought child of God can say:
The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour’s obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view.
—A. M. Toplady  

“We have already arrived in principle where in full reality we shall be forever. The future is already the present. In today we possess tomorrow. On earth we own Heaven” (Selected).
We do not come to a tangible mountain on earth. Our privilege is to enter the sanctuary in heaven. By faith, we approach God in confession, praise, and prayer. We are not limited to one day of the year, but may enter the holiest at any time with the knowledge that we are always welcome. God no longer says, “Stay at a distance”; He says, “Come near with confidence.”
Law has its Mount Sinai but faith has its Mount Zion. This heavenly mountain symbolizes the combined blessings of grace—all that is ours through the redeeming work of Christ Jesus.
Law has its earthly Jerusalem but faith has its heavenly capital above. The city of the living God is in heaven, the city which has the foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.
As we enter the presence of God, we are surrounded by an august gathering. First of all, there are myriads of angels who though untainted by sin cannot join with us in song because they do not know “the joy that our salvation brings.”
12:23  Then we are with the general assembly of the firstborn ones who are registered in heaven. These are members of the church, the Body and Bride of Christ, who have died since Pentecost and are now consciously enjoying the Lord’s presence. They await the Day when their bodies will be raised from the grave in glorified form and reunited with their spirits.
By faith we see God the Judge of all. No longer does darkness and gloom hide Him; to faith’s vision His glory is transcendent.
The OT saints are there, the spirits of just men made perfect. Justified by faith, they stand in spotless purity because the value of Christ’s work has been imputed to their account. They too await the time when the grave will yield up its ancient charges and they will receive glorified bodies.
12:24  Jesus is there, the Mediator of the new covenant. There is a difference between Moses as mediator of the Old Covenant and Jesus as Mediator of the new. Moses served as a mediator simply by receiving the law from God and delivering it to the people of Israel. He was the go-between, or the people’s representative, offering the sacrifices by which the covenant was ratified.
Christ is Mediator of the new covenant in a far higher sense. Before God could righteously make this covenant, the Lord Jesus had to die. He had to seal the covenant with His own blood and give Himself a ransom for many (1 Tim. 2:6).
He secured the blessings of the New Covenant for His people by His death. He insures these blessings for them by His endless life. And He preserves His people to enjoy the blessings in a hostile world by His present ministry at God’s right hand. All this is included in His mediatorial work.
Bearing the scars of Calvary, the Lord Jesus is exalted at God’s right hand, a Prince and a Savior.
We love to look up and behold Him there,
The Lamb for His chosen slain;
And soon shall His saints all His glories share,
With their Head and their Lord shall reign.
—James G. Deck  

Finally, there is the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than the blood of Abel. When Christ ascended, He presented to God all the value of the blood He shed at the cross. There is no suggestion that He literally carried His blood into heaven, but the merits of His blood have been made known in the sanctuary. Again, J. G. Deck puts truth into poetry:
His precious blood is sprinkled there,
Before and on the throne;
And His own wounds in Heaven declare
The work that saves is done.  

His precious blood is contrasted with the blood of Abel. Whether we understand the latter as meaning the blood of Abel’s sacrifice or Abel’s own blood which was shed by Cain, it is still true that Christ’s blood speaks more graciously. The blood of Abel’s sacrifice said, “Covered temporarily”; Christ’s blood says, “Forgiven forever.” Abel’s own blood cried, “Vengeance”; Christ’s blood cries, “Mercy, pardon, and peace.”
Believer's Bible Commentary


Hear the Heavenly Voice
Heb 12:25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Heb 12:26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven."
Heb 12:27 Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Heb 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.


QUOTE
Heb 12:25-29
Heed Christ. Do not refuse the voice of Christ speaking through the Gospel. If peril came to those who refused the voice of God at Sinai, how much greater peril must come to those who refuse or reject God's messenger, his own Son (Heb 1:2). This refusal is akin to that of the men invited to the "great supper" of Luke 14:16, who "all ... began to make excuses" (paraiteomai). See Luke 14:18, where the same word appears (Arndt).

Judgment is then described, perhaps the last judgment. The earth will be shaken, and the impermanent will vanish in the shaking; only the permanent and eternal will remain - a kingdom that cannot be shaken (ASV). This kingdom will be given by God, not conceived by man. Membership in it through faith in Christ ought to result in glad service and reverent worship on the part of all.

The final word is again that of warning. For indeed our God is a consuming fire (cf. Deut 4:24). Fire is the final form of judgment (Rev 20:10,14).

(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary)


So what can we learn from this chapter, we are to be imitators of Christ, cast aside sin from our lives for it has no place there. We are to realise that God chastises us for a reason. We are to live holy lives for He is holy. We are to show progressive sanctification in our lives. Our lives as Christians are for the purpose of His Service. By faith, we approach God in confession, praise, and prayer. Every part of our lives should be comitted over to Him. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith.

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