Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Mind Set On Jesus

We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

The Lord is faithful to complete the work He has begun in us. He is completing His work of daily changing us into His image. And one day, when I die or He returns, whichever comes first, I “shall see Him as He is” and “I will know, just as I also am known.” Whatever is happening around us, whatever is happening to us, we know that we are in our Father’s hands as He completes His will for our lives. Whatever afflictions come, they are light and but for a moment in the light of eternity and God’s work in us. So Paul says, “don’t focus on the things which are seen, they are only temporary. But focus on the things which are not seen, they are eternal.”

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).

…we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

Now the just shall live by faith…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 10:38, 11:1).

I am saved by God’s grace alone, justified through faith in Jesus Christ. I am born again, a new creation in Christ. I am righteous in Christ alone. This is a gift from my Father, through my Lord Jesus Christ. So, I will rely on the Holy Spirit to fill me and empower me to press on in faith, no matter the outside circumstances. I know He will be with me and strengthen me in all things.

Oh, Lord, help me to stay focused on You and the work you are accomplishing in me now, and the eternal things to come. Help me to see with the eyes of faith. Help me to trust in You alone. Help me to keep my mind set on You, Jesus.

...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12)...

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).

Thank you, Father. In Jesus name, amen.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Always Victorious In Christ

"Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this (2 Cor 2:14-16)?"

Sometimes I am discouraged when I meet people that are opposed to Christ. Some people are so open and ready, but others are just blinded and angry. I want to just be giving out the Word of God, faithfully and accurately, and letting it do its work. These verses in 2 Corinthians are so comforting. Walking in His will in our lives, guided and filled with the Holy Spirit, God always leads us in triumph in Christ.

Isaiah 55:11 says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

When we speak God’s Word to others, His Word will not come back empty. It will accomplish His will in their lives, wherever they are and whatever that will is. To some, our lives and His Word has the fragrance of death, but to those being saved we are a life-giving perfume!

Follow His leading, walk in the Spirit, preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2), and His Word will accomplish what God pleases. When we do that, we triumph no matter the outside circumstances! We are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37), we are His children doing His will, already victorious in Christ.

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." (Matthew 5:44)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

“Without Me, You Will Die In Your Sins” -Jesus

Jesus said, “if you’re not a Christian, then it’s really simple; you do not know God!” “Whoa, Brian,” you might say, “where’s that in the Bible?” Well, check out John 8 for one place.

In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” But, some in the crowd didn’t believe Him. They wouldn’t put their faith in Him. They chose not to follow Him.

Jesus answers them in John 8:19: “since you don't know who I am, you don't know who My Father is. If you knew Me, then you would know My Father, too.” He also said, “unless you believe that I AM (who I say I am), you will die in your sins (John 8:24).”

There are so many people in the world that say they love God, that they pray to and know the Creator, our Father. They reject Christ/Christianity as being the only way to know God and to be forgiven of sin and receive eternal life. Many of these people say Jesus was good or even a prophet. But pay attention to what Jesus Himself is saying. He isn’t leaving room for that. According to Jesus, you either put your faith in Him or you do not know God and will die in your sins (which means you will go to hell for rejecting the true and living God).

A Christian is someone that has confessed their belief that Jesus is the Eternal Son of God, that He died for their personal sin on the cross, and that He rose from the dead bodily three days later. To be a Christian, you must be born-again, indwelt by the very Spirit of God (John 3). You actually come into a personal, loving relationship with our personal and loving Creator, and only by faith in Jesus!

Some in the crowd that were rejecting Christ in John 8 said, “God Himself is our true Father!” But Jesus told them in John 8:42, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but He sent Me.”

To not believe in all that Jesus has said and done, who He is and what He has done is, according to Jesus, to reject God Himself. So, for Jesus, this issue is really cut and dry and black and white. It’s really simple and really straightforward and very easy to understand: to not put your faith in Christ and follow Him is to not know God at all. And if you die not “believing in Him” (His words), “you will die in your sins (John 8:24).”

The good news, which is what “gospel” means, is that God loves you so much that He does not want you to die in your sins. If you die in your sins you will be eternally separated from God, and that’s Hell. But God has made a way for all. God loves the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Surrender your heart to God once and for all and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Eternal life is a gift that cannot be earned, but you must turn from sin and you must believe in Jesus alone for eternal life. There is only one God, one truth and one reality. God is good, and He loves everyone, including you. But, Jesus said, “I AM The Way, The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).”

Have you made that confession? Have you admitted to yourself and to God that you are a sinner and need forgiveness? Have you asked Him for forgiveness? Do you believe in God’s way, Jesus Christ? The first step can be so hard, but it is also very simple. The Apostle Paul put it this way,

“if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).” May He freely give you repentance and salvation, in Jesus' name, Amen.

If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Bible says you are a new creation. The old things have passed away and the new has come! You have been freed from the dominion of sin and death and given eternal life with the all loving and all powerful true and living God, the Creator of the universe and everything in it! Find a good Bible teaching church, find some Christians to share your new faith with (not people that just say they are Christians, but people that are obviously living their lives for Jesus). And ask God to teach you His word in the Bible. God is good and you are now His child through faith in Jesus. May He richly bless you with His love and presence.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him (1 John 3:1).”

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bite-Sized Bible Studies: Our Guarantee of Salvation

“...God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee (2 Cor 1:21-22).”

The strengthening of our faith is a process over time. As I've come to know the Lord and the Word more and more over the years, His assurance of my salvation has become clear and immovable in my heart. So, keep seeking Him with your whole heart and asking for that assurance. You will receive that confirmation by the Spirit Himself in your heart more and more everyday, until it is clear and sure. The Holy Spirit Himself is our guarantee of salvation.

If you have been born again by God's grace through faith in Jesus alone, then you have this promise to stand on:

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).”