Jesus Christ, A Loving Savior Today!

For March 12, 2023
In our contemporary world, love has many meanings. It can name an emotional attraction for job, house, vehicles, classical music, pizza, that odd Christmas sweater, and that pair of comfortable jeans. To the Greeks, we can express parental (storge), fraternal (phileo), or sensual (eros) love. However, Jesus transcends these concepts when He establishes this new paradigm (my emphasis),

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35 (AKJV)

The Greek agape (Strong-G26), is the highest form of pure love because God is its power source. Our Lord is holy, and His love is without sin and selfishness. We are incapable of such pure altruistic love with our human strength alone, since our love seeks reciprocation. The Holy Spirit’s power makes it possible—although difficult—for Christians to express God’s agape love in ways that serve the recipient’s best interests.

The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), and He continues to express it unselfishly. In the beginning, He created a perfect habitation for imperfect humans. After we fell and sin contaminated the world, He showed mercy to Adam and Eve through a promised Redeemer, who would nullify sin’s curse and dominion forever.

God’s love preserved humanity through Noah, when sin was rampant in the earth. Later, He produced a people of faith through Abraham to be a blessing to others. God’s love motivated Him to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage, part the Red Sea, give them His Law, feed them in the wilderness for 40 years, and give them a “Promised Land.” His love foretold of David’s successor, who would establish His Kingdom of justice and peace forever.

Agape motivated Jesus to leave glory to inhabit human flesh, walk on earth for thirty-three years, and share His message of love, faith, and redemption. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, encouraged the downtrodden, and taught a most captivating and distinct message.

He showed exceptional love to His betrayer, Judas, who attended His last Passover Seder. He could have exposed or condemned him, but He did not. Instead, He gave Judas permission to betray Him, “That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27) Although Judas did not recognize it until it was too late to turn back, Jesus was offering Judas a last chance to repent.

Later, while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, agape led Jesus to accept His vicarious death on the cross for our redemption. The Disciples were sleeping, and He was praying alone to His Father. He asked His Heavenly Father if it was possible to escape death.

Yet, He chose to fulfill God’s will, not His. After being beaten, spat upon, and crowned with thorns, Jesus still surrendered Himself to be humiliated, stripped naked, and crucified so that we might know His love and forgiveness.

Isn’t it ironic how The Eternal Creator made the trees and metal ore that His creation—the human species—fashioned into a wooden cross and metal spikes used to bring salvation into a sin-cursed world? What a remarkable demonstration of unselfish, everlasting love for us!

Although we affixed Jesus to a wooden cross and placed Him on a hill between two thieves before throngs of mocking people, yet He still loved us. He could have commanded legions of angels to destroy us, but He did not. Instead, He surrendered His life to pay the penalty for our sin,

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:14-18 (AKJV)

Three days later, He rose from the dead, declaring He had all power in Heaven and earth! His love raised Him from the dead to ascend into Heaven where He intercedes for us before the Father. His love sent us the Holy Spirit to comfort and abide with us while we await Jesus’ glorious return. Then we shall know His pure love in its full measure forever. Hallelujah!

God’s love provides what is best for us. 1 John 4:10 tells us we should never measure love by how much we love God. Instead, we should measure love by how much He loves us, and how He sent His Son to pay sin debt. His unselfish love makes us right before God, as He sees His own amazing grace.

Jesus Christ relinquished His deity and glory, not for what we could do for Him, but for what He needed to do for us at Calvary. No longer are we without hope for redemption. God’s love lifted us from despair into the presence of God forever, as this familiar hymn attests,

Love Lifted Me1
James Rowe (1865-1933)

I was sinking deep in sin, Far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, Sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea, Heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me– Now safe am I.

All my heart to Him I give, Ever to Him I’ll cling, In His blessed presence live, Ever His praises sing. Love so mighty and so true, Merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful, loving service, too, To Him belongs.

Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His love, Out of the angry waves. He’s the Master of the sea, Billows His will obey; He your Savior wants to be– Be saved today.

Love lifted me, Love lifted me, When nothing else could help, Love lifted me; Love lifted me, Love lifted me, When nothing else could help, Love lifted me.

All that the Lord requires from us today is to accept His love by surrendering ourselves to His Lordship—by faith—believing that we can have the forgiveness of sin along with the gift of eternal life because of His loving sacrifice at Calvary. As a result, you will know God’s peace and His abiding presence forever, as you bask in His eternal and amazing love. Won’t you turn to Him as your Savior today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

How Can We Reveal Christ Today?

For March 5, 2023
On the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus reassured His Disciples that His followers would continue the Kingdom work He began. His work to bring glory to His Father would not end at His death. Instead, it would continue unimpeded until He returns,

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. John 14:12-13 (NLT)

The Universal Church or the Body of Christ is comprised of diverse members who show Christ through their effectual love for God and others, demonstrated through benevolent service to God and others. Human beings are ill-equipped to perform such altruism consistently, so God gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us with the spiritual gifts that enable us to perform admirably—consistently,

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. …It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have. The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 11-13 (NLT)

When we place our faith in Christ, and are Born Again, the Holy Spirit endows each of us with a spiritual gift we can use to honor Christ and serve others. The local church is the primary agent by which we see the fulfillment of Ephesians 4:12, equip and edify others for service or ministry.

Through our Christian service, many spiritual gifts are displayed, but we can honor Christ and benefit our churches and communities using these eight spiritual gifts,

    • Helpers (1 Corinthians 12:28) unselfishly share their time, talents, and resources to assist others. Easily recognized, they are first to respond to needs. They also shun recognition, because God will reward them. A fine biblical example is Ruth, who helped Naomi.
    • Givers (Proverbs 3:27, Romans 12:8, and Galatians 6:10) share their resources unselfishly to meet needs. They, too, respond quickly and prefer anonymity. Givers delight meeting needs without repayment. God provides them with resources to share with others. Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan shows how givers respond to the needs of others.
    • The Wise (1 Corinthians 12:8 and James 1:5) can see problems from God’s perspective and they respond appropriately. More than human intellect, the wise deliberate and act in ways that glorify God and astound people. Solomon’s resolution to the two prostitutes who claimed to be the mother of one infant astonished everyone because it was from God.
    • Exhorters (Romans 12:8) share Scripture to console discouraged Christians. Without fanfare, exhorters take great pleasure in helping people gain a renewed inspiration and motivation to serve God. Jonathan exhorted David to trust in God and stay on course as the future king of Israel.
    • Evangelists (Ephesians 4:11) can share Christ with positive results. God calls, equips, and inspires people to serve Him in this capacity. The Bible tells about Philip the evangelist at Caesarea.
    • Pastors (Jeremiah 3:15, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:1–7, and Titus 1:5–16) nurture people toward spiritual maturity. Not recent converts, they are spiritually mature leaders who serve under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. God serves as both teacher and leader.
      • As a Teacher (Romans 12:7 and Ephesians 4:11), the pastor explains the Bible so that others can understand and apply to life, just like Jesus, who taught with great effectiveness.
      • As a Leader (Romans 12:8 and 1 Corinthians 12:28), pastors give oversight with tact, vision, and prudence to maximize resources and provide direction.

God used Moses to shepherd and instruct the Children of Israel while leading them out of Egyptian bondage.1

There will be many fulfilling moments in our lives that show how God loves, protects, and provides for us. We grow confident that He directs our steps and will never leave or forsake us. Our Christian experiences enhance our knowledge and strengthen our faith in God and His Word.

Some believe that ministers are more effective when they have had a troubled past. However, our ministry effectiveness is up to God. It’s always appropriate to acknowledge our sinful past in testimony as we contrast it to the eternal, abundant life that we now have in Christ.

All Christians require accountability, but those who have had years of painful episodes should complete a spiritual treatment program before they engage in ministry, since untreated or unresolved, counterproductive “baggage” can surface and expose others to spiritual, physical, emotional, or psychological injury.

1 Timothy 5:22 (NKJV) tells us not to “lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.” Thus, taking vetting precautions will help lessen the risk of the server’s relapse and harm to others.

The saving of souls, growing in faith, and the serving others define ministry effectiveness from God’s perspective. This is how we can reveal Christ and glorify God, which is all that matters.

As Enoch walked with God daily (Genesis 5:24), it’s possible to accept Christ and abide in Him for a lifetime. Those of us who follow this pattern are living demonstrations of His amazing grace and miraculous power.

We can reveal Christ today when we sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, so we can give a prompt response to the hope within us with meekness and godly reverence. (1 Peter 3:15) Won’t you give the Lord Jesus your heart today and reveal Him nobly to a lost and needy world?

What a Wonderful Savior!

God’s Word is True, Reliable, and Consistent.

For February 12, 2023
The veracity, reliability, and relevance of God’s Word are beyond question. In today’s ever-changing world, there is one constant: God is faithful, and we can trust Him to keep His Word regardless of the circumstances we face.

The Old Testament narrative of Micaiah, presented in 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chronicles 18, illustrates how we can trust God and His Word in ways that are most astounding.

One-hundred and fifty years before this story unfolds, (a thousand years before the birth of Christ), as David reigned over a united Hebrew monarchy at Jerusalem. David was succeeded by his son, Solomon, who was later succeeded by his son, Rehoboam.

Under Rehoboam’s reign, the kingdom was divided, with Jeroboam I controlling the Northern Kingdom (Israel) with Samaria as the capital city, while Rehoboam remained king over the Southern Kingdom (Judah) at Jerusalem.

One-hundred and twenty years pass before Ahab and Jezebel become king and queen of the Northern Kingdom in Samaria. Known for their despicable wickedness and ruthlessness, they surreptitiously cause the unjust killing of Naboth, an innocent man, so that they can take his vineyard, which was situated next to the palace.

After Naboth was stoned to death, King Ahab took immediate possession of the vineyard. God, who was not happy with their treachery, sent Elijah the Prophet to the vineyard to confront Ahab with His Word of judgement,

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: “Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’ ” 1 Kings 21:17-19 (NIV)

Sometimes evildoers may think they can “get by” with their misdeeds, but they will never get away. Numbers 32:23 warns, “Be sure your sin will find you out.

Three years pass before Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, visits Ahab in an effort to reclaim Ramoth, a city that fell under Syrian domination.

Before the battle, Jehoshaphat asked Ahab to ascertain God’s Word about their endeavors. Ahab gathered his 400 prophets, who predicted that God would undoubtedly give them a victorious conquest.

Their claims of victory troubled Jehoshaphat, a godly king, who then requested to hear from a prophet of the Lord about the matter. Ahab identified Micaiah and summoned him immediately.

It must have been awe-inspiring to see Ahab and Jehoshaphat in full regalia sitting on thrones near the entrance of the gate of Samaria, with all the opulence and splendor befitting dual royalty.

Yet, when challenged to speak God’s Word, Micaiah replies,

I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, as sheep that have no shepherd. And the Lord said, “These have no master. Let each return to his house in peace.” 1 Kings 22:17 (NKJV)

Then he goes on to say,

Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. And the Lord said, “Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?” So one spoke in this manner, and another spoke in that manner. Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, and said, “I will persuade him.” The Lord said to him, “In what way?” So he said, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the Lord said, “You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.” Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you. 1 Kings 22:19-23 (NKJV)

For his faith, courage, and tenacity, Micaiah was sent to prison, where they were to feed him bread and water until Ahab triumphantly returned to Samaria.

But God had other plans that He revealed trough Elijah and Micaiah. Although one revelation was during a private meeting and the other was in a public gathering, both foretold of God’s judgement against Ahab for his wickedness.

Subsequently, Ahab was mortally wounded in battle when an opposing archer “drew a bow at random,” and struck him between the joints of his armor.” (1 Kings 22:34) Further, when Ahab died, his chariot was washed that evening and “the dogs licked his blood” just as Elijah had foretold earlier. (1 Kings 22:38)

Ahab was dead, and a vindicated Micaiah left the prison, comforted by the sureness of God’s Word that is ever-inspiring for us today,

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. …I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14 (AKJV)

Twenty eight-hundred years have passed, and God’s Word is still absolutely true, dependable, and applicable. The New Living Translation of Proverbs 30:5 reaffirms that, “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” Amen!

In our vacillating world—full of its contradictions—it’s comforting to know that our faithful God will not change His mind about keeping His precious Word, despite the conflicting results of the latest opinion polls, its incompatibility with human reasoning, or when it is in contrast to godless societal expectations. Trust the Lord, and His Word, for He and it will be true, reliable, and consistent. Won’t you trust in Him and His Word today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

Joshua Had Two Choices

For January 21, 2023
Forty years of wilderness wanderings had come to an end with the death of Moses, the Lawgiver. Joshua was now the new leader for the Children of Israel, having been groomed for leadership under Moses’ supervision for over forty years when God made this pronouncement,

After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Joshua had two choices. He could have remained on the east side of the Jordan River, or he could obey God and cross the Jordan River. Here, a brief historical review helps us capture the importance of Joshua’s decision in its greater context.

Some six-hundred years earlier, when Abram (Abraham) was around seventy-five years old, God visited him and promised,

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “ I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3 (NIV)


“Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17 (NIV)

Abraham believed the Lord and trusted in the promises He made, knowing that they would be fulfilled in time. This promise was passed from Abraham, to Isaac, then to Jacob (Israel), and then to his children, the “Children of Israel.” When there was a severe famine in the land, God sent Joseph, one of Israel’s sons, to provide a means to preserve the family.

However, Israel suffered four-hundred years of slavery about the time Moses was born. He became God’s deliverer, who would remind God’s people of a “promised land” that was “flowing with milk and honey,”

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” Exodus 3:7-10 (NIV)

Joshua could have remained on the east of the Jordan. However, had he done so, there would have been no miraculous battle at Jericho and eventual settlement, and no period of the Judges.

There also would have been no inspiring story of Ruth and Naomi; no Priest/Prophet Samuel; no King David; no Solomon; no Jerusalem (the City of David); no Temple at Jerusalem; no Elijah; no Elisha; no Jeremiah, Daniel, Esther, or any of the countless other men and women of faith celebrated in the Bible.

Most importantly, there would have been no Suffering Servant to save the world from sin as predicted by Isaiah,

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. Isaiah 524-6 (NLT)

Joshua trusted God and crossed the Jordan, and God used his act of obedience to fulfill His divine plan for our spiritual (and moral) redemption. Joshua’s act of faith set in motion the will of God for Jesus Christ to conquer sin and death.

Before Jesus was born, it was the Angel of the Lord who would tell Joseph what Jesus’ life mission would be,

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21(NIV)

Jesus would eventually affirm His mission in a conversation with Nicodemus,

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17 (NIV)

Joshua had two choices, and he trusted God with amazing success.

We have two choices today. We can continue with “life as usual,” suffering with the same imperfections and regrets, or we can turn to Christ by “crossing over” to Him by faith today and experience a fulfilling and satisfying life of change and growth that can last forever. Won’t you allow Him to transform your life today?

What a Wonderful Savior!

Jesus Christ: Son of Man and Son of God

For January 15, 2023
To think of Jesus Christ as Son of Man is not much of a stretch because historical records verify His life, ministry, and existence. We can know that He walked the earth for about thirty-three years with the same human wants, needs, and aspirations we all share. He slept, ate, drank, wept, and was tempted. He experienced joy, anger, sadness, pain, hunger, thirst, anger, and love. He became grief stricken, fatigued, and was lonely.

What set Him apart was that He did not succumb to the temptations that arise from sin, the self, or Satan. Instead, He lived a completely balanced life of moral and spiritual excellence at all times. He submitted Himself to the will of His Father and satisfied all the requirements of God’s Law—He was perfect!

Understanding Jesus as Son of God becomes less of a problem when we acknowledge His being morally and spiritually perfect as an attribute of deity or as a reflection of God’s holiness. In this context, the “perfection” and “mastery” components of His life and ministry make perfect sense. Because Jesus embodied God in human flesh,

Thus, He could impose His will over His creation by silencing the raging storm, walking on the turbulent sea, turning water into wine, feeding the multitudes with two small fish and five loaves of bread, healing the sick, raising the dead, and performing countless other miraculous works that verified His claims to be God in human flesh.

John the Apostle addresses the deity of Christ in the first chapter of his gospel,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NIV)

Then he further adds,

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NIV)

God became human and made His home among us. It is humanly impossible to understand and explain the mysteries of God, including the intricacies of His Incarnation. God has the authority to conceal or disclose anything He so chooses (Proverbs 25:2).

Yet He revealed His divine, redemptive plan through Jesus Christ, the only Son of God. All that God requires is our faith in Christ to receive His gracious gift. Today, we can acknowledge Christ as Savior and Lord and receive the blessings associated with God’s promises to save all those who believe and confess Jesus Christ,

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:6-10 (NIV)

Jesus Christ is both the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the perfect Mediator between God and humanity to reconcile anyone anywhere with God.

Through His reconciliation, we can have complete forgiveness of sin, spiritual transformation, and eternal life. All He requires is our faith in His perfect work on the cross. Won’t you trust in Christ today and let Him change your life forever?

What a Wonderful Savior!