God’s Love For Us Today Is Majestic!

For June 7, 20201
Today, the word love has many meanings, although it names our emotional attraction toward someone or something. We can love our jobs, houses, cars, classical music, pizza, and that old pair of comfortable jeans.

The Greeks distinguished parental love (storge) from fraternal love (phileo) from the passion between lovers (eros). Yet, Jesus establishes a new form of love (agape) when He commands,

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35, NKJV).

With His new commandment, the Lord gives His followers permission to love unselfishly and fervently, yet to the same degree that He loves us.

Through our consistent demonstration of His new unselfish love, those whom we encounter will notice the distinction and recognize that we belong to the Lord. His is the highest form of selfless, pure love, completely free from sin, which can only find its source in God.

In our strength alone, we are incapable of expressing such altruistic love, because we always want to know, “What’s in it for us?” before we respond. Although difficult, we can express this love as we yield to His Spirit, who instinctively responds to others through us in the ways that serve their best interests.

God is love, and He continues to express it in magnificent ways, just as He has from the beginning.

When there was nothing, He created the earth and all that is in it to make a perfect habitation for His imperfect humans. Even after we fell and sin contaminated this world, He extended mercy to Adam and Eve by promising the Redeemer who would restore our lost fellowship forever.

God’s love foretold of one who would sit on David’s throne and rule God’s people with justice and mercy. He would also express God’s love completely by nullifying the curse and dominion of sin and by redeeming sin-cursed humanity in righteousness forever.

Jesus loves us so much that He was willing to be stripped of His clothes and affixed to a wooden cross with metal spikes driven through His hands and feet. Instead of commanding legions of angels to come to His rescue, Jesus gave His life to pay the price for our sins.

Three days later, Jesus’ love moved Him to rise from the dead and later caused Him to ascend into Heaven to the right hand of God, where He intercedes for us. His love prompted Him to send the Holy Spirit to give us comfort and companionship while we await His glorious return.

Then we shall know His vast love and glory in full measure for all eternity. Hallelujah!

God’s love desires to provide what is best for us. With His unselfish love, our Lord came to earth and took on the form of a man to redeem even those who refuse to believe in Him. No longer are we without any hope for redemption. God’s love can lift us from the depths of despair to the summit of grace forever. Won’t you accept His majestic love today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

 

We Can Have Forgiveness of Sin Today!

For May 31, 20201
The Bible teaches the payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). In other words, someone has to die and shed blood to remediate sin as God states in Leviticus 17:11 (NKJV):

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.

Here, God gave Moses specific instructions on how to erect an altar and use animal blood to pay for our sin (Atonement). God never intended for these rituals to solve our sin problem since they had to be repeated.

Instead, they foreshadowed a permanent, more efficacious restitution that would: a) completely wash away our sins, b) make us righteous before God, and c) restore our lost, eternal fellowship with God.

A wonderful illustration of our redemption is presented in the Suffering Servant found in Isaiah 53:4-6 (NKJV):

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Matthew Chapter 9 (NLT) tells the story of a paralyzed man whose friends brought him to Jesus for healing. Jesus makes this statement in verse 2: “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.” Then He makes this declaration in verse 6: “So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.”

Until this time, no human being had been authorized to forgive sin. Only God forgave sin. Yet, Jesus now insists that He forgives all our sin—past, present, and future. He claimed this because He was the One who would satisfy all the statutes of the Old Testament Law, and He would offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sin.

Jesus Christ fulfills three roles for our benefit. He is the Prophet, whose life and teaching give us moral and spiritual direction as foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15-22. The Bible, which contains His teaching is our perfect guide to living in the New Testament Age. As we read, study, memorize, and apply its principles to our lives, we grow into His productive people of faith and grace.

In addition, Jesus is our King who governs our hearts and minds through His Holy Spirit (and His Word). We love Him, willingly surrender to Him, and faithfully serve His church and those He describes as the “least of these” (Matthew 25:34-40). He is our Sovereign Lord, and we are subjects of His eternal Kingdom. He is the focal point of our love and gratitude as well as the “author and finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Moreover, He is our Great High Priest, in whom we have the forgiveness of sin. Hebrews 9:11-12 (NKJV) teaches He redeemed us by paying sin’s price Himself:

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come…Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Jesus’ sacrificial death covers sin because He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). By fulfilling these attributes, He is fully capable of saving “to the uttermost” all those who come to God by Him, seeing He lives forever to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).

No longer can we rely on our finite, inadequacy for forgiveness. Instead, we can rely on His total efficacy as both our personal Savior and Lord to blot out our sin and make us righteous before God forever—by our reverent, sincere faith in Him alone. Why not call on Him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

 

We Can Have New Life Today

For May 24, 2020
Some say rightly that the distance between Heaven and Hell is approximately twelve to eighteen inches—the distance between the head and the heart. So to clearly communicate this essential spiritual truth, the Jesus Christ appeals to the human heart by telling the most wonderful story about God, our loving Heavenly Father; Himself, the Son of Man, and the world, or all humanity.

As Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:14-17 (NLT)

All of us were born with a need for spiritual transformation. The good news is God can change us from vile and sinful to pure and holy, through the Born Again experience or regeneration, as this theologian observes,

Regeneration is that act of God by which the governing disposition of the soul is made holy. It is God turning the soul to Himself.1

A computer contaminated by a virus can still function, but not at its optimum level. However, once the virus is removed, the hard drive is reformatted with new software installed; the machine can function at an optimum level according to its original design. Much like this computer illustration, sin contaminated us, and we need spiritual reformatting.

We acknowledge our contamination by confessing our sin before God. Then we turn from the continual practice of sinful behavior through repentance. We place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who installs the spirit-directed software, which enables us to function according to our original design—at full capacity!

As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, we become “new creatures.” Now, loving and pleasing God is our new all-consuming, lifelong objective. No longer do we seek the things of the world. They have become dead to us, and we are no longer subject to them. Our new aim is to live lives that emulate our Lord and live for Him to the best of our ability for the rest of our lives.

We were once proud and selfish; now humble and selfless, once aggressive and villainous; now assertive and virtuous. In place of deceit, we now practice sincerity. Once we sought to victimize others through hypocrisy, betrayal, and lies. Now we interact with God, others, and ourselves with authenticity, faithfulness, and truth at all levels.

Our spiritual transformation is all-encompassing as the Holy Spirit, who now dwells within us, enables us to perform the perfect will of God on the outside.

We can have a new life today, without financial cost. It only cost us our pride and selfishness as we surrender to the Lord by giving Him our hearts and lives. For some, this cost may be excessive. However, the peace of mind we experience from having our sins forgiven and from having our lost relationship with a holy God restored is worth the price because it’s priceless.

What a Wonderful Savior!

 

We Can Trust In The Lord Today

For May 17, 2020
Faith is the trust or belief we have in someone or something to perform a task that may be beyond our current level of understanding.

Some try to use it as an instrument to impose our will on God. Here, we look at God not as the almighty and all-knowing Creator and Sustainer, but as a puppet on a string whose sole purpose is to do our bidding, as if He were our own personal genie in a magic lamp.

Yet our God will do exactly what He will do at the precise moment and in the precise manner that suits Him, not us. To us, His ways may appear to be mysterious at times, but they are always perfect because He always knows what is best for us in every situation.

The Lord said that we could move mountains and that nothing would be impossible with faith the size of a mustard seed. Job cursed the day of his birth, and yet he had a tremendous faith in God. To gauge the quantity or fervor of our faith, we can never rely on our feelings alone, because faith is a mystery that is essential to our human experience.

The Lord not only wants us to commit every element of our very lives over to Him , but He wants us to completely trust in Him  also, get out of His  way, so that He can perform His  perfect work in us and through us as Psalm 37:5 (NLT) teaches,

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.

Faith, trusting, committing all convey the idea that we believe in God because He not only loves and cares for us, but that He also wants the best for us in every situation. In this life, we will experience pain and suffering as reflected in recent news reports that show how the entire world seems to be paralyzed by fear and panic associated with the covid-19 virus.

Life’s vicissitudes are attributable to our inherent sin nature, our own poor choices, or just because. But despite these challenges to our faith, we can still believe that the Lord is holy, infinite, and His ways are perfect. As He leads us through life, His most perfect purpose for us will take place in the fullness of time (Romans 8:28).

Through faith in Christ, God supplies us with a new spiritual being. He eliminates our sins by way of the New Birth that Jesus described as mysterious as the wind and as the prerequisite for true fellowship with God (John 3:3–8).

We must invite Christ into our lives by faith, and through our obedience and submission, we receive a new internal being that allows us to perform the will of God, secure His eternal favor, and become His beloved children forever.

What a Wonderful Savior!

Our God Cares For Us

For May 10, 2020
Isn’t it amazing how God is not too big to care for each of us individually? He is omniscient, having all knowledge of every detail of our lives including the exact number of hairs on our heads as Jesus teaches us in Matthew 10:29-31 (NLT):

What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

God sent His Son to care for us personally. Ultimately, He wants to establish a lasting fellowship with us so that our false assumptions and presuppositions can be resolved forever through a personal contact with the Living Christ. No other person in history receives the accolades our Lord Jesus Christ receives as our:

Advocate, Alpha and Omega, Bread of Life, Bridegroom, Christ, Deliverer, Faithful and True, Friend, Good Shepherd, Great God, Great Physician, High Priest, Immanuel, Intercessor, King of Glory, King of Kings, Lamb of God, Light of the World, Lion of Judah, Lord, Lover of Our Soul, Mighty God, Mediator, Messiah, Prince of Peace, Redeemer, Resurrection and Life, Righteous Judge, Rock and Fortress, Savior, True Prophet, The Truth, The Way, and The Word.

As we invite Jesus Christ into our lives by faith, we become a new spiritual person who can perform God’s will and secure His favor.

No longer spiritually dead, God’s Holy Spirit now lives inside us, and He transforms us into “new” creatures as 1 Corinthians 5:17 teaches. Thus, our old nature, which was spiritually dead is brought to life so that now we will always seek to follow Christ.

We may not experience any significant external changes. Yet we have a new, internal spiritual being that makes us acceptable before God as this author attests:

Regeneration involves the illumination of the understanding, the consecration of the affections, and the rectification of the will. To use Paul’s language, ‘Ye were once darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord,’ Ephesians v. 8.1

Our Lord is no respecter of persons, and He cares for us deeply. Access to Him and His kingdom is by spiritual, not material means. He desires to transform human hearts, and once He does, everything else we have becomes His forever. With a new heart comes a new standing before God, and this is our greatest reward.

What a Wonderful Savior!