Archive for December, 2015

Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept)

December 31, 2015

In the two previous posts, we have explored two of the three Divine Adjectives mentioned in Jude 1. They are Called and Sanctified. Called referred to more than the general calling of God to man. The Called morphed into meaning those who were chosen/elected by God to receive Salvation. Sanctified explains how the Called have been set apart for God’s purpose or use in demonstrating His grace to mankind.

Now, we return to Jude to explore the remaining Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept). Of the three Divine Adjectives, Preserved may be the one most easily internalized. I love going to my wife’s hometown because someone there will have some preserves that we can eat for breakfast. Peach, Pear, Strawberry and even Watermelon Rind. As you know, those kind of preserves are fruit that has been boiled with sugar added and canned. It is the canning process that preserves or keeps the jelly fresh even for months. Likewise, in the Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept) Jude is proclaiming a spiritual preservation. Let’s see the text again.

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

The New King James expresses the verse as “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:” For the Called who have been Sanctified, God will preserve or keep them by their faith in Jesus Christ. Rather than try to convince you of what God said, I will simply share what God has said about the Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept) through His Word. Knowing that God is trustworthy and true, I know that He will do all He has said in His Word. Here is what God says about preserving or keeping the Called/Chosen/Elect.

John 10:27-30
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life,and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Isaiah 66:22
22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.
John 6:39
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
John 17:12
12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
John 18:9
This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
1 Peter 1:5
who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Psalm 138:8
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands.
1 Corinthians 1:8
He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am not sure about you, but I am fired up at reading the promises God made about Preserving/Keeping me. There is so much evidence there. The last verse says He will keep you firm to the end. The end being the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return. God will not only keep me, but all those who have authentically called and lived in Him as Lord and Savior. I am shield by God’s power. I can have confidence in this Preserving because of the character of God. Philippians 1:6 tells me that He will complete the work in my life to Sanctify me because I have been Called

In John 10, Jesus Himself tells us “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”” Eternal life is given by Jesus and we are kept by being in His hand and the power of His Father. Since God is Almighty, there is no one who can snatch the Called/Chosen/Elect out of Jesus’ hand.

Hallelujah!!! In Christ, we are secure. Our salvation is secure. We will arrive at our destination because of the Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept). Amen.

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Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept)

December 31, 2015

In the two previous posts, we have explored two of the three Divine Adjectives mentioned in Jude 1. They are Called and Sanctified. Called referred to more than the general calling of God to man. The Called morphed into meaning those who were chosen/elected by God to receive Salvation. Sanctified explains how the Called have been set apart for God’s purpose or use in demonstrating His grace to mankind.

Now, we return to Jude to explore the remaining Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept). Of the three Divine Adjectives, Preserved may be the one most easily internalized. I love going to my wife’s hometown because someone there will have some preserves that we can eat for breakfast. Peach, Pear, Strawberry and even Watermelon Rind. As you know, those kind of preserves are fruit that has been boiled with sugar added and canned. It is the canning process that preserves or keeps the jelly fresh even for months. Likewise, in the Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept) Jude is proclaiming a spiritual preservation. Let’s see the text again.

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

The New King James expresses the verse as “To those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ:” For the Called who have been Sanctified, God will preserve or keep them by their faith in Jesus Christ. Rather than try to convince you of what God said, I will simply share what God has said about the Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept) through His Word. Knowing that God is trustworthy and true, I know that He will do all He has said in His Word. Here is what God says about preserving or keeping the Called/Chosen/Elect.

John 10:27-30
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life,and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Isaiah 66:22
22 “As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the Lord, “so will your name and descendants endure.
John 6:39
39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.
John 17:12
12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
John 18:9
This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
1 Peter 1:5
who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Philippians 1:6
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Psalm 138:8
The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands.
1 Corinthians 1:8
He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am not sure about you, but I am fired up at reading the promises God made about Preserving/Keeping me. There is so much evidence there. The last verse says He will keep you firm to the end. The end being the day of our Lord Jesus Christ’s return. God will not only keep me, but all those who have authentically called and lived in Him as Lord and Savior. I am shield by God’s power. I can have confidence in this Preserving because of the character of God. Philippians 1:6 tells me that He will complete the work in my life to Sanctify me because I have been Called

In John 10, Jesus Himself tells us “27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”” Eternal life is given by Jesus and we are kept by being in His hand and the power of His Father. Since God is Almighty, there is no one who can snatch the Called/Chosen/Elect out of Jesus’ hand.

Hallelujah!!! In Christ, we are secure. Our salvation is secure. We will arrive at our destination because of the Divine Adjective: Preserved (Kept). Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divine Adjectives: Sanctified (Loved)

December 30, 2015

In the post Divine Adjectives: Called, we reviewed the meaning and overall significance of the term called. A general call by God has gone out to men to be united with Him; however, the called are those who respond are those who have been chosen/elected. The chosen or elect represent those whom God called who surrendered their lives/wills to God in exchange for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In doing so, they are no longer held accountable for eternal consequences of their sin though they maybe in the here and now. Romans 8:22-39 underscores the evolution of how the called morphed into the chosen or elect.

Again,  let’s look at Jude for another example of Divine Adjectives. 

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Depending on your version of the bible, you may see the word beloved, loved, or sanctified used for the second of what I am coining as Divine Adjectives: Sanctified (Loved) We turn to the text to inform us of the meaning of the term. Whether beloved, loved or sanctified, the term in the Greek is hagiazō which means “to make holy” (from hagios, “holy”), signifies to set apart for God, to sanctify. In essence, sanctify is to separate or set apart someone or something for the dedicated purpose to be used by and for God. In this case, it references people who have been set apart by God to be use for His purpose uniting mankind with Himself.

God has always set apart people for His use. We can go back to Numbers 16 where Korah and all his followers challenged Moses and Aaron’s authority to lead the people. God had called Moses and Aaron to serve as priest and to lead the people out of Egypt, but Korah, Dathan, Abiram and On rose up against Moses but really God. In Numbers 16:20, God told Moses and Aaron to“Separate yourselves from this assembly”.  God, as it relates to the Israelites, Levites and Moses and Aaron, established that He separates people and things for his purposes. This notion of being separated for the purpose of God continues throughout the New Testament as evidenced by our text in Jude as well as 2 Timothy 2 where Paul says “20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” Paul shows us the premium God places on His people for holiness or being sanctified. Those verses along with our text in Jude convey the Divine Adjectives: Sanctified (Loved).  

Divine Adjectives: Sanctified (Loved) gives us the idea and notion of being separated for use by God for God. The following verses confirm and compliment the idea of being sanctified/separated/loved by God for His use.

John 10:36
36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
John 17:17-19
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Acts 20:32
32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Acts 26:18
18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Romans 15:16
16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 1:2
To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:
1 Corinthians 6:11
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 7:14
14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.
2 Timothy 2:19-21
19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”  20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Hebrews 2:11
11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.
Hebrews 10:10
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 1o:14
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 13:12
12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.

Can the Divine Adjectives: Sanctified (Loved) be said of you? Do you know if you have been set aside for purposes of noble/godly use or ignoble/ungodly use. God will use all of us to glorify Himself. The question still remains is whether you will be described as sanctified or not. If you are sanctified, you have been separated or made holy by God as a godly example of His love and power among mankind. Where are you? More importantly, who are you sanctified or not?

Divine Adjectives: Called

December 28, 2015

Before we get into Divine Adjectives, let us first review how an adjective is defined. According to dictionary.com, an adjective is any member of a class of words that modify nouns and pronouns, primarily by describing a particular quality of the word they are modifying, as wise in a wise grandmother, or perfect in a perfect score, or handsome in He is extremely handsome. Grammarbook defines adjective as a word or set of words that modifies (i.e., describes) a noun or pronoun. Adjectives may come before the word they modify.

Since adjectives may come before the word they modify, let’s look at the title of the post today: Divine Adjectives. Divine serves as an adjective for the word adjective. How does divine describe or modify adjective. Divine conveys that the adjective is relating to or pertaining to attributes or characteristics of God. What are Divine Adjectives? According the The Holy Bible, the Word of God, there are many words that will communicate attributes about God. In our post today, those adjectives communicate information about the people of God i.e. those who have surrendered their lives (will) to follow after Christ Jesus.

Let’s look at Jude for our example of Divine Adjectives. 

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,
To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Just in those first four verses of Jude, there are a good number of adjectives even divine adjectives; however, there are a few that I would like to center our attention:

  • called – To help us gain insight into the significance of how the word called evolved in relation to salvation. We must first start in Matthew 22 where we are told “14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” In this parable of the Kingdom of Heaven with a wedding banquet, it is noted that everyone was invited but the man who was in the wedding without the proper clothes signifies that not everyone will be chosen. One must be clothed with Christ to be included in the Kingdom. Galatians 3:26-28 tells us “26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It is ones faith in Christ that validates that one has been called i.e. chosen/elected.
    Romans 13:14 tells us “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” We are told in multiple verses in John 15 that those who truly belong to Christ, i.e. chosen/elected, will bear fruit representative of Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 outlines major attributes of Christ. “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Colossians 3:12 confirms that with

    Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. All of those point to the difference between those who respond to the call of God versus those who do not respond to the call of God. Those who respond are those who have been chosen/elected. The chosen or elect represent those whom God called who surrendered their lives/wills to God in exchange for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In doing so, they are no longer held accountable for eternal consequences of their sin though they maybe in the here and now. Romans 8:22-39 underscores the evolution of how the called morphed into the chosen or elect.

Which are you the many who have been called or the few who have been chosen? Have you consistently told God no in responding to Jesus as Lord and Savior? Are you the head of your life meaning that you are living your life based on what you think or feel. Of the Divine Adjectives, can it be said of you that you are called?

The two remaining adjectives (loved and kept will be covered in separate posts. I thought I would address all three today, but the depth of it called for me to spend a little more time on called. While that is true, I need to acknowledge that I have not scratched the surface of the depth of election. It is very controversial even in Christendom. I would challenge you to study more about it. In doing so, I am sure you will find more Divine Adjectives. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas is Gone. Now What?

December 26, 2015

I have opened my gifts and been surprised and disappointed. I have eaten my favorite foods and had my fill. I may have even gone to a place or two for entertainment. Christmas is Gone. Now What? That may be a familiar thought for many people. It is reflective of those who view Christmas an event but not a reflection of life even life itself.

Christmas is Gone. Now What? That thought will never be the position of one who is truly engaged with Jesus the Christ. He was King before time began. He was King, despite His humanity, when He walked this Earth. He is King as He sits at the right hand of the Father, but His Kingship and Kingdom will be consummated upon His return. Christmas is Gone. Now What? Since Jesus is King, the answer to the now what is that He remains King in our lives. We do not have to wait until the new year to enact a new thought, word or action. We can decide today to agree that Jesus is King and live in light of that fact.

Christmas is Gone. Now What? Live in a manner worthy of the gospel. This is what we should have been doing before Christmas. We certainly need to abide in it after reflecting on the Savior’s birth. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, captures a similar position. He was trying to come see the Philippians as a means to celebrate their partnership in the gospel and support of Him. He was not sure whether he’d get to see them, so he provided this encouragement.

27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit,[e] striving together as one for the faith of the gospel28 without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. 29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,30 since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.

The difference for us in regards to Jesus is that we know He is coming back or coming again.

John 14:2-4
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
John 14:18
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
John 14:28
“You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Matthew 16:27
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will…

Jesus conveyed to the disciples about His return for the believers. He came back immediately after His ascension through the Spirit of God or the Holy Spirit. Jesus was really talking about His return in the rapture, His second coming to take those who have trusted in Him as Savior to be with God. We see this in 1 Thessalonians 4:13–23 and 1 Corinthians 15:50–54.

Since we know that Jesus will return again for the rapture, how much more should we heed Paul’s encouragement to the Philippians to live a life worthy of the gospel.

We see Paul’s position to the Philippians is consistent as he writes to other churches.

 Ephesians 4:1
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Colossians 1:9-11
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[a] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,

1 Thessalonians 2:11-12
11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.

11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christmas is Gone. Now What? Jesus expects us to live a life worthy of His birth, death and resurrectionThis means that we must forsake ourselves and live for Jesus just as He forsook His glory, in part, and lived for us. The Creator became the created and lived subject to His creation for the redemption of man. Again, Paul captures and answers Christmas is Gone. Now What? in Galatians 2:20 which says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 1 Peter 2:24 says, “24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.””

Christmas is Gone. Now What? Live for Jesus, that’s what.

 

For to Us a Child is Born

December 25, 2015

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

Luke 2:25-32

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”

For to Us a Child is Born is a familiar phrase during the holiday season surrounding Christmas. Despite that, there are millions of people who have no idea what that means or what it is in reference.

For to Us a Child is Born is a prophecy regarding the birth of Jesus Christ. As the end of verse seven tell us, “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” It is God who purposed it, and God who accomplished it by His unwavering commitment to bring about what He purposed. While not a direct prophetic Word about Christ, Isaiah 14:27 reveals that what God purposes He accomplishes it with zeal. Zeal is passion or an intense devotion, eagerness, or enthusiasm for a person and cause. The person is God Himself and the cause is to restore man back into unity and fellowship with God. 

That is the meaning of For to Us a Child is Born. God, through Christ Jesus, would reconcile man to Him. Isaiah 59:2 tells us “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” How would man overcome this state of separation from God caused by man’s sin? He could not in and of himself. This is why mankind needed not just a savior but The Savior. Romans 5:10 tells us “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” Furthermore, Colossians 1:19-21 tells us “19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

Thank God that He declared and delivered For to Us a Child is Born. Acts 4:12 tells us that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Had Jesus not been born, there would be no deliverance from the curse and consequence of sin. Man would be left alone to account for the wrath of God for which he was accountable.

Have you rejected Jesus? Do you not believe that He is the Son of God, the Savior of the World? If you do not, you have sealed your fate if you die in that state of belief. Without Jesus being born, you and all mankind would be doomed to everlasting separation from God. That is commonly called Hell but represents man existing eternally in the lake of fire. Praise God though that For to Us a Child is Born!

Now, we know why it is said, Merry Christmas. There is no encouragement, cheer, joy or gladness without Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. Hallelujah.

When It’s Alright to Boast

December 23, 2015

No on likes a boastful person. Who really wants to hear someone sit around and brag about what he/she has done that makes him/her look good or as in the vernacular today says “shine”. Actually, it is quite annoying to sit around a person who claims credit for all the positive perceived things in his/her life, but that person is quick to deflect responsibility when that situation is perceived as negative or unflattering. That person does not evidence When It’s Alright to Boast.

God has provided a multitude of perspectives about the boastful person. God does not approve of a person who boasts in him/herself. Why? That person assumes the position that he/she accomplished the task or feat. Remember, Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. God reiterates this in Deuteronomy 5:9 which says, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God,..”

God does not and will not share His glory beyond the conditions He sets forth. Man taking credit for what God has done is not within the parameters that God has set. One still wonders When It’s Alright to Boast.

Romans 1:28-30
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;”

Now, we will get into When It’s Alright to Boast.

2 Corinthians 10:17
17 But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

While boasting in oneself is the height of pride and godlessness (Rom. 1:30), but to boast in, God is right (Jer. 9:24; 2 Cor. 10:17Ligonier Ministries.

It is never alright or godly to boast in oneself alone, so what are some examples of When It’s Alright to Boast. I will give a few verses, but it is most beneficial if you were to read the verse in context which means you will have to spend more than the 20 seconds to read what is listed below.

Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.
In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever.
But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the Lord and will make their boast in him.
This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

There it is in black and white a great example of When It’s Alright to Boast1 Corinthians 1:31 conveys what Jeremiah 9:23 tells us – it is alright to boast when we are boasting in the Lord. That is to boast or brag about what God has done not us. It is having the understanding that if it were going to be done it had to be done by God. Otherwise, the result would not have been as fitting and perfect.

The thought made me think of Brag On My Lord by Trip Lee. Listen to it.

Whose Got Your Back?

December 22, 2015

As a child, my brother or friends would often tell me “I got your back.” In this case, the Urban Dictionary correctly captures the essence of its meaning. It is an “expression assuring someone that you are watching out for them. Comes from making sure you are safe by watching what’s behind you when you’re busy looking ahead.” The popularity of this phrase in our lexicon has a reach beyond my childhood. T.I., a rap artist, made a song about the notion of having his love, a woman, look out for him. In the song, he expresses his appreciation for her commitment for his welfare.

The notion causes me to ask Whose Got Your Back? While we may have wives, brothers, or friends who look out for us, they have limits that restrict how much they are able to look out for me. Fortunately for me, the question has been answered in the Word of God. Psalm 91 tells us 

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.

This passage conveys that whoever, noting it is available to anyone, dwells in the shelter of the Most High has God’s protection and caring. How does one come to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, that is the Almighty God? Again, we go to the Word of God to answer the question raised in the Word of God. Psalms 34 tells us the answer to Whose Got Your Back?  The answer is God if certain conditions are met.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
    he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
    and he delivers them.

The conditions that have to be met for God to answer Whose Got Your Back are:

  1. You seek Him.
  2. You look to Him i.e. trust and rely on Him first before anyone/anything
  3. You call upon Him especially in trouble
  4. You fear, revere or respect, Him

When we meet those conditions, God promises to get our back. Listen to the results God promises the one who seeks, looks, calls and fears Him.

  1. He answers
  2. He delivers
  3. He becomes radiant after once being gloomy
  4. He avoids shame
  5. He saves from all trouble
  6. He encamps i.e. sets up shelter or dwelling around us
  7. He delivers

Deliver is stated twice in this short number of verse to underscore what happens to the one who looks to God.

I am not sure what you are facing now. Like me, it could be the welfare and future of your children. It could be relational with a spouse or family member. It could be health related. May be, your challenge is financial. It could be having wisdom in making a decision. Regardless, we all have to answer the question of Whose Got Your Back. 

Since I have trusted in Jesus, the Word of God promises that Jesus has my back. He is in charge of many angels and commands them to care for my family and for me. I am not sure what today holds for me. I may wake up tomorrow just as I did today; I may wake up with drastic impacts to my life, or I may not wake up at all. In either case, God has promised that I am secure because I have trusted in Him.

I don’t rap but my song is in the words on this blog. I trust that my anthem to God is heard and received by you.

Whose Got Your Back ?

 

The Sampler Tray: PRAYER

December 19, 2015

Most of us know the context of a sampler tray. It may be one of appetizers, meats, fruit, pastries, desserts and even various beverages. The notion behind a sampler is to give you an experience to see if you would care to indulge further.

This is what came to mind as I was reading 3 John this morning.  Here is the text.

The elder,

To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

When I read this, I thought that this was one of the times I read in the bible when something was explicitly prayed for that was about health. As such, I searched for the word pray or some variant of it like prayed, prayer and the like. The search of the New Testament brought about 165 occurrences where the word pray or some variant was written in the New Testament. It was The Sampler Tray: PRAYER. 

I pray that you do not get exhausted reading the references to various verses about prayer. Like with any sampler, find what you like and indulge. God wants us to pray and to pray with thanksgiving and without ceasing. Just pray.

The Sampler Tray: PRAYER. Psalms 32:8 says “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” Seeking God in prayer is taking refuge in Him.

[ Prayer ] “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.

[ Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer ] One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

[ Jesus Arrested ] When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was.

[ Paul and Silas in Prison ] Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.

Are You A Liar?

December 15, 2015

According to dictionary.com, a liar is one who tells lies. A lie is defined as a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. It goes without saying that we all have communicated a false statement or told an untruth. That seems to be a little more palatable than being a liar. Despite that, I need to ask Are You A Liar?

In 1 John, John presented the notion that we could be forgiven and cleansed of our sin. Some however, must have thought that they did not sin. Sin is to fail to meet God’s standard. We can fail to do something God told us to do or do something that God told us not to do. In either case, we need to acknowledge that we fail to meet God’s standard.

Are You A Liar? In our day, I have seen sin dulled as people like to say I made a mistake which we all do. Furthermore, people often submit when caught doing wrong that I am only human. In subtle ways, those mindset are an affront to one’s spiritual estate. To say those things puts us in a dangerous place, because God’s grace and mercy is extended to sinners. Not to “those who make mistakes” or “I’m only human” or “no one is perfect” people, but sinners. We need to realize the victory and forgiveness that comes from saying, “I am a sinner, but Jesus is the Savior who cleanses me from all sin.”

Still, the question remains. Are You A Liar? John outlines how to answer this question in the text below.

If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person
Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son.
Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
John answers the question clearly. You are a liar if you…
  • claim to be without sin
  • fail to obey God through His inspired, inerrant and infallible Word
  • deny that Jesus is the Christ
  • hate your brother or sister
  • refuse to love your brother or sister
  • do not believe God’s testimony about Jesus His Son

Are You A Liar? We know that we all are; however the greater question is are you denying God His rightful place in your life. If you are, you will spend eternity separated from God should you die physically that way. Luke 13:3 says, “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Repent and be saved.