And Still There Is Room

Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant. ‘Go quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.‘ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’ ”  Luke 14:15-24

The pre-invited guests refer to Israel, who all through the O.T. were told to be ready for the arrival of their Messiah. The excuses being made are the examples of what happens to those who possess an idolatrous heart, where possessions and even relationships are being put before the Lord. Through this parable the Lord exposes the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and those who were synagogue leaders by how they treated the poor, and maimed and lame and blind in how they regarded them as unclean or unworthy. And even condemned Jesus for His associations with prostitutes and tax collectors. So God opens His kingdom wide to those who are not originally chosen, yet, by faith are excepted and found worthy to receive forgiveness through Christ. The highways and hedges might not seem to you and I as places of significance, but it is meant that the disciples were to go quickly to the Gentile regions and bring the good news of the gospel, by compelling them with His love for them, and not by earnest persuasion. And still there is more room- – – God is more willing to save sinners, than sinners are willing to be saved!

Beloved friend, God is still wanting His house to be full. While we don’t know when Jesus will return for His church, it is clear from a Scriptural prophetic stand point, that nothing more has to be accomplished before He returns. Having said that, and giving Israel’s lack of support from it’s allies, including unfortunately the U.S. What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness. For these are the lives who live for Christ, and His kingdom, and are telling others about Him through their life lived as well as through their words. Indeed, these are Christians who are counting the cost to be His disciples, and are forsaking all to follow Him. Worthy to be called to eat bread in the kingdom of God!

May the Lord bless your walk !

The Goal, The Prize

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

Pauls uses the analogy of a runner running a race to describe the Christian’s spiritual growth. The believer has not reached their goal of Christlikeness in this life, but like all participates in a race, have determined to give everything they have to finish in a way that will continue their pursuit of it. This is the goal of all of us who are Christians today. We’ve entered in our race when we asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, and now with the help of the Holy Spirit that is in us, we are being conformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Now the race toward Christlikeness begins with a sense of honesty and dissatifaction. Being honest before God our Father is to be in agreement with His Word that our human sinful nature is opposed to His Spirit in us (Galatians 5:17), therefore we must discipline ourselves to not allow our old self, our sinful nature to dominate our thoughts, or our words, and our actions. All these bring opposition to running an effective race for Christ. The dissatisfaction must come from not compromising our purity. Whether in success or in times of suffering, our obedience to the Word of God must be settled, that first, God’s Word must be obeyed, and second, God’s Word must not be compromised by my own interpretation when it comes to holiness and purity of heart. These are both commands from God for every believer. Paul here in our text, used a sprinter, and refers to aggressive , energetic action. Paul pursued sanctification with all his might, straining every spiritual muscle to win the prize (Hebrews 12:1). lay hold…laid hold of me. —“Lay hold” means to make one’s own possession. Christ chose Paul for the ultimate purpose of conforming Paul to His glorious image (Romans 8:29) and that is the very goal Paul pursued. The goal—Christlikeness here and now in this life. Upward call of God—When our race is over, God calls each believer up to heaven and into His presence. The prize—Christlikeness in heaven, which is where we receive the prize which has been an unattainable goal in our earthly life.

Beloved friend, “One thing I do” remember these words in your walk with Christ, forgetting what is behind, important for us because the discouragement from our past failures, but always look ahead to your future in Christ. Press toward your upward call in Christ, remember as I have said before in this blog post, it’s not how we start out in our race that counts, but it is how we finish that is important. Finish well, my faithful friends.

May the Lord bless your walk!


Are There Few Who Are Saved?

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer  and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from, then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out. Luke 13:22-28

Before we ask ourselves why Jesus rejected those whom He declares would be indicating sincerity in being accepted, let’s look at what Jesus says we ought to do to enter in His kingdom. This question asked Him may have been prompted by many factors. The great multitudes that had once followed Christ were subsiding to a faithful few (John 6:66). Great crowds still came to hear, (just like today), but committed followers were increasingly scarce. Also Christ’s messages often discouraged the half-hearted followers. And now, here in our text, Jesus Himself states, that the way is so narrow that few find it (Matthew 7:14). This contradicted the Jewish belief that all Jews, except for tax collectors and other notorious sinners, would be saved. Strive— This word indicates a great struggle against conflict. And He is not suggesting that anyone could merit heaven by striving for it. No matter how rigorously a person labored, sin-laden man cannot save themselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). But entering in the narrow gate is nontheless difficult because of the cost in terms of human pride. Only those willing to count the cost and invest all they have or had in His kingdom were worthy to enter in. This speaks of something far more than mere abandonment of one’s material possessions; it is an absolute, unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ, as your Lord and Savior. His disciples were permitted to retain no privildges and make no demands to those who were in authority in the Roman government. They were to safeguard no cherished sins; treasure no earthly possessions; and cling to no secret self-indulgences. There committment to Him must be without reservation.

Beloved friend, I know this is more than enough Scripture and reference to think carefully of the cost to follow after Christ, but there can not be one reason why it shouldn’t cost us everything, when Jesus gave us His life in exchange for our forgiveness. Let us not be like those religious in name only who think they can merit their way into God’s kingdom. For this is about our relationship to the Father, through the sacrifice of His Son, whom God says He is well pleased with (Matthew 4:17).

May the Lord bless your walk!


Grace of God in Truth

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth (Colossians 1:3-6)

Paul’s epistle to the church in Colosse is filled with great insight. First he specifically addresses those who have been separated from sin and set apart to God —the believers in Colosse. Giving thanks for other believers in Christ is a great way to intercede in prayer to the Lord, Paul also brings the designation that Jesus was one in nature with God, it was an affirmation of Christ’s deity. Hope laid up for you — The believer’s hope is inseparable from his faith, because the believer’s hope is a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3) which Pauls points out is awaiting in heaven. These Christian saints have already heard the gospel, which is the good news of Christ’s victory over Satan, sin, and death. The gospel was never intended for an exclusive  group of people; it is rather good news intended to reach the whole world by transceding all ethnic, geographic, cultural, and political bounderies. Paul also notes that their growth in maturity as a Christian, is marked by their fruit-bearing life.

Beloved friend, if you were visited by a long ago friend, would they see conditions of a changed or transformed life in you? Do you have a reputation of being a faithful believer in Christ? Does your hope go beyond this life, and is set in eternal life with Him? These are just a few questions we can ask ourselves about our Christian life, and the fruit bearing effect of our maturity in Christ. Remain steadfast in your faith and trust in His grace to help in all areas of life.

May the Lord bless your walk today!


Strength That Measures

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The present tense verb translated “is sufficient” reveals the constant availiability of divine grace. While God would not remove the thorn, as Paul requested (vv 7-8) He would supply him with grace to endure it. Think about this, God hears your prayers when you cry out to Him. He sees what is transpiring in your life. He knows what lies ahead of us, yet, He would say to us, “Trust Me, I know what I am accomplishing in you.” Suffering is the vehicle which brings God’s virtuous power of strength and stamina through grace in our life. Every Christian is endowed with God’s grace. Why? Because we’ve entered into a personal relationship with God our Father, through His Son, Christ the Lord.

The Bible says, There is a race that is marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1-2), and we are to run with endurance, but where do we find our endurance? It comes from the supernatural power of God’s grace in His Word. The Bible is our source of all truth, truth about God, and His plan of salvation. Truth about ourselves and our dire need of Him in our lives. To know how much strength you’ll have need of is to be completely in reliance upon Him. He knows who we are and what were made of, because He created us to be His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). The weaker the human instrument, the more clearly God’s grace shines forth. This is what Paul discovered in our text, Paul took no pleasure in the pain itself, but turned his focused rather in the power of Christ that was being revealed in him. This is a great example for us today, we are all going to suffer in one way or another, but by God’s grace we can overcome through the grace and mercy of our risen Lord.

Beloved friend, let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart (Galatians 6:9). The strength that we can rely on comes to those who completely depend on God’s grace which we know is ours to trust in, because His Word tells us. In Christ our Lord I firmly stand, all other ground is sinking sand , lyrics to an old Christian hymn.

May the Lord bless your walk!


Why Couldn’t They See Him?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

The Greek word for “image” is eikon, from which the English word “icon” derives. It means, “copy” or “likeness.” Jesus Christ is the perfect image — the exact likeness —of God and is in the very form of God (Philippians 2:6) and has been so from all eternity. So why didn’t the Israelites see Him clearly? The Old Testament had given the Jewish people plenty of information to prepare them for the Messiah’s arrival, the reason for their disconnect can be a caution for us all. First off, clearly this problem impacted the ability of the religious leaders of the first century so that they didn’t recognize that Jesus was their Messiah. Despite the unchanging teachings of Moses and the prophets, they slowly added a complicated oral tradition to what the Scriptures actually said. Many of these additions to the Law seemed, on the surface, to honor the Scriptures, but all too often the changes focused on the issues of outward conformity rather than on the heart and spirit of the Law. End result was the religious leaders found ways to excuse their own wrong motives by focusing on ritual rather than Spirit revealed truth. Many people today, like the religious leaders of Jesus day, assume that they can be right with God on their own terms, and by their own strength and self-righteousness. There is a principle of closeness to God, that enables us to see and be aware of our own sin, weakness, and unworthiness, that comes with the closer we are to God. However, the further we are from God, the more clearly we see the sin, weakness, and unworthiness in others. This is where the religious leaders were during Jesus day, and where many are at today, who confess themselves to be Christians.

Dear friend, Let the Lord lead you this day in furthering your commitment to Him, and in the studying of His Word. It is how we discern truth from error, and will help us not walk in the strength of our flesh, but rather in the power of God.

May the Lord bless your walk today!

A Genuine Christian

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

A geniune Christian walks habitually in the light (truth and holiness), not in darkness (falsehood and sin). The Christian’s walk, as a result, has cleansing from sin as the Lord continually forgives His own. Since those walking in the light share in the character of God, they will be habitually charcterized by His holiness which is indicating their true fellowship with Him. True fellowship with God  also allows true fellowship with other believers in Christ. Members of the body of Christ, have a unique connection that characterizes God’s love, encourages each other’s faith. — As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend (Proverbs 27:17). The benefits of spiritual and theological discussion encourages joy in acknowledging the Lord’s goodness, and eternal hope we receive when we quote the Scriptures, producing an enriched fellowship with fellow Christians. A genuine Christian does not walk in darkness, but only in the light. — Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelivers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14) : An illustration taken from the OT prohibitions given to Israel regarding the work-related joining together of two different kinds of livestock (Deuteronomy 22:10) — An ox and a donkey, the ox a “clean” animal, the donkey “unclean.” These two different animals couldn’t work together and plow a straight furrow. Their temperments, and natural instincts, and physical characteristics made it impossible. By this analogy, Paul taught that it is not right to join together in common spiritual enterprise, ie, business or personal, with those who are not of the same nature (born-again) as we are. Such arrangements could not be done to God’s glory.

Beloved friend, Do not take the Lord’s rebuke lightly or irresponsibly, For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives (Hebrews 12:6). This is where every genuine believer begins their walk with the Lord.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him!

The Love That God Hates

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in world—-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

Although John often repeats the importance of love and that God is love, he also reveals that God hates a certain type of love; love of the world. The evil world system that opposes God, the adulterous mistress in a man’s relationship with God is the world,  it’s values, and it’s practices. When God sees a man loving the priorities and practices of a godless world’s society, while professing publicly to love Him, He sees an adulterous affair and a trampling of the love He so generously has given. It’s a temptation that’s tough to resist without the power of God’s Holy Spirit to help us. Our world constantly invites us to go with our feelings over our faith. The world exalts image over substance, comfort over character, indulgence over ethics. It confuses net worth with self worth. It values things over people. All of these misguided priorities destroy our relationship with God. So how do we witness to our family and friends the type of relationship God is seeking from us?  James wrote, Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)  If you have never placed your faith in Jesus as your Savior, it’s important to understand the greatness of salvation. The Son of God came in human flesh to give His life as a ransom payment for our sins that had created a barrier between us and God.

Dear friend, In all of life’s circumstances, we are reminded to place His reputation in the forefront of our thinking. In doing that, may we seek to put Jesus first, and point the world to Him. That’s the  kind of love God wants us to have.

May the Lord bless your walk!