Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!

Tag: faith (Page 1 of 2)

Could There Be More?

Have you ever wondered if there was more to life than working, playing, eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, surviving for the next day? Could there be something else? We can at times get so busy that we never stop to think, or wonder if we are just following everyone else. Is there a reason we are here? Or did we just happen along as an accident of nature? And if nature is guided by some evolutionary principle, why is that so?

The search for meaning is not a new one. A shepherd boy who later became King of ancient Israel had a question for His God. As a shepherd he might have looked up at the night sky many times in amazement. Later he wrote these words which have been preserved for later generations as the eighth Psalm in the bible.

Psalm 8:1
LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3-4
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?

David was not one to think that the universe was an accident or that it came about by chance. He quite naturally wondered why, not just why the universe existed, but why humans inhabited it. In his lifetime he had come to believe in a Creator God, who thought of him and cared for him. His relationship with his God was a personal one. It was so strong that even as a boy he could face a 9 foot tall warrior with his sling shot. His trust was not in his skill however. He believed the God that he and his fellow Israelites worshipped would stand with him to the victory!

If we were honest with ourselves, I believe we would admit that we know down deep that there is more to life than many of us realize. Jesus made famous this basic principle: We are here to love the Lord our Creator and God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. I used to think that was simple and practical. Eventually I learned that God really wants to connect with us in a powerful way that actually empowers us to love. This love is supernatural. It restores us to our original purpose of bearing God’s image and bringing glory to His Name!

Light Of The World, Chapter Eight, The Promised Sacrifice

Chapter 8: The Promised Sacrifice

In case someone might think that I am making things up as I go along, let’s look at another Old Testament story from Genesis. We believe that the New Testament cannot be fully understood without some understanding of the context in which events recorded there took place. The context was a nation that sprang forth from Abraham, whose faith gave him the privilege of being called the Friend of God.

Even before Abraham the Good News from God stated that the evil one who deceived the whole world would be defeated by one who would descend from Eve. (Genesis 3:14-15). Later Abraham set the pattern for all who would follow God by acting on his faith in God’s Word, His promises. His promise to Abraham and Sarah was not only for a son in their old age, but through that son his descendants that would number as many as the sands of the seashore and the stars of heaven that cannot even be counted! Not only that, but these descendants would bring forth one particular “seed” through which all the families of the earth would be blessed! (Galatians 3:8-9,16). This is part of that “Impossible Dream” that I wrote about in the last chapter. And yes, this is also part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom to be announced 2,000 years later.

When Abraham set out with his wife to find the home God had planned for him, his faith was expressed. But after his son came into the world, his faith would be tested. In this test, we can look back and see another glimpse of what would come to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

In Abraham’s day there were no church services to attend, no preaching to listen to or hymns to sing. His primary act of worship was to leave his home and migrate to another land, a land that his descendants would later possess. His faith, his trust in His God was already shown to be real by the great risks he had taken so far. While so many were migrating to the fertile lands of Mesopotamia, this man and his family were leaving their security and journeying into the unknown. This theme of a quest, or a journey into unknown territory would appear again and again in both the old and new testaments, and in the entire history of the church of Jesus Christ.

When the promised son finally came to Abraham and Sarah, he would face his greatest test. Would his faith sustain him?

The God who led Abraham out from his home to become a tent dweller in Canaan and gave him the son that was promised, was now asking him to give that son up as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. Abraham took his son and before they went up the mountain, he told his servants that both of them would later return. Did he really believe that, or did he mislead the servants? In the New Testament Abraham was seen as a model of great faith. Perhaps he still believed in God’s promise to make a great nation from Isaac. In order to fulfill it maybe he hoped God would raise him from the dead even after offering him. (Hebrews 11:17-19). In another place he made an even greater confession of faith that would not be fully understood for 2,000 years. When Isaac asked his father about the animal that they needed for the sacrifice, he gave us another one of those statements in the Old Testament concerning Jesus! He answered: “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” (Genesis 22:8).

The death of Isaac was not God’s plan all along, but a test of Abraham’s faith. In the story God intervened and did provide a ram that had his horns caught in a bush. He did provide an immediate sacrifice for Abraham but there is an even higher, deeper, prophetic meaning to his words. 2,000 years into the future God who through His great love for the world would offer His only son Jesus to atone for all of our sins. Through belief in Him we can now have everlasting life! (John 3:16, 1 John 2:1-2, 1 Timothy 2:1-6) Allow me to go even further out on a limb with this declaration. God did not only provide a sacrifice, but He provided Himself as a sacrifice! Is this a play on words or did God actually surrender Himself on the Cross for the sins of the whole world?

If you believe that there is only One God who is revealed and personified as the Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, you might be able to see that He is so at one with Jesus that He suffered with the Incarnate Son, the one Who is fully Human and fully divine — the Great I AM! (John 8:58, 10:30, 14:8-11, 17:5).

So God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting our trespasses against us! (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) This great cosmic and catastrophic event paved the way for the very promise which Abraham received from God, that his descendants would be impossible to count! Through Jesus the wall of separation between Jews and gentiles would be brought down and all of us can become a part of that great family! How? By faith and trust in His righteousness and not our own! (Ephesians 2:12-22). (6 minutes)

God does have a plan for the ages! Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Christians at Ephesis:

Ephesians 3:8-12:
8 Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

God had been preparing the world for the coming of Jesus, the Messiah from the very beginning. Even Abraham had a glimpse of Him! (John 8:56) Later, when his descendants found themselves enslaved in Egypt, they had a preview of Jesus in their deliverer, Moses. Amidst all of the miracles and astonishing events that God performed through Moses, He also demonstrated the manner in which an innocent lamb would protect them from the curse of sin and death. Only those who sacrificed a flawless lamb, consumed its nourishment and applied its blood to their dwelling would be spared the plague of death that took the firstborn of all Egypt.

From that time on, Israel would look back on that day every year without realizing they were also looking ahead to the day when God would offer His son not only for their sins, but for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2). Every sacrifice and offering they brought would remind them of their weaknesses and dependence upon God and point to the time when God would more fully take up residence in them to live His righteous and holy life in them! In Christ we are made one and complete in Him! He identified with us in our weaknesses so that we can identify with Him in His victory over sin and death!

2 Corinthians 5:21:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 8:9:
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.

All of this takes us back again to the original blessing in Genesis 1:26-28:

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God is still in the process of making mankind into His image. He is determined to fill the earth with His sons and daughters, in order that Jesus would become the firstborn in this great family of God! (Romans 8:28-29) Jesus died on the cross to deliver us from the curse, and also that God’s eternal purpose could be fulfilled in us! Then He sent His disciples out into the world with the Gospel, teaching all the nations His Kingdom principles of faith, hope and love. This was the time to be fruitful and to multiply in a greater and higher order!

While some would postpone this purpose until the afterlife, I find great inspiration in knowing that it can be fulfilled in space and time!

Titus 2:11-14:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

So let us not diminish the great sacrifice of our Lord, the spotless Lamb of God. Let us wholeheartedly, as did our spiritual ancestors, anticipate the fullness of what God desires for His creation! Let us honor and cherish His great act of love for us that cannot fail to bring about His plan for His glory!

Worthy Is The Lamb!

Here is a song written by my friend Thomas Shou. We hope you enjoy it! Here is his testimony:

“Enjoy my first Christian rock song GOD gave me literally in my dreams during this pandemic honeymoon with Jesus! One of my many pandemic song babies!! Thank bro Dan Beaty for his timely partnership”

More info is available on his Bandcamp page below:

Worthy Is The Lamb!

The Church Has Left The Building!

From early in the year 2020 the world has faced an unprecedented challenge in the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Large gatherings and even smaller gatherings of 10 people or more were cancelled in an attempt to slow down the spread of this mysterious illness that could potentially claim the lives of millions. Congregations around the world quickly realized the threat and sought new ways to stay in fellowship and to encourage one another outside of the normal gathering places we have called “churches” for centuries.

The word “church” has come down in the English language from early translations of the original Greek New Testament. Nowhere in the Bible itself does the word refer to a physical building. The Greek word in the New Testament is “Ekklesia,” which in the First Century was often used in reference to a meeting of people gathered to discuss community affairs. In the book of Acts, it is even used once to describe the gathering of an angry mob of unbelievers! (Acts 16:39-41)

In Christian writings the focus was always on the gathering of God’s people, and also on a sense of the community of believers when they were not together physically. Ekklesia literally means “the called out.” The early Christians understood that they had been “called out” of the darkness of sin in this world and into the “marvelous Light” of Christ and His Good News! (1 Peter 2:9) What ever translation you use, and what ever English word we use for Ekklesia, one only has to read the Bible to find out its meaning. In the Bible the church is described in metaphors like the Body of Christ of which each believer is a member. Together we represent Christ in this world!

In another place we are depicted as individual stones that make up a house that God Himself inhabits. The old temple in Jerusalem is gone, but Spirit-filled believers in Christ together make up a new Temple for the worship of God! Another lovely metaphor depicts God’s people as the Bride of Christ, which He purchased with His own blood to be His own precious companion! As you can see, God has an exalted position for those who love and worship Him! He lives not only among His people but in them as well! They are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God!

Over the centuries, we have become accustomed to calling the buildings we gather in churches. When people say they are “going to church,” what they really mean is that they are going to a gathering of believers which takes place in a building. Instead of calling it a church building it is easier to just call it the church. Even when instructed about the true nature of the Christian church, it is hard to break the habit of calling the building the church. That is unfortunate. Sometimes the area of the building where the worship takes place is even called the Sanctuary, as if it is some holy place where worship can only happen.

If one good thing comes out of this crisis, I hope and pray that we can once and for all put behind us the concept that God lives in a physical building. Even in the old testament, King Solomon of Israel, who had just dedicated the marvelous temple to the Lord in Jerusalem made this declaration:

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! (1 Kings 8:27) NASU

It is convenient that there are many nice and even beautiful buildings available for us to meet in, which also are a great benefit to those who could never afford such comforts on their own. At the same time, we can become too dependent on the atmosphere we create for worship. It is easy to forget that our God is everywhere as well. The Early Church knew this as they met from house to house, sharing in the fundamental and bedrock reality of the Christian Faith, the Love of God!

Now that we are learning to not take for granted the face-to-face fellowship that can happen in buildings dedicated for that purpose, let us determine to never return to “business as usual.” We are important to one another and to God where ever we are. We do not meet out of tradition, or fear of punishment. We absolutely need one another as much or more than my hands and feet need my heart and head!

The physical buildings and programs we witness in them are only useful if they serve the purpose of helping us build up one another in Christ! In this way we become the Light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hid, showing others the way out of darkness and into His marvelous Light!

The Body, Being Light In Darkness


An excerpt from Charles Colson’s “The Body, Being Light In Darkness.”

Chapter 16:
In some ways, the story began in the town of Nowa Huta, Poland soon after World War II…..

“We need a church,” the workers said, “A place of worship.”…..

The Communists bought time, however, by nodding agreeably, “Fine, they said, “No problem.”

So several young Christians and a Polish priest nailed together two rugged beams and pounded the rough timber cross straight and solid into Polish soil to mark the site where their chapel would be built.

Soon, however, the authorities returned with a different verdict. “We are sorry,” they told the workers. “This space is needed for something else. You cannot build a church here.”

But the people wanted their church. Night after night they gathered around the cross. Priests offered mass, and the people sang and celebrated communion with one another and their Lord.

The authorities retaliated with water cannons, but this forceful baptism didn’t faze the faithful. Then the Communists tore down the cross, as if sundering its heavy beams would somehow cleave the people. But the citizens of Nowa Huta were determined, and in the morning the cross was once again stretching toward heaven for all to see.

This went on for years—the authorities tearing down the cross and the people restoring it. And in the midst of the struggle the people came to a realization that would steel their faith in a way that Communism could never steal their souls.

“The church is not a building,” they said to one another. “The church is us, celebrating the presence of our Lord among us! Praise be to God!”

Building in the Kingdom

First the Kingdom 18, Building in the Kingdom

In a well-known passage of scripture Jesus said that He would build His church, and in that context He also spoke of the keys to the kingdom. It is being said today that only Jesus can build His church and His kingdom. But is that true? Are we simply passive spectators, watching the rise and fall of worldly kingdoms while we wait for that glorious day in the future when Christ finally comes to set up His Kingdom?

Maybe the ancient philosophers were right. Maybe God is like the two great powers, Fate or Fortune who control everyone’s lives. Or maybe the Eastern Guru’s could teach us how to passively accept the way things are — their path to inner peace?

The apostles of Christ and the First Century Church evidently did not have this information. They took risks every day as they carried out His directions. Some were beaten and killed. others were driven out of their homes because they were driving back the very gates of hell! All of these troubles could have been avoided if they had simply stayed to themselves and quietly meditated in private.

Of course we must always remember, Jesus said without Him we can do nothing. Absolutely nothing! I cannot take my next breath without Him! However He also said that all things are possible with God! With God. In Christ. Through Christ. These words describe the reality wherein believers in Him have power. The earliest believers were said to have God working with them! They are also described as being filled with God the Holy Spirit!

There are times to be passive as we await the Spirit’s direction. There are also times when we know what to do and that is nothing! This should not define the overall mindset or mode for those following Christ. The accounts we have of the lives of men and women in the Bible are there for a reason. It is not always that we should copy their actions precisely, but we can certainly learn from them. We can easily see that God often moved them to actions which impacted situations in the world around them. When they moved with Him, He moved with them.

Prayer to God was always the undergirding force. They were people who knew their God. Some of them were educated and intelligent. Some were simple people. Some were important figures in the world, others were virtually unknown. The important thing was that God wanted to use them, and that they responded to His call.

There are many instances in the Bible where God used people instead of His direct intervention. I am convinced that He is still working for the being He created in Genesis to reflect His image, and to care for His creation. Our participation is required in that process. One does not become responsible overnight. As a child my mother did everything for me. Gradually I learned to feed and to dress myself. Amazingly I can still remember being taught to tie my shoes. That was a rewarding experience! I was growing up, and I felt the satisfaction of that simple accomplishment!

God knows His children are not ready to command the wind and the waves, and to rule over creation under His authority. He only gives us greater responsibilities as we are able to shoulder them.

Sadly, many people are denied the privilege of growing in both their natural and spiritual responsibilities and the satisfaction this growth brings. They are being tricked by the same snake in the garden that fooled Adam and Eve into relinquishing their rightful place in the universe to him. The same desire for physical pleasure and foolish pride keeps people today from finding the greatest pleasure and fulfillment of them all, the glory of God!

Jesus proved without doubt that human beings were here for greater things. He demonstrated the dominion and power that was available to those who return to the simplicity of living in and loving the One Who designed us for that very purpose. We were never intended to be subservient to the powers of nature. Jesus revealed the future He has in mind for the creation. As God’s people grow unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, when they are finally revealed to be who they really are in Him, the groaning of the creation will end. As we fully find our place in his plan, and as we demonstrate that we are free from the results of the fall, so will creation be set free. Then will this planet be ruled and cared for by the nature of God revealed in humanity!

But we have to start now, by assuming the responsibilities God gives us little by little, day by day. He has brought those who have repented and placed their trust in Him into a special place. We are in His Kingdom now! We are learning to be faithful in small things so He can allow us to be in charge of greater things later. Having a view of the goal is important, but taking steps toward that goal is even more so.

People who believe that it is not yet the time for God’s Kingdom to come, for God’s will to be done in the earth now are constrained by false limitations. They put off important Kingdom activities to a future time when Christ Himself will do it all. They see these efforts as doomed from the start. I admit that the mission Christ has given looks more like the Mission Impossible, or the Impossible Dream of Don Quixote sometimes. And yet He often surprises us through simple people who are naive enough to believe Him! Jesus said some amazing things to those who believed in Him. He announced that from them would rivers of living water, and that they would do greater works than He had done!

Jesus also said He would build His Church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Why then do we see ourselves as weak and unable to obey Him? It was Paul who called himself a wise master builder and a fellow worker with God. I submit that the proper perspective is that we are helpless without Him, but also more than conquerors though Him! Our mission is not doomed to failure, but only because it is God’s desire and plan. He cannot fail. Next time we will look in detail to see how each of us has a different part in His plan to transform this world.

The Paradigm Shift

First the Kingdom part 16, The Paradigm Shift

The title of this podcast is a fancy word phrase used in science that is definitely not found in the bible. I find that sometimes biblical words become so worn out over time that a modern term can actually refresh their true meaning. Repentance, for example is not a word often used today in modern conversation. It is common today to think more in terms of regret or being sorrowful for our actions.

Repentance can include those emotions, but the original meaning has more to do with a change in our thinking. I like paradigm shift because it describes a major change in how we think because the very framework from which we reason has changed. A good example is in what is called the Copernican Revolution. In the sixteenth century scientists believed in the Ptolemaic system which placed the earth at the center of the universe, with the sun, moon, planets and stars revolving around it. What we know now as planets were thought to be “wandering stars” because their perceived orbit around the earth was irregular.

Then Copernicus challenged this theory and proposed that the earth was not the center, but one of several bodies that revolved around our sun. After many years his theory was accepted and everything changed about the way the universe was understood.

When Jesus came preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven, he came with a challenge to change the way we think, the way we feel, and ultimately how we live. He did not just tell everyone what to do, but He introduced the real reason for doing right. It is time to recognize the kingdom or reign of God over us all. He is the only reason we are here, and the only purpose we have for being! And that IS good news! Why? Because since we began to make up our own reasons and plans, there has been nothing but turmoil in this world. Only those who hear the Word of God and live under His authority find their true place among the sun, moon, planets and stars that He created!

Everything about this series of teachings is because of the paradigm shift, or change in our thinking that God intends for our good. From the beginning it was His plan for us to reflect His character and to rule the earth in His right ways. He has not given up on that plan, in spite of how things might look. Too often in Christianity we only look back at the fall, and then to the Cross where the sins of the fall are forgiven. It is hard for us to remember the purpose that God had before the fall, and to look for the time when that purpose is fulfilled in us and in this earth. It is of course about our need to be redeemed from the fall, but more importantly it is about satisfying God’s desire for us! He still wants to have people to bear His image and fully reflect His nature and character!

While the problem of sin should not be minimized, the solution that God provided in Jesus Christ has more than eclipsed that problem! There is a paradigm that seems to see the problem of sin and rebellion as almost too great for God to solve. Even in popular culture the outlook is becoming so pessimistic that total annihilation seems inevitable. Will God scrap His original plan and start over with a few as He did in Noah’s day? Scripture in some places seem to be saying that, but in each case the context must be considered.

One reason for my optimism is that after over 2,000 years, the Gospel continues to change lives. Jesus is no longer with us in person as a man, but He continues to melt the hardest of hearts. Faith and courage are everywhere, and even more so when resistance is met. The most powerful reason however comes from the living Word of God. His Word has burned into my heart and mind a view of His power, goodness, lordship and love that will not allow me to give up on His purpose! Once my eyes were opened, the evidence became overwhelming!

For the past 200 years a dark, depressing, pessimistic view of the future has prevailed in many churches. I believe it is more born of great and terrible events like 2 world wars, the Great Depression, and the atomic age, than from the Bible. The Bible gives us the true picture of our desperate situation, of course. It also is honest about the things we as humans bring upon ourselves. At the same time it tells of a God and Savior Who sees past the failures of humanity, and Who has sufficient love, grace and power to perform His good will towards us.

Isn’t it terrific that the universe does not revolve around me, my faults, my virtues, my abilities? Isn’t it a relief that fate of the world does not rest upon my shoulders or your shoulders? In fact the universe and the history of the world begins and ends with God who is pure and perfect love, and always sufficient in every situation.

It is my hope that the prevailing paradigm of doom and despair will be replaced with a new paradigm of hope, not only for me and my little circle of family and friends. Christ died for us all. In this hopeful view we are empowered to do great things by the power of God! Jesus Himself said that we could do even greater works than He did 2,000 years ago! Let us hear what the Holy Spirit of God is saying to us today. Let us cast aside the dark future that Satan has in mind and press forward against all odds because in Christ we are more than conquerors through Him and His love!

Listen to the words of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

(Romans 11:33-12:2 NASB)

My belief is that the Holy Spirit of God is in the process of drawing us nearer to Him, convincing us to offer ourselves more completely to His purpose. In this way we are empowered to be different from the unbelieving world, having minds that are renewed by His living Word! We are becoming literally transformed into His very image, to demonstrate the Kingdom of heaven here on earth, proving His good, acceptable and perfect will to all!


We hope this series on First the Kingdom has been helpful to you. To continue in this study with us, we invite you to “like” and “follow” or subscribe to our blog on

Upon This ROCK!

First the Kingdom, part 15: “Upon this Rock”

When I was a young boy I was taught the basic Bible stories and about Jesus Christ, who came to die for our sins, and rose again for our justification. When I read the Bible for myself I knew the words of Jesus were especially important since they were often printed in red. Our family and our church believed that Jesus is not just a prophet or a good man, but truly God revealing Himself in human form. I took this for granted as well.

When I became a teenager I drifted away from my Christian roots, but felt God calling me back in my early twenties. I returned to the church I attended before only because I knew many of the people there, and about that same time I went to work for an uncle who was also a preacher. One day I said something that startled him. It was something to the effect of what is the big deal about why we believe the way we do about Jesus?

Immediately something came over him, well the Holy Spirit came over him and he began preaching to me right there in the kitchen of the house we were painting! I was dazed as he began from Genesis to Revelation telling about the Person of Christ Who was in the beginning, and created all things! Scripture after scripture rolled off of his tongue for some time and I can tell you that was when I first began to receive the Revelation of Jesus Christ!

From that time on, the Bible opened up to me in a brand new way. I began to see Christ everywhere! Every character and every story seemed to point to and teach me more about Him! How can I explain my experience to people who live in the same time and culture as I have, and who really think as I did then, that they know who Jesus really is? All I can do today is say like a certain blind man in the Gospel of John, “I was blind, but now I see!”

Since that time my life has never been the same. It is wonderful to me to know about the humanity of Jesus. He was born, grew up in a small town, came to be baptized by John, and was anointed by the Holy Spirit to work miracles. Then He submitted to tremendous suffering and humiliation as a man on the cross. Finally He returned from the grave, still in the body of a man, but now a glorified body!

Ultimately He returned to the glory that He had with the Father before time. This is the Jesus that I discovered that day in that kitchen. He is Jesus Christ, the Lord of all! This very Jesus spoke through the prophet Isaiah saying: ”

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first , and I am the last ; and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

Hundreds of years later, He appeared to the apostle John saying,;

Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that lived, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:17-18),

And in Revelation 1:8:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty .

There is no Kingdom without the King. Two thousand years ago Jesus brought the announcement that the time for the Kingdom of God had come. It would not be like any other kingdom. It was not a kingdom that could be destroyed by fire, or physical weapons. It was supernatural from the start, but also very real. The King of this Kingdom was the servant of all, and therein was the real source of His power! Yes, He could call fire down from heaven, or 10,000 angels to fight against His enemies. He has that kind of power after all. But His reign is different. It begins in the hearts of individuals.

Even the hardest of hearts have been known to melt in His Presence. There is both an awesomeness and a tenderness about Him. The surrender to His reign is a sweet surrender. It is the only way to find freedom from our fears, our anxieties, and our evil desires. This sweet surrender is also the only way to maintain that freedom. In that freedom is also the authority to overcome the darkness, the bondage of sin and death. His desire is for all of us to know all the privileges of life in the Kingdom of God!

The story of the disciple and apostle Simon Peter has always fascinated and blessed me. Here was a man of the outdoors, a professional fisherman. When his brother Andrew realized that Jesus was the Messiah, he brought Him to Jesus. Immediately Jesus nicknamed him Cephas, from an Aramaic word meaning a stone. Often in the New Testament the Greek form for “rock” is used and he is known as Peter. Shortly after he and his brother Andrew, along with the brothers and fellow fishermen James and John answered the call of Jesus to follow Him.

What do you suppose motivated these men in their commitment to learn from Jesus about the Kingdom of God and to spread the Good News that it had finally come? We know that at least some of them had personal ambitions of importance in the Kingdom. James and John hoped to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus when He came into power. This, no doubt was before they understood the full plan. (Mark 10:35-40).

Peter came to be one of the Lord’s closest companions. Only Peter, James and John were there to witness His transfiguration and conversation with Moses and Elijah. However One of the more publicized events in the life of Peter is found in Matthew 16:13-20:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

Peter made the bold confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God! The Hebrew prophets had long foretold of a deliver with divine power to rule over Israel and ultimately the world. In Hebrew he would be called the Messiah, meaning “anointed One,” which translated into Greek is “Christos,” and into English as “Christ.” Others had come before and stirred up the hope in many, but this time was different!

Jesus declared that Peter had received a supernatural revelation from heaven. This understanding did not come from human reasoning, but from God. From this passage some people believe that Peter himself is the Rock upon which the Church of Jesus Christ is built. From other New Testament writings, including those of Peter, we know that Jesus is the Rock with a capital R, and the only foundation upon which the Church is built. On the other hand, Peter, along with the other apostles and prophets are stones in that foundation. Important to this foundation is the Revelation of Who Jesus is. Going back to my earlier testimony, it is possible to know intellectually who Jesus his, but the revelation of Him is a supernatural experience like that which these folks had.

Paul, who was not with the original 12, was also blessed. He had his own revelation of the glorified Christ which is recorded in the ninth chapter of the book of Acts. Later, he claimed his apostleship based upon that encounter, saying, “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1). While the apostles were first in line to know the Lord in this way, they are not to be the last. Paul’s prayer was that ordinary believers would receive from their Heavenly Father the same “spirit of wisdom and revelation of the knowledge of Him.” (Ephesians 1:16-23).

This is the foundation upon which The Church of Jesus Christ can exercise Kingdom authority! This is the living Body of Jesus Christ, against which the Gates of Hell cannot stand! Everyone who loves Jesus Christ can know Him better! To know Him IS life eternal! Even the great apostle Paul after all of his missionary accomplishments only wanted to know Him more.

Heavenly Father, place that same hunger in our hearts to know You more, and satisfy that hunger as only You can!

The Mustard Seed Conspiracy, Part 2

First the Kingdom, part 11: The Mustard Seed Conspiracy, Part 2

Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to nature in the manner of its growth. He said that the tiny mustard seed had the potential to grow far beyond its original size. He also noted that amazing things happen in the earth while we sleep. A farmer does not have to stand over the area where he prepared the ground and planted the seed. The seed gradually absorbs moisture and nourishment from the ground, and extends its roots very quietly and steadily. Most of the growth is hidden at first, and even when visible it is not much to look at. Many months go by before the goal of the farmer is actually reached. Finally in the harvest season, he can bring in the visible proof of this process, providing food for many!

In modern times many are in such a rush to achieve their goals. They need to see results fast. I have noticed how excited people get in the process of new church buildings. They are usually eager to give money and time to something they can physically see come into view. I know buildings do not grow up overnight, but you can see fairly soon that digging has begun. All the heavy machinery is there throughout the process of preparing for water, gas and electric lines. Then the foundation is laid, walls go up followed by the roof. Sometimes progress is seen daily. Often it is at least weekly, unless held up by unfavorable weather.

Actual spiritual growth is different. Maybe that is why patience is so emphasized in the Bible. There are times when the seed is being sown, but very little growth is seen. The message of the Gospel and the teachings of Christ are being shared, but it takes time for hearts to be changed, and lives to reveal what God has done in them. This is both true with individuals and groups of people. Because things often move slowly, some become discouraged and even give up in the effort to spread His Word.

A common way to generate enthusiasm in a church is to start another building program. This really sparks interest. Today however, some folks are finding the joy of Other wonderful efforts that can equally spark interest. These might not draw as much attention, but they can be powerful expressions of the Kingdom of God in the earth. Things like prison ministry, small group Bible studies and House Church networks, prayer groups, recovery groups, serving the homeless or young families etc. These activities are the Church in action. They mirror the forward movement of the First Century Church.

If this message does one thing, I hope every one of you who feels insignificant in the Body of Christ will come to realize how powerful in Christ you really are! Paul in his letter to the Romans strongly urges his brothers and sisters in Christ in this way. In chapter 12 he tells them the greatest act of worship is to offer our bodies, our lives in service to God. This is different from the world in general and requires the transformation of the renewed mind. If you are feeling insignificant, then you need to have your mind renewed! Hear the Word of the Lord! God has given each of us a special capacity to serve and to bless others! Notice in Romans 12 that this is not limited to leadership gifts. He simply gives examples of some of the things that God might want to do through you. Don’t worry if your gift is not included in that list. It is the principle that counts. I have often noticed that the best environment for discovering your purpose is in the fellowship of small, dedicated groups of believers.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he explains how important it is for each person to fulfill his or her purpose. As each organ and part of the human body needs to do its part for the body to be healthy, so it is with the Church, the Body of Christ. As each part functions, the whole body becomes stronger and grows to the full potential that it has in Christ. This is real Kingdom growth. While a church building with a sign on its door can become filled with people, that does not necessarily translate to the growth of the Body of Christ. In fact, up to half and even more in some situations are not even born-again children of God!

The growth of the Body of Christ cannot be measured by the size of the building or the numbers in the seats. Thank God for buildings full of people who are hearing the Gospel and learning about Christ! But thank God also for the small groups all over the world that only God can count. Those who deeply love Jesus, and one another. It can become a problem in our modern culture for the people in large meetings to miss the growth the comes through true fellowship. To some, church is sitting in a pew for an hour and watching others perform. Then they go home and return to their ordinary lives, missing the joy of participation in the adventure that is the Kingdom of God!

If you have ever tasted of the vital church experience that even in a small way resembles that of the Church in the book of Acts, you know what I am talking about. I have found that I can no longer be satisfied with anything less. While I love large gatherings with dynamic music and powerful preaching, I have found that face-to-face gatherings and one-on-one fellowship are much more important to me. This is where I learn of the great value that Christ has invested in my fellow believers.

In this context I have watched when an individual confesses a need, and others who never speak up in the public service rush in with compassion and support. Then there are the times when I discover that someone was confused by what was said from the pulpit, but was not free to ask a question. This is where the small group can greatly help bring understanding and at the same time build relationships with one another. This is where we discover that we are not a corporation, but a family!

Speaking only from my own experience, it is only too easy to think of people as a necessary component of the church, and not the church itself. Sometimes we even tend to think that the people are there to support the pastors, teachers and evangelists so that they can do the work of the ministry. As a matter of fact, in God it is the other way around! These are gifted to the Church to equip the members for their individual ministries!

We need the Biblical view that each follower of Christ is a member of this supernatural Body in which Jesus Himself lives! The material building is only important for how well it provides a place for the Body of Christ to meet. The Early Church met from house to house and in the Temple courts in Jerusalem. Elsewhere they took advantage of any suitable venue. In fact, the true temple to them was made up of individual living stones, that together made up the House of God!

It is important to notice that during the period before the building of dedicated church buildings, the growth the Church was phenomenal! The Kingdom of God is about transformed hearts, minds and lives. This hidden work is much more effective in transforming society than a great show of success on television. History will bear this out. George Whitfield along with John and Charles Wesley did most of their work in the open air in 18th Century England. Then they organized small groups for discipleship outside of the established Church. During this period the Gospel of Jesus Christ transformed England in many visible ways. Look it up!

It is time that God’s people allowed themselves to realise that He is not confined to special buildings we call “churches,” but He is everywhere His people are! If we return to the simple pattern we see in the New Testament, we will see how the Holy Spirit of God can work through us in wonderful ways as well, and we will experience the true freedom that He has always desired for us!

We hope this series on First the Kingdom has been helpful to you. To continue in this study with us, we invite you to “like” and “follow” or subscribe to our blog on

What IF?

If. Such a very small word. Just two letters. But the meaning contained in these two letters could lead to either life or death. They could become an open door to endless possibilities, or perhaps spell perpetual gloom and darkness. I wonder, could we take the time to explore the power of the word, “if,” by studying God’s use of it in the scriptures? What exactly are the possibilities that the Creator of the universe holds out to us, as we seriously and humbly handle His Living and inspired Word?

In a day when depressing news travels at the speed of light, and the vanities of the rich and famous are common knowledge, apathy has become a popular commodity. So much time is taken up talking about the world’s problems, but so little action is taken. The common attitude is that nothing can really be done, and many Christians are certain that nothing should be done, for this world is soon coming to an end. When that happens, we Christians will not be here anyway. Therefor all that remains is to lead as many as we can to a safe zone for retreat, and wait for our Lord’s return.

But what IF? What if we were to plunge deep into His Word and discover the latent power of this word, IF? Perhaps there are some hidden treasures therein by which we can recover from our apathetic comfort zones, and rise up to the occasion for the greater glory of God! This small word might have a great significance indeed, as we allow the wonderful Spirit of God to breathe life into it!

Israel of old was confronted by the Lord with this little word on many occasions. In the 7th Chapter of 2 Chronicles, the Lord was holding out to Solomon the King, some of the possible futures that the people might choose. He showed him how Israel might find herself in situations very similar to those which we are experiencing in our modern times. Wars, pestilence and famines could occur to those in disobedience, but there was a way out. This way out begins with an IF.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

By now I can hear various dissenting voices. “That was the Old Testament, they were under a different covenant, so long ago.” “God has a predetermined plan today, and there is nothing we can do to alter it.” Or how about, “We are good people, without sin, for Christ has abolished sin on the cross. For what should we repent?”

There is only one answer I can give. What IF? What if those who long to see the glory of God upon His people again would take a chance and PRAY? What if enough of us realized that we have all been living far beneath our privileges, and possessed the courage to ask God “Why?” and “What would you have us to do?” What if we were to take the initiative presented by James, to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, and to draw nigh unto Him that He might draw nigh unto us?

What if we were to accept the challenge of Jesus to ask that we might receive, seek that we might find, to knock that the door would be opened unto us? Is there even the slightest possibility that we might prove the Lord, and He could open the windows of heaven unto us? Do you think?

What if, we might have long failed to realize that the Lord is eagerly waiting to rain down upon us with showers of life, healing and blessing? Perhaps the only delay was our ignorance or willingness to acknowledge our desperate need! Please, my brother, my sister, consider the possibilities! Consider what our wonderful Savour and Lord can do and desires to do on our behalf! After all, it was He who said, ” IF YOU CAN BELIEVE, all things are possible!

Our Lord is so gracious and kind towards us! He is quick to acknowledge our virtues and accomplishments. He is also patient to wait for our steady spiritual growth in Him, but His patience does not negate His wonderful and glorious purpose which His wisdom has designed for us. Neither does He take pleasure in our powerlessness to deal with many of the challenges of life. His vision for us is one of abundant and victorious living!

In the third chapter of Revelations, Jesus was addressing the church at Ephesis. He spoke more than a few words about the good works they had done. They had been diligent and faithful unto Him and in many ways. They had been very careful to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. For this He commended them.

But…. He did have one complaint to make to them. He told them that they had left their first love. His solution was for them to repent and do the works they had done at the first. This was not to condemn them, but to lift them up into a higher level of love, life and joy in Him!

The following words may not apply to you. If so, then maybe you could pray for the rest of us! For you are definitely not in need yourself. But if you do sense a hunger within and a need for more of God, then please read on.

How long has it been since you thought of Jesus in your first waking moments? How long has it been since your love for Him was more pleasurable to you than your favorite hobby or television program? How long ago did you feel the beating of His Heart compelling you to do something really sacrificial for someone else? Do you still remember when heaven was very real to you, for your consciousness was filled with His glorious presence!

Of course seasons come and go, and the spring and summer must give way to the winter and fall. This is part of God’s grand design. But we cannot rely only on the weather to determine our faithfulness, love and devotion towards our Lord, and to one another.

It seems that the time to return to the freshness of spring has come. With that comes a purity and the rapture of new found love! For many of us, repentance is not enough. Some changes must be made in our life-styles, to make room for the Lord, and His pre-eminence. Then the Lord whom we seek will suddenly come to fill His Temple, which we are, anew!

This is not to suggest He has ever left us. His promises to us ensure that will never happen. Nothing can separate us from His love! What actually happens often times, is that in our business of normal living, we forget about Him. And as the gentle dove, which will never intrude, He patiently awaits our realization that we have lost our communication with Him. Very slowly, and steadily, coldness and indifference sets in, with little notice. This state soon becomes accepted for normal, until His Word comes to awaken us.

Many of us fail to realize our need, while we are very busy doing good deeds or maintaining religious forms. Like the Ephesians, we confuse duty with devotion. The Lord was quick to remind us that works of obedience must accompany faith and love, and that they are actually inseparable. But how can we really do the works of God in our own power?

It has become a popular belief that the demonstrations of power and deliverance that the early church manifested were not intended for today. If that is what some believe, it is their right. Certainly they have the evidence on their side. But what IF? What if we completely gave ourselves unto the Lord for His service? What might He do through yielded vessels? Is there a limit to God? Does He answer to any restraints, other than those self-imposed by His own will? Did not Jesus say that even greater works than these shall you do? If my words abide in you, and you abide in me……?

Think of the possibilities! Some of you might be meeting Jesus today for the very first time. Others may be needing a fresh infilling of His Spirit. It matters not where you are now, Jesus is ready and willing to bring you into His world! His kingdom is of another dimension, another attitude, another reality! In it you will instantly see how irrelevant your present cares and petty desires really are in comparison to His Glorious Presence!

He is not calling us to live lives of guilt and self-abasement, but He does need humble, broken and submissive hearts. These are the tools that He has always used to turn the world upside down! Please allow me to exhort you one more time. Let us give ourselves more completely and unreservedly unto Him! Let us behold His glory and be released from all bondages as His face shines upon us! Let us now begin to live out the words of this old chorus: “I keep falling in love with Him, over and over, and over and over again!”

What is Man?

First the Kingdom, part 5: What is Man?

Around three thousand years ago, David, king of Israel, looked up at the night sky and wondered about our existence. He knew that we are just a small part of this great universe God created. And yet this great God had a purpose in mind for humanity. David eloquently wrote:

What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet, (Psalms 8:4-6) NASU

Even though the human race had fallen short of the glory of God from the beginning, King David was aware of God’s original blessing recorded in the opening verses of Genesis. Knowing the goodness, mercy and power of His God, David understood that His plan was not defeated when Adam and Eve sinned. He also knew of the promise that in the end all things would ultimately be under the feet of a people who would come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!

The descendant of the serpent who deceived the first man and woman would figuratively bruise the heal of their descendant Jesus Christ, who would come to bruise the serpents head. (Genesis 3:15) This signifies the victory and restoration of the authority that was lost in the fall. Not only would Christ win the victory for Himself, but for us all!

The writer to the Hebrews looked at David’s question and found an answer.

For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking.  But one has testified somewhere, saying,


For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the  grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation  through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren,   saying,


Can you grasp this? can you believe it? Jesus tasted death for us all and is bringing many sons and daughters to glory, calling us His brothers and sisters — His  family! We are ONE! The Early Church Father Irenaeus understood this when he wrote of: “the only true and steadfast Teacher, the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who did, through His  transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even as Himself!”

Before Him, Paul the apostle wrote these words:

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. (2 Corinthians  8:9)

To this day we see the devastating result of the fall of Adam. Murder, rape, poverty, war, hatred, greed — all proof of the fact that satisfaction cannot be found  when Christ is missing in our lives. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and yet God has not forgotten His purpose for humanity. That purpose from the beginning was for us to reveal the full glory of God in these physical bodies!

Instead of living in fear and being subjected to the elements, our destiny is to rule and reign with Christ over this earth in His authority! That authority only comes to  those who live in harmony with the authority of God Who made us. That harmony with God can only come through the work of Christ on the Cross. There He not only paid the debt for our sins but He also made the way for us to ascend with Him into heavenly places by the power of the Holy Spirit!

It is by grace that we are forgiven and also by grace that we live in victory over our sins! Salvation in Biblical terms is having freedom to live to the glory of God!

Jesus made a statement once concerning our spiritual eyesight. He said if the eye is single or clear that the entire body will be filled with light! But if the eye is dark and evil, the entire body will be full of darkness. (Matthew 6:22-23).

It is time for us to begin seeing God, His light, and our purpose in Him more clearly. It is time to become single-minded and focused on the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Instead of looking back to our failures, we need a single eye towards the wonderful destination we have in Him! This may sound too easy, but a change in focus can change your life. Your entire being can be filled with light according to Jesus! Even now, as we set our sights toward the glory of God, we can  begin to live in that glory, beauty and victory.

Believers in Christ have what is called the Beatific Vision. That is the knowledge that death is not the end, and that the glory of heaven awaits us when our bodies pass away. However, we must not forget the reason we are in these bodies now!

In Titus 2:11-14, Paul writes:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and  godly in the present age,  looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to  redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. NASU

In this very present age we have a life to live to the glory of God. We really do not have time for sin! As we look ahead to the glorious appearing of Christ, we also  look for Him to progressively transform us into the image of God, which was planned by Him from the beginning.

There is so much talk today about great faith. Having faith to be healed, faith to be prosperous etc. What about having the faith that God can live in us to the same degree that he did in His Only Begotten Son, Jesus? What about believing that He can receive what He had planned for us from the very beginning, in this life, in these very bodies? Is that so hard for Him?

This is the full purpose of God’s saving us by grace, through faith. It is God:
Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus  before the world began,

That we might: live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.  (Ephesian 2:8, 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 2:11-14)

While setting goals this high might seem arrogant to some, it is actually the ultimate in humility! While my mind and my experiences might tell me that the high calling of God in Christ Jesus is impossible, I can submit in humility to God’s great power and wisdom to believe the Gospel of the Kingdom, which promisses this wonderful future! We are predestined to become conformed to the image of Jesus Christ! ( Romans 8:19). With human beings this is impossible, but ALL THINGS are Possible WITH GOD!

This kind of humility is also in line with Christ’s command to advance the Kingdom of God by teaching all nations how to observe everything He had commanded His first disciples.  Instead of going forward in doubt and even anticipating failure, we can have the confidence that the Gospel of the Kingdom will work powerfully in the earth, because all authority was given to Jesus who commissioned us!  (Mattew 28:19)

As I stand here I realize I am preaching to my self.

Father in Heaven gives us a greater vision and strengthen us in Your Word, in order that we can ultimately give greater joy and pleasure to You!

In Jesus Name, Amen.


The Armor of God

War and Peace

A great paradox as we live the life of faith in Jesus Christ is that of the existence of both war and peace. Because we have been forgiven and delivered from our past sinful lives we have peace with God and within ourselves. We have a wonderful sense of security and well-being in the knowledge of God’s love for us.

On the other hand, we are told that we have an enemy that would stop at nothing to destroy that peaceful relationship with God. He is very good at what he does, for he has been at it for quite a long time. He is sometimes called the devil or satan. The title devil comes from a Greek word that means slanderer, while satan is from a Hebrew word meaning opposer or adversary. Why our Lord permits this enemy to exist is known only to Him. It could be that we need the challenge for our spiritual growth. What ever the reason the fact remains, we have a powerful and cunning enemy.

As recipients of God’s love and grace we are given certain responsibilities to both protect ourselves and continue to bless and glorify our heavenly Father. We are warned by the apostles in their New Testament writings of the dangers our enemy presents and how to face them. The battle we face is commonly known as “spiritual warfare.”

In one sense we are already overcomers because the victory has already been won on our behalf by Christ. However, simple observation of Biblical history, church history, and present experience reveals that many sincere believers, whose salvation is secure in Christ, have fallen in their testimony for Christ.

My question for us all is, are we satisfied to have an eternal destiny in heaven secured, but uncaring for the testimony we have for Him now in this life? Do we not love Him such that we care enough to bring glory and honor to Him in this life? Should not our love for Him also extend to the rest of humanity, where many desperately need to see His love demonstrated by our living witness?

Here we come to the plan and purpose of our enemy.  It is to hinder the plan and purpose God has for us.

God’s plan from the beginning was for us to bear His image, to take responsibility for His creation and to be fruitful and to multiply, thereby increasing His glory in the earth. We do this by loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, and by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

The simplest, most basic description of the enemy’s goal is to prevent us from loving God and one another.  He has several methods, but this will always be his goal. When we fail in love, we fall short of bringing God the glory he desires, and fail to live in full victory.

One of his very successful tricks is to convince us that if we have few bad habits, attend church regularly, and perform the correct rituals, we are doing just great. Then we might give little attention to the condition of our hearts. We can secretly harbor bitterness, jealousy, resentfulness, and even hate, without realizing that the devil has had his way with us!

Jesus exposed this trick when He distilled all of God’s laws into one principle: love. Love is the litmus test for true spirituality.

So even if the devil appeals to our human weaknesses, and tempts us to lust after things that harm us and others, the end result is the loss of love. Can a person who is obsessed with power, money, possessions have time to truly love God with all of his or her heart? Can a person who lusts after another’s spouse have truly loving thoughts for them and their families? Can someone who steals from  or murders another be living in love? How about the one who ridicules another individual because of their shape, size or skin color?

If we look around, it is not difficult to find confessing believers in Christ who have become distracted from the love of God in Christ, and have chased after things that bring not glory but shame to the name of Jesus.

So we are here to answer the higher call of God in Christ! We not only want to receive eternal salvation but to bear His image before the world! We want to also enjoy the bliss of His love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith and self control, and to share these blessings with others!

The first step is to understand the nature of the battle. The next step is to engage in the battle. In this our victory is assured, for God is on our side when we are on HIs side!

He has given us powerful weapons. (Ephesians 6:10-20) These weapons are not to be used against people, but against those spiritual forces that work against the love of God that is within us. Because our minds are under constant attack, we must be diligent in our search for God’s wisdom and understanding, and get our strength from the knowledge of His Word.

The belt that supports our armor is Truth. it was a lie in the beginning that caused the loss of paradise. It is always the lie. Why else would the enemy be called a slanderer and deceiver? So we can only stand in the truth. Every other foundation is doomed.

This is about the reality of our problem, and the solution the God granted in Christ.  Only a perfect sinless man could take upon Himself the debt we owe for our sins by His death on the Cross. This is the Truth that makes us free! We believe Him, and not the lie of the devil who accuses us and wants to keep us as slaves to sin! We have been set free by Christ’s death, ressurection and the Holy Spirit within us Who empowers us to live and love like Christ!

His Righteousness is our Breastplate over our hearts. Even though we might fail, we trust in His righteousness alone. When we succeed in loving we will not forget that it is always of Him, Who has saved us from ourselves.

It is equally important that we walk in the Good News of Christ and His Kingdom. Our feet are protected as we go forward in the battle telling the Good News to others. In this the devil is defeated because it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes!

Without the Shield of Faith we can become extremely vulnerable. The enemy will constantly challenge us to doubt the goodness and trustworthiness of our Heavenly Father. Our commitment to the fact that He has already proven His love for us will protect us from these accusations against the love of God.

The Helmet of Salvation keeps us from forgetting the wonderful Grace of God we have received. It keeps our minds filled with thoughts of love and gratitude instead of resentfulness and complaints.

By the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God we cut down falsehood and continue to live in the confidence of what He has done for us and in us. We are More Than Conquerors through Him! Even when we feel weak and our emotions begin to take us downward, the Word of God strikes down the thoughts of failure and disobedience. His Word we have hidden in our hearts so that we will NOT sin against Him!

The last weapon in Paul’s teaching is prayer in the Holy Spirit for ourselves and one another. We both build up ourselves through prayer in the Spirit and one another. After all, it is only by the power of the Spirit that we overcome the weaknesses of our flesh. Anyone who tells you that your fleshly weaknesses are greater than the Spirit’s power is wrong. We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us!

« Older posts

© 2024 Living Truth

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑