The Helper Is With Us—Today!

For July 18, 20211
The Lord then tells how certain dramatic spiritual changes will verify our union with Him as well as the condition of our hearts toward Him,

If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (John 14:15-18, 26 NKJV).

Jesus’ Followers will love Him and adhere to His commandments. Thus, His standards for moral and spiritual living are not for our selective “picking and choosing.” We obey them because we love Him and desire to please Him.

In His human form, our Lord Jesus Christ could not be in more than one place at one time. The Helper ensures that everyone can experience the fullness of Christ around the world simultaneously,

[The Helper] makes it possible for Him to be united to, and to be present in each Believer, as perfectly and fully as if that Believer were the only one to receive Christ’s fullness. Each Believer has the whole Christ with him as his source of strength, purity, life; so that each may say: Christ gives all His time and wisdom and care to me. Such a union as this lacks every element of instability. Once formed, the union is indissoluble. Many of the ties of earth are rudely broken—not so with our union with Christ—that endures forever. Since there is now an unchangeable and divine element in us, our salvation depends no longer upon our unstable wills, but upon Christ’s purpose and power.2

Parakleteos (Strong-G3875) is the Greek word for our Helper and Advocate. It combines two Greek words, para (Strong-G3844) and kaleo (Strong-2564). Para means to “come alongside,” and kaleo means to “call or summon.”3

The Helper comes alongside to be our duly appointed representative of Jesus Christ. Only He can fulfill all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities appertaining thereto.

As our Comforter, He “seals” our reclamation to secure our heavenly home (Ephesians 4:30). Here, He keeps our thoughts and desires focused on yesterday’s redemption, today’s salvation, and tomorrow’s bliss through Christ.

As our Advocate, He is our perfect guide to give us direction, purpose, and meaning as Almighty God in Spirit. As the Holy Spirit, He purifies, strengthens, encourages, reveals, and keeps us forever.

He is also our Teacher, who brings to our minds those precious and unforgettable teachings that reinforce how wonderful our Lord continues to be,

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT).

The Holy Spirit has not for the world, but for Followers of Christ exclusively. He cannot live inside those who reject God’s love and forgiveness through Christ. Sin-skewed, temporal minds will never appreciate our Lord’s presence, power, and wonderful spiritual blessings (1 Corinthians 2:14).

For we who know Christ and await His glorious appearing (2 Timothy 4:8), and possessed by God’s almighty, Holy Spirit who continues our Lord’s perfect work inside us—to answer our every question, solve our every problem, and supply our every need…if we yield to Him as the Bible teaches,

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Won’t you trust in Him today?  What a Wonderful Savior!

God Desires Our Eternal Fellowship!

For July 11, 2021
Heaven is the eternal place of perfection where there is no selfishness, depression, doubt, fear, worry, or stress because God is present in His full glory and holiness. Each moment forever, we will experience His gentle, loving presence, without the anxieties and fears associated with our sin-scarred earthly existence,

God can be known in personal experience. A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.1

Impossible world, you say? Not really. Such how it was after God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden with everything they could ever want or need forever. Let’s explore the actions of the loving Creator Genesis according to 1:1 (AKJV), “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. Words cannot describe the vastness of God adequately, although one writer offers this illustration,

[Our  Lord God is the] Good Being, a fountain of infinite benevolence and beneficence towards his creatures. The Being whose purposes and actions spring from Himself, without foreign motive or influence: he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, and most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent, beneficent, true, and holy: the cause of all being, the upholder of all things; infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made: illimitable in His immensity, inconceivable in His mode of existence, and indescribable in His essence; known fully only to Himself, because an infinite mind can be fully apprehended only by itself. In a word, a Being who, from His infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived; and who, from His infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, right, and kind.2

Could not such a Being create all that exists today? Could He not also preserve and sustain it? God continues to do all these things and more 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.

Instead of expressing Himself as an impersonal, ambiguous force to be reckoned with, the Lord chooses to fellowship with the human species—the pinnacle of His creation. He 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.

Our Lord has designated us as humans to be separate and distinct; creating us “in His image and likeness.” As such, we can have loving, joyful, fulfilling, fellowship with Him forever. Genesis 1:26-27 (NLT) indicates,

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.3

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, and through our faith in Jesus Christ, can we achieve our full potential as forgiven and free Citizens of His eternal Kingdom. Won’t you trust in Christ for salvation and eternal fellowship with God today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

True Liberty And Freedom Through Jesus Christ Our Sinless Savior!

For July 4, 2021
The evening Jesus Christ spent with His Disciples just before His crucifixion has always fascinated me, as I wonder what our Lord was thinking and feeling. There is a commentary on our Lord’s contemplation in Romans that captivates me (my emphasis),

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 introduced sin into God’s perfect world, which resulted in our spiritual and physical deaths. Our spiritual death or sin nature, which separates us from God forever, happened instantaneously. But physical death came gradually—as we age and die.

In essence, God created us to be holy (sinless), and to live forever in His perfect world. But because of Adam’s disobedience, our world is full of sin, sadness, anxiety, fear, pain, disease, trouble, and death. Thus as the Bible teaches, all of us will sin, and all of us will die. (Romans 3:23, 5:14, 6:23)

In addition, we are sinners by nature. Thus, all of our “good deeds” are corrupt and sin-polluted. A splendid illustration would be how when men wore white dress shirts and carrying a fountain pen in the shirt breast pocket was a common practice. Often, the ink pen leaked, and the slightest ink spot on the white shirt ruined the shirt—completely!

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 our self-righteousness and pride become filthy rags before His righteousness,

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 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, rich, poor, believer or non-believer. All of us can vicariously receive the full benefit of His perfect sacrifice—without preference or distinction. No longer can Satan, sin, and death overpower us and bind us. Our faith in His perfect, work determines our righteousness (or lack thereof) before our Heavenly Father.

Ultimately, Jesus chose to redeem those who love Him, those who hate Him, those who believe in Him, and those who do not believe in Him. This idea of “equal atonement” is difficult for the modern mind to capture fully. Not concerning Christ’s saving efficacy as His sacrifice remediates all our sins forever.

However, His commitment to give Himself freely and willingly for every man, woman, boy, and girl—past, present, and future—so comprehensively, is difficult to fathom. Such an action is not a normal human response, especially toward someone we feel is “less desirable.”

Sacrificing for a loved one is conceivable when our love for them or our desire to protect them motivates us. However, choosing to sacrifice our lives for an enemy or someone who dislikes us is extremely hard to envision.

History has shown there may be certain situations where we would risk life and limb for someone we might not necessarily care for. During the Second World War, for example, cultural issues fostered adversarial relationships that fragmented our troops occasionally. Although these valiant men and women may have been divided, they proved themselves more than willing to sacrifice for their adversary’s greater good by fighting and dying to spare the world from the global tyranny of the Axis powers.

Fast-forward eighty years to our current global pandemic. We have replaced our noble altruism with a cold-hearted malevolence as we maliciously engage in “germ warfare” by unleashing a virus that targets innocent victims with underlying health issues around the world. Then, we withhold vital technologies and politicize medical remedies that can prevent and treat illness and improve our overall health and safety, and we hoard or resell safety supplies at inflated prices and expose those who are vulnerable with premorbidities to even more peril.

I am saddened by the barbarism plaguing human hearts today. Truly, the Enemy is at work in the callous and malicious disregard for human dignity witnessed in the indiscriminate killing of the unborn and helpless, the calculated euthanization of the weak and aged, and the exploitation, abuse, trafficking, oppression, and violence perpetrated against all those who fall between these two extremes. Ultimately, we have reduced precious, God-given lives to mere dollars and cents.

People will “sell their souls” for anything. Our heartlessness is most unfortunate because technology, education, politics, military, and industry do not make our country great. 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).

Oh, what sorrow and despair await 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). 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,

The freedom of God is exercised and illustrated in His government of His moral creatures. It has pleased God to create intelligences possessed of moral freedom and to make their ultimate destiny contingent upon the right use of their freedom.1

As we celebrate our Nation’s Birth, let us also remember that God has endowed us with the sacred trust to preserve civility, decency, and goodwill for people with whom we work, serve, and live. Most importantly, let us never forget that it is only through our faith in Jesus Christ, our Sinless Savior that we can have eternal liberty and freedom—from sin and death. Won’t you trust in Him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

Repent and Believe!

For June 27, 2021
It was our Lord’s first declaration preparing the world for His distinctive ministry and message,

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, And saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel!” Mark 1:14-15 (AKJV)

Jesus declares: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand!” To what would become the New Testament World, His proclamation referred to a fulfillment of the promised Messiah, God’s Anointed One, who would restore the throne of David in Jerusalem, free the Jewish people from Roman domination, and establish God’s eternal Kingdom.

Four thousand years of human history has passed now was the time to drastically change the course of human history with the advent of His Son presenting Himself as the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)

Jesus Christ would initiate a new Kingdom where love, righteousness, and peace would reign forever. The Lord is no respecter of persons, and His Eternal Kingdom is spiritual, not material. As fallen humans, we crave power, influence, and human supremacy. On the other hand, God wants to transform sinful human hearts because of our proclivity to sin,

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)

The Lord knows that once He possesses our hearts, He then can own everything else we possess by default. But even with transformed hearts, we may not experience any significant external changes, like having our names listed in Who’s Who, or having others speak well of us, or even obtaining wealth and notoriety. Nevertheless, we do have a new, internal spiritual being that makes us acceptable before God.

Time was now ready for Jesus Christ to communicate a message and perform and ministry for God’s people everywhere—both Jew and Gentile—that would free us from sin and death forever.

The crux of the message is two-fold: Repent and believe the Gospel! God requires our surrender in order to perform in us His perfect work of redemption since proud, sinful humans will never inherit His glorious, eternal Kingdom,

What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.  (1 Corinthians 15:50 NLT)

We must agree with God that our proud, sinful ways are woefully inadequate for achieving His righteousness, which is always observed and practiced in His glorious Heaven. This is true repentance. God is holy, and His standards are holy.

As sinners, we will always fall short and must turn from our sin and to Him through faith in Jesus Christ, Here we surrender to Him as our Lord and Savior, so that His Holy Spirit can possess us, and transform us from the inside out. As we continue to surrender, His Spirit can forever change our being, position, choices and destiny so that we achieve a noble Christ-likeness.

Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation to those who in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 12:2 tells us that we are not to be conformed to this world, but are transformed by a renewed mind so that we can live out God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will.

A transformed heart with a renewed mind pleases God, because it produces a progressive yearning for godly things, and a growing disdain for the worldly things. We surrender the control of our lives to the Lord Jesus each day, and His Holy Spirit gives us a growing desire to please Him in everything we do.

By our repentance towards sin, and our humble, reverent, and sincere faith in Christ, we are assured to experience His divine presence forever. Won’t you trust Him today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

We Have His Spirit Inside Us Forever

For June 20, 2021
Before leaving, the Lord Jesus Christ promised that His Spirit would abide with us and be inside us,

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you (John 14:16-18 NLT).

The Holy Spirit’s mission is to seal the redemptive work of Christ as He inhabits our hearts. While inside us, He molds our thoughts, words, and actions into Christ’s likeness so that we can be Christ-like before this dark and tasteless world—as light and salt,

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:14–16 AKJV).

Forgiven and restored to God through our faith in the death Jesus performed at Calvary, and in His resurrection, which signaled God’s approval of Jesus’ salvific, vicarious sacrifice performed for our benefit as well.

The Holy Spirit enables us to grow morally and spiritually in ways that honor Christ. The resulting works do not secure our salvation, Jesus does. Works are a byproduct of the Holy Spirit’s work within that produces godly, moral choices, and selfless, noble acts, as one writer attests,

That in this conflict the Holy Spirit enables the Christian, through increasing faith, more fully and consciously to appropriate Christ, and thus progressively to make a conquest of the remaining sinfulness of his [or her] nature.1

Romans 8:1 (NKJV) tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is essential to the development of our progressive yearning for godly things like reading His Word, praying, worshipping, fellowshipping, and serving others. Simultaneously, He develops within us a growing disdain for worldly things that stunt our spiritual growth and hinder our fellowship with God.

Although we walk in the Spirit, we will never achieve perfection in this life. However, Jesus Christ yet makes intercession for us when we grieve the Holy Spirit by walking in sin and not in the Spirit. We can disobey or rebel against the Lord out of pride, selfishness, or spite like children having temper tantrums.

But like the Prodigal Son, eventually we “come to ourselves” by turning from our sin and returning to the Lord, mindful of what He did for us at Calvary. Then, we rely on the Spirit to help us not repeat the same sins. In essence, He reminds us that we cannot please the Lord by pursuing sin and selfishness.

The good news is that our imperfection does not signal our defeat. It only reminds us how far from Christ’s perfection we are and of how we must rely on Him to grow stronger each day. Jesus Christ was the only perfect example, and He can help us live a life of moral and spiritual excellence that contrasts our former life of sin.

As Jeremiah and the Apostle Paul observe, our boasting is never directed toward us and our feeble works. It always point toward the Lord who is at work inside us (Jeremiah 9:24, 1 Corinthians 1:31). Won’t you allow the Holy Spirit to work wonders in your life today?

What a Wonderful Savior!