Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

TRUTH: Are You Sealed?

July 18, 2017

In the ancient world, Ephesus was a center of travel and trade. Located on the Aegean Sea at the mouth of the Cayster River, Ephesus was one of the greatest seaports of the ancient world. Three major roads led from the seaport: one road went east towards Babylon via Laodicea, another to the north via Smyrna and a third south to the Meander Valley.  When goods or merchandise was brought into Ephesus and sealed by the owner, it was placed on ships and carried to Rome and other European cities. When the goods arrived in port and identified by the seal, it was claimed by the owner, who redeemed that which was his. TRUTH: Are You Sealed?

To reiterate, the physical mimics the spiritual. In a spiritual sense, the bible talks about a seal of ownership. Just as the person who had the seal demonstrated ownership of any goods or merchandise, God has a seal that demonstrates His ownership. Anyone without that seal does not belong to God. Let’s see this in the scriptures. TRUTH: Are You Sealed?

Ephesians 1:11-13

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, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,  (NASB)
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, (ESV)

It is clear from verse 13 that the promised Holy Spirit is the seal of God’s ownership of any particular person. TRUTH: Are You Sealed? There are a variety of other verses that work in concert with verse 13. Let me share those with you. All from the ESV

1 Corinthians 3:16 
16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Romans 8:9-11
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Galatians 4:6
And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

1 John 3:24
24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 4:13
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

TRUTH: Are You Sealed? The answer is found in Ephesians 1:13 which says, “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” If you have not believed in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior evidenced through a surrendered and obedient life, you are NOT sealed. If you are not sealed, you are not included in Christ; therefore, you forego all of the spiritual blessings namely salvation of your soul from the wrath of God because of your sin.

TRUTH: Are You Sealed? If not, repent and follow Jesus. Romans 10:9-11 says, ” If you declarewith your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

TRUTH: You Have Obtained an Inheritance!

July 12, 2017

According to Wikipedia, The World’s Billionaires is an annual ranking by net worth of the world’s wealthiest billionaires compiled and published in March annually by Forbes magazine. The list was first published in March 1987.  For 2017, the U.S. continues to have the most billionaires in the world, with a record of 565. China has 319 (this does not include Hong Kong with 67 and Macau with 1), Germany has 114 and India has the fourth most with 101; India has reached over 100 billionaires for its first time. This year there was a record of 2,043 people on the list, which is the first time over 2,000 people were listed, that included 195 newcomers that included 76 from China and 25 from the U.S.; there were 56 people under 40 and it had a record of 227 women. On the Forbes’ list of the world’s billionaires, this is the fourth year in a row that Bill Gates was named the richest man in the world. The number of billionaires increased 13% to 2,043 from 1,810 in 2016; this is the biggest change in over 30 years of tracking billionaires globally.

Here are the top 10 billionaires.

No. Name Net worth (USD) Age Nationality Source(s) of
wealth
1 Steady Bill Gates $86.0 billion Increase 41  United States Microsoft
2 Increase Warren Buffett $75.6 billion Increase 86   United States Berkshire
Hathaway
3 Increase Jeff Bezos $72.8 billion Increase 53  United States Amazon.com
4 Decrease Amancio Ortega $71.3 billion Increase 80  Spain Inditex, Zara
5 Increase Mark Zuckerberg $56.0 billion Increase 32  United States Facebook
6 Decrease Carlos Slim $54.5 billion Increase 77  Mexico América Móvil,
Grupo Carso
7 Steady Larry Ellison $52.2 billion Increase 72  United States Oracle
Corporation
8 Increase Charles Koch $48.3 billion Increase 81  United States Koch Industries
8 Increase David Koch $48.3 billion Increase 76  United States Koch Industries
10 Decrease Michael Bloomberg $47.5 billion Increase 65  United States Bloomberg L.P.

What if one of the top ten billionaires told you the TRUTH: You Have Obtained an Inheritance! In financial terms, almost all of us would be ultra excited to know that you had a share in 47.5 billion dollars to 86 billion dollars. Undoubtedly, you lifestyle would change to some degree. It would reflect more of the financial wealth that you had inherited. Depending on the amount that one had access coupled with one’s willingness to spend or share, lives or lifestyles would truly be different.

Similarly, but in spiritual terms, the Apostle Paul tells us the TRUTH: You Have Obtained an Inheritance! The question is whether your life is different as it would have been had the inheritance was financial. Let’s read.

Ephesians 1:3-11

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (ESV)

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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 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 (NIV)

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (NASB)

What is the TRUTH: You Have Obtained an Inheritance! The Apostle Paul is telling the Ephesians that God, through Jesus Christ, has adopted some people as sons or children and as such we have obtained an inheritance. Again, John 1:12 clarifies who are the children of God. Furthermore, Galatians 3:26 tells us “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” It is only through Jesus Christ that mankind becomes a member of God’s family and thus receives an inheritance. Listen to 1 Peter 1:3-5.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.” As God’s children by being born again or the new birth, Christians are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:16, 17). Their inheritance is called “salvation” (v. 5; Heb. 1:14, crf)

Now, you know the TRUTH: You Have Obtained an Inheritance! If you have surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have become a child of God and thus will receive your inheritance of eternal life. Billions cannot buy you a relationship with the Almighty God nor can it buy you “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away.” What will you do? Will you become a child of God or will you continue to be an object of God’s wrath?  “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36) Believe in Jesus and follow Him.

TRUTH: IF God Kept a Record of Sins, Who Could Stand.

July 11, 2017

In this information age, people keep all kinds of records on us. As we casually surf the internet, the sites we go and how often we go are being recorded. A profile of our preferences are being kept, so that advertisements suggestions can be placed on our browser. Our credit score is another example of records being kept on us. Supposedly, our credit worthiness is determined by what we have purchased and the relationship to how we have paid those debts. I work in a school system where records of attendance, assessments, behavior and grades are kept on each student. As a student graduates, those records are used to give awards to those who have never missed a day of school or for scholarships for those who have a record of strong academic performance. Records are kept on us for so many things. We are all aware of that. While I don’t support Santa, he too keeps a record. We are told that he is checking his list to see who has been naughty or nice. TRUTH: IF God Kept a Record of Sins, Who Could Stand.

Why should it surprise us that God Almighty has a list, a record if you will. Luke 10:20  tells us … “but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.” Psalm 139 tell us other records, but verses two and three tell us that God “You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” We also learn in Psalm 130 (NASB) about the record of our sin. TRUTH: IF God Kept a Record of Sins, Who Could Stand.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.
If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, (If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, (NIV))
O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is lovingkindness,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.

TRUTH: IF God Kept a Record of Sins, Who Could Stand. As my prayer partner, Thomas Milloy, began to pray today, the words “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?” resonated in my mind as someone had struck cymbals. Those words just echoed in my head so much that I had to ask him where that was in the Psalms. It resonated because I know my sins are numerous, too many for me to count, but God is aware of everything we have done. He knows our sins. 

From Romans 6:23, we know that we deserve death for our sinful hearts and minds, but just as verse four above tells us, “there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.” God, through Jesus Christ, offers us forgiveness of our sins and more lucidly forgiveness from His judgement of our sins. While there are consequences in the here and now, God, again through Christ, gives us an eternal reprieve from His wrath because of our sins.

Billy Graham expressed it this way. ”

“It’s wrong, however, to think that God is just like a massive computer, endlessly storing up information about us. The main difference is this: a computer doesn’t love you or care anything about you — but God does! If God didn’t care about us, He wouldn’t bother remembering what’s been happening in our lives. He also wouldn’t care about our worries and heartaches — or even the wrong things we’ve done that brought us harm. But He does care.

And because God loves us and cares about us, we don’t need to be scared of the future or shrink back from His judgment — not when we know Christ. On one hand we deserve to be scared over what we’ve done — because we have sinned, and we deserve only God’s judgment. But on the other hand, because He loves us, God has provided the way for all our sins to be forgiven and removed. That way is Jesus Christ, who by His death took upon Himself the judgment we deserve.

Why carry the burden of your sins any longer? Instead, give them — and your whole life — to Jesus today. When we come to Christ, all our sins are taken away — almost like hitting your computer’s delete button! The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).”

TRUTH: IF God Kept a Record of Sins, Who Could Stand. For those of you who do not surrender your life to Jesus as Lord and Savior, you will not be able to stand. Nahum 1:5-7 says,

Mountains quake because of Him
And the hills dissolve;
Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence,
The world and all the inhabitants in it.
Who can stand before His indignation?
Who can endure the burning of His anger?
His wrath is poured out like fire
And the rocks are broken up by Him.
The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble,
And He knows those who take refuge in Him.

Malachi 3 teaches us that “16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.Romans 14:4 says, “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” It is only through the Lord Jesus that any of us can stand before God. It is Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection that affords us to receive redemption, the forgiveness of sin. In this forgiveness, God does not hold us eternally accountable for our sins. It is in Christ that we find the TRUTH: IF God Kept a Record of Sins, Who Could Stand.

TRUTH: We Have the Riches of His Grace!

July 6, 2017

In the post TRUTH: Redemption Is In Christ Alone, I shared that everyone likes a redemption story. In the post TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing , I shared that everyone likes a blessing. Today, brings together the both of those having a redemption story as the result of a great blessing. For those who surrender their lives to Jesus as Lord and Savior, we find the TRUTH: We Have the Riches of His Grace!

You see, we who have Jesus have been given grace by God. Our text, Ephesians 1, states that clearly just as many other passages in the Word.

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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In Christendom, it is commonly accepted that grace is defined as God’s unmerited favor toward man. Essentially, we don’t get what we deserve (death) for who we are while getting something we don’t deserve (life, union with God). We learn from the passage that we just did get grace as followers of Christ. The word lavished is used to describe how grace was given to us. It is defined as great amounts or without end. For the sinner that I am, I know that it has been given to me without end. Hallelujah!

2 Timothy 1:8-10 says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Furthermore, we are encouraged by Paul through Timothy “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

Verse 9 tells us the purpose of God’s grace – saved us and called us to a holy life. How are you living your life? Is it out of a desire to be holy? Holy meaning set apart for God. It is for the believer to be separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred. Our lives should be devoted to God as a consequence of the grace we have received. TRUTH: We Have the Riches of His Grace! We are to richly love God for lavishing His grace upon us. I fail everyday; however, I have new mercies daily to commit myself to a new start in Christ Jesus. 

As a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, the TRUTH: We Have the Riches of His Grace! Truly, I have not even scratched the surface of what this means, but I wanted us to think of how much grace God has given us in Christ Jesus. Really, it cannot be quantified, just know it is a lot and it is a great blessing.

TRUTH: Redemption Is In Christ Alone

July 5, 2017

Whether in sports, in movies, in books or in life, everyone loves a redemption story. Perhaps, we are reminded of our fallibleness as well as our need to recover from the error of our ways. Who decides who or how does one obtains redemption?

Back in 2000, 23-year-old Cornealious Anderson III, nicknamed Mike, was arrested for robbing a Burger King at gunpoint. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison, released on bail, and told to await orders on when to show up to serve his time.

The orders never came. Due to a clerical error, Anderson never went to prison.

But instead of using his freedom to commit more crimes, Anderson started his own construction business, became a youth football coach, and volunteered at his local church. He also got married, had three children, and became a well-liked member of his community.

Thirteen years later, the state discovered their error and put Anderson behind bars for nearly one year. As the case received international coverage, an online petition for his release gained more than 35,000 signatures.

After a court hearing that lasted a mere 10 minutes, the judge conceded that Anderson was a changed man and granted him credit for the years he should have been in prison. A teary-eyed Anderson walked out of the courthouse with his wife and daughter, telling reporters that he was grateful to God. (@)

In Cornealious Anderson III case, who and how was redemption decided? Was it Cornealious’ positive social actions for thirteen years? Was it the judge and the jury who decided? Cornealious told us who and how. He credited his redemption to God.

Likewise in a spiritual sense regarding our sinfulness, the TRUTH: Redemption Is In Christ Alone. That fact is woven throughout the scriptures. We are directly told in Ephesians 1:7

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

In the context of the verses, him is understood to be Jesus Christ. Go back and read the proceeding verses to verify my assertion.  Furthermore, consider the following verses that substantiate the TRUTH: Redemption Is In Christ Alone. 

Psalms 111:9
He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name.

Psalms 130:7

Israel, put your hope in the Lordfor with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

1 Corinthians 1:30
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,holiness and redemption

Romans 3:23-24
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

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

Colossians 1:13-14
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 9:11-15
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! 15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.

Again, I ask who decides who or how does one obtain redemption. It is quite clear from the scriptures of the TRUTH: Redemption Is In Christ Alone.  Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, so you can receive redemption. Without Christ, “ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

TRUTH: Who Can Give Up Essential Liberty

July 4, 2017

US Flag with Lady LibertyThey who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin, Memoirs of the life & writings of Benjamin Franklin. It is Independence Day, July 4, in the United States of America. The quote by Benjamin Franklin was highlighted in a document encouraging us to be thankful for our freedom in these United States of America. Thomas Jefferson, said, “How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” For those Americans, including my brother, uncles, cousins, and other family and friends, I salute you for your devotion and sacrifice to preserve my liberty. but I ask the TRUTH: Who Can Give Up Essential Liberty?

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the rights of free expression and actions that are fundamental to democratic government. These rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. We live in a country that allows an athlete to stage silent protests during the National Anthem. He was free to do so; yet, there was a cost for him, no job. We live in a country where our President is free to break from conventional norms of “presidential” behaviors. Like the athlete, there is a cost for him too – a loss of respect by some countrymen, but I ask the TRUTH: Who Can Give Up Essential Liberty? A

s we spend time today reflecting and celebrating our political freedoms, let us focus on the religious freedoms that we were given on this Independence Day. I have asked the TRUTH: Who Can Give Up Essential Liberty? Psalm 33:12 (ESV) answers that question for us. It says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” The most essential liberty that we have is our service of the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent. According to the verse and other scriptural texts, the nation or people of God are not solely Jews or those who live in the United States of America as some purport. Romans 9:6 tells us “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.” We also know from scripture that “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) Again, I ask the TRUTH: Who Can Give Up Essential Liberty?

You give up your freedom or liberty by not knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Galatians 3:22-29 tells us “22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Without Christ, each is still held captive to sin. You have First Amendment and other Constitutional rights, but that has nothing to do with citizenship in Zion. 

TRUTH: Who Can Give Up Essential Liberty? No one. Surrender to Jesus and be freed from clutches and curse of sin – eternal death.

 

 

TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing

June 30, 2017

In the post TRUTH: We Have All Spiritual Blessings But One Is…, I wrote I am not trying to oversimplify spiritual blessings. They are too important for me to even think of doing that; however, I want you to see and know that without a relationship with Jesus Christ, it is impossible for you to have access to All Spiritual Blessings. You may be blessed with health, a great job, children, etc, but you will not have the top blessings, the blessings of all blessings that is to be united with God in relationship with Him through Jesus Christ who pronounces us holy and blameless in his sight.

Ephesians 1

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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Again, we see from the text that Paul is pointing us to where praise should be directed – to God. Why? Because, God, through Christ, blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing. The blessing I would like for us to consider today is the TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing. We know that much of the scripture is written in the masculine; however, it was intended and expected that we all know that God blesses both genders – men and women. We all readily accept that men and women are included in mankind. Likewise, Paul is addressing spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ. for men and women in the term sonship.

What is the blessing? TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing. Ephesians 1:5 states “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” He being God the Father. The KJV says, “the adoption of children”. The NKJV says “adoption as sons”. The ESV says “as sons”. The NASB says “adoption as sons”. Sonship speaks of a relationship where God becomes the Father of men and women. Again, Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing. We cannot become a child of God unless we receive a spiritual blessing. You may assert that all of mankind are God’s children. While that sounds nice and pampers our egos, that is not taught in the scriptures. 

We are taught that without Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. (Colossians 1:21). Without Christ, we are enemies of God. Furthermore, after the fall of man, mankind are not children of God by nature. Mankind only receives that honor and privilege through faith in Christ as a function of the pleasure of His will. This is stated clearly in John 1:12 which says, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” Children of God is a distinguished and deciding term as it applies God’s blessing. In the footnotes for adoption for Ephesians 1:5, we see the Greek word for adoption to sonship is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture. I trust and pray that you see the TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing.

If you are not a child of God, you certainly are a creation of God. What is there to distinguish you from any other animal? Well, we know from Genesis that all mankind is made in the image of God, but that does not make us children of God. Guzik wrote “If we have no appreciation for spiritual blessing, then we live at the level of animals. Animals live only to eat, sleep, entertain themselves, and to reproduce. We are made in the image of God and He has something much higher for us, yet many choose to live at the level of animals. God wants us know every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing.

How are you living, as a son or as an animal? God wants you to live in a manner where you are loving Him in obedience and being loved by Him. Have you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to become a child of God? Live the TRUTH: Sonship – A Spiritual Blessing.

TRUTH: We Have All Spiritual Blessings But One Is…

June 24, 2017

If you asked someone if they would like a blessing, how many people do you think would turn down a blessing they thought they could received. Let’s face it. Regardless of our religious affiliations or whom we call God, we all like blessings. For the Christians, we are even more pointed in that we love being blessed from God as that is for our benefit and good. The Apostle Paul shares with us the TRUTH: We Have All Spiritual Blessings But One Is…

Let’s go to the Word of God to see this fact.

Ephesians 1:3-4

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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

There are a number of hugely important doctrinal issues or blessings being addressed like the trinity and our union with Christ, heavenly places, election, predestination, redemption or eradication of sin, progression from death to life and the like. We should be sure to know and understand where the spiritual blessings but not just blessings originate – from the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ through or in Christ. TRUTH: We Have All Spiritual Blessings But One Is…

I am not trying to oversimplify spiritual blessings. They are too important for me to even think of doing that; however, I want you to see and know that without a relationship with Jesus Christ, it is impossible for you to have access to All Spiritual Blessings. You may be blessed with health, a great job, children, etc, but you will not have the top blessings, the blessings of all blessings that is to be united with God in relationship with Him through Jesus Christ who pronounces us holy and blameless in his sight. There is no way for God to see or deem man as blameless other than through Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” TRUTH: We Have All Spiritual Blessings But One Is…

Please take some time to read, research and pray for God’s revelation of understanding about this passage. If you want the blessing of all blessings, you will take steps to ensure that you were chosen before all creation to be holy and blameless in His sight. TRUTH: We Have All Spiritual Blessings But One Is… Jesus Christ.  Christ is the greatest blessing that we have been given. Without Him, nothing that is given could be given or received.

TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos

June 23, 2017

I just got off the phone with a person that I care about. The person’s life is in shambles because the marriage is falling apart. I a remember the person and I speaking in my office this year. Since I was a follower of Jesus, the person wanted to know my thoughts about getting married. I asked did the person being considered for matrimony Know Jesus. The person said, “Yes”. I asked if the person was sure as knowing Jesus was the most important matter to consider when looking to establish a relationship especially one where marriage is the end game. I essentially told the person the TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos.

While I am no marriage pundit, I have been married or relating to my wife for 27 years. There are some principles that are true in every relationship. I shared with the person that God told me the criteria for someone for me to marry – one who loves me more than she loves you. When I asked God why, I told the person that God said, “When she gets mad at you, her allegiance will be to me. As a result, I can’t get her to respond to me in truth rather than her allegiance being to you and responding to you out anger or any other sin.” I took God at His Word. We need to base all our decisions on the Word which is why I say TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos.

Let’s see an example in Mark 4. (crf Matthew 8)

30 Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

33 With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they could understand. 34 He did not say anything to them without using a parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

There are a number of perspectives/points included in those verses; however, I only want to point to the TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos.  They were on their way to take care of other business of Jesus when they encountered a storm. We all know how the storms of life interrupt us as we are on our way to another station in life. Like the disciples, if we are attending to God’s work and Jesus is with us through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we too can endure the chaos of the storms of life. Notice they were not immune or exempt from encountering the storm. Neither will we be exempt from chaos of life; however, the key is what is our relationship with Jesus. Remember John 16:33 where Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We will have trouble in this world, but with Jesus, we can have peace in the midst of our trouble or chaos.

37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Where was Jesus? He was in the boat with them. What was Jesus doing? He was asleep. Why? He was tired from meeting the needs of the people He has provided for earlier in the text. Why did the disciples think Jesus did not care what happened to them? Jesus did not act or respond in the manner and time frame that they envisioned. I don’t blame them. If I had Jesus in the boat with me that was about to sink because it was filling up with water, I would wake Him up too, but it would be to say to save me not to blame me. That is where many of us struggle. We struggle over a truths, (1. Jesus being with us. 2. Jesus caring for us, 3. Jesus having the power or authority to do something about our situation.) that we should have settled in our hearts as believers and followers of Jesus. We struggle with the TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos.

Jesus calmed the storm and the disciples were truly amazed at that power, but Jesus wanted them to have the faith of the Centurion (Matthew 8) who believed at Jesus’ Word his servant would be healed and was. Jesus knew that they had not fully understood the TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos. This why He said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” What storm are you facing now? What is about to take you under? God, through Jesus Christ, wants you to TRUST in Jesus. God wants us to believe the TRUTH: Know Jesus to Avoid Chaos. Psalms 9:10 says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Like the Centurion who knew the power of Jesus and His name, God wants us to KNOW Jesus to Avoid Chaos of our lives. 

Below is a song by Trip Lee that resonates with me and reminds me that God is saying Know Me.

 

“Know Me”

I wanna intodruce y’all to a friend of mine
A lot of y’all don’t know him
But maybe you’ll understand if he talks to you

Good evening, it’s me, yeah it sounds so strange
May not know me but I’m in my house all day
Since I came I ain’t never been without no fame
Always grab attention, mayne without no strain
Yeah you heard of me, maybe I slipped out your brain
Some they really love me, no doubt, no vain
Others think I’m whack like “he sounds so lame”
Some are somewhere in the middle like when alto sing
But yup, you might find me fresh of the presses
Dressed in the best, love I can’t spare to reckon
Lives over lives, I’m direct with a message
Incapable of lies, come correct when I step in
Known to change lives, yeah my rep is impressive
Some don’t really get me, ’cause I am hard to see
I’ve split up some families, I’m known to cause wreckage
Some don’t really get me, they say I’m hard to read

Know me
Know me, Know
Know me
Know me, Know

Ey, I’m so old school but I’m relevant to new
In the league of my own, known for tellin’ them the Truth
I know fakes that oppose, but I’m tellin’ ’em to move
‘Cause they ain’t on my level like my elevator move
They try to hang it, compete it with out brain
But they just ain’t the same, they miss, they playin’ games
I got Truth that they missin’, ’bout what they can’t obtain
Thay facin’ that real, one day they will be ashamed
No challenges can harm me, I’m battlin’ the storm
I know folks that got my quotes tatted on they arms
But they missin’ the point, from Atlanta to the Bronx
If they lives don’t change then they battles ain’t in form
I get you gotta speak on matters that’ll form
The way you see the world from your calories to porn
If you hear me but never change, better be alarmed
I need do, it’s not hear, it’s just the norm, Let’s go

Know me
Know me, Know
Know me
Know me, Know

Hey throughout my lifetime, I done seen a lot of folks
Been around the world but ain’t seen a lot of hope
And I came to help if they believed in what I spoke
Most ain’t listen very well, they just read a lot of quotes
Been used and abused by most of families
Some dudes in them pews, please don’t remind me
The views that they choose, really don’t define me
Look, I just wanna be understood
Hey, I’m a great storyteller and a beast of a poet
A master historian, esteemed by the coldest
And all of this is centered around He’s who they notice
But didn’t recognize as the King who controls it
The most high up, and I’m so inspired
By you moved, created everything, done triumph
I take it, He’s a lover plus a known fighter
But I can’t take credit ’cause I got a ghost writer

You ain’t caught it yet?
I’m talkin’ ’bout the Word
Yeah, and if you don’t know Him you need to
Study His ways and they will keep you from evil
Word

TRUTH: It’s Not Where You Are From, but Where you At (are).

June 17, 2017

Eric B. & Rakim have a song titled In The Ghetto. The song basically talks about improving self through knowledge and one’s mindset. In the chorus, there are two phrases that became a part of the urban lexicon. Those phrases are expressed as ‘Cause it ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at or It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at which is where the the title of the post sprang – TRUTH: It’s Not Where You Are From, but Where you At (are).

Those phrases were interwoven in the conversations and minds of young men and women in 1990 and 1991. It almost became an anthem for those who wanted to escape the stereo-types branded on us by the popular culture. For my peer group, it symbolized that our destiny is not determined by our place of birth, race of birth, or economics of birth. It symbolizes hope to not be confined by life’s traps or humanly created ceilings. Now, I see a greater connection and the TRUTH: It’s Not Where You Are From, but Where you At (are) in Ephesians 1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I urge you to find the TRUTH: It’s Not Where You Are From, but Where You At (are) in Christ Jesus. Read and think through the verses that explain the significance of “in Christ” or “in Him” This is what the Apostle Paul is referencing here in Ephesians. Here, we see what Solomon said in Proverbs 20:6 Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find? Man fails to be faithful in his pursuit of God or anyone else. However, Deuteronomy 32:4  tells us that “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.”

Now, my anthem is the Word of God. The Apostle Paul tells us the TRUTH: It’s Not Where You Are From, but Where You At (are). In Ephesians 1, we see that the only place for us to be considered faithful is In Christ Jesus. In, at or are all describe man’s position. Spiritually, it describes whether one is included in the body or family of God or if one is outside of the body or family of God. Noted commentator, Matthew Henry says, “In Christ Jesus, from whom they derive all their grace and spiritual strength, and in whom their persons, and all that they perform, are made accepted.” Acceptance, value and meaning is what we all aspire.
It is only In Christ Jesus that we have godly acceptance, value and meaning. Now, you have a taste of the TRUTH: It’s Not Where You Are From, but Where You At (are).