That The Bones You Have Broken May Rejoice

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:1-10

The fifty-first psalm has as its background God’s dealing with David concerning his sin of adultry and murder. It was in the spring time when kings go off to war, that David remained behind. One day while on his roof he gazed at a beautiful woman bathing. The story is very familiar and found in 2 Samuel chapter 11, so I won’t go into detail. But after David’s effort to cover up his sin with Bathesheba, he commits a horrible second sin when he conspires to kill her husband, who was out in the battlefield. He turns out to be one of David’s faithful soldiers under him (2 Samuel 11:14-17). And at the next chapter in 2 Samuel chapter 12, we read that God sent Nathan the prophet to David with a parable which David was the character in it, but only in a different setting. “David, there is a man in your kingdom, very wealthy, had all kinds of sheep and goods, possessions, and servants. And next door to him there lived a very poor man who had few possessions, and only one ewe lamb. He loved it like his own daughter. It ate at his own table. The rich man had company come by, and he ordered his servants to force his neighbor to give up his lamb, that he may serve it to his guests. David became angry, and said to Nathan, ” That man shall surely be put to death.” At which time Nathan pointed at David and said, ” David, you are that man!” (2 Samuel 12:1-7).

The application was very clear and spoke directly to David, and thus we see the background to David’s writing of this fifty-first psalm in which he cries out for mercy. Mercy is not getting what you deserve, while justice is getting what you deserve. David certainly had it coming to him, but here is a very profound characteristic about David, to his credit, he recognized fully how horrendous his sin was against God, and blamed no one but himself, then sought after the Lord’s mercy which he knew was his only hope. Sometimes, people do realize that I am at fault, there is no one else to blame, I deserve this punishment for this offense, but they stop short of seeking after the One who can deliver them from their sins. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). Even though he had sinned horribly, David knew that forgiveness was available, based on God’s covenant love.

Through this prayer of forgivness by David, the Bible teaches us alot about God’s mercy. He states that God is not only a merciful God, but also He will abundantly pardon, ” According to the multitude of Thy tender mercies,” David says, ” Blot out my transgressions.” (v.1) Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me —Now David had tried unsucessfully to cover up his sin and hide his guilt, but yet, from the eyes of  man one might get by with it. But it will never get by God’s all knowing and watchful eyes. And David was very conscious of his guilt. His only chance was to have God remove the weight of this guilt from him. Psalm 32 is a parallel penitent psalm in which David says, When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer(Psalm 32:3-4). These are vivid descriptions of the physical effects that unconfessed sin can have on a person’s life.

Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.—David was a shepherd in his youth, so the breaking of bones would have a significant meaning to him. Sheep have a prone to wanderness. Sheep can be led into danger by other sheep unless the shepherd is there to correct their choices. Meaning a sheep if need be would have the their leg broken by the their shepherd if it would not correct itself and follow the shepherd. This action is from love, because the shepherd would do whatever was necessary to protect his sheep. Then though, the shepherd would then carry the sheep with him for weeks until the sheep would be able to walk on its own again. And then the previously wounded sheep, would walk closely to the shepherd. A strong bond of love was given to it, and thus it would walk closely to the shepherd. Jesus is our great Shepherd, and He knows what His sheep have need of. Sometimes all that is left for Him is to break our leg metaphorically to keep us from wandering out past where He would want us. His actions as a loving Savior toward us will never be punitive, but rather corrective in His need of chastening us. “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endear chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasen? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitmate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:5-11)

Beloved friend, The joy and gladness that come through the broken bones rejoices because it is God our heavenly Father who is behind all of our chastening. He loves us, and wants whats best for us. Jesus Christ, gave His broken body for us, to take the punishment for our sins upon Himself, so that we might partake in His holiness. It’s joy comes from the peaceable (because the Lord is behind it) fruit of righteousness we learn when we are chastened of God. We all have been chastened by Him, if you are born again. So rejoice in all of your trials, and testings, and look for the fruit that is coming from it in your lives. It is a sign that you belong to God, and are His child, and His kingdom awaits you when your days on this earth are over.

May the Lord bless your walk!



Not of Corruptible Things

If you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with coruuptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.      1Peter 1:17-19

Peter here is the middle of his letter to his readers letting them know about living before God Our Father. Reminding them that holiness essentially defines the Christians new nature and conduct and that there is indeed a stark contrast to their former way of life before Christ. God says that the New Covenant is one of abiding in Christ, which enables the believers to bear fruit that glorifies Him. Thus holiness and reverence of God is a major part of the new believers lifestyle. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with coruptible things, as silver and gold, from that empty former life(v.18)—As obedient children not fashioning yourselves according to the former lust in your ignorance, that is being no more ignorant of the things of God, of His grace, of His mercy, of great love for you!. Today, there is still too much unawareness about God. Isaiah the prophet said, ” Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortend, that it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity. No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; they conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.”(Isaiah 59:1-4)  This universal truth applies to all men through out all generations, that sin separates you from God. It is a sad thing when persons do evil, but even sadder when they delight in poisoning or ensnaring others with their evil habits. Paul wrote to the Romans : For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.( Romans 1:18-19)  This is not an impulsive outburst of anger aimed capriciously at people whom God does not like. Rather, it is a settled and determined response of a righteous God against sin, and those who refuse to repent.

So we no longer live that empty life after the flesh, but now we live in the rich life that is after the Spirit of God. We’ve been redeemed, set free from the bondage of sin, set free from the slavery to our flesh. Redeemed—Meaning to buy back something, in this case, someone from bondage by the payment of a price; to set free by paying a ransom. “Redemption” was a technical term for money paid to buy back a prisoner of war. Here it is used of the price paid to buy the freedom of the one in bondage of sin and under the curse of the law (Galataians 3:13). Silver and gold have only temporary value. There’s no eternal value to them at all, only in this life. But God is eternal, so when talking of a man’s soul, your talking about something that is eternal. You cannot purchase something that is eternal with something that is of temporal value. Meaning you cannot buy salvation, you cannot earn it. You do not even deserve it, none of us do. It is a gift of God and is a work of grace. It is something that you receive, the work which God has done, through His Son, Christ the Lord. Who shed His blood at the cross of calvary as the purchase price for our sin debt which no man could ever pay. The price paid to a holy God was the shed blood of His own Son.

Beloved friend, Peter’s audience was mainly to the Jews of his day. By including himself, that we received by tradition from our fathers—he was writing about all the traditional things that the Jew is about, and even to this day is currently still caught up in. Bound by traditions is not just in their race though, many people are still dead in their sins and trespasses against God because of tradition. So what would God have us to do? Well, for starters, He would want us to always know that He loves you. And that you are precious to Him in His sight. And that you are not cheap. You were bought at a price that puts significant value in who you are as a person. You are His witnesses to everyone in this world. Let His life and light shine forth through you today. You never know who is watching you, nor what impact your life would be making in someone’s decision follow after Christ, and God’s plan of salvation.

May the Lord bless your walk !

Our Lord Who Has Enabled Me

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me , because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained  mercy because I did it ignorantly and in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.  1 Timothy 1:12-16

God’s sovereign purpose for Paul and for all believers works through personal faith. For until Paul was turned by the Holy Spirit from self-righteous works to faith alone in Christ, we read from our text, he could not be used by God. Paul reveals that it was God who enabled him for ministry, God isn’t looking for ability as much as availiabilty. So often we find when we are looking for someone to fill a vacant position in the church, we are looking for the most talented individuals, the ones with the filled out resumes of academic achievements. God doesn’t use these methods. God rather looks for the most availiable individual and He enables them to do the work that He would have be done. How wise it is, to let God choose for us whom He would raise up to be fitted for the task at hand. And so quite often it is rather someone whom we might not ever think of to whom God has called for this purpose. So we read that there are two requirements: Paul says God counted him faithful, and put him in the ministry. And of course, a steward is required that he be faithful (1 Corinthians 4:1-2), so God is looking for someone who’s available, and someone who’s faithful. So Paul was thanking God for this trust in him of the glorious gospel, he goes on to say although I was formally a blasphemer against the church and against Jesus Christ. That experience of Paul when he saw himself in the light of God’s law, for who he really was. A ” blasphemer ”  speaks evil of and slanders God.  A persecutorHe stood by while Stephen was stoned to death, consenting to Stephen’s being martyred by holding the coats of them that were stoning him (Acts 7:58-60).

But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbeliefPaul was neither a Jewish apostate, nor a Pharisee without knowledge of who Jesus was, and until His conversion clearly understood Jesus teaching and still rejected him. As an unlikely candidate as you could ever hope to find. His plea to ignorance was not a claim to innocence nor was it an excuse denying his guilt, he truthfully did not understand the grace of God, and His free gift offer of salvation. He was still trying through the law to earn it. Boy, how many people today are still stuck where Paul was?

And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ JesusGod’s loving forgiveness, by which He grants salvation apart from any merit on the part of those He saves. Through the knowledge of Him, Christ the Lord, of whom we receive faith and love by becoming a child of God, With no more condemnation over the guilt of our sins, having been washed away through the blood of Jesus Christ death on the cross. Glorious! How one sided an offer could ever be! That I would inherit God’s eternal kingdom through faith in Him and His love for me. I know what I have done in my past, how much I loved this world’s offer of sin and fun, how unfaithful I have been, yet, I did it ignorantly, not knowing God’s great love for me. That His only begotten Son would die for me. What a one-sided offer that is. So it is with Paul, who is telling us that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.That’s the gospel. The good news, ” Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”We should all know by now, that all men are sinners. Therefore, He came to save all men. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”(Romans 3:23). Because all men are sinners, all then were dead in their trespasses and sins. And so this glorious Gospel entrusted to Paul is just so simple, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

Beloved friend, Paul was saved so that God could also display through out his life all His gracious and merciful longsuffering against all those after him would sin against God, even the most wretched of men. Paul was living proof that God can save anyone, no matter how great a sinner he may be. Doesn’t that bring us hope, for the lives our unsaved loved ones and friends? How is He making a difference in your life to reach out to the lost in this world ? Like Paul, the account of your conversion can be used to reach out to many. God only knows.

May the Lord bless Your life and walk with Him!

Praying For Your Friends

And so it was, after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ” My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord commanded them; for the Lord had accepted Job. And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the Lord gave twice as much as he had before. Job 42:7-10

What’s that statement?  ” With friends like this, who needs enemies! ” The story of Job is intriguing enough, with celestial false accustations from Satan to God about the character of Job, but here in our text, his three would-be comforters failed miserably in their efforts to ease Job’s pain. Instead of bringing sympathy, they delivered accusations that only compounded his anguish. Now let it be known that God doesn’t like it very much of anyone going around saying falsely things about Him. He doesn’t like to be misquoted, or having someone speak things for Him that He has not said. God here directly vindicates Job by saying that Job had spoken right about God in rejecting the error of his friends counsel. Which they are then rebuked for those misrepresentations of insensitivity and presumptious arrogance. Yet, inspite of all this, Job was able to emerge from his circumstances of pain and losses triumphantly, a significant step forward in that victory, was his willingness to trust in God and pray for his friends. Think about it. The story of Job is indeed about his longsuffering and endurance of losses that even his own wife would give him the counsel: Then his wife said to him, ” Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! “(Job 2:9) meaning death under these circumstances would be better than living. She added temptation to his affliction because she advised him to sin. Yet, the Bible says in all these things Job did not sin with his lips (v.10). To pray for someone who has hurt you, is only possible if you have God’s viewpoint instead of your own. Job indeed prayed for these friends who had falsely critcized and accused them, the result being that God honored his prayers. And Job had the delight of seeing his three friends turning to God and seeking His forgiveness. Paul wrote in Romans: ” If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head” Do not be overc0me by evil, but overcome evil with good.(Romans 12:20-21)  Jesus says something similar in the Sermon on the mount, ” But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who spitefully use you and persecute you,”(Matthew 5:44). And we know that when we pray for others, God brings them blessings.

Jesus also prayed for His friends (John 17:6-19), despite their frequent failings. Even with the agony of the cross approaching, Jesus prayed for Peter even though He knew Peter would deny Him three times: And the Lord said, ” Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”(Luke 22:31-34) How awesome is that! Jesus personally assured Peter of His prayers and of Peter’s ultimate victory, you can’t get any higher authority over man, than Jesus’ praying for you, even encouraging Peter to be an encourager to others! No doubt by him praying for others after he was restored, writing the epistles to the church, leaving us a godly example of what restored means.

Beloved friend, Jesus Christ has prayed for you and me too! You can read of His prayer to His Father in John 17:20-26, His work of prayer which began before His death and resurrection continues even to this day. Even though at times we act more like His enemies that His friends, Jesus Christ is in His Father’s presence interceding for us: Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them(Hebrews 7:25). Following Christ’s example, shouldn’t we pray for our friends and acquaintances too? Even if they have hurt us in the past. Job’s earthly losses were restored two-fold, and he died in prosperity. We should know as Christians, that our inheritance is awaiting us, a glorious kingdom in the presence of God, we are storing away treasures to be rewarded to us at that time, through our prayers for others and deeds done in serving Christ. For the Christian, inspite of times of suffering in this life, the best is yet to come!

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!

Not Ashamed of The Gospel

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”  Romans 1:16-17

In the gospel of Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God is revealed because even God could not forgive our sins unrighteously. There had to be a righteous basis for the forgivness of our sins. For a judge to just totally dismiss charges against a guilty man is not righteous. There has to be a righteous basis for the forgiveness of our sins, and that righteous basis is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since death was the sentence for those who sinned, God established a righteous basis for forgivness by Jesus Christ becoming a substitute, taking upon Himself our sins and then dying the death of a sinner in our stead. The righteous for the unrighteous, and thus providing the righteous basis for being forgiven of sin. We are forgiven because of the righteous act of One Man, Jesus Christ, who died for you/me. He took our place and placed the debt that we deserved upon Himself. And thus , the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.

Now Paul here at the time of writing this epistle had been imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:23-24), chased out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:10), smuggled out of Berea (Acts 17:14), laughed at in Athens (Acts 17:32), regarded as a fool in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:18-23), and stoned in Galatia and left for dead (Acts 14:19). But all the while Paul remained eager to preach the gospel in Rome—the seat of contemporary political power and pagan religion. Neither ridicule, criticism, nor physical persecution could curb his boldness. Paul was a living example through what he had endured the weaker the human instrument, the more clearly God’s grace and power shines forth (2 Corinthians 12:9). Power of God—The Greek word is “dunamis,”  where we get the English word “dynamite.” Although the message may sound foolish to some (1 Corinthians 1:18), the gospel is effective because it carries with it the omnipotence of God: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for in YAH, the Lord is everlasting strength(Isaiah 26:3-4) The literal expression for “everlasting strength”is “Rock of Ages.”Only God’s power is able to overcome man’s sinful nature and give him new life: But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God(John 1:12-13).

Salvation—Used 5 times in Romans and the verb form 8 times, this key word basically means deliverance” or rescue.” The power of the gospel delievers people from being lost in their sins, and from the wrath of God for the punishment of sin (Romans 5:9), from willful spiritual ignorance (Hosea 4:6), and from evil self indulgence (Luke 14:26), and from the darkness of false religion (Colossians 1:13). The gospel brings victory to the child of God, it rescues them from the ultimate penalty of sin, the eternal separation from God.

Beloved friend, To trust, rely upon, or have faith in, you must first realize that you are indeed a sinner, who has been found gulity for your sins. But now, you have been given an unconditional pardon by God to remove your guilt through the trust and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. True saving faith is supernatural, a gracious gift from God that He produces in the heart of the one who believes, and is the only way to be accounted as righteous before a holy God. Saving faith consists of a deep personal conviction, without reservation that Jesus Christ is the only way, the only truth, and the only life, that will lead us to the Father (John 14:6). Christ’s resurrection is the supreme validation of His ministry, belief in it is necessary for salvation because it proved that Christ is who He claimed to be and that God the Father had accepted Him, and His sacrifice in the place of sinners. Something we should never be ashamed of, for it is the power of God for salvation. And we who believe, shall live by faith.

May the Lord bless your walk today!


The Eyes of Your Understanding

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  Ephesians 1:15-21

This is one of two prayers that Paul has prayed for the Ephesians. And you have to marvel at the directness of his prayer requests. He doesn’t beat around the bush here. But instead, goes right after what these early church believers had need of. Paul looks past at what is only the physical, and focuses in on what the spiritual need is first. Oh how we love to pray for people’s physical needs first, all the while their soul is being condemned to hell. Think about it. I know of someone who is dear to me, being ruined by alcohol abuse, the body is showing the signs of its devasting effects. And all I’m concerned with as I pray for him or her, Oh God, help them not to drink anymore, look at their health , how it is being torn down by it! God help him not to drink anymore. So now, my dear and close friend or relative becomes a sober sinner, instead of a drunken sinner. Do you follow what I am saying? His or her real need is salvation. But instead, we are just praying for the symptoms, and its effects. So often we are praying for the external need rather than what the hearts most deepest spiritual need is.

Your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints—Love for other believers is evidence of a changed life. That is now putting others first. This is what Paul first commends them for.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of HimOne of the most important things anyone can possess is the true knowledge of God. There is no equal. There is so much false concepts about God out there, you cannot know the truth about God unless an overwhelming conviction comes over you because you have sinned against this holy God. This is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom, the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). God has revealed Himself, and it is only by revelation that you can really know God, and it is only through the Holy Spirit who opens up your heart to the revelation that you can really only begin to comprehend God. No human, in their intellectual quest come to an understanding of God. It takes revelation by the Spirit of God. No man can come to the Father except the Spirit draw him. The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit, neither can he know them, they are spiritually discerned. Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.(1 Corinthians 2:9-10) The wisdom that saves which man’s wisdom can’t know, is revealed to us by God, through the Holy Spirit, and that by revelation, inspiration, and illumination in the Word of God. So Paul is praying that God might reveal Himself to them by the Holy Spirit the only help, and the only hope, man has of ever knowing the One true God.

The hope of your calling—If we would only realize what hope there is for those who have been called of God. You would never ever have a problem with grief over the passing of a loved one. We have such concepts of death that lament the death of a child, or persons who we claim, “have died so young!” ‘ They’ve had their whole lives ahead of them!’ The obvious reason is that they are going to miss them. If you only knew what was the hope of your calling. If you only knew what God has in store for His children. If you only knew the glory that awaits us as children of God. You see, it would correct the false attitude that we have towards the world and the temporary things that this world has to offer. “God, enlighten them as to the hope of their calling, let them know O’ God, what You have in store for them is far greater, far richer of an inheritance, then any earthly gain. So that they will wait with eager anticipation, what is in store for them in Your heavenly kingdom.”

Beloved friend, The Lord says,” When we end things here, it is all yours!” The hope of your calling, the glorious riches of God’s eternal kingdom. When I realize what God has in store for me, for you too! It gives us strength and courage for all that we need to continue on in our ministry for Jesus Christ. Isn’t there someone today in your life, who could need this kind of hope? This kind of prayer?

May the Lord bless your walk with Him.

Making Our Tree Good

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37

Jesus is trying to help clear up our confusion about what we allow into our hearts and hold onto, its outcoming clearly indicates where our heart is. For example, we can look at the lives of historic or present-day heroes of the faith, and admire their eloquence or courage and impact they have made on society. But when we examine their lives closely, we see how faithfully they worked to “make the tree good.” Fruit in the lives of God’s faithful followers is beautiful to look at, but fertilizing and pruning which comes through diligent and steadfast commitment to the Word of God, is often hard, invisible to everyone but God, and often times even painful. Yet, it is because of such commitment through longsuffering that one is successful at bearing this fruit of righteousness. And here Jesus has laid out for us a complete good-tree plan that we should follow day by day. If we do, we will be surprised one day to see beautiful fruit coming from our lives which will be a blessing to others, and glorifying to the Lord in God’s season. Let’s take a closer look.

“If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good”—Jesus tells us: Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:4-6)  The word “abide” means to remain or stay around. Remaining is evidence that salvation has already taken place, and that the fruit of salvation is in the continuing service to Christ, and in His teaching. For true believers obey the Lord’s commands, submitting to His Word and are devoted to doing His will. Thus their prayer life is fruitful.

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks—The Bible has alot to say about our speech. And there is a very clear word of warning in the Book of James: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.(James 3:6-10) Like a fire, the tongue’s sinful words can spread very quickly widespread destruction; and with its accompanying smoke, those words can permeate and ruin everything around it. And only God’s sanctifying work of grace in the heart of a believer, can change this.

Beloved friend, Every idle word will be judged by God one day, but we need not have to be afraid of this. If we continue to follow Jesus Christ, and receive His Words of grace into our lives, It will change us. We will live with praise and thanksgiving on our lips, rejoicing in our Savior, Lord and King! We will be all about the kingdom living, and being effective in our witnessing to others, as our declarations match that of our actions as we continue in our faith and trust in Him in this journey through life and face the challenges that lay ahead. We will find Christ’s kingdom living to be paradoxical, where to live we must die (Mark 8:35); where to gain we must give (Matthew 19:21); and to rule we must serve (Luke 22:26). All the while, the Lord is giving us opportunities to serve Him through His Holy Spirit’s power, which is enabling us to bear good fruit in our life.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!


You Have Need of Endurance

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:35-39)

Endurance is based on one’s ability to look beyond the physical to the spiritual; beyond the present to the future, and beyond the visible to the invisible. Meaning believers must look past what is temporary—what is pershing i.e., the things of this world, pursuing after God’s kingdom and His righteousness instead. The opening exhortation warns about forsaking bold dependence upon the Lord. Due to their current persecutions, these believers from the early church were tempted to run away from their outward identification with Christ, and fellow Christians and to apostastize or fall back from following Christ.   Therfore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward—The loss of great blessing is the reason given. The Lord wants us to trust in Him without wavering, from the beginning of faith to the end of our earthly pilgrimage. Because of the fall of the human race through its sin, suffering is a common experience to all people. While we experience suffering in different degrees and on some, in different forms, suffering is a universal problem to the human race. This is why stories of those whose perseverance becomes a powerful testimony are needed for us to remember them so we too, can carry on. And this makes us consistent partakers of the blessings of grace that are ours in Christ. “For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).

For you have need of enduranceThese blessings include endurance. The Christian life requires spiritual stamina, for the journey of growth through the trials, and testings that adds to our service for Christ through battle-tested love for Him. We can be tempted to slack off, to quit pressing ahead. These are only indicators that we have been recently effective in our service to Christ in letting others know of His love and care for them. The enemy Satan is not threatened by our back-sliding, but rather by courageous believers who are giving their all to serve Christ. And it is by faith that we persevere in the Christian race. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”(Hebrews 12:1-2). Also, these blessings of faith include obedience and assurance. You have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise—As we walk by faith, we are enabled to do God’s will in walking in obedience with Christ-like power building up our confident assurance that we will some day be with Him, where He is, and in His presence eternally secure. So we can look ahead of our present set of circumstances, for this is not our home, but we are merely passing through as pilgrims and sojourners (1 Peter 2:11). So as we grow in faith, we can be assured that our profession will not be in vain in the Lord.

Beloved friend, “Now the just shall live by faith”Let us not be of those who draw back, I know it’s tough, I know personally how much harder it has become. Growing older with all it’s often painful sufferings in this world is not what anyone would willingly invite into their lives, but because we put our faith in the One who has already overcome this world, we don’t have to be afraid nor let our hearts be troubled, “For we are not of those who draw back to perdition but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!

HB: Paul, Steve, & Me


His True Life

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s own enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”   Matthew 10:34-39

You will find the kind of relationship Jesus is seeking after from us through this text. How personal, and how singular it must be without any competition for our love and allegiance. Though the ultimate end of the gospel is peace with God: Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid( John 14:27), the immediate result of the gospel is frequently conflict. Conversion to Christ can result in strained family relationships, persecution, and even martyrdom. Following Christ presupposes a willingness to endure such hardships: “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master”(Matthew 10:24), If the Teacher (Christ) suffers, so will His pupils. If they attack the Master (Christ) with blasphemies, so will they curse the servants. Though He is called the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), Christ will have no one devoid of understanding that He calls believers to a life devoid of all conflict.

Take his cross—Here is Jesus’ first mention of the word “cross” to His disciples, as they confessed Him with their mouths, He had to remind them, and here we are reminded too, that it is our heart that needs to take into account all of its cost. To His disciples, the cross meant a picture of violent degrading suffering death. And Jesus is demanding total commitment from them—even unto physical death to themselves. And adding to this call to full surender as part of the message they were to proclaim to others. Why else would Jesus demand so much from His followers? That the patterns of suffering through trials and testing of our faith, would solidfy our message to others that the gospel message that saves us is not for those who don’t whole-hearted commit to it. And that we must rely upon God’s strength through grace to persevere. Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me. (Philippians 1:27-30) The Greek verb translated “granted” is from the noun for grace which brings power and eternal rewards. The same kind of suffering the apostle Paul had experienced.

Beloved friend, “Those who love their father or mother more than they love Me are not worthy of Me. And those who love their son or daughter more than they love Me are not worthy of Me…. Those who try to keep the life they have will lose it. But those who give up their life for Me will find true life.” It doesn’t get more challenging than this. We have naturally incredible strong bonds to our parents and kids, but Jesus says our love for Him must surpass that if we are going to be His disciples. We can’t cling to anything else in this world; we must surender it all to Jesus. Jesus did not come to this earth to offer us advice, but to radically transform us. Do we really want His true life? Or are we settling for something less? The latter which will never fully satisfy.

Prayer:Lord, this is a very hard lesson to learn. But You’ve created me and give only what is best, only what I need, with Your help, let me use what You give me and entrusted to me to use it in my life for Your glory and honor. In Jesus’ name, amen.

May the Lord bless your walk!

Twinkling of An Eye

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but shall be changed—–in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.   1 Corinthians 15:50-58

Anybody need an encouraging word as we start this New Year? Here in our text, Paul answers a earlier question: “How are the dead raised up?”(v.35) and more specifically by showing us that the resurrection body of Jesus Christ is the prototype. By focusing directly on the resurrection body, Paul gives 4 sets of contrasts to show how the new body will differ from the present ones. 1st) no more sickness and death (“corruption”); 2nd) no more shame because of sin (“dishonor”); 3rd) no more frailty in temptation (“weakness”); 4th) no more limits to earth’s time/space sphere (“natural”). People cannot live in God’s eternal heavenly glory the way they are. Paul points out also earlier in the chapter, Through the first Adam we received our natural bodies, but through the last Adam (Christ) we will receive our spiritual bodies in the resurrection. The first Adam, was our helpless sinful state, whereas Christ’s resurrected body is our new born again body going to be like. When a seed is planted in the ground it dies; decomposes and ceases to exist in its seed form, but life comes from inside that dead seed (John 12:24). Just as God gives a new body to that plant that rises from the dead seed, so He can give a resurrection body to a man who dies after this life.

Behold, I tell you a mystery—This term refers to truth hidden in the past and revealed in the New Testament. In this case, the rapture of the church was never revealed in the Old Testament. It is first mention by Jesus in John 14:1-3, when it is specifically explained, and more detailed beside here in our text, but also in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18. Twinkling of an eye—This was Paul’s way to show how quickly everything will change, how brief the “moment” will be. Since the eye can move more rapidly than any other part of our visible bodies, (marvel at the Holy Spirit’s leading for Paul to use this part of the body) it seems well to illustrate the sudden transformation of raptured believers. The Trumpet sound—To herald the end of the church era, when all believers will be removed from earth at the beckoning call of God and the Bridegroom (Christ) returning for His bride the church. Paul finishes with the comparison of death as it were a mere bee sting that has been removed, that enhances his joy at the reality of the resurrection. The hope of the resurrection makes all of the efforts of trials, and testings, persecutions, and sufferings in this life more bearable because we are to look ahead to where our inheritance awaits us. No work done in His name is ever wasted and won’t be without reward one day in the eternal life’s glory and victory.

Beloved friend, In an instant, the saints of the Christian faith will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord in wonderful everlasting glory. What an incredible picture of the church ascending to their glorious celestial home at the long awaited trumpet sound! The victory over death and sin will be evident through the return of Christ and we shall reign with Him forevermore. This promise of hope everlasting should make our start of the New Year be filled with thanksgiving and praise to our God, and Savior, and King! It should be quite noticeable in each of us, and we should be so willing to tell others who don’t have this hope.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him this New Year!