Jesus Can Free Us Today!

For October 4, 2020
The word freedom conjures ideas of unlimited activity without external hindrance or restraint. Civic or temporal freedom yields some pleasure for a season, but it is never lasting or redemptive.

The Bible presents a level of eternal, redemptive freedom is available to us through Christ. In John 8:34-36 (NLT), the Lord conveys a message of this far greater freedom,

Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

Here, Jesus implies that a sinful lifestyle discloses our true master. Galatians 5:19-21 offers a list of assignments our “master” assigns us including sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, and wild parties.

Our pride separates us from God, causing us to embrace the notion we have adequate righteousness without Him. Under it’s insidious enfluence, we are brazen enough to chide the Lord, “Who are you to question my righteousness? Don’t you know who I am, and what I’ve done?”

When citing from Proverbs 3:34, James observes that God “resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Thus, we cannot experience true freedom when our hearts are full of pride and self-righteousness. Such tainted hearts crave the things that offend God and harm people.

But, when we surrender our lives to Christ completely, the Holy Spirit changes us spiritually so that our desires become Christ-centered due to our reformatted governing disposition. Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ frees us from living a life of sin and pleasing the self, and He gives us the unlimited freedom to live out a life that is fulfilling and abundant.

No longer in bondage, fear, guilt, and shame, we are free to choose a wholesome, Godly lifestyle. Peace of mind; hearts filled with joy; living purposeful and fulfilled lives; sharing and experiencing love from people who love and care for us; sharing time with other Christians, and using our spiritual gifts to serve our church and community.

Optimal living is ours as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, just as Jesus predicts,

You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT).

In Christ, we have the freedom to go anywhere and do anything that honors the Lord and benefits others and ourselves. We are free to have fun, play, work, study, serve, give, laugh, cry, and be truly transparent and authentic in every way imaginable. (For in Him, we can be free from drug addiction, sexual addiction, greed, guilt, shame, and other forms of compulsive addictive behavior that tragically binds so many in our world today.)

More importantly, we are free from worrying about what we did (or did not do) in the past, because the blood of Christ covers it all. We are forgiven, and He provides us with the comfort we need to overcome all things, just as He did (John 16:33).

Jesus Christ can free you and provide you with the peace, love, and joy your heart craves. Won’t you trust him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

Jesus Christ Is Still The Answer Today!

For September 27, 2020
The evening when our Lord instituted the Lord’s Supper has always been fascinating in many ways. What was He thinking and feeling? What were His Disciples thinking and feeling? The Bible provides a brief commentary on our Lord’s contemplation that evening,

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But, God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8 NIV).

The first Adam’s disobedience brought sin into God’s perfect, world—and death because of his sin—for all have sinned (Romans 5:14). Since all have sinned, all of our “good deeds” are sin-polluted, which leaves us with a severe righteousness deficiency before God.

A splendid illustration would be if one carried a fountain pen in the breast pocket of their white dress shirt. More often than not, the ink pen would leak, and the slightest ink spot on the white shirt stained the shirt—sometimes permanently.

As the ink spot polluted the shirt, sin has polluted our righteousness. On our best day, we are still worthless before a holy God (who has never been polluted), and we fail before His righteousness as filthy rags,

We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind (Isaiah 64:6 NLT).

However, this is not the case with Jesus Christ. He was without sin and was fully aware His death would redeem all fallen humanity from sin and restore us to a loving, eternal fellowship with God,

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by One Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5:18-19 NKJV).

It is truly unbelievable how Jesus freely chose to offer Himself to redeem the entire world; whether Jew, gentile (non-Jew), believer, non-believer, rich, poor, black, white, brown, red, yellow, etc. All of us can vicariously receive the full benefit of His perfect sacrifice—without preference or distinction.

Ultimately, Jesus chose to redeem those who love Him, and those who hate Him, those who believe in Him, and those who do not believe in Him completely and without reservation. But we must choose Him,

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon  (Isaiah 55:6-7 NIV).

No one wants to live in a world that celebrates and embraces sin, licentiousness, bigotry, hatred, anarchy, and violence as part of its normal course of operations, as our fallen world does today.

Faith in Jesus Christ guarantees that the powers of Satan, sin, and death do not bind us. For in Him, we have been set free to enjoy His peace, love, and joy forever in the company of other Believers with our God.

Thus, from this day forward, it is our turning from sin through repentance, and turning to Christ by faith that yields true abundant living. In other words, it is our faith in Jesus’ perfect work that determines our righteousness (or lack thereof) before our holy, and righteous God to yield His eternal favor and blessing.

Jesus Christ is the answer for the life and the hope you are seeking today. Won’t you trust Him now?

What a wonderful Savior!

We Can Seek The Lord Today!

For September 20, 2020
Recently, it’s been astounding to watch world events parallel the eschatological prophesy, “After that, [Satan] must be set free for a short time” (Revelation 20:3 NIV) happening right before our eyes as godless ideologies influence our politics, business, schools, colleges, media, and even the clergy, vainly promoting an empty utopian promise that we can provide for ourselves, apart from God.

In other words, we have no need for Jesus Christ, God, or the Bible—we are all we will ever need! Biblically centered ideals, which contrast the “everything is relative” and “everyone is right” narrative remain censored or ignored in a flawed “utopia” where hostility, disrespect, and violence have replaced common courtesy, respect, and decency.

Workers on the Tower of Babel were likewise seduced by their own sin, pride, and arrogance,

Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. Let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves (Genesis 11:3-4 NIV)

As those builders failed, today’s god-less “utopia seekers” fail because they refuse to acknowledge the universal, inherent sin-problem that plagues all of us,

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these (Galatians 5:19-21 NLT).

Anarchy, violence, exploitation, human trafficking and other crimes demonstrate our lack of concern for our neighbor’s well-being due to our internal malevolent nature (sin). This nature is always at work within us to urge us to perform “what’s best for us” by any means necessary. Here, we have reduced our precious, God-given, human lives to mere dollars and cents.

Also, people who feel that fortune, elite status, fame, or political power will spare them from destruction or God’s wrath are greatly mistaken,

They trust in their wealth, and boast of great riches. Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God (Psalm 49:6-7 NLT).

Jesus also says,

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? l Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with His angels in the glory of His Father and will judge all people according to their deeds (Matthew 16:26-27 NLT).

All of us will die, and we will leave our possessions behind. In other words, there is a life beyond the grave where eternity dwells. The question one should as is, Where do I want to spend my eternity?

For many, God’s Word (Bible) and His Holy Spirit no longer guide our thoughts, words, and behavior. Instead, whatever feels good or gives us pleasure—at this moment—is what governs our conscience and behavior. Oh what sorrow and despair awaits those of us who insist “evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter” (Isaiah 5:20 NLT).

No person wants to live in a society where people think and act irresponsibly constantly. Yet, left to our own devices, we are doomed to experience it since we all commit sin. Ecclesiastes 1:2 teaches, our human efforts are “futile and meaningless” because they do not offer us the forgiveness of sin and peace with God, which are essential to having a spiritually fulfilling, eternal life. At some point, we must pause to ask this question, with the utmost sincerity, what kind of world do we want for our children, and their children?

Ours is not a perfect nation; no nation is, especially with our sin and entitlement issues running amuck. Although we are blessed with advanced technology, education, politics, military, and industry, none of these things make our country great. Instead, it is our faith in God, and the Judeo-Christian values we embrace and uphold, as the Scriptures attest, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34 NKJV).

One of the attributes of God, omniscience, is His ability to know perfectly and eternally “all things which can be known, past, present, and future. God knows how best to attain to His desired ends.”1 And within the context of all the things God knows perfectly and eternally is His foreknowledge of our redemption in particular,

The objects of [God’s] foreknowledge are the free acts of men. Such knowledge is involved in the prediction of events, which either concern the free acts of men, or are dependent on them. If God be ignorant of how free agents will act, His knowledge must be limited, and it must be constantly increasing, which is altogether inconsistent with the true idea of His nature. His government of the world also, in that case, must be precarious, dependent, as it would then be on the unforeseen conduct of men. As the omnipotence of God is His ability to do whatever is possible, so His omniscience is His knowledge of everything knowable.2

God’s ordering, calling, choosing, and predestining our human lives to become like Jesus Christ, while at the same time preserving our ability to have total “free will” is something people continue to debate. Rather than join this debate, suffice it to say it is a mystery that reflects God’s sovereign will and deliberate action. He is God, and it is His prerogative to choose what He feels is the best course for advancing His universe along with deciding the best means to fulfilling those ends.

Herein lies the mystery, He can choose us for salvation, but not in consideration of our moral and spiritual merit (since we have none). Jesus says God draws us to Him (John 6:44). In addition, He affirms that we are His chosen (John 15:16). These ideas are not contradictory because God does not want us to perish. He wants us to come to Him (2 Peter 3:9).

Election is a wonderful display of God’s sovereign will and wisdom He extends to all people who are willing to come to Jesus Christ,

You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation (Revelation 5:9 NKJV).

Unfortunately, human “free will” also means there will be those who will reject God’s gracious invitation as they rely on their personal ingenuity, ignore His Word, scoff at His teachings, spurn His Son, and resist His Holy Spirit’s urging.

Nevertheless, Calvary’s cross still allows God’s love and forgiveness to touch everyone equally. Christ will reconcile even the vilest of sinners, to Himself without distinction. Nevertheless, it is incumbent upon us to accept His invitation freely and willingly,

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20 NKJV).

Those of us who hear His call and respond to it positively will comprise His church, the Bride of Christ and will experience abundant eternal life forever with Him. Won’t you seek Him today?

A civilized people must exercise vigilance and due diligence to promote and secure the moral and spiritual well-being of our fellow countrymen and women. God has endowed all of us with the sacred trust to preserve civility, decency, and goodwill for people with whom we work, serve, and live. Why not start today.

What a Wonderful Savior!

We Can Be A Loving Family Today!

For September 13, 2020
When the Pharisaic Lawyer challenged Jesus to identify the greatest Commandment, the Lord quotes from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Matthew 22:37-40 NIV).

Later, Jesus tells how our “Greatest Commandment” has been changed—love as I love you,

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).

As Christians, we are united under a new love mandate to extend our unity and love to become family—a Christian family—with perfect, eternal unity that will forever reveal the matchless wisdom and power of God,

We have been adopted into an eternal family of God. As children of God and joint heirs with Christ, we have the privilege of sharing both in His sufferings and in His subsequent glory. God gives us the privilege of walking the same path Christ walked, enduring sufferings in this life that we may also receive great glory in the life to come. Because we are God’s children, our relationship with each other is far deeper and more intimate than the relationship that angels, for example, have to one another. For we are all members of one family.1

The Holy Spirit enables us to share in common many fulfilling moments that strengthen our resolve to follow Christ. Daily we experience how God loves us, protects us, and provides us with everything we need. We grow ever confident that He directs our steps, and that He will never leave or forsake us,

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9 NKJV).

The Holy Spirit also solidifies our faith in God and in His Word so that we grow to rely on His eternal promises and providence instead of our subjective thoughts and fickle emotions. He will provide us with all the spiritual resources we need to live for Christ victoriously.

The Bible presents people who have fruitful and fulfilling relationships with the Lord that begin early and last throughout their lives. This is truly the Christian heritage and legacy to strive for, a special and unique witness that shows everyone we are one—even as Jesus is one with the Father.

Those of us who follow this pattern by coming to Christ early, learning God’s Word, attending church, learning from spiritually mature teachers and pastors in discipleship, and using our gifts in service are living testimonies of His miraculously transforming power.

The Holy Spirit  enables us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to share God’s Word properly, so that He can attract, convict, convince, and inspire others unto right thinking and living (2 Peter 3:18). Then, we can present His righteousness, grace, and love through our worship, service, and fellowship.

The Holy Spirit also works in us to share the life and message of Jesus Christ effectively. Here, we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. Then we can offer a timely response to those who ask us about the unfailing hope within us, with meekness and godly reverence (1 Peter 3:15).

Ultimately, it is because of this one incredible evening, that with the aid of the Holy Spirit, we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us both now and forever (Philippians 4:13). Let’s be a loving family today!

What a Wonderful Savior!

We Can Know Jesus’ Intercessory Power Today!

For September 6, 2020
On His way to the cross, Jesus intercedes for all those who will follow Him,

I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them (John 17:20-26 NIV).

Jesus’ prayer ensures that as Christians together, we will experience exciting and fulfilling moments to enhance our knowledge and strengthen our faith. We experience how God loves us, protects us, and provides us with everything we need. Over time, we grow confident that He directs our steps, and that He will never leave or forsake us.

These experiences help to solidify our faith in God and in His Word so that we grow to rely on His eternal promises and providence instead of our subjective thoughts and feelings.

For instance, we can be confident that our faith in His redeeming sacrifice will grant us the forgiveness of sin and make us new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Nevertheless, some believe that experiencing a flawed past somehow validates our Christian life and witness. This could be based on the popular notion that we are more effective in ministry after having lived tragic lives of sin before coming to Christ. Although it is always appropriate to celebrate the life that we now have in Christ, ministry effectiveness is up to God.

All Christians should have a support and accountability network to help guard against moral and spiritual failure. However, those who have experienced years of compulsive and addictive behavior should complete some form of clinical treatment in conjunction with their Christian discipleship program before serving in Christian leadership. Such precautions will help lessen the risk of harm or not placing others at risk of severe spiritual, physical, emotional, or psychological injury.

Moreover, there are those who feel that numerical growth, monetary gain, large edifices and notoriety are the indicators for effective ministry. However, three essential indicators, our hearts, our motives, and God’s perfect will, are ignored. The Lord knows whether our hearts and motives are vile or pure, and His will is revealed accordingly. These indicators will always define ministry effectiveness from His perspective, which is all that matters.

The Bible presents a pattern of fruitful relationships with the Lord that begin early and last through life. Many of us have followed this pattern by coming to Christ early, learning God’s Word, attending church, submitting to spiritually mature mentors and pastors in discipleship, and using our gifts in service are living demonstrations of His miraculous power.

We strive grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), so that we can share God’s Word properly. Then, He can attract, convict, convince, and inspire others unto right thinking and living. In this way, we present His righteousness, grace, and love through our worship, service, and fellowship.

In other words, we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts. Then we can offer a timely response to those who ask us about the unfailing hope within us, with meekness and godly reverence (1 Peter 3:15). Won’t you experience the fullness of His intercession today?

What a Wonderful Savior!