Tag Archives: believers

The Aristocracy of Believers

psalm 16 aristocracy2This year Queen Elizabeth will turn 90. She has boldly claimed that she is a believer in God and His Son Jesus Christ. One of these days her earthly crown will be changed to an eternal crown for she is not just of earthly aristocracy but is of the heavenly aristocracy. Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for their inheritance was and is imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people

Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for their inheritance was and is imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people

Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for they too have theirs in heaven. Their inheritance was imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people

Peter reminded the believers who were undergoing persecution to not lose heart for their inheritance was imperishable for they were the chosen; the true aristocracy. Like Ruth they had made a claim looking towards their inheritance in eternity: “your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” They chose to take refuge in the Lord under His everlasting arms where they find solace, peace and quietness—even in times of persecution.

It is because of those facts we too can boldly come before the Father and say: “Preserve me…for I take refuge in you.”  It is the chosen who are the ones in whom God takes great delight. As the psalmist looked about he saw the choice of those who had rejected God. Their life was full of sorrow and it was because they were choosing to serve other gods as Daniel reminded Belshazzar: “You have chosen to praise the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see, hear or understand.” [Dan 5]

We who are of the aristocracy, the majestic ones, the chosen can claim that the Lord will counsel us, instruct us, and make known to us the path of life. God will do that because His ways are higher than ours, His plan is infinitely wiser and more detailed than ours for he can see from the beginning to the end. In his presence there is fullness of joy!

Which crown do you wear now and which crown will you wear in eternity?


Why Are We Here?

titus 1 why here2Paul sent an edifying and encouraging note to Titus, his genuine son in the faith. Paul said to Titus “The reason I left you in Crete” was to do thus and so. We recall the words of Peter “Lord, why can’t I follow you “NOW”? [Jn 13]  Jesus answered I have left you here so that you can Go! Make disciples! Go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the farthest part of the world! [Mat 18/Acts 1] That was the reason they were left behind when Jesus  returned to heaven and why He sent the Holy Spirit to walk and talk with them just as He had done while with them.

So what is the reason Jesus has left us here and not taken us home to heaven as soon as we became believers? It is the same reason. We are the men/women He has chosen for the job and we have been given the Fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Word, and the mandate to carry the gospel message to the world. We are here to fulfill the Great Commission. If we are not could it be that we really don’t see the “reason?” Paul told Titus that he was the man for the job and he had been directed to fulfill the task. We are the men/women for the job that Jesus left. How would you answer the question: “Why am I here?”

Anointed Believers Encourage One Another

2tim 1 anointed to encourage2Just  as  Paul  wrote  in  his  first  letter  to  his  beloved  child  in  the  faith,  Timothy,  he  so  again  reiterates  this  love  for  him  by  calling  him  “my  dear  child.”  We may be first generation believers; 2nd or even beyond but someone modeled a sincere faith for us. We must honor that memory. As long as we are  believers  we  are  “children” of the faith and at are in need of a  word  of  encouragement  in  tough  times.  Paul’s  words  to  Timothy  are  as  applicable  to  us  as  it  was  to  him.

Timothy, and you present day believers, stand fast! Rekindle  the  gift  that  was  given  to  you  much  like  one  rekindles  a  fire  which  is  dwindling.  Beloved,  hold  fast  to  the  standard  of  sound  words  of  the  gospel  message.  Remember  that  when  the  Holy  Spirit  anointed you He  did  not  give  you  the  Spirit  of  fear  but  instead  His  power,  love  and  a  gift  of  discipline  or  self-control.     Just  as  we  saw  in  1Timothy,  we have  been  entrusted  with  the  gospel  message.  We  all  must  protect  that  good  thing  entrusted  to  us  remembering  that “it  is  God’s  power  for  salvation  to  everyone  who  believes,”  [Rom  1]  Lastly,  we  must  never bring  reproach  upon  our  Savior  who  “has  broken  the  power  of  death  and  brought  life  and  immortality  to  light  through  the  gospel!”

Beloved, you are anointed to go and tell. May  our words be sweet like honey to a soul in need of encouragement.

Satan’s Defeat and Christ’s Promise

ImageIn 1903 a Sikh named Sundar Singh struggled to know the truth. After he grew he became bitter and angered at God but on this day, 19 December 1903, he began to pray that God would reveal himself—if he really existed. If not, Sundar planned to throw himself in front of the morning train. For seven hours he prayed. “O God, if there is a God, reveal yourself to me tonight.”  As he prayed a man appeared before him with nail-pierced hands, saying, “How long will you deny me? I died for you; I have given my life for you.” He knew it was Christ. From that point on until his death he proclaimed the truth of the gospel message even in the midst of hardship and persecution in the Tibetan region.

As we read the words of Revelation we are reminded of this one man and countless others who gave their lives to serve and to reach the lost with the gospel message. Today as we read Revelation chapter 12 we find solace in one thing and that is once again God’s mercy is overflowing to the ones who recognize the Son of God as the Messiah. He will protect them and prepare a special place just as he did for Sundar in his travels about India and Tibet. He remained uncompromising in his faith and his walk for Jesus. And we must do that as well.

In the future miracles will prove that there are true believers through three acts/attitudes (1) the blood of the Lamb which they now know is their cleansing of sin, (2) the word of their testimony, (3) they did not love their lives so much that they would want to preserve it but rather will be willing to suffer and die for His Name’s Sake.

If we are faithful the words of Jesus will be a living reality: permission to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God, not be harmed by the second death, the hidden manna and a new name written in glory, authority over nations, a new white garment and his name forever etched in the book of life, and to join Christ upon his throne. [Rev 2&3]

We must be about the business of sharing and praying for the many who are even today being martyred for all of these three things. Are you/am I  prepared to be an overcomer this day? Cling to His promise: I will protect  you and I will never leave you nor forsake you.


J-Joy O-Others Y-You…that Spells Jesus Joy!

ImageYes it does spell that word joy but how does one live joyfully, how does one live righteously in a world that is turning upside down day by day?

Throughout history the Bible along with secular history records men/women who willingly chose to live righteously, (ex. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Peter and John, Jesus, Paul)  amidst unrighteous leaders and unrighteous governments. How were they able to stand tall, strong and brave? I often wonder if I could do the same? After reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s biography along with the examples from scripture I have come to some conclusions.   Image

First some principles: In Romans 12 Paul gives some basic life principles or life guides as to how to conduct ourselves as we live side by side with our family, our neighbors, our co-workers. Paul furthers this thought in 13: 9 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ which is the commandment Jesus gave the rich young ruler as well. When we have love for others all of our own personal ideas are tossed aside for we put others ahead of ourselves. It might be helpful to remember this simple equation to keep our priorities straight. 

“J –Jesus, O-Others, Y-Yourself = JOY.”

I noted that Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit placed our obligations to government between the obligations to others, [Rom 12:9-21 and Rom 13:8-14], which he followed by admonitions to godly conduct. I don’t think I ever saw that before!  Therefore, it behooves that we can surmise that our societal obligations to one another are the guide to how we live in an unrighteous world. When Jesus is first, others are second; we find that ourself falls nicely into the last spot with all humility. Jesus reminded us that when we render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars we can then render unto God the things that are God’s. (Matt 22:21). Thus know God’s Law and then know man’s law. When we follow God’s Law as the primary we can thus obey those that God has allowed and those that are not opposed to the supreme Law.

Our first mandate is to be the best citizen possible by obeying the governmental authorities over us for they are ordained and are in place by the will of God.  The second one is found in Rom 12:19 “as much as possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” The third one is found in 1Tim 2, again written by Paul, “I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority…(why) that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” Lastly, when the government is opposed to the ways of God one must take a stand as Peter and John did in Acts 4 “Peter and John replied, “Whether it is right before God to obey you rather than God, you decide,” Down through history we have seen men who, like Peter and John as well as many others like Daniel, took a stand and God honored their stand.  They chose God’s way over man’s way. The guiding principle is to obey the installed government until such time comes that it dishonors the Law of God given through Moses.

Now the reason why. The world is watching how we act, react, and respond. Our prayer must be that offered by the believers when Peter and John returned: “Lord, pay attention to their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your message with great courage.” Jesus is our prime example who when reviled did not revile in return. Paul and Jesus lived under monstrous rulers and yet they obeyed and encouraged us to do the same. We are then brought back to this Tit 2:12  “live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,” and how Romans began “The righteous will live by faith.”

My conclusion is this: May God grant us wisdom to live righteously this day and the days ahead.


Believers are God’s Tapestry [Eph 4]

ImageTapestry; what a beautiful word to describe the body of Christ, His church. A tapestry is a form of textile art, imitating paintings, which is woven so that there are two sets of interlaced threads, the warp which runs parallel to the length and the weft which is passed back and forth across all parts of the warps.  A tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible.

We as Christ’s church are a tapestry, being woven together uniquely. We are the weft of beautiful colors which make up a glorious representation which is on exhibit to the principalities and authorities in the heavenly realm as well as here on earth. And just as a tapestry utilizes many colors, many strands of threads to complete this “painting” so it takes many believers in Christ to be the strands, the threads,  used by the Holy Spirit to weave together Christ’s church. Thus, Paul charges the Ephesians and us in turn to be a weft thread by demonstrating the gifts of humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, and to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.

When you work on a tapestry you must have adequate light. The Holy Spirit is our light which illumines our understanding and allows us to see each thread for its color and beauty. If we work in the dark we are unable to see our design, the colors, the next warp to go under. So too when we are not in unity in the Body, Paul says we give the devil an opportunity and thus mar the tapestry being woven. Therefore, “he turns from exposition to exhortation, from what God has done (in the indicative), to what we must be and do (in the imperative), from doctrine to duty . . . from mind-stretching theology to its down-to-earth, concrete implications in everyday living” [Stott].

Speak truth, be angry and sin not and in fact do not let the sun go down upon your anger! Put away all bitterness, anger, wrath, quarreling and evil, slanderous talk. Instead, weave the threads of kindness one to another, compassionate, forgiving one another, Just as Christ also forgave you. Thus, “Christians must preserve the unity between believers that God has created in the church.”[Constable]

As a believer in Christ you are a weft thread.  Precious ones, let the Holy Spirit illumine your weaving so you are a glorious and beautiful tapestry for the entire world and those in the heavenly realms to see!

“Are You Worth the Taste Test?” Colossians 4

ImageThere is an old adage which says “open mouth, insert foot” which has the meaning of speaking before thinking. So how does that fit with today’s reading in Colossians? It shows us that no matter where God has placed you, you can be a Paul! Sequestered in a Roman jail, Paul used every opportunity to teach his beloved followers so that they may carry on the work. Thus, Paul gives his readers three imperatives with one need:

Imperative: Be devoted to prayer. The word devoted has the idea of pursuing a particular passion. The synonyms of dedicate carries with it a solemn purpose and consecrate gives us the idea of being set apart. Believers are to determine that they will be devoted. Adam Clarke: “Prayer requires more of the heart than the tongue.” This prayer devotion must be accompanied by alertness and thanksgiving which reminds us of Jesus in the Garden prior to His trial. Mat 26:41 Stay awake and pray that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Need: Pray for us in your time with God. Pray that God will open a door for us so we can proclaim the message of Christ. Charles Finney “ Effective prayer is prayer that attains what it seeks. It is prayer that moves God, affecting its end.”

Imperative: Conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders. You may be the only Bible unbelievers read so be on guard as you walk and talk and 1Pe 3:15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.

Imperative: Let your speech be seasoned with salt. As you season foods to preserve them and to add flavor so you should be seasoned with the Fruit of the Spirit. We might ask ourselves: Are we just tasty enough to lead people to crave more? That is the picture Paul is presenting here.

Today, did you spend time in prayer for yourself, for others, for the lost? Watch yourself today and listen to your words. Be on guard as the world is watching and the time is short.