Proverbs 8 10-8-21

The message of reconciliation is based upon God’s love for us. He wants us to show the world His love.

35 For those who find me find life and receive favor [blessing, love] from the LORD.

Yesterday, we ended our passage in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, but there is one more thing I would like to share concerning verse 21,

God made him who had no sin [became the Representative of] sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus didn’t have to die; He chose to die. God did not kill Him; the world establishment did (don’t believe me? Read Mark 15:1-15 and especially Acts 2:23). Jesus chose to take our sins to the grave. He showed how much God loved the world (John 3:16) by willingly laying down His life for all of us, even those who killed Him (John 10:17-18, 12:31-32).

When we look at His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, we find that He was asking God for another way (Matthew 26:39, 42), yet, we know that He knew that He had come to earth for the very purpose of showing God’s love to everyone and expressing that love in His sacrifice on the cross,

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” John 12:27-28

That voice was heard by everyone around, but it was misinterpreted by the crowd. Jesus’ next statement clears up the matter,

29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. 30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

What they heard was God confirming His love for His Son, and His participation in the coming events. God the Father was going to receive glory through the Son. How? By Jesus allowing Himself to be killed by the world establishment in order to take on Himself the consequences of sin for all mankind. What God was showing was His love for His Son, and His eternal love for His creation, a love so strong and so deep that He was willing to die for them. A good way to put it is, “Lose my children? Never! I would rather die first.” He even put off the consequences of all sin that happened before the cross so that they could participate in that forgiveness (Romans 3:25).

What does this love mean to us? It means that we can trust God. He will always give “good and perfect gifts from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). It means that the bad things that happen to us are caused by sin in this world and by our own choices. God doesn’t cause those bad things, but He promises to walk with us through them (Hebrews 13:5) and to bring good from them (Romans 8:28). It means that the church and the Gospel are triumphant and will continue to be triumphant until Christ comes to rule His kingdom that is growing within us and in the world.

We are now righteous. Let’s be His ambassadors to this world and increase His kingdom.

Abba, thank You for calling us to be part of Your kingdom. Thank You for growing Your kingdom within us. May we share the good news of reconciliation to those around us, so that they, too, can have You and Your kingdom within them. “May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven.” Amen.

Proverbs 8 9-8-21

It’s not what you know, but who you know, namely Christ Jesus. He is the Key to everything.

22 The LORD chose Me, appointed Me, anointed Me, and sacrificed Me as the first of His works [of salvation], before His deeds of old [creation];

If we want to know God, we must get to know Jesus. Colossians 2:9 tells us that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity [God the Father] lives in bodily form.” Jesus IS God. John 1:1-3 says that Jesus is the Word, and the Word is God, therefore Jesus is God. This “Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” He was God, but also the “Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. “Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough.’ Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know Me, Philip, even after I have been with you such a long time? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father...Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me?'” John 14:8-10. We have been given fullness in Christ. Fulness of what? Christ Himself! Colossians 2:10.

We come to understand the love of God and the full riches of complete understanding of Christ through experience. We must experience life with Christ. Doing things for Christ doesn’t qualify. We must do these things WITH Christ. His Spirit within us IS Christ. He is the One who reveals everything as we go through everything with Him. If He is not in charge, then He remains quiet and we miss the opportunity to learn from the experience. He will have to take us through it again WITH Him so that we may learn the lesson He has for us, the wisdom we are to gain, and the experiential knowledge of Christ that He wants to reveal to us.

Colossians 2:2-3 and 6-7 give us all this information. Let’s read it:

How I long that you may be encouraged, and find out more and more how strong are the bonds of Christian love. How I long for you to grow more certain in your knowledge and more sure in your grasp of God himself. May your spiritual experience become richer as you see more and more fully God’s great secret, Christ himself! For it is in him, and in him alone, that men will find all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. J.B. PHILIPS

Just as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so go on living in him—in simple faith. Grow out of him as a plant grows out of the soil it is planted in, becoming more and more sure of the faith as you were taught it [experientially], and your lives will overflow with joy and thankfulness.

Hint: Reading Colossians 2:1-15 in several different translations and paraphrases will give the reader a fuller grasp of the text’s meaning. What else will we find?

  1. Our whole self that was ruled by the flesh was put off [discarded] when Christ circumcised our hearts upon salvation.
  2. God made us alive WITH Christ. That’s HUGE!
  3. Jesus canceled our debt by nailing it to the cross.
  4. He disarmed the powers and authorities of Satan, triumphing over them by the cross.

Powerful passage! It’s worth spending a few days soaking up the meaning of each truth given in it. Let’s see: Encouraged hearts, knowing the mystery of God (which is Christ), hidden treasures of experiential knowledge, strengthened faith that is overflowing with joy and thankfulness, having the fullness of Christ dwell in us, made alive WITH Christ, and having our sin debt completely erased…it doesn’t get any better than these! Aren’t you glad you know Christ personally? They are all yours through and with Him!

Abba, what wondrous works You have wrought! Thank You for making Yourself available to each of us through Your Spirit. May I learn each of these wonderful truths and learn to manifest them in my life. I’m ready, Lord! Lead the way. Amen.

Proverbs 8 8-8-21

Guidelines for reading Proverbs 8. Sometimes we need a little perspective.

9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge [of the holy One-9:10].

When I read chapter 8, there are two things I keep in mind:

  1. Jesus is “wisdom from God” – 1 Corinthians 1:30, “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
  2. Jesus is the Word – John 1:1, 14, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” “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.”

The conclusion I reach is that Jesus is the wisdom that is speaking in this chapter. As I read it, the meanings of the verses take on a whole new dimension and application when I consider that Christ is speaking to me through them. For instance:

  • v. 10 “Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold.” Christ’s instruction would be the Holy Spirit’s leading in my life. Knowledge of Him would be getting to know the Spirit within me. Both are better than anything this world can offer.
  • v. 17 “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” By loving Christ, I have the privilege of being loved by Him. In John, I find out that to be loved by the Son is to be loved by the Father (John 14:21). I also have the promise that if I seek Him, then I will find Him. “My heart [His Spirit] says to me, ‘Seek HIs face.’ Your face, O LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8.
  • When we read verses 22-29, the meaning of the terms, “brought forth” and “given birth,” can be better translated as, “appointed” and “anointed” as in a ceremony. He was “established” and “poured out,” “chosen” and “presented.” Jesus was not created, but appointed to be God’s emissary to earth for our sakes.
  • v. 30 I love the phrase, “I was constantly at His side” as “I was the craftsman at His side.” We have confirmation of this interpretation in John 1:2-3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:2-3, and Revelation 22:13.
  • v. 36 reminds me of John 3:18, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

The last thing I want to point out is that as we read this chapter, we need to have open hearts and open minds to Him. He wants to clarify that He really does run the universe and is qualified to run our lives. At the same time, He wants our cooperation–more than that, He wants our trust. Neither does He want to do it alone; He wants our companionship. Let’s give it to Him!

Abba, May You continue to speak to us through Your Word. Thank You for making it available to us for over 3,000 years! That, in itself, is a miracle that cannot be explained!!! May we never take it for granted, but read it faithfully, listening for Your voice in the words, and hearing that whisper of Your love as we turn the pages. Amen.

Proverbs 8 7-8-21

Ever wondered if God chooses who gets saved? Or, does He hope that people will? It has everything to do with free will.

1 Does not wisdom [NT- the Gospel] call out Does not understanding raise her voice? 6 “Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. 7 My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. 10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her [choosing Christ].”

There are plenty of verses that indicate that the Holy Spirit has to move in a person’s life in order for that person to even want to be saved. Then, the process of salvation is actually the activity of the Spirit in a person’s life. After that, it’s up to the Spirit to keep us until our salvation is complete upon entry into the kingdom of heaven. Here are some verses:

44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:44

65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” John 6:65

27 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:27

14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. Acts 16:14

So, who gets chosen? Let’s look at a few verses and see:

32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:32

16 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. 17 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

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:3-4

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. Titus 2:11

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

What is it that God looks for in a person? We find that answer in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” According to Jesus, we have one job: “The work of God is this: to believe in [trust in, rely on, wholly commit to] the one He has sent [Jesus].” But, if a person cannot come unless God enables him, how is a person saved? “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17). So, once a person has heard the message, the Spirit of God takes over. If a person asks God to give him faith to believe in Jesus for salvation, I trust that He will. It’s a confirmation of the Spirit’s presence and participation in that person’s life.

But, not all people take God up on His offer of salvation. We need only to look at the Parable of the Sower to understand the tendency of humanity (read Mark 4:1-20, also Luke 14:15-24).

Our job is to spread the message of Christ. How? By becoming involved in people’s lives and looking for opportunities to share Christ with them. How are you doing in this department? Maybe it’s time we broke out of our protective shells and got busy!

Abba, may I be the first to address this issue in my life. I plan to do it today with Angela, a girl I met yesterday because of an auto accident I witnessed. May I meet her physical needs concerning her car, and then her spiritual needs concerning Jesus. Prime her heart, Lord Jesus. I’m looking forward to the opportunity. Amen.

34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love [court] death.”

Proverbs 8 6-8-21

How can a person tell if he is a Christian, which is a follower of Jesus Christ, His Spirit, and His teachings? #1

10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

The first thing we need to know is that Christians are different. We are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). In fact, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” 1 Peter 2:10. We are the people of God! How can we tell who the people of God are? Let’s look at it from an individual perspective:

Number 1:
There was a point in time when Jesus came to you
and prompted you to give Him your heart and life
–and you did, holding nothing back.

The passage that us usually used for this process is Romans 10:9-13,

9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

We must view this passage from a Jewish perspective. Their sin was covered by an animal sacrifice, which they had to do again and again. Jesus is our Final Sacrifice. Believing that God raised Him from the dead is the same as declaring that Jesus is Ha’Mashiach, the Messiah. To be Messiah is to be Lord, King, even God! He is not Someone we receive and then go, “Okay, now I can get on with my life knowing that I have eternal security.” NO! As Lord and God, King and Messiah, He commands our loyalty, our devotion, even our lives. Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, is who we believe in, trust in, and follow. We are promised that everyone who calls on Him as his Final Sacrifice will be saved, made whole, be complete, and be eternally secure.

From now on, when we get up in the morning, the very first thought and words from our mouths should be, “Jesus is Lord.” He is our Lord, our Master, our Savior. This thought and prayer will bring you great joy and assurance as you go through your day engaging Your Lord in conversation throughout the day.

Remember this: We are no longer under the sacrificial system; We ARE forgiven (we live in forgiveness). When we struggle to obey, we no longer plea for forgiveness, but for correction and the restoration of fellowship with the Spirit. Our confession daily is: We Need Jesus!

Abba, I pray for my readers that they would understand that they are forgiven and are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. May we take great pleasure in this process even though it can be rigorous and sometimes painful. We look forward to the goal, which is to be like Christ and, ultimately, with Christ and You in glory. Amen.

Proverbs 8 5-8-21

Meeting the Savior is more important than gaining salvation. Consider it a by-product; it’s what we get by knowing Him.

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

Did you notice that it’s all about finding Him? And this is Old Testament! Jesus said, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. It’s all about the relationship.

Today, we look at the first category of spiritual growth, the spiritually dead. We come into this world with the blood of Adam in us, which means that we are born into the same spiritual condition of Adam: Sans-Spirit (without the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives). The Lord continuously works with people to bring them to a place of awareness of this vacuum. What we do about that vacuum once we perceive it is according to each person. This choice is called, “free will.” God will not force a person to trust in Him, even though there are a few people whose testimonies may seem that way, like John the Baptist, who was filled with the Spirit even while in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). Our choice to trust Christ is made outside of time with a corresponding place inside of time, or on the timeline. God, who lives in the ever-present, is both places at once; He is always NOW. It’s what “I AM” means (Exodus 3:14). Therefore, God knew that John would trust Him. King David is another example (Psalm 139).

The problem is that we have an enemy, Satan, who comes to us and gets us to doubt God. Because we have never experienced Jesus in our lives through the Holy Spirit, we tend to lean toward wickedness (doing things without regard to God or His instructions and commands). Satan gets us to focus on what feels good (pleasure), and leads us to believe that we can be our own god (1 John 2:16). What we don’t realize is that we are actually serving Satan; it’s a deception. We cannot serve two masters, but WE WILL SERVE SOMEONE (Matthew 6:24).

What God wants a person to realize is that it is not in the fulfillment of pleasure that completes us, nor in human relationships. It is in a personal, intimate, and ongoing relationship with God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. He becomes our Source of love, joy, peace, hope and grace. Once a person has experienced these fruit of the Spirit that flow from His person, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace” (the refrain from, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”).

His forgiveness awaits anyone who will turn to Him. He has paid the price for our sin (our wickedness, selfish desires, rebellion and treason). Why? Because He wants us back! It really is that simple.

For those of us who have turned to Him and trusted Him as our Savior and Lord, we rejoice every time we go over these truths. They warm us up all over again! Let us praise our Father and His Son for such a wonderful salvation.

Abba, I give You praise for Your wondrous salvation through Jesus. I realize that it’s not salvation that I sought, but You, Jesus. You are my Savior. Going to heaven when I die is a by-product of my knowing You. In fact, all death is to me is a removing of the barriers that keep me from experiencing You more completely. May You reveal more and more of Yourself to us through prayer, Scripture reading, and spending time with the rest of Your body, the Church (Ephesians 1:22-23). We love You. Amen.

Proverbs8 4-8-21

How does the New Covenant relate to us? Through Jesus, we can now experience the love, joy and peace of God.

20 I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, 21 bestowing a rich [spiritual] inheritance on those who love me and making their [heavenly] treasuries full.

As we continue to delve into the mysteries of this New Covenant, let’s take a look at some of the practical ways it affects us. I don’t know about you, but I need practical application in order to more fully understand a concept. Let’s begin with Romans 5:1-2,

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. 

We believe in the resurrection, so we have faith that Jesus gave us peace with God by being our propitiation (substitute offering) through His death and resurrection. We have experienced His grace! It’s not that God hated us and is not appeased; He has always loved us and personally came to us in/as Jesus Christ. God died for us through Jesus. That’s how much He loves us (John 3:16). Our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for us is what gives us peace with God. We now have access to stand in His presence and experience all of His love, joy, peace, and the hope that these feelings bring to us as we walk in this world. If you are not experiencing these fruit of the Spirit, then spend time with Him at His throne; it’s the only way to get them.

Tomorrow, we will read Romans 5:12 and look at how this New Covenant fulfilled God’s eternal plan. In the meantime, take great assurance in the peace of God by spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer. It’s in our exchange with Him that we receive His point of view (wisdom). Your reward in heaven will be great!

Abba, I want to “rejoice and leap” as it says in Luke 6:23! As I spend time in Your presence by turning around in my mind and addressing You, I immediately sense Your love, joy and peace that exude from You. I KNOW it’s what You want me to experience all the time; I just need more training in how to keep You at the forefront of my mind. Train me, O Lord, so that I may train others. Amen.

Proverbs 8 3-8-21

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Hebrews 13:8. He has always wanted us back.

27 When he [the Father] prepared the heavens, I [Jesus Christ] was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I [Jesus Christ]
was the craftsman by his side day after day, and I [Jesus Christ] was filled with delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. Proverbs 8:27-31 (compiled from several versions)

So, when Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago…” we know that He was the One who said it. He knew what He meant; He needed no one to interpret for Him. Jesus came to explain the Law and then fulfill it. Read on!

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ [an Aramaic term of contempt] is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ [an even worse term of contempt] will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:21-22

Jesus was, of course, talking about the Israelites at Mount Sinai when the 10 Commandments were given. I think He phrased it that way so that the people were forced to remember what they knew about the event. It brought from the subconscious to the conscious more than what would have been thought of if He had simply said, “When God gave the 10 Commandments, He said…” Jesus immediately set the record straight that it was not just about the actual act of murder, but also about the thoughts and intents of the heart. If we want to be like God, then we must think like Him. Since only the Spirit knows the mind of the Lord (1 Cor. 2:11), then we need the Spirit with us and in us. Hence, the cross, resurrection, and Pentecost.

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

Jesus then gives an example of a good time to forgive: Before coming before the Father with an offering. He was still talking to Jews who bought sacrifices to the temple in Jerusalem. What Jesus was asking was BIG. Consider that you are from Nazareth and are in Jerusalem about to offer your annual sheep at the temple and the Lord brings to mind a fellow Jew who thinks you cheated him. Jesus is saying that you should leave your sheep with someone in Jerusalem and make the trek back home (70 miles), reconcile to that person, and then return and give your offering. Jesus was saying that reconciliation was a more proper sacrifice to God than the sheep. He would know.

Verses 25 and 26 we will save for tomorrow. Good stuff there.

Abba, may we take our offering as seriously as Jesus wants us to take it. May we not only forgive those who do us wrong, but be reconciled with them (if they are willing); the first is a heart issue while the second is a fellowship issue. Thank You, Jesus, for setting the record straight. We want to be like You because that makes us like our heavenly Father. Give us more, Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 8 2-8-21

To make disciples, we first need to be disciples. Following Jesus from afar doesn’t cut it. We need to be up close and personal.

6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.
9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.

Our job as Christians is to evangelize the world. What does that mean? It means that we are to spread the account of Jesus Christ and His message with those we come into contact. You might say, “That’s impossible! Even Billy Graham didn’t share with everyone he came into contact.” Correct. So, we must have an incomplete view of what it means to share Christ. Jesus said for us to be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). Paul called us the fragrance and aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14-16).

We get our marching orders from Jesus on the Mount of Olives just before He ascended to heaven, “All authority has been given to me, so go, and as you go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I promise to be with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20. Paul puts it like this, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1.

How did Jesus call His own disciples? Let’s look:

  • Peter and Andrew, James and John- “Come, follow Me and I will send you out to fish for people.” Matthew 4:19.
  • Philip-“Follow Me.” John 1:43.
  • Matthew-“Follow Me.” Matthew 9:9.
  • The rest were appointed out of the ones who were following Him as a group-“He appointed twelve that they might be with Him…” Mark 3:14.

In each case, Jesus called them to walk with Him, to learn from Him, and to be like Him. This process is True Discipleship. Wherever did we get the idea that evangelism was having people pray a prayer? How did the process get boiled down to just one act? Where’s the commitment? Where’s the footwork?

Let’s go back further to Moses. Here’s what the LORD said to him, “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” Exodus 4:12. How about Abraham? “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1. What about Noah? Genesis 6:9-14 says that Noah was a righteous man who walked faithfully with God. It was out of one of these conversations that God told him to build the ark. Again, it was part of discipleship.

There is the office of evangelism (Ephesians 4:11-12). Evangelism is the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ; it is a call to repentance and change; it is a call to follow Christ. There are people who are called to be evangelists. Take Peter, for instance:

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:36-38

Peter had the occasion (the festival of Pentecost–all male Israelites were required to attend), the sign (tongues of fire and individual languages), the motivation (Jesus had told him to spread the Gospel), and the opportunity (all were gathered in the temple grounds for the sacrifice). These are the things we are to look for when sharing the Gospel:

  1. The occasion– “as you go…”
  2. The sign– There will be something that triggers the opportunity.
  3. The motivation– We listen to the Spirit and He prompts us and empowers us.
  4. The opportunity– We wait for the Spirit to present the right time and circumstances, the right people and the right frame of mind.

If we walk with the LORD everyday, all day, if we immerse ourselves in His Scriptures and plead with the Holy Spirit to open our minds to Him, if we converse with our brothers and sisters in Christ about the things of God, then we will find that we, too, are evangelists, and that we, too, are disciple-makers. As we walk in step with Christ, He will lead us and will present these opportunities to us. We don’t have to “conjure them up.” In fact, forcing the issue creates issues (Acts 19:13-16, the seven sons of Sceva). When the time is right and the people are ready, He will let us know.

What happens after evangelism? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s lesson on Discipleship: the True calling of Christ’s followers.

Abba, You are so faithful to keep Your word. Thank You that You don’t expect us to do anything that You do not first call us and then empower us to do. We can trust You in this matter of evangelism and also in discipleship. May You train us up in true righteousness and holiness so that we can show others The Way. Amen.

Proverbs 1-8-21

Which comes first, our love for Christ or following His commands? We serve because we love Him, but show that love through service.

1 Does not wisdom [the Spirit] call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?

Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost.” We were lost, but now we are found. What does our salvation mean personally? Jesus describes it in John 14:15-21,

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Let’s squeeze these verses and get the nectar out of them:

  1. If you love me- We love Him because He first loved us (also 1 John 4:19).
  2. Keep my commands- Jesus’ call on our lives is for us to live righteously. We can only do that if we listen to Him and live like Him. The point of our salvation is to be like Jesus, with Jesus.
  3. Another advocate…forever- He’s speaking of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. He is also mentioned in John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7-8, and John 16:13-15.
  4. For He lives in you and will be in you- This verse right here makes Christianity what it is. Our personal relationship with the Father is stated and described in these words. Want to know the difference between Christianity and Buddhism? Hinduism? Islam? New Age? Here it is!
  5. I will come to you- Lest we think that the Spirit and Jesus are two different people, Jesus superimposes Himself over the Spirit. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Christ, yet He is a distinct part of the Trinity. WOW!
  6. But you will see Me- This statement is both literal and figurative. It is literal in that Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples after the resurrection (see 1 Corinthians 15:4-8 for a list) and it is figurative in that we “see” Him by knowing Him personally in our lives. We “see” Him in Scripture when we read His Word; we hear His voice when He talks to us; we feel His hand on our backs when He urges us on, and we feel His arms around us when we need a hug. I LOVE THIS VERSE!
  7. I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you- Folks, it doesn’t get more intimate than that!
  8. The one who loves me- The way we show our love for Christ is first by having His commands (in other words, we learn them from His Words: the Bible) and then by keeping them. Aren’t we glad that He doesn’t hold us to the Law as it was before He came?! Instead, He gives us just one new command: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” John 13:34-35.
  9. Loved by my Father- We are loved by His Father! Isn’t that great?! In fact, we have been adopted by Him! Jesus also promises that He loves us and will show Himself to us. I live for this promise. How about you?

Today, let’s show Jesus how much we love Him by spending time with Him in prayer, in His Word, and with other Christians sharing and testifying to each other. Then, when He brings someone to us, we can share out of our storehouse all the good things we know about Christ so that they can experience Him, too.

Abba, I love this passage. It tells me who I am in You and that You are with–even in–me. My security is…well, secure. Thank You for being so plain; I need that. May I show You how much I love You be obeying Your commands as You lead me with Your counsel. Amen.

Proverbs 8 12-8-20

Things I have learned having COVID19: God uses everything that occurs in our lives to draw us to Himself in relationship.

5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.

To pray for God to keep us from getting COVID is to ask Him to not use the very thing that He may be planning to use to draw us into a closer and deeper walk with Him. At the same time, He wants to hear our hearts–but then, for us to trust Him for whatever comes next.

We forget that He wants us with Him in glory. That is HIS goal for us (John 17:24). In the meantime, as long as He has plans for us to further His kingdom in this world and to learn to walk with Him in Spirit and in truth, we are bulletproof–until He says otherwise, and as long as we do things His way. Notice I did NOT say that we wouldn’t suffer, only that we will not die until He is ready to receive us. Even our deaths bring Him glory.

  1. We have no fear of death because He has defeated death! 1 Corinthians 15:54-58.
  2. We have no fear of pain:
    1. Our bodies are designed to “shut down” when pain reaches a certain level. We go into shock; we can still function at a certain level, but the pain is muted.
    2. I believe that there is a thinning of the veil between heaven and earth in times of extreme pain. Our souls experience a taste of glory, which mitigates the pain. We see it in Stephen when he is stoned (Acts 7:55-60).
  3. We have no fear of uselessness. To be limited to prayer alone is NOT a punishment, but a liberation! From that point on, we commune with our LORD on an ever-deepening level that moves us into oneness with Him. In fact, there may be a point when even consciousness is abandoned in relation to this communion. We have no idea what goes on spiritually when a person is in a coma. My hope is that the LORD is doing a deep work with that person’s soul.

It is interesting to realize that the universe goes on without me. I yearn to get back to leading, singing, teaching, and playing with my grandchildren, but I also understand that the LORD has plans for me that go beyond my understanding. I simply want to learn all I can from everything I go through. God doesn’t waste any opportunity; I don’t want to, either.

Abba, my whole experience with COVID has been typical; for that I am grateful. May I come out of this sickness with a better understanding of You, of suffering, the plight of humanity, and the salvation/restoration You have in store for those who love You and for creation. May our sites be a little more focused on You and Your Plan as we deal with COVID. Amen.

Proverbs 8 11-8-20

Don’t give in to despair. Recognize that it’s the enemy trying to get you to give up and give in. KEEP PRAYING!

13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.

When we are tempted to give up and say, “What’s the use?” is when we are close to having victory in our lives. It’s like Satan’s last defense; he has tried to block us at every turn, but we have been diligent. Now, he tries to convince us that we don’t matter, that our opinion doesn’t matter, that our vote doesn’t matter, and that our prayers don’t matter. But, THEY DO!

When Paul was talking to Timothy, he encouraged him with these words,

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Timothy 4:13-15

Do you hear Paul saying, “Don’t give up. Keep pressing on”? In fact, those same words are spoken by Paul about himself in his letter to the Philippians,

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

When we are tempted to say, “What’s the use?”, we must remember that our calling by the LORD is NOT to change the world, but to be obedient to Him. HE will change the world. We are simply to be obedient. How?

  1. Through prayer. It’s our connection to Him. Our fellowship with Him gives us nourishment for our souls. He is the Vine and we are His branches. The phrase, “suck it up,” should take on new meaning for us!
  2. Do what He tells us to do. He will draw our attention to whatever it is; we will have the thought, “I should do that.” We check with the Spirit one more time, and if there is no “check in our spirit”, we do it. We don’t even have to consider whether or not it will make a difference. The boy with five loaves of bread and two small fishes didn’t consider his contribution small–it was his lunch!
  3. Be diligent. In other words, keep at it. Be obstinate, even dogmatic about the LORD’s will. If we are going to be known for something, our diligence and integrity are the BEST things. I would rather someone say, “Well, you can say this about him, he’s consistent,” than have words of flattery said about me. The only Person I want to please is the LORD.

Here are two verses to encourage us:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Consider Him [Jesus Christ] who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:3

Based upon these two verses, we should continue to resist the devil and be encouraged as we pray through whatever “problems” we are having in our lives. I put “problems” in quotations because they are really obstacles in an obstacle course; taken on correctly, they become the very tools that the Spirit uses to train us in godliness. Let’s not have to take this course again…!

Abba, I pray encouragement for my brothers and sisters. May they not grow weary in coming to You about all things. May their fellowship with You be sweet, especially as they read Your Word and hear Your voice. May their praise be genuine and fresh today as we meet together in our respective churches. We delight in You, O LORD. Amen.

Keep On Walking – The Imperials

Proverbs 8 10-8-20

Wisdom: Jesus IN the Word. When we read, He speaks to us; we find Him in each page; He speaks to us in them!

This chapter is awesome in that we are introduced to how the Word of God can change our lives. Wisdom is seeing from God’s perspective. It’s standing right beside Him looking where He’s looking and having Him explain it to us.

1 Does not wisdom [the Spirit] call out? Does not understanding [His explanation] raise her voice?
4 “To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind [all who will listen].
6 Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right.”

We are always being shaped by what we see, hear and experience. How we are shaped depends on our temperament, personality, goals, and if we have the Holy Spirit living in us.

12 I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence [right choices]; I possess knowledge and discretion [how to make those right choices].
13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance–whoa!–evil behavior and perverse speech.

Jesus has given us living words, which are accounts of His life and what is important to Him. Salvation is based upon dying to ourselves and having Him live in us and through us (Galatians 2:20). If that’s not your goal, then you became a Christian for the wrong reasons. In fact, the first sign (fruit) of the Spirit in our lives when we are saved–and each morning when we get up–is to experience His presence by reading His Word and learning about Him. His Spirit gives us an insatiable desire to know Christ through the Scriptures.

Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:24b
30 I was the Craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind.

If you don’t have this burning desire to read His Word and “study to show yourself approved (2 Timothy 2:15),” then there are worries in this life, deceitfulness of wealth, and desires for other things that have come into your life and are choking you. You are unfruitful (see Mark 4:19).

32 Now then, my children, listen to Me; blessed are those who keep my ways [by learning them].
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it.

Know this: God prunes His vines. He will cut off in our lives the leaves and stems that are diseased or are sucking life-giving nutrients out of us.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“He [the Father] binds up every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 5:2

Are you frustrated with church? Read.
Are you concerned about where you are spiritually? Read.
Are you perplexed concerning the choices of your children? Read.

“Those who know [God] read.”

It’s time, folks. We MUST get serious about living our lives for Him. Our country depends upon our faithfulness; our children are depending upon our faithfulness! It ALL starts with a repentant heart and a willingness to pick up His Word and discover Him in the pages. He will do the rest!

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges [discerns] the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Abba, as I’ve already prayed this morning, I ask that You give my readers an insatiable desire to know Your Word. It has the power to transform their lives into mature and godly ambassadors for You. May our conversations at church move away from earthly matters and become conversations about what we’ve read lately in Your Word. WOW! What a paradigm shift!!! I look forward to the day, LORD. May it be soon. Amen.

Proverbs 8 9-8-20

We don’t have to have the Bible to know God, but it sure makes it easier! The Spirit speaks to us through it.

5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, your hearts on it and instruct your minds.
9 To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.
17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

Let’s practice by taking a passage from King David’s Psalm 143.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground.
NOTE: This passage is on a card that I read every morning.

What can we learn?

  1. Each morning brings us word of His unfailing love. It’s in His Word for the reading. He has provided it for us if we will take advantage of it.
  2. What we read in the Bible we take as truth, not because it’s in the Bible, but because we believe that God orchestrated its writing, kept it protected all these millennia, and makes it available to us today.
  3. Why should we trust that the Bible–New Testament especially–is how God shows us the way to go? Peter himself told us, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16. Matthew, Peter (through Mark), John, Paul, James and Jude all walked with Jesus. They had special knowledge of having learned from Him. Luke gathered many of the stories of people who walked with Jesus (I believe he talked to Mary; it’s the only way to explain Luke’s intimate knowledge of the Advent). His testament was verified and validated by those who walked with Jesus and were still living. Why shouldn’t we believe that God will speak to us through His Word? He did with David and with Jesus.
  4. How do we hide ourselves in God’s Word? By immersing ourselves in it and learning it inside and out. We can’t know too much of God’s Word. Why? Because it’s alive! “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. How does it penetrate so deeply? “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”1 Corinthians 2:13. His Spirit leads us on level ground as He teaches us to do God’s will.

Our obedience IS God’s will for our lives.

Let’s do all we can to know God. Let’s read His Word, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, and share it with others. We can’t go wrong knowing the Scriptures, for in them we find our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We “study the Scriptures diligently because we think that in them we have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me,” (John 5:39) so let’s come to Him for life. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Where did I learn this? From Jesus’s words, which were written down by John as he heard Jesus say them (recorded in John 14:6).

Abba, it breaks my heart when Christians are not interested in learning about You in Your Word. It would seem that if they truly believed that You came to earth and died for them that You would be worth reading about in Your Word that You so graciously provided for them! Cause us to hunger and thirst after righteousness, O LORD. We need You to give us both the desire and the power to seek You. Create in us clean hearts, O God, and renew a right spirit within us. Amen.

NOTE: Statistics show that people who read the Bible four or more times a week experience life change. Are YOU experiencing life change?


Proverbs 8 8-8-20

Are we fighting the good fight? Are we intentionally “taking up arms” against our enemies: Self and Satan?

5 You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.

The catch is that we ALL are simple [“gullible, without moral direction and inclined to evil” (my note on the bottom of the page in my Bible)] and foolish. We don’t ordinarily look for the godly way to do things. Satan would like to keep us in the dark spiritually. Therefore, we must assume that there is a spiritual battle going on behind the scenes in every circumstance and difficulty.

  1. If it is our own fault, then the battle is in our own souls for dominance. We are rebellious in nature. We must drop to our knees immediately and allow Christ back on the throne of our hearts!
  2. If it is someone else’s fault, then we must drop to our knees immediately and ask for wisdom and discernment on how to handle the matter. We ALWAYS deal in compassion and love even if we must mete out justice. For the most part, leaning toward mercy and grace is the best way to go.
  3. If it is circumstances, then we accept that bad things happen in this decaying world, and that God has allowed these circumstances. Therefore, we drop to our knees and ask for insight and direction concerning what to do next.

May all we do bring glory and honor to Him as we wage war on every argument (whether in our heads or by someone) and bring it captive to Christ.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Look at all the promises we are given if we do:

  1. We find all of wisdom’s words to be true, just, right and upright (vs7-9)
  2. We will find wisdom, which is seeing from God’s perspective (v17).
  3. Spiritual riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity await us (v18).
  4. The treasuries of our hearts will be made full (21).
  5. We will be blessed (v34).
  6. We will find true life and favor from the LORD (35).

May we seek Him today in His Word as He prompts us to read, study, ponder, and live His instructions. If you haven’t been doing so, then TODAY is a great time to START!

Abba, may You move in our hearts today prompting us to read Your Word, to study it, to ponder it as we ask You to explain its meaning, and then to put it into practice in our lives. Your Word is TRUTH. May we guard it and allow it to guide us even as You speak to us through it. I’ll be listening. “Speak, LORD, Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Amen.

Proverbs 8 7-8-20

My grandson, Jake, loves Legos. He builds all kinds of stuff with them. Each verse in the Bible is like a Lego….the Spirit builds all kinds of knowledge and wisdom, understanding and discernment into our lives with them.

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.
32 Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.

A verse (it’s actually two verses, but one sentence) that means a lot to me is 2 Timothy 3:16-17. It explains why the Word of God is so important and what it does in my life–actually, it’s what the Spirit does with the words of God as He applies them to my life. Here’s the verse:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

You are the Favorite Big Brother, the Benevolent Master,
the Ultimate Boss, and the Good Drill Sergeant.

The Favorite Big Brother (Teaching)- We are forever learning, and Jesus helps us every step of the way, just like the Big Brother He is! From the moment of birth until we close our eyes for the last time, we are learning. It seems that we all learn the same basic lessons, too. The most important lesson we learn is that we are separated from God because of our sin. If we are concerned, then we will seek a solution to our problem. The Good News is that the Great Mystery has been made known to us! Let’s read it out of Ephesians:

[1:4] Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. [5] His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.
[2:1]Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. [2] You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. [3] All of us used to live that way, following the passions and desires of our evil nature. We were born with an evil nature, and we were under God’s anger just like everyone else.
[4] But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so very much, [5] that even while we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s special favor that you have been saved!) [6] For he raised us from the dead along with Christ, and we are seated with him in the heavenly realms—all because we are one with Christ Jesus.
[1:6] So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. [7] He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven. [8] He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding

To believe in Jesus, to take Him at His word, is to entrust our souls to Him. In doing so, we are purchased, resurrected, adopted, and showered with His kindness, wisdom and understanding. The entrance of the Holy Spirit into our hearts and lives is our resurrection. We become ONE with God! Why? Because of the Father’s great love for us, that’s why! Paul continues:

[3:14] When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,  [15] the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. [16] I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. [17] And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. [18] And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. [19] May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
[20] Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us [through His Spirit], he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. [21] May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen. 

We would benefit greatly to read these verses every day! I promise that the Holy Spirit will reveal something new EACH TIME we read them. By learning the words of God as the Spirit teaches us is to interact with God Himself. It’s what Jesus accomplished on the cross for us.

Tomorrow, we look at the Benevolent Master (Rebuke). It’s different than you think.

Abba, I love the way You teach me through Your Scriptures. It’s like having a living encyclopedia in my hands–wait, I DO have a living encyclopedia! You have so much You want to share; many times, I feel like my sponge is full. I know You recognized that look in the disciples’ eyes (John 16:12). May I make myself available to You often by reading Your Word, memorizing Your Word, and talking about Your Word with others. Amen.

Proverbs 8 6-8-20

Here is #10, part 3, of the Top 10 Things I Would Like to Say

Their importance is not necessarily rated, but their order has a flow to it. They move from initial contact to ultimate destiny.

  1. Absolute truth is based upon empirical, changeless evidence. When followed to its logical conclusion, it must stand the closest scrutiny.
  2. Debating Evolution vs. Creation does no one any good unless a person is willing to consider that the other person may be right.
  3. Faith comes by hearing; are you ready to listen?
  4. Why I believe in Jesus.
  5. We are designed to create, but not by ourselves. The Spirit wants to create with us!
  6. Every decision we make shifts our direction, vision, and course. How much depends upon the decision, and how long depends upon our own stubbornness.
  7. Jesus is Jewish.
  8. We owe quite a debt to Israel.
  9. Jesus is coming soon! How do we get ready?
  10. What awaits us in heaven?

18 With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.
35 For those who  find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

What awaits us in heaven? Part 3

The New Jerusalem-a real city.

We begin with Jesus’ promise that He was going to prepare a place for us. Here is His description:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3

Notice how literal Jesus is, “If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” What will this place look like? We get a pretty good picture of it from, again, John in Revelation 21:2 and 9-22:5. Now, we are the Church, the Bride of Christ. When paired with what Jesus told His disciples in the upper room, we have the dwelling place of Christ’s Bride, which is the Church–us! I don’t think we need to get any more symbolic than what the text says: The Bride of Christ is where the Bride lives. He is building us a mansion that is beyond comprehension! We will all dwell together in the New Jerusalem with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In fact, we will behold Jesus in all His glory as it was before He left heaven on His mission of grace (see John 17:24). 

Here are some dimensions of that city as described in Randy Alcorn’s book, “Heaven,” pages 250-251:

The city’s exact dimensions are measured by an angel and reported to be 12,000 stadia, the equivalent of 1,400 miles or 2,200 kilometers, in length, width, and height (Revelation 21:15-16). Even though these proportions may have symbolic importance, this doesn’t mean they can’t be literal. In fact, Scripture emphasizes that the dimensions are given in “man’s measurement” (Revelation 21:17). If the city really has these dimensions (and there’s no reason it couldn’t), what more could we expect God to say to convince us?

A metropolis of this size in the middle of the United States would stretch from Canada to Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the California border. The New jerusalem is all the square footage anyone could ask for.

Even more astounding is the city’s 1,400-mile height. Some people suggest this is the reach of the city’s tallest towers and spires, rising above buildings of lesser height. If so, they argue that it’s more like a pyramid than a cube.

We don’t need to worry that Heaven will be crowded. The ground level of the city will be nearly two million square miles. This is forty times bigger than England and fifteen thousand times bigger than London. It’s ten times as big as France or Germany and far larger than India. But remember, that’s just the ground level.

Given the dimensions of a 1,400-mile cube, if the city consisted of different levels (we don’t know this), and if each story were a generous twelve feet high, the city could have over 600,000 stories. If they were on different levels, billions of people could occupy the New Jerusalem, with many square miles per person. 

If these numbers are figurative, not literal (and that is certainly possible), surely they are still meant to convey that the home of God’s people will be extremely large and roomy.

The cube shape of the New Jerusalem reminds us of the cube shape of the Most Holy Place in the Temple (1 Kings 6:20), the three dimensions perhaps suggestive of the three persons of the Trinity. God will live in the city, and it is His presence that will be its greatest feature [emphasis added].

The graphic description of the walls, the gates, and the streets are reminiscent of Ezekiel’s vision in Ezekiel 1 where he describes the mobile throne of God. No one doubts that Ezekiel’s vision was exactly what he saw. I see no reason to believe John’s vision was anything else but what he saw, which was a literal building.

To me, the key is Jesus’ promise to come get us and take us to be with Him. Whether the New Jerusalem is literal or figurative, whatever Jesus has for us is beyond our wildest dreams! I have THAT in writing, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–” 1 Corinthians 2:9.

Abba, the description itself makes me want to go be with You. And to think that what You actually have in store for us is beyond comprehension blows my mind! I know I spend a lot of time thinking about heaven, but Lord, people need hope here in this world, and having a grasp on what heaven is like gives us hope. Please continue to reveal heaven to us even as You use us in Your plan here on this earth. We are Yours. Forever. Amen.

Proverbs 8 5-8-20

Do you consider your heart being changed daily? Can you perceive Christ transforming your life?

If we are being transformed in the image of Jesus Christ, then I want to be like this Person:

30 I was with him as someone he could trust.
For me, every day was pure delight,
as I played in his presence all the time,
31 playing everywhere on his earth,
and delighting to be with humankind.

This is how Jesus was at the beginning of time; it is how He wants us to be at the end of time. The best verse in the Bible to me is Matthew 19:28, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Granted, we won’t be judging the twelve tribes of Israel like the disciples will, but all the other things are true for us:

  1. EVERYTHING will be renewed! It will be like it was in the beginning. According to today’s Proverbs chapter, it’s amazing!!!
  2. Jesus will sit on His glorious throne–again. This time, in Jerusalem as heaven moves to earth, or more accurately, earth is annexed by heaven.
  3. We will rule, but not on that level. Paul tells us that we will judge the nations of the world (Revelation 2:27 and meaning) and even angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). It’s this type of work to which we get to look forward.

If Jesus is restoring all of nature back to its original design and we get to enjoy it as He did, I am SO looking forward to His Return! All we have to do is this:

To him who wins the victory and does what I want until the goal is reached… Revelation 2:26

What victory? The victory over sin and sinful people. How? By following Jesus closely and doing everything He leads us to do. Daily. Every minute. The benefit is that sweet fellowship to which He refers in 3:20, “I will eat with him and he with me.” The key to successful Christian living is found in verse 19: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” 

  1. Jesus loves us!
  2. Jesus won’t let us wander too far off the path.
  3. Being earnest means being sincere.
  4. Repent means to realign ourselves with Him. Anytime we realize that we are out of sync or off the path, we re-fix our eyes on Him and move back to His side.

May we set our sights on what is to come when He returns and not get bogged down with trying to make this world work for us. He has SO MUCH MORE in store for us. Let’s just get though this life and take as many souls with us as we go to be with Him.

Abba, I don’t want to sound fatalistic, but I really am counting on Your world being a MUCH BETTER place than this one. There is much joy and love here with family and my Christian family, but I also have an inkling of an idea of what it is GOING to be like in heaven and then back on this earth for the Millennium–and beyond! Patient endurance, LORD. Give me patient endurance. Amen.

Proverbs 8 4-8-20

Are you ready to take the Lord’s Supper with us tonight at 6:30? Pray up, or you will heap condemnation on yourself!

13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Passover this year is Saturday; obviously, we don’t follow the Jewish calendar concerning Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Instead, we follow customs established 1600 years ago. Are they correct? It doesn’t really matter. What matters is Jesus’ words, “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25 (Paul is quoting Jesus in Luke 22:19 with some elaboration). Since we are not held to customs, rituals, and feasts, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper several times a year. As we participate in the Lord’s Supper tonight, there is a question I would like for us to consider:

Do we have any selfish ambition or vain conceit in our hearts?

Before we answer, we must consider that both are buried deep within us and are actually what cause us to buck against God. They are rooted in pride and arrogance. Consider these verses:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Philippians 2:3-4

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

Let us confess these deep attitudes and ask the LORD to give us wisdom from Him:

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18

Let’s not kid ourselves. The reason we do most of the things we do is because we want to do them. I pray that the Holy Spirit would help me die to myself to the point that I want what He wants. It’s not something I can sustain–yet. I am hoping that I can attain it before I die (literally). It’s at least my goal. Join me in this endeavor. He died for us; can’t we live for Him?

Abba, as I prepare for tonight’s celebration, may I once again pledge myself to die so that You can live through me. Please help me to move beyond how I feel to what I know according to Your Word, and what I sense and hear from You. I take Your blood as a sign of receiving Your salvation, and I take Your body as my pledge to live for You. May it be so, amen.


Proverbs 8 3-8-20

What would you do for God? Would you get up and go to church for Him? Pray He would meet you there in power!

20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

I ask again, what would you do for God? If He asked you to do and/or endure something for His glory, would you? Paul did. He knew what was coming:

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:15-16

Here is Paul’s conviction:

22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me.24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to memy only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

Paul tells us what to expect when we get to Jesus’ side:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

In the meantime, Jesus promises His Presence, His Participation, His Protection (physical protection up to a point, but spiritual protection always), His Prominence in our lives, and His Peace that passes all understanding. He promises to reveal Himself to those who make the pledge to do ANYTHING He asks ANYTIME He asks:

23 Repent at my rebuke!
    Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
    I will make my heart known to you. Proverbs 1:23

Finally, what is it that Jesus wants of us? It’s simple, really. OBEDIENCE. It’s how we show Him that we love Him.

15 If you love me, keep my commands. 

23 Jesus replied, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:15, 23


So, today, let me ask you: Do you love Him? Then obey His commands. What is He telling you to do? THEN DO IT! You will never know true love from the Father, peace from the Son, and joy from the Holy Spirit until you do. Other benefits include:

  • A closeness to God that you’ve never felt before;
  • Patience beyond measure with everyone about everything (this one comes in batches);
  • A testimony that is unreproveable, untarnishable, and unwavering.

How does one begin such an endeavor? The words of this song contain the key:

Search my heart, look deep within my soul;

See if there be anything at all that might

keep me from hearing You,

keep me from seeing You,

keep me from loving You, Dear Lord.

Search My Heart-Oldie but Goodie

Based on Psalm 139:23-24

Proverbs 8 2-8-20

WE NEED CHURCH! The Church is the body of Christ, and we need Christ, therefore, WE NEED CHURCH!

I love those who love me,
    and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
    enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
    what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
    along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
    and making their treasuries full.

When we seek the LORD among His people, He reveals Himself in our fellow Christians. He speaks to us through the body of Christ; He encourages us, lifts us up, admonishes us, exhorts us, teaches us, surrounds us, and fills us. There is something unique to corporate worship that we can’t get anywhere else. It’s a Spirit thing.

Consider the warning given at the end of the chapter:

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
    blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
    do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
    watching daily at my doors,
    waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
    and receive favor from the Lord.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
    all who hate me love death.”

When we get the attitude that we don’t need to go to church today, it had better be because the LORD has released you for the day to have private worship with Him. He does that sometimes, but it is NOT the norm. Here are some stipulations:

  • Spiritual fast- God calls us to separate ourselves for private worship for a season and for a specific task or reason;
  • Spiritual abuse- God does NOT call us to remain in a spiritually abusive situation. People who make us feel unnecessarily guilty in order to manipulate us are being spiritually abusive. STAY AWAY FROM THEM. Find somewhere else to worship.
  • Seasons of rest- Travel with family for a vacation is acceptable, provided that we don’t take a spiritual vacation while we’re gone. Consider having at least a devotional together wherever you are that Sunday morning.

Otherwise, GAME ON! Even if we need to “suit up” when we go to church, God still calls us to meet together regularly. It’s been His established way of meeting with us for 2,500+ years. It’s not about things making sense; it’s about our obedience. Are we willing to do things His way for His purposes? We don’t have to know the reasons behind His promptings. We have died to ourselves and are allowing the LORD Jesus to live through us. He owes us NO EXPLANATION!

Today or tomorrow, let’s make a point of worshiping the LORD in a corporate setting. Whether it’s in a living room or a 2000 seat auditorium, “set your face like flint” to do what He has called us to do, which is meet together regularly.

25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Abba, I know it seems like I have a vested interest in people coming to church, but it’s more than that. You KNOW that I serve You because I believe in what I am saying. You called me first as a Christian to follow You and to serve You as a regular person in the pew. You then called me out to serve You vocationally. Whether I serve You in a church full-time or whether I’m just a regular church member, I WILL meet regularly with Your body of believers because that’s a side of You I can’t get any other way. Make me a well-rounded follower of You, LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 8 1-8-20

Concerning Creation, we take it on faith; concerning Evolution, they do, too, because it’s just as unverifiable. The difference is that we have the Holy Spirit confirming the truth in us. They don’t have anything–not even science!

My [Wisdom of God] mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.
To the discerning all of them are right; they are upright to those who have found knowledge.

If we want to believe something, then we hope that it’s true and look for reasons to believe. If we don’t believe something, then we resist anything that may prove it’s true. The atheist/Evolutionist has this against him: He does not want to believe in God, nor will he consider any evidence of argument that might prove God’s existence.

20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. John 3:20

Why? Because “the Light has come into the world [Jesus], but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil (v.19). They follow the ways of this world and of the ruler of he kingdom of the air [Satan], the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Eph. 2:2). 

The true question is, “How does one move from the enemy’s camp to God’s camp?” Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” and “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” John 6:44, 65.

So, how does a person who has believed Satan’s lies and is in his camp come to his senses and come to Christ?

The first step is the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Enter the grace of God!

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’” Isaiah 65:1

Jesus calls all people to have a willingness to receive a different perspective concerning God, creation, and salvation, and He usually calls them through His ambassadors, His Church, but He also calls to people in dreams, visions, and even face to face as He did with Paul on the road to Damascus. However the Gospel is presented, it is God who initiates a relationship with people.

The next step is for a person to open his mind to the possibility that he is wrong and that there may be another way. There is a process given to us that reveals a battle that goes on in each person:

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:6-7

  1. If a person maintains a proud heart, then God will NOT draw near to him.
  2. The devil tries to divert the conversation, distract the person, and distort the Spirit’s invitation. The person must resist the devil and he will flee. The way to resist is by submitting himself to God. He has this promise that with just a little inclination, God will draw Himself to that person!

As Christians, we must look for ways to introduce truth. Ask the Father to give you a springboard from which to spring into a conversation. The idea is not so much to present facts, but to get to the Gospel as quickly as we can. I have found that little comments about stuff I have learned that is shared at an appropriate moment can start a conversation about the Gospel, or at least, an aspect of it. Statistically, a person is exposed to aspects of the Gospel an average of seven times before he is ready to make a decision. We may be one of those times.

Today, let’s open our minds to the sharing of the Gospel through conversation with people everywhere: a checker at the store, a teller at the bank, a fellow line-stander, etc. In all cases, a word can be shared concerning truth about Jesus, Creation, proof of the validity of the Bible through archeology, biology, astronomy, etc. We could even share Jesus’ own words or a testimony of what God has done in our lives that is pertinent to the conversation. The Holy Spirit will connect us with the person; we just need to be looking for His guidance to that person and for the right analogy, story, fact, or whatever He leads us to share.

Abba, my greatest desire is to share You with someone. I KNOW who You are and what You have done for me and for the entire world, and it is this message that I want to share with others. I want them to know You as I know You–or even better! I want them to experience the love, joy, peace, hope and grace that I experience every waking minute. Knowing You is truly heaven on earth. I can hardly wait to get to Your place and experience it on a whole different level! In the meantime, lead me to others so that they can experience You, too. I’ll be looking for opportunities today, Lord. Amen.

Proverbs 8 12-8-19

It’s easy to tell if we are one of God’s children: He tells us so. His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are His children.

14 Good advice is mine, and common sense; I am insight, power is mine.
15 By me kings reign, and princes make just laws. 16 By me princes govern,
nobles too, and all the earth’s rulers. 17 I love those who love me;
and those who seek me will find me.

Paul shares some amazing things in Romans 8 about our relationship with God through Christ. The Spirit of Christ comes to live in our hearts (see v.9) when we believe that Jesus says who He says He is and did what He said He’d do, and when we trust in Him by placing our faith in Him as our Savior and as our LORD. This process is covered in 10:9-10,

If you declare [publicly] with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe [trust] in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved [delivered]. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe [trust] and are justified [continue toward righteousness], and it is with your mouth that you [publicly] profess your faith and are saved [delivered].

It’s all about the relationship. The problem we have is getting beyond our own self-centeredness. If we can grasp what Paul is saying, we will be able to let go of the things we like and think we need in this world in exchange for what Christ has for us both in this world and in the next. WE HAVE THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST LIVING IN US! Here’s what He has done for us:

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

God didn’t promise an easy life on this earth, but He did promise an extraordinary one by living for Him rather than for ourselves. As children of God, let us long for His country and His Presence. In the meantime, let us enjoy Him as we meet together and praise His name, study His Word, and fellowship in the Spirit. Let’s have CHURCH!

Abba, as we meet today in our respective churches, may we grasp the fact that we are all joined together in You through Your Spirit. May we join those who are already around the throne worshiping You. We are ALL ONE FAMILY! Wow!!! Thank You for including me in Your family, LORD. May I honor You with my life today–and forever. Amen.

Proverbs 8 11-8-19

Getting people to see reason is impossible. Without the Holy Spirit unveiling their eyes, they simply can’t see.

You who are simple, gain prudence;
    you who are foolish, set your hearts on it.
Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.

When talking to someone about spiritual things, whether it’s the Gospel or Creation, we must always pray for the Spirit to open their eyes to the truth. All of creation gives testimony to God’s existence and power, but Satan has pulled the wool over their eyes in so many ways and in so many areas. Getting people hooked on sin keeps them chained to keeping the sin coming. Giving them alternative beliefs keeps them from searching for the truth.

Jesus calls us sheep. Sheep wander away just because. They are NOT diligent creatures concerning their own safety. They want what they want at the moment, which is grass from that area over there… then, over there…then, over there–until they are lost, caught in briars, fall in a hole, or become prey. WE NEED A SHEPHERD! Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:14).

The veil that is over the hearts of people is their own willful pride. They are unwilling to accept that they are sheep. They would rather trust their own imaginings about right and wrong, origins, who God is and what He will and won’t do, and what is good for them. Not until they are willing to listen to reason will the Holy Spirit lift the veil.

The Apostle Paul talks about this veil in 2 Corinthians 3,

6b for the letter [the Law] kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Old Sinai Covenant showed us that we cannot be right with God without the Spirit. Its job was to show us our sinful state.

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10 For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11 And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

The ministry of the Spirit in the New Covenant, which came through Christ: His life, death, resurrection and ascension, is SO MUCH more glorious than the first covenant.

12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

We are to present the truth of God’s Word, the Gospel, and Creation and pray for the Spirit to convict their hearts. If they are willing, then the Spirit will lift the veil and they will come to see the truth and come to Christ. Many do; many more do not.

 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate [can gaze upon] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which come from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Verse 18 is the bedrock foundation of our daily walk. Being transformed into His image is what is happening to us everyday! And the Lord receives ever-increasing glory as we do.

Let’s not be afraid to present the truth of the Gospel and Creation to others. Maybe the Spirit will use our humble efforts, our meager lunch, to work a miracle and speak to their hearts.

Abba, I pray that You will give me many opportunities to speak truth. Just one more soul, Lord, just one more soul…Amen.

Proverbs 8 10-8-19

Finding life: it’s the ultimate goal. Physically, we have it; spiritually, we need it. Jesus gives us His life in abundance!

(35) For those who find me find life and receive favor from the LORD.

We discussed the other day what happens when we die. We determined that God is eternal and wants us to live eternally with Him. We saw that sin gets in the way and must be dealt with in order to re-establish our connection and close fellowship with God. Now, let’s look at what is in store for every Christian when he dies.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by lifeNow the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him,whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

What do we find in this passage?

  1. We live in an earthly tent. It’s not permanent. Our bodies will grow old and die. Sin brought death into this life, but Jesus offers us eternal life in Him–or better, Him in us!
  2. We have a heavenly dwelling place build by Jesus Himself (see John 14:1-3) and we have heavenly bodies made in His heavenly image. “If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].” 1 Corinthians 15:44b, 49
  3. The physical ailments of these earthly bodies of ours reminds us of our heavenly bodies and we long for them. The older I get, the more I am ready for that new body!
  4. Mortality will be swallowed up by immortality! This is the promise of salvation.
  5. We have been fashioned through salvation to live with God forever. Currently, He lives in us through Jesus and His Spirit. Soon, we will go to be with Him, thus leaving this old covenant body and the corrupted world behind.
  6. In the meantime, His Spirit within us is our promise, His pledge, our deposit, His “trust money,” that what He says will happen WILL HAPPEN.
  7. While we are here on earth, we live by faith. Soon, we will leave this earth and live through experience, and this is what the child of God prefers!
  8. Either way, we make it our goal to please Him by being pleasing to Him. What is required to please Him? To believe in Him, His Plan, and His Promise. How do we express our belief? Through obedience. It’s how we demonstrate to Him that we really do believe Him.

In Revelation, Jesus gives letters to seven churches. These churches were real churches, but they were also representative of all churches throughout the ages. At the end of each letter, Jesus gives a promise for the faithful:

Ephesus- Jesus will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. 2:7

Smyrna- He who is victorious (faithful) will not be hurt at all by the second death. 2:11

Pergamum- To the victorious, He will give some of the hidden manna. He will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it known only to the one who receives it. 2:17

Thyatira- To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations…just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. 2:26-28

Sardis- We will be dressed in white. Our names will never be blotted out from the book of life, but will be acknowledged before the Father and his angels. 3:5

Philadelphia- We will receive a crown. We will be a “pillar in the temple of God.” We will never be made to leave it. He will write on us His name and the name of His city, the new Jerusalem, and Jesus’ new name (something NEW is coming!). 3:11-12

Laodicea- We will sit with Him on His throne (we will share it somehow). 3:21

Exciting times, folks! We have MUCH to which to look forward. Let’s believe it and receive it, name it and claim it. Let’s live for Jesus TODAY!

Dear Lord Jesus, I am reminded once again that my eyes have not seen, nor my ears heard, nor has it even entered into my mind and heart what You have in store for us! May I show You through my obedience to Your Spirit that I believe You. May Your will be done through me today, my LORD. Amen.

Proverbs 8 9-8-19

Science follows the evidence no matter where it leads, yet we tend to view it according to what we want it to say.

27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
    when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
    and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
    so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

It doesn’t get much plainer than this concerning creation. Who is “He” mentioned in these verses?

30     Then I was constantly/the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
    rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
    and delighting in mankind.

This “He” is Jesus Christ!

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. Hebrews 1:2

If there is a question about the Bible, we must realize that our knowledge is incomplete. God waited until mankind invented the microscope to reveal His creation processes to us. One merely has to look at the human cell to find that there is NO WAY that it could have self-created! It is FAR too complex and each part depends upon the other.

It comes down to what we want to see. In Creation, I see the hand of a loving God, One who takes part in His creation and wants me to interact with Him. I am awed by all that He has made and I rejoice in it.

This morning, I invite you to join me, at your respective churches, to exalt the Lord God and to praise His name. He invites us to come to His throne together and eat with Him! WOW!

See you there!

Abba, thank You for the invitation. I will gladly take you up on it! Amen.