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!

Jesus Christ: Our Good Shepherd

For May 3, 2020
It happened during the Feast of Dedication (Chanukkah), an eight-day festival to commemorate the cleansing and rededication of the Second Temple in 164 B.C., some four years after the Greek ruler Antiochus IV had the Temple desecrated. Here, during its purification, miraculously the menorah burned for eight days when there was only enough sacred oil for one day.

The Lord Jesus Christ was on Solomon’s Porch within the Temple complex when He addressed the assembled crowd:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.  John 10:27-30 (NKJV)

As our Good Shepherd, Jesus offers us an eternal, personal, loving relationship whereby our hearing, knowing, and following Him is both valued and practiced, as we become His precious Sheep.

We hear His voice because we have a personal, intimate, vibrant, experiential knowledge of our beloved Good Shepherd. As Jesus says in John 3:3, we are Born Again. Here—through our faith in Him alone—we acknowledge His righteousness supersedes ours, we repent of our sin, we ask Him for forgiveness, and we invite Him to be our personal Lord and Savior forever.

As our Good Shepherd, the Lord is familiar with each individual sheep, and He knows our beginning, end, and middle. He created us in His image, and He establishes our paths. He knows our sorrows and joys; our cares and concerns; our dangers and trials; our fears and doubts; our words and ways; our thoughts and feelings; our past; our present, and our future, Yet He loves us perfectly and completely.

We will always follow our Good Shepherd because our enduring loving, trusting relationship constrains us to surrender and obey Him in everything. Just as He says in John 14: 15 (ESV): “If you love me, you will keep my commandments!”

Jesus also teaches that as the Good Shepherd, His bountiful provisions for us cannot be defeated by human or Satanic forces. In this life, we are never exempt from tribulations and trials. However, the Good Shepherd will always provide for us as His Sheep, just as Psalm 34:19 (NLT) attests: “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.”

In addition, although our physical death is certain, it is also certain that through Christ, we have an abundant life that lasts beyond the grave into eternity. Jesus says in John 11:25-26 (NLT):

I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.

 Our personal relationship with the Good Shepherd provides us an assurance, comfort, and security we cannot find anywhere else on earth. Won’t you trust Him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

In Christ We Have Purpose And Meaning

For April 26, 2020
On the evening before He went to the cross to pay for our sin, Jesus offered these comforting words of His abiding presence—after His departure—to His Disciples that inspire us today:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.      John 15:5-8 (NIV)

In Christ, we have purpose and meaning; that is when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and are Born Again. His Holy Spirit enlivens our dead spirits and lives within us forever. We pass from death unto life—alive in Him. Transformed and enlivened, our main objective in this life becomes loving the Lord as we fulfill our life’s purpose: to live abundantly as spiritually transformed and graciously redeemed Children of God’s Kingdom.

God also bestows Jesus’ righteousness on us in response to our faith in the merits of His sacrifice at Calvary. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT) teaches us:

It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Our new relationship provides the pardon for sin, the gift of eternal life, along with every other blessing we need for this life and the next. Romans 5:1-2; 9-11 (NKJV) further teaches:

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ because of His mediation as Son of Man. Only Jesus, who was sin-less, had the right standing to satisfy all the righteous requirements imposed by God. As the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ served as God’s perfect representative before a sin-cursed world since He was totally God in human flesh. In other words, as both the Son of Man and the Son of God, Jesus Christ is fully capable of representing all humanity before a holy God and a holy God before all humanity.

Peace with God means we no longer live in guilt and shame because all our sins—past, present, and future—have been forgiven and forgotten. Peace with God through Christ also means we are poised to experience peace with others since the Prince of Peace lives within us.

Also, we are made righteous by the blood of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:23 tells us that the payment for sin is death. Someone had to die, and blood had to be shed to remediate our sin. Leviticus 17:11 teaches:

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.

Although God gave Moses instructions on how animal blood would pay for our sin, it was not a permanent fix and had to be repeated. Instead, it foreshadowed a lasting restitution through Jesus Christ, which would wash away our sins, make us righteous before God, and restore our lost fellowship with God permanently.

In addition, we are saved from wrath through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest, in whom our forgiveness of sin is secured. Before His arrival, no person forgave sin but God. Yet, Jesus forgives our sin so that we stand before God as righteous. John the Baptist rightly referred to Jesus as: “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”1

Only Jesus is our perfect sacrifice for sin. As such, He is able to save us “to the uttermost” all who come to God by Him, seeing He lives forever to make intercession for us, just as Hebrews 7:25 teaches.

What a Wonderful Savior!