Reaching for the Stars

Ecclesiastes begins,

bloghomeless-55492__340“The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher,

vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh

under the sun?”

I enjoy a good book. In fact I try not to pick one up unless my other work is done. You can guess why. Solomon,  the accepted author of Ecclesiastes, does not begin this book with a good hook, at least not for me. It has the markings for being a downer with no happy ever after ending. A closer look reveals there is hope in opposition to the vain pursuits of one living, under the sun. Please, stick with me for the good part.

The first two chapters bemoan a life lived, under the sun. Solomon states his thesis in chapter 1, verse 14.

“I have seen all the works that are done

under the sun:

and, behold,

all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

He proceeds to reinforce the statement with examples…the world’s wisdom, seeking pleasures, great accomplishments, and hard work. None of these things bring lasting peace, joy, contentment, or hope. They are all “vanity and vexation of spirit”. 

According to the apostle Paul in Romans those without Christ, those living only under the sun, are also without profit.

“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

As it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE: THERE IS NONE THAT UNDERSTANDETH, THERE IS NONE THAT SEEKETH AFTER GOD. THEY ARE ALL GONE OUT OF THE WAY, THEY ARE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NOE THAT DOETH GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.”

No wonder there are so many depressed people in the world.

Now comes the good part. Paul’s words to the Colossians tell of those living and seeking, “those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon makes reference to the ones knowing the gift of God.

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart,(also translated, set eternity in their heart) so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end…

I know that, whatsoever God doeth,

it shall be for ever:

nothing can be put to it,

nor any thing taken from it:

and God doeth it,

that men should fear before him.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11,14.

God has made everything beautiful in his time through Jesus Christ.

I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever…

“Jesus took bread and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said,

Take eat; this is my body.

And he took the cup, and gave thanks,

and gave it to them, saying,

Drink ye all of it;

For this is my blood of the new testament,

which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Matthew 26:26-28.

“For the law made nothing perfect,

but the bringing in of a better hope did;

by the which we draw nigh unto God.

And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest…THE LORD SWARE AND WILL NOT REPENT, THOU ART A PRIEST FOR EVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC:)

By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament…

But this man, because he continueth ever,

hath an unchangeable priesthood.

Wherefore he is able also

to save them to the uttermost

that come unto God by him,

seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Hebrews 7:19-22,24-25.

…nothing can be put to it…

“Be it known unto you all,

and to all the people of Israel,

that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,

whom ye crucified,

whom God raised from the dead,

even by him doth this man stand here before you whole…

Neither is there salvation in any other:

for there is none other name under heaven

given among men,

whereby we must be saved.”

Acts 4:10,12.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;

and that not of yourselves:

it is the gift of God:”

Ephesians 2:8.

nor any thing taken from it…

“But if it be of God,

ye cannot overthrow it;

lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”

Acts 5:39.

and God doeth it, that men should fear before him

“Declaring the end from the beginning,

and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,

saying,

My counsel shall stand,

and I will do all my pleasure;”

Isaiah 46:10.

“WHO SHALL NOT FEAR THEE, O LORD,

AND GLORIFY THY NAME?

FOR THOU ONLY ART HOLY:

FOR ALL NATIONS SHALL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE;

for thy judgments are made manifest.”

Revelation 15:4.

There are two ways to live this life.

  • One is under the sun. It promises you fleeting pleasures without fulfillment of purpose. It lies and ends in eternal death apart from God.
  • The other is, seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. It promises you abundance in life with fulfillment of purpose. It is truth and ends in eternal life with God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Only life with Christ can reach its highest level of purpose.

Are you reaching for the heavens or living under the sun?

 

Hope in Suffering

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Job experienced a makeover in his life. He began adult life a prosperous man with a large family.

  • In the middle he lost all but his wife.
  • In the end he knew the blessing of the Lord in abundance. His family and riches increased, his friends learned what friendship means.
  • Above all he came to personally know the God he worshipped and trusted in.

Job knew 3 things which kept him going when he didn’t understand the why of his suffering. When tempted to curse God and die because of his suffering, he drew the line when he said,
“For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Job 19:25-27.

He knew

His Redeemer lived…It gave him hope for help.

His Redeemer lived and would stand…It gave him hope for strength.

He would live to see his Redeemer…It gave him hope for victory over sin’s suffering and death.

Another passage tells us Job also knew…

His faith in God would be his justification.

“Behold, now, I have ordered my cause;

I know that I shall be justified.” Job 13:18.

It gave him hope for peace in pain even as the same promise work for us.

“But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed,

if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Therefore being justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;

by whom also we have access by faith

into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 4:24-5:2.

Two more things Job knew brought him to something he didn’t know before his suffering.

  • “I know that thou canst do every thing,
  • and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge?

Therefore have I uttered that I understood not;

things too wonderful for me, which I knew not…” 42:1-2.

Job’s new knowledge through suffering brought him to a greater knowledge, a personal knowledge of his Redeemer.

“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear;

but now mine eye seeth thee.” 42:5.

We can say the same with Job and with the Psalmist.

”Many, O LORD my God,

are thy wonderful works which thou hast done,

and thy thoughts which are to us-ward:

they cannot be reckoned upon order unto thee:

if I would declare and speak of them,

they are more than can be numbered.”

Psalm 40:5.

Job’s life ended with a greater abundance through his suffering.

“So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” 42:12.

Ours can as well.

“Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. For all things are for your sakes,

  • that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
  • For which cause we faint not;
  • but though our outward man perish,
  • yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 
  • For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
  • worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
  • While we look not at the things which are seen,
  • but at the things which are not seen:
  • for the things which are seen are temporal;
  • but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:14-18.

Suffering brought Job to a new personal understanding of his Redeemer. Suffering is  sometimes the Surgeon’s knife by which we receive our makeover.

It’s been said, “Beauty is skin deep”. Our Redeemer doesn’t look on the outer for it perishes. He works on the inner person.

As we grow older, the outer beauty of the physical fades no matter how many face lifts or body tucks we have. One day as Job said the worms are going to eat this body of flesh. But in suffering God beautifies the inner person, the soul which lives forever. In the suffering, the spirit grows and blossoms until when God’s work is completed in us it blooms in true holiness and righteousness.

When the flesh has died, the spirit that belongs to the Lord thrives and one day it will receive a new body, a glorified body, a body like its Redeemer.

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly…” 1 Corinthians 15:49.

“As for me,

I will behold thy face in righteousness:

I shall be satisfied,

when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Psalm 17:15.

We can face suffering, survive suffering, and thrive through suffering because,

Our Redeemer Lives.

How do you find hope when suffering comes?

Why Do I Hope?

Job:Our Redeemer Lives

blog tombb796a201f64ff34f04fe09f604ff0ae4--easter-crafts-crafts-for-kidsJob speaks of his redeemer by eyes of faith. He spoke of Jesus, God the Son.

“For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”  Job 19:25-27.

You can’t be bought? Tommy Johnson could be and he was. Have you ever seen the movie, “O,Brother Where Art Thou?” I admit it. I have. Tommy Johnson tells Ulysses, Delmar, and Pete that he met the devil at midnight, “to sell my soul to the devil.”

The price? “To play the guitar real good.”

The man in Jesus’ parable sold his soul for a new barn.

Adam and Eve sold theirs for a taste of evil.

  • Why do we need a living Redeemer?
  • What difference did it make to Job?
  • What difference does it make to us?

The sad news, Adam and Eve’s taste of evil poisoned the image of God in them. All born after them inherited that same taste for evil, the taste for usurping God’s throne.

If left to our own devices, eternal death not eternal life is our inheritance, despair not hope. We need a living Redeemer to buy us back from evil and restore the image of God in us. We need Someone to stand for us because we have fallen. We need Someone to acquit us of the guilty charges against us. We need Someone able to pay the price for our fall and the power to raise us up. We need Jesus.

The Cost of the Fall Greater than our Resources.

In Adam and Eve:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:17.

All People are Fallen:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.

The redemption price meant the death of one innocent of sin. The first blood sacrifice pointed to the final blood sacrifice. Jesus is that One.

For Adam and Eve: Their clothes of fig leaves couldn’t buy it.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21.

For All People: Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God, is the payment.

“WHO DID NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH.” 1 Peter 2:22.

“And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” 1John 3:5.

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:14.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things…

But with the precious blood of Christ

as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

1 Peter 1:18a, 19.

Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God, paid the price of redemption with His own death. He bought our forgiveness by taking our death upon Himself. But His death could not complete the transaction. He had to have the power to raise us up, raise the dead to life. His resurrection showed this power.

“No man taketh it from me,

but I lay it down of myself.

I have power to lay it down and

I have power to take it again.

This commandment have I received of my Father.”

John 10:18.

“But now is Christ risen from the dead,

and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

For since by man came death,

by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die,

even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

1 Corinthians 15:20-22.

Because Job knew his redeemer lived:

  • He had hope in suffering;
  • hope of vindication from the accusations of his friends if not in this life the next.
  • He had comfort
  • He had reason to endure.

Because we know our Redeemer lives.

  • We have reason to endure suffering and trials.
  • We can do so knowing these will end.
  • We have comfort.
  • We have a future hope and a present help.

This is why I hope and in whom I hope.

“For I know that my redeemer liveth

and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:…” 

Do you know this hope or are your days filled with fear and uncertainty?

Stay tuned for more on Job.

Where is Hope?

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A word, a handshake, these sealed the words of a person. What was said would be done.

Listening to the wrong voices, looking to the wrong people for answers, leaves the masses with little hope. It’s time we look in the right place.

History is filled with men who knew where to look for hope. Ezra and Nehemiah are two of them.

In Ezra:

Hope is found in the Lord’s promises. We have to turn to Jeremiah to understand how.

“For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:10.

The performance of it.

“Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia,

The LORD God of heaven…hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel…”Ezra 1:2-3.

As the Father restored Israel to her land, the Son brings restoration to those who will receive His forgiveness.

Christ restores life.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,

He that heareth my word,

and believeth on him that sent me,

hath everlasting life,

and shall not come into condemnation;

but is passed from death unto life.”

John 5:24.

Christ restores the kingdom of God

“For since by man came death,

by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die,

even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But every man in his own order:

Christ the firstfruits;

afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Then cometh the end,

when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father;

when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”

1Corinthians 15:21-24.

All will be restored. Our hope is sure. Keep your eyes on the Savior.

In Nehemiah

“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezek. 22:30.

Nehemiah became that man for his countrymen.

“I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days,

and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven…

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open,

that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant…

for the children of Israel thy servants,

and confess the sins of the children of Israel,

which we have sinned against thee…

these are thy servants and thy people,

whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand…”

Nehemiah 1:4-6,10.

Nehemiah’s intercessory prayer reflects our Intercessor.

Jesus Christ prays.

“I pray for them:

I pray not for the world,

but for them which thou hast given me:

for they are thine.”

John 17:9.

“Who is he that condemneth?

It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again,

who is even at the right hand of God,

who also maketh intercession for us.”

Romans 8:34.

“Wherefore he is able also to save

them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,

seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

Hebrews 7:25.

“And now I am no more in the world,

but these are in the world,

and I come to thee. Holy Father,

keep through thine own name

those whom thou hast given me,

that they may be one, as we are.”

John 17:11.

  • Do you ever feel like you can’t go any further? There’s One praying for you.
  • Will you follow his example and be the one who stands in the gap for others?
  • When you think prayer is all you can do, remember prayer is the best you can do.

A Certain Future

History points to a certain future. Walking in the present history tells us we do not walk alone and sets our hope on the sure things above.

“If ye then be risen with Christ,

seek those things which are above,

where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”

Colossians 3:1

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1 & 2 Samuel

Introduces us to a shepherd who becomes a king. He points us to the Good Shepherd and the King of kings.

“And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold, he keepeth the sheep…1Sam. 16: 11; And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep…1Sam. 17:34a.

Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Christ Jesus:

“Now the God of peace,

that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,

that great shepherd of the sheep, 

through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,

working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight,

through Jesus Christ;

to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Heb. 13:20,21.

Psalm 23:

“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”

Christ Jesus:

“Therefore being justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,

and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Rom. 5:1,2.

Psalm 23:

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Christ Jesus:

 “He shall see of the travail of his soul,

and shall be satisfied:

by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many;

for he shall bear their iniquities…Isa. 53:11;

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,

so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”

Romans 5:19.

Psalm 23:

“Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me:”

Christ Jesus:

For consider him

that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,

lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin…

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee…

THE LORD IS MY HELPER,

AND I WILL NOT FEAR WHAT MAN SHALL DO UNTO ME.”

Hebrews 12:2-4; 13:5-6

Psalm 23:

“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

Christ Jesus:

“Who in the days of his flesh,

when he had offered up prayers and supplications

with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,

and was heard in that he feared;

Though he were a Son,

yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

And being made perfect,

he became the author of eternal salvation

unto all them that obey him;”

Hebrews 5:7-9.

Psalm 23:

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over.”

Christ Jesus:

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;

because the LORD hath anointed me to

preach good tiding unto the meek;

he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all that mourn…Isa. 61:1,2;

I am he that liveth, and was dead;

and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;

and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Revelation 1:18.

Psalm 23:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

Christ Jesus:

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,

behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,

and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people,

and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

Revelation 21:3.

Can you say, with David, the Lord is my shepherd?  Or are you in want?

In 1 & 2 Kings & Chronicles:

The glory of Jerusalem, of all Israel, surrounded Solomon’s temple.

“And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that  the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.” 1Kings 8:10-11.

The shekinah glory of God filled the house giving Israel a glimpse of the glory that was to come. Jesus referring to Himself said,

“But I say unto you,

That in this place is one greater than the temple.”

Matt. 12:6;

And when an angel invited John in Revelation to come see the bride of Christ, he saw,

“that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God…

And I saw no temple therein:

for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it:

for the glory of God did lighten it,

and the Lamb is the light thereof.”

Revelation 21:10,22-23.

History declares the glory of the Lord in part but its revelation will one day be complete.

  • Does your temple house the glory of God?
  • What will your response be when you come face to face with the Lord of glory?

As the song says, “I Can Only Imagine.”

Time to Return

IMG_2488[1]When have you started a project that sat around unfinished calling to be completed? It called until its voice became deaf to your ears. Then one day it struck the right chord. That’s what happened to me last week.

Back in 2018 I began a series of blogs showing Christ in each book of the Bible.  It’s time to return.

Returning to this series is more than a project. It’s a desire to introduce Jesus to those who do not know Him, and to encourage in faith those who do. Two verses prodded me in this direction.

The first one:

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee,

because thou hast left thy first love.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent,

and do the first works…”

Revelation 2:4,5.

During my journey with Mom through dementia, the Lord took me on a journey through suffering. On this road He revealed his love in greater depths. As I grew and am growing in love for Him, so am I in my love for others and the story God has given me to tell.

This story, isn’t my story but God’s. God’s story of the love He has for all people. He unfolds it in His word but many still have not heard or read it. Others have heard but refuse its truth. A few have heard and hold it dear. The last ones He has given His story to tell.

“Go ye into all the world

and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15.

The words of the story:

“Jesus saith unto him,

I am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”

John 14:6.

“For I delivered unto you

first of all that which I also received,

how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried,

and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures…

he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once…”

1 Corinthians 15:3,4,6.

It’s the same story for each of us but how we tell it differs. The Lord wants the song, “I Love to Tell the Story,” to be my theme song. Excitement grows in my spirit each time the opportunity arises. But of late, I have lost some of the excitement for telling it to adults. Do they really want to hear? The loss lulled me to indifference, except for telling it to the children.

Children love to hear the story and are so ready to receive it. May we all become as little children.

The second verse:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:

and be ready always to give an answer

to every man that asketh you

a reason of the hope that is in you

with meekness and fear:”

1 Peter 3:15.

Every person, not just the children need to hear the story, “the story of Jesus and his love.”

People without the Lord wander the earth without real purpose or hope. Depression, crime, hatred, chaos describe the lives of the many. They are a people without hope. We, the followers of Jesus, have a sure and everlasting hope. We have and know what others are seeking in all the wrong places. If we haven’t already, it is time to leave the Master’s table and return to the fields.

“Say not ye,

There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?

Behold, I say unto you,

Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields:

for they are white already to harvest.”

John 4:36.

I’m looking forward to returning to this series of Christ in each book. I hope you will join me for it. In my next post I’m thinking to give a synopsis of the blogs from Genesis to Esther, or I may divide it into two. What do you think?

My desire is to start with Job next week. I’m planning some changes in my approach but the story of Jesus will stay the same. For He is,

“the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

What advice would you give a new believer in sharing the gospel with his/her unsaved friends?

What story of Jesus do you enjoy hearing or telling the most?

Of What House are You?

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“Ye also, as lively stones,

are built up a spiritual house,

an holy priesthood,

to offer up spiritual sacrifices,

acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

1Peter 2:5.

Take courage brothers and sisters, we are living stones cut from the living stone, whom most rejected even though He is the chosen of God and precious. In Christ we are the chosen and precious living stones…cut from the same Rock. Christ is the,

“CHIEF CORNER STONE,

ELECT, PRECIOUS:

AND HE THAT BELIEVETH ON HIM SHALL NOT BE CONFOUNDED.”

1 Peter 2:6(Isa. 28:16).

We are those,

“built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,

Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.

In whom all the building fitly framed together

groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

in whom

ye also are builded together

for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:20-22.

We are those,

“God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation

through sanctification of the Spirit

and belief of the truth:

Whereunto he called you by our gospel

to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Thess. 2:13-14.

We are called by a different name.

“And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory;

and thou shalt be called by a new name,

which the mouth of the LORD shall name.”

Isaiah 62:2.

“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26b.

We are of the house of Christ.

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,

consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;

who was faithful to him that appointed him,

as also Moses was faithful in all his house.

For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses,

inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.

But every house is builded by some man;

but he that built all things is God..”

Hebrews 3:1-4.

The name Christian did not begin as a name of honor. It originated as a term of scorn by the world. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, believers accepted the title in honor as time passed. The world remains the same. The name Christian receives open scorn among many. That’s the world.

We are of a different Spirit. To be a Christian is our greatest honor. It identifies the One we follow. It identifies the house we belong to. And know this for sure, there are those who,

“shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them;

for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings:

and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”

Revelation 17:14.

We are the called, the chosen, the faithful. We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb.

“Let the redeemed of the LORD say so…”

Paul’s prayer for us.

“Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” 2Thessalonians 2:16.

May you go in the love of God brothers and sisters.

How do these things encourage and strengthen you in the word and work of the Lord?


Thank you for joining me today. As you think on these things, I’ll leave you with a question to ponder until my next post.

What does it mean, as a Christian, when Peter writes you are part of a holy priesthood?

Building Up or Tearing Down

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth,

but that which is good to the use of edifying,

that I may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29.

IMG_2435[1]

During our week of service with the teens, we saw how quickly a structure comes down. We, also, saw how much work and thought goes into building a structure. Both tearing down and building up require calculation.

In life tearing down happens all too often without thought of the destruction caused to another. One word reaps either life or death.

“But the tongue can no man tame,;

it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Therewith bless we God, even the Father;

and therewith curse we men,

which are made after the similitude of God.

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”

James 3:8-10.

The only thing to tame the tongue is the love of Christ in us.

“We love him, because he first loved us.

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:

for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen,

how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

And this commandment have we from him,

That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

1John 4:19-21.

Truly, we as the church of Jesus Christ, can expect nothing different from the world than what we see taking place in our society today. Those apart from Christ, do not know the love of God, nor how to love as God loves us, except they see God in us. We are His body,

“speaking the truth in love…

fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth,

according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,

maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Ephesians 4:15,16.

We are,

“the light of the world…

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.

We can only build up others as we,

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,

teaching and admonishing one another

in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Colossians 3:16.

  • What word will you speak today?
  • Will your tongue fuel the fire of hatred spreading across our land?
  • Will it fuel the fire of fear spoken by the unbelieving?
  • Or will it fuel the fire of the Holy Spirit, the word of Christ in you, the light of Christ’s love to be sown?

I will leave us with a Psalm to fill our day with words of the Father.

“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children,

shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,

and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done…

That they might see their hope in God,

and not forget the works of God,

but keep his commandments:”

Psalm 78: 1-4,7.

IMG_2488[1]As you can see the work on our shelter isn’t quite done. It’s a work in progress.IMG_2492[1]

Neither is God’s work on earth done. There are many still walking in darkness. He is still building His church. One day it will be completed. He invites us to join Him in the work. May we never tire of speaking of His wonderful works. That others will know there is hope in God.

Hope-The Rest of the Story

blogcross-792538__340“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15.

If I asked what you are hoping for today, many would respond, “The end of this virus. So we can return to normal.” My answer would differ. I’m hoping we do not return to the same normal we knew but to one that is filled with the hope that comes only from the resurrected Jesus Christ. This post is to the chosen of God and to those looking for a sure hope.

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:2-5.

When void of hope, despair fills the void with more emptiness. Returning to our past normal will leave many in the same place they were…without real hope. This post hopefully fills each reader with reason to possess the sure hope found in Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and return. This hope begins in the here and now to be revealed fully in the future. But it is known only by a select few.

It’s offered to all but received by the,

“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” Some translations render, Elect, as chosen. Don’t confuse chosen with select. The gospel is for all. It is to be taken to all. The Father desires for all to be chosen. The reality is not all will be chosen.

  • “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matthew 28:19.
  • “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.
  • “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.” John 3:16.

The call goes out even during the days of the tribulation judgment.

  • “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” Revelation 14:6-7.
  • “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14

If you’re reading this and not among God’s chosen, He wants you to know you can be. He has made the way in Jesus Christ.

“Jesus saith unto him, I

am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

John 14:6.

Without Jesus Christ as your Savior, no matter what your hopes, they will leave you empty, satisfying only for a moment. He paid our sin debt in full on the cross when He breathed His last and said, “It is finished.” He paid the debt and opened the door to the hope of glory through His resurrection. The moment we are born again we go from death to life.

“Buried with him in baptism,

wherein also ye are risen with him

through the faith of the operation of God,

who hath raised him from the dead.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh,

hath he quickened(made alive) together with him,

having forgiven you all trespasses;

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us,

which was contrary to us,

and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;”

Colossians 2:11-14.

Everlasting life is ours. We will never know separation from God. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is our guarantee. This sure hope alone is reason for joy in life here, but there is more. The hope we’ve been given fills this life with purpose.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Blessed used here speaks of praise. We live to praise the name of our God for the hope born in us.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings

in heavenly places in Christ:

According as he hath chosen us in him

before the foundation of the world,

that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…

to the praise of the glory  of his grace

wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved…”

 (From Ephesians 1).

How we live life brings the greatest blessing to our heavenly Father when it lives in the hope of the resurrection.

Hope frees us from guilt, fills us with peace, and releases us to rejoice.

“Therefore being justified by faith,

we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

By whom also we have access by faith

into this grace wherein we stand,

and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. “

Romans 5:1-2.

The resurrection produces a hope that motivates us to live honorably before our Lord for we stand confident in His love.

“And hope maketh not ashamed;

because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts

by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Romans 5:5.

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober,

and hope to the end for the grace

that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ:

As obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

But as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”

1 Peter 1:13-15.

The resurrection hope frees us from the fear of death.

“And if Christ be in you,

the body is dead because of sin;

but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up

Jesus from the dead dwell in you,

he that raised up Christ from the dead

shall also quicken your mortal bodies

by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”

Romans 8:10-11.

 The resurrection hope is our confidence:

“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul,

both sure and stedfast,

and which entereth into that within the veil;

Whither the forerunner is for us entered,

even Jesus made an high priest forever

after the order of Melchisedec.”

Hebrews 6:19,20

Christ’s victory over death and sin through the resurrection guarantees our victory over death and sin. We can live in confidence not fear, honor not shame, peace not strife, rejoicing not sorrow, hope not despair.

Warren Richards, at wcr281.wordpress.com expressed it this way:

“Through the resurrection, in this life we don’t just get to know the breadth of Father’s love, but experience the fullness. The hope found therein, the joy felt within, and His love for the journey… home!”

And with that I will leave you with this prayer:

“Now the God of hope

fill you with all joy and peace in believing,

that ye may abound in hope,

through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Romans 15:13.

Half the Story

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpegIs the cross of Christ enough?

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,

  • which also ye have received,
  • and wherein ye stand;
  • By which also ye are saved,

if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,

  • how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
  • And that he was buried,
  • and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:1-4.

Last weeks posts concerning the things of God given to us left us with only half of the good news of the gospel, the power and wisdom of God revealed in the cross of Christ. As the late ABC News broadcaster and commentator, Paul Harvey would say, now it is time, “for the rest of the story.”

The apostle Paul tells us if the story ends at the cross and there is no resurrection, “then is your faith in vain.”  And he concludes with “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

I’ll leave you with these questions. Why do we need our sins to be forgiven if there is no resurrection of the dead? What hope is ours in this life through the resurrection?

I’m hoping to explore, “the rest of the story,” in my next 2 posts. Your comments are much appreciated. Have a blessed weekend.