We Can Have Blessed Hope And Wonderful Victory Today!

For July 22, 2020
The Bible depicts a time just before our Lord’s return as a lust-driven world of addictions, where iniquity abounds, and where people have little regard for their fellow human beings. Instead, using people while cherishing things are commonplace, as we pursue the pride of life, the lust of the eyes, and the lust of the flesh with all fervor.1. Of these dangers, Jesus Christ admonishes our persistent vigilance,

Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man. Luke 21:34-36 (NLT)

The pride of life is a self-centered obsession with power or influence, without regard for the safety or the well-being of others. This is in stark contrast to God’s design for power and influence—to maintain civic order, render justice, and to provide for those in need.

The pride of life can be as subtle as prejudice or as overt as war as we succumb to sin and selfishness with the credo, “God helps those who help themselves.” Recently, we have witnessed this phenomenon as people continue to satisfy their selfish cravings through monopolizing goods and services, creating civil disturbances, bullying and intimidation, random or targeted violence and/or property destruction, and through physical and/ or verbal assaults.

The lust of the eyes is coveting things of value for personal gratification. Being parsimonious with our money (as opposed to expressing generosity) is one example of this. God desires us to use money as a form of worship through tithes and offerings. In this way, we can express our appreciation to God for His providence while providing for His servants who minister to us.

Yet, He also wants us to use our money to show benevolence toward those who are less fortunate through charitable giving, (and create wealth for ourselves as well). Lust of the eyes changes God’s purpose into self-centered extravagance as we splurge on ourselves lavishly while being heartless toward others who need our generosity and compassion.

The lust of the flesh is the overindulgence of our sensual desires. Gluttony, substance abuse, and sexual incorrigibility are all forms of this obsession. The Bible teaches that inappropriate sexual conduct devastates God’s plan for healthy, interpersonal relationships. It also yields shattered hopes, destroyed relationships, and feelings of intense guilt, shame, and emptiness.

Nevertheless, because of His vicarious death and glorious resurrection, Jesus Christ supplies us with both the desire and the power to love Him, serve others, while meeting our needs and desires appropriately.

Jesus transforms us from the inside out by releasing us from the bondage of sin, and giving us the ability to walk in His Spirit and resist the lust of the eyes, flesh, and the pride of life. Not in our human strength, but only through Jesus Christ, can we have blessed hope and true, lasting victory,

This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.” Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NLT)

As frail humans, there will be times when we yield to temptation. Yet, Christ supplies us with the power we need to resist the urge to blame others and make excuses.

Thus, He turns us from our destructive compulsive, addictive behavior to a consistent, noble, Christ-like conduct. Daily, we ask for His forgiveness, reconcile with the offended, and allow His Spirit to strengthen our faith walk.

Over time, we will experience His blessed hope and total victory as we grow into morally astute practitioners of the Christian faith. With our growing moral consciousness, we produce the living fruit that validates our Christian witness.2

Our godliness is a byproduct of our reverence toward God and His penetrating Spirit inside of us, helping us live out a pure religion that is undefiled before God, and to keep us unspotted from the world. Our victory is Jesus Christ—working in us. Bought with a price, we now use our bodies to glorify God, while we patiently and diligently await His glorious return,3

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of Heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory. Colossians 3:1-4 (NLT)

Most of all, we love and fear God. Thus, we want to do what we can to please Him since it is the right thing to do. Won’t you share in His blessed hope and victory today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

You Are Not Alone Today!

For July 19, 2020
While reviewing the recent news headlines, one has to wonder if there is any good news to be found…anywhere!

For if this twenty-first-century world—filled with its wars, hatred, hostility, violence, disrespect, greed, inconsideration, selfishness, pestilence, disease, uncertainty, and fear—represented all that this life has to offer us, we would be “most miserable,” just as the Bible tells us.1

Praise the Lord! This world, and all that’s in it does not encompass all that life has to offer, nor does it represent our final destination. The Bible tells us we are mere pilgrims and strangers traveling through it.2 For some, the journey may be thirty years while others exceed the seventy-year benchmark given in Psalm 90:10. Whatever time we have, Job 14:5 tells us the Lord has determined the exact day and time of our departure.

Let’s pause for a moment to explore the actions of our loving Creator as Genesis 1:1 (AKJV) depicts, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” which begs the questions, Could not such a Being create all that exists today? Could He not also preserve and sustain it?

We can be encouraged that God continues to do all these things and more, just as Nehemiah 9:6 (NLT) tells us,

You alone are the Lord. You made the skies and the heavens and all the stars. You made the earth and the seas and everything in them. You preserve them all, and the angels of Heaven worship you.

What’s more; instead of expressing Himself as an impersonal, ambiguous force to be reckoned with, God chooses to fellowship with the pinnacle of His creation—the human species (that’s you and me)—through His Son, Jesus Christ; Who died for our sins and rose for our justification, as Romans 4:25 attests.

When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we experience eternal reconciliation with God. And as we seek His Kingdom and righteousness first, we can experience His eternal peace, comfort, and joy as He supplies what we need (Matthew 6:33).

This is possible because He alone is God, and He is completely sovereign,

Although this sovereignty is thus universal absolute, it is the sovereignty of wisdom, holiness, and love. The authority of God is limited by nothing out of Himself, but it is controlled, in all its manifestations, by His infinite perfections. This sovereignty of God is the ground of peace and confidence to all His people. They rejoice that the Lord God omnipotent reigneth; that neither necessity, nor chance, nor the folly of man, nor the malice of Satan controls the sequence of events and all their issues. Infinite wisdom, love, and power, belong to Him, our great God and Savior, unto Whose hands all power in Heaven and earth has been committed.3

Yet, while we await our departure from this earth, the Lord has promised everlasting communion with both He, and the Father through the Spirit along with eternal life being prepared for us in Heaven,

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am (John 14:1-3 NLT).

His is an intimate, communion that lasts forever. For in Christ, we have the Comforter who gently comforts, helps, guides, teaches, and secures us until we inhabit our eternal home as John 16:7-15 tells us.

The Lord has been with you since before you were born; shaping you in your mother’s womb; planning your bright hope and expected end that will inspire others and honor Christ now and forever. And because we yet matter to the Lord, let us be encouraged by knowing that He is with us, to help us and sustain us, just as the Psalmist presents in Psalm 121:1-8 (NKJV),

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made Heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Because He’s promised to keep us to the end, we can rest assured the Creator and Sustainer of Heaven and earth will keep His word also.

What a Wonderful Savior!

The Lord Sees, Knows, And Is At Work Today!

For July 15, 2020
Musing over the majesty and splendor of our wonderful God and Savior is truly a refreshing and invigorating change of pace to what bombards us each day: Wars and rumors of wars, political/social unrest, coronavirus fact and fiction, political/social animosity, ruthless gun violence, political/social rhetoric, random and senseless murder, condemnation of the President of the United States for what did (or didn’t do), angst over saving the planet, business closings, shelter in place, state shutdowns, country shutdowns, which elicit widespread panic and fear.

Oh, if only we would apply the principles of Isaiah 26:3-4 (NKJV). How much more tranquil and peaceful our lives would be,

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength!

God is watching us, and He sees everything. He created us, and He knows everything about us. We are finite while He is infinite; we are powerless while He is all power; we have limited knowledge while He has all knowledge; we are flawed while He is perfectly holy. He alone is accomplishing His perfect work in all of us, moving us toward His consummation of all things revealed in His glorious return with a new Heaven and Earth,

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4 (NKJV)

Ultimately, Jesus Christ left glory, not because of what we could do for Him but because we needed Him to pay our sin debt at Calvary, and to give us His Holy Spirit to comfort, secure, guide, and sustain us throughout our earthly journey.

The Lord loves us more than we could ever comprehend. It is not our works but our faith in His works that restores and secures our eternal fellowship. We don’t rely on our capricious will and finite human ability to hold on to Christ while facing life’s uncertainties. Instead, we rely on His infinite power and providence.

It’s up to Him to hold on to us and renew us as we press forward,

Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)

Our focus should always be on Christ, our Good Shepherd, whose providence watches over us, and His power keeps us. In Him, we find hope, strength, perfect peace, and victory as we progress through this life toward our glorious reward: Heaven.

Our endurance is more about God’s omnipotence and faithfulness than it is our finiteness and inadequacy. Abundant life now and eternal life later are both certain and secure—through Jesus Christ. Our faith begins and ends with the Him because He is our hope, peace, expectation, and great reward, now and forever.

No one but Jesus Christ loves us so deeply, gives of Himself so freely, and keeps us so completely throughout this life and into the next…Rest in Him,

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude 24-25 (AKJV)

Jesus Christ is more than mere “fire insurance” because He is the embodiment of all God’s promises. He’s got it, and He’s got us as well. Thus, we trust Him always, because He delivered us from a life of sin and He presents us before God as forgiven and righteous. Won’t you trust Him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

We Are Special To God Today!

For July 12, 20201
God created our ancestors, Adam and Eve, and He placed them in the Garden of Eden with everything they could ever want or need forever.

Let’s pause for a moment to explore the actions of our loving Creator as Genesis 1:1 (AKJV) depicts,

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

This foundational passage of Scripture does not defend the existence of God. It merely presents a personal God, who is a loving, caring Creator and Sustainer of everything that has or will ever exist.

God did not choose to express Himself as an impersonal, ambiguous force to be reckoned with. Instead, He chooses to fellowship with the pinnacle of His creation, the human species. God fixed our incomparable destiny forever in the Garden of Eden as we thrived in His loving, holy presence as He supplied our spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological needs abundantly.

God designated human beings to be separate and distinct by creating us “in His image and likeness.” As such, we can have loving, joyful, fulfilling, fellowship with Him forever, as Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT) relates,

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Our creation was most distinctive,

It is clear that man, as God made him, was distinctly different from the animals already created. He stood on a much higher plateau, for God created him to be immortal, and made him a special image of His own eternity. Man was a creature with whom His maker could visit and have fellowship and communion. On the other hand, the Lord could expect man to answer him and be responsible to him. Man was constituted to have the privilege of choice, even to the point of disobeying his Creator. He was to be God’s responsible representative and steward on the earth, to work out his Creator’s will and fulfill the divine purpose.2

Through His creation, we see God’s majesty and design to ensure our happiness and well-being in the most intricate detail. Thus, as Genesis 1:31 tells us, God’s creation is “very good!”

Just think! The entire universe, with its galaxies, solar system, and our earth, including everything in the sky, underwater, and on land, was not created for eternal fellowship with God. Only you and I were created to fulfill this uniquely wonderful purpose.

In other words, God esteems you and I greater than Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, Aurora Borealis, Victoria Falls, Table Mountain, the Barrier Reef, the Amazon Rainforest, the magnificent Redwoods, the entire animal kingdom, and all the sun, moon, and stars combined.

Moreover, God gave us an amazing pedigree when He breathed in us His “breath of life” (Genesis 2:7), thereby purposely and deliberately imparting an everlasting human spirit within us that will continue to live long after our bodies have passed away. (God also gives us the responsibility to choose where we spend our eternity in Heaven or Hell.)

Our sin separates us from God, since He is holy and majestic. Nevertheless, He will forgive our sins—past, present, and future if we place our faith in the vicarious merits of Jesus Christ’s death to pay the price for our sin.

However, we must accept the Lord’s invitation–freely and willingly,

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends (Revelation 3:20 NLT).

Won’t you accept His invitation today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

What Could Happen…Today?

For July 5, 20201
Many years ago, a pastor challenged me to use my gifts, talents, and abilities constructively for the Kingdom, which ultimately beggs this question, “If we were to give ourselves to the Lord completely, living according to the Bible, and trusting Him to fulfill His wonderful promises—what could happen to us and to those around us for our good and His glory?

Trying to answer this question brought about many life-changing experiences over the years; for it implies we no longer depend on our abilities and enterprises exclusively because Christ is the center of our existence, and we depend on Him exclusively.

But, isn’t this how we as Christians are supposed to live anyway? Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) tells us, “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Moreover, Psalm 37:23 tells us our steps are “ordered” by the Lord, who takes delight in every step we take.

Answering the question means our self-centered, self-glorifying plans, goals, and objectives are “out the window,” since they must be Christ-centered, God-honoring, and Bible-based at all times.

In addition, our thoughts, words, and actions are now filtered through a secondary question, “Will what I’m thinking, saying, or doing in at this moment help point someone to Christ?” Unfortunately, this second question has been answered both yes, and no. 

What could happen…even today?

As finite humans, we will ever experience spiritual and moral completion in this life. Yet, we have a wonderful example in Christ, who redeems and transforms us while providing His support and Spirit-power to sustain us.

The Lord is all-sufficient in supplying things beyond our control—especially, how He protects, provides, and guides us at the precise instant and in the precise way we need Him. The more I live, the more I see His divine truth,

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness (Isaiah 41:10 AKJV).

The Lord is with us; watching over us—even when we are not consciously aware of His presence and providence.

None of our “good” works engender boasting since they are merely what He expects of us,

“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty’” (Luke 17:7-10 NLT).

Yet, the Lord lavishly provides us with His forgiveness, freedom, and joy, even though we can never be “good enough” to earn His consideration.

Let us continue to do our best each day using our greatest effort to persevere toward the prize He has reserved for all those who love His appearing (Philippians 3:14, 2 Timothy 4:8). After all; this is all He requires from us.

What a Wonderful Savior!