Lord, From Your Heart to My Heart

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shinning, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves.          Mark 9:2-8

There is at times just a great feeling of being loved by God whenever He reveals something to you in your heart. What I mean is, just like when someone close to you confides in you something of a personal nature usually its because you display the integral character of someone in whom they have trust in. Someone in whom they can confide in and know it will be received with understanding that what you are expressing is what is in your heart, and then using the best intention of responding with love and care for what that person’s need is. Well, need less to say, God does not need my help nor advice for anything. But that is what I am referring to; Yet, He still reveals great truths that come from His heart to us.

Peter, James, and John—As the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, these three were sometimes allowed to witness events that the other disciples were not. We know that God is not a respecter of persons, meaning He doesn’t show favoritism in His dealings with man. God is fair and just in His actions and judgment. As Jesus led the 3 men up the mountain, Mount Hermon, about 9,200 feet above sea level is the highest mountain in the area of Caesarea Philippi. Now I’m sure while they were walking up that mountain that would not have ever guessed what was about to take place. Has that ever happened to you? God doesn’t have to perform any type of miraculous event for us today, but Has He ever made Himself so real to you, that You’ve felt His presence in your situation? What I desire is that intimate walk with the Lord, so if He should choose to, He could reveal His heart over what concerns me, and my situation. I just think that the three disciples must have thought at first, “no way is this really happening!” Then, Perhaps afterwards, the reality of being so included in something as God the Father’s heart being revealed toward His Son, Jesus Christ. Wow! Think about it for a moment. In this New Testament passage, we get to comprehend the depth of a Father’s love for His Son. Who happens to be the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and every living thing. The One who knows the magnitude of the universe and its span, brought down to His simple declaration of His love for His Son, in whom He is well pleased.

Transfigured—From the Greek word meaning “to change in form,” In some inexplicable way, Jesus revealed His divine glory. Later in his life, Peter wrote in his second epistle, For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16). In one sense, all of the apostles were eyewitnesses to Christ’s majesty, especially His miracles, His resurrection body, and His ascension up to heaven. Peter, however, is referring to his privileged account of being in the presence of a transfigured Christ. The kingdom splendor of His majesty revealed at this event was intended as a preview of His majesty to be manifested at His second coming. It must be noted then, that Jesus earthly ministry of healing, teaching, and gathering souls into His kingdom was preview also, of the character of the earthly kingdom He will establish at His return. The divine glory of Jesus emanating from His body made even His clothes radiate a brilliant white light, no man made laundry detergent could ever make us this clean.

Elijah. . .with Moses—Symbolic of the Old Testament Prophets and the Law, these two great divisions of Old Testament order is subject to Jesus, who fulfilled the Law of Moses, and of the Prophets (Matthew 5:17).

Now the title “Rabbi,” is a title of esteem and honor given by the Jews to respected teachers. So when Peter feels compelled to say something, perhaps it was to want to honor Jesus, and His company of Old Testament saints, in suggesting he would make three tabernacles, so we could stay here permanently! He could have felt the future kingdom of God had arrived, and well, I should do something! It is all speculation of course. But I think when the Lord’s kingdom comes down from heaven, it will be perfect. It won’t need anything added to it by mankind. Jesus tells us, In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3). Nowhere is Jesus saying, I will need your help in this. No, He will go before us, He will prepare a place for us, He will return for us, and take us to be with Him. Jesus does it all for us!

A cloud . . .overshadowed them—This glory of God appears in the Old Testament at Mount Sinai, when God was giving instruction to Moses. You remember His face glowed when he came down from the mountain. This was known as “Shekinah glory” that God’s presence was felt and its afterglow was the result. The Father’s voice in that cloud cut off Peter’s fumbling at saying the right words. This is My beloved Son—God the Father repeated the affirmation of His love for the Son given first in the New Testament at Jesus’ baptism: Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) This voice allowed its audience at Jesus’ baptism of His Messianic prophesies, like for instance, (Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 42:1).

Beloved friend, I feel as though if were honest, the average Christian doesn’t give the Lord enough of his undivided heart to wait for, and be still before the Lord. To hear from the heart of God what His will is for us in the present moment. We know we have the “Great Commission” given to us by Jesus to tell the world about Him. But for many believers we still are just too busy to hear from God. To walk with Him in intimate fellowship is a constant and conscious effort of freely letting go of your life into the hands of God. But perhaps today we could do something about it. Hear Him!—This is the voice of God the Father’s instruction to us in His written revealed Word. Jesus, the One to whom the Law and the Prophets pointed to (Deuteronomy 18:15), is the One whom the disciples in our text, as well as us believers today, are to listen to and obey.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!


Love Brings Life

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.  1 John 3:14-15

Our history is filled with stories of persecution of the saints who follow after Christ by the world. This shouldn’t come as surprise to the believers today because we see the onslaught with which it takes on its identity, which is the way of Satan who is described as the “father of all lies,” (John 8:44). A son will manifest his father’s characteristics, Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, Be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (5:1-2). A Christian has no greater calling or purpose than that of imitating his Lord. On the other hand, since the Jews exhibited the patterns of Satan in their hostility toward Jesus and their failure to believe in Him as their Messiah, their paternity behavior was the exact opposite of their claims, that they were justified at their obeying the Law of Moses. Satan was described by Jesus Himself as a “murderer from the beginning.” This is referring to the fall after Satan tempted Adam and Eve and successfully killed their spiritual life (Genesis 2:17; 3:17-24).

Everything Jesus was, everything He taught, and everything He did, was a manifestation of God’s love. This love of God enriches the lives of everyone who allows Him to pour it into their hearts through the working of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. Becoming a Christian is a resurrection from death to life, and a turning from hate to love. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love (Galatians 5:6). What is done externally for God is worthless, unless it is accompanied by a genuine internal righteousness imparted by God to the believer. Saving faith in the life of a believer proves its genuine character by works of love for God and Christ.

A lack of love however, indicates that one is spiritually dead. Why, you may ask? That’s because love, unfeigned love is the sure test of whether someone has experienced the new birth and light of eternal life in Christ, or is still in darkness of spiritual death. Someone who is characterized by hatred has never experienced the love God has offered them through His Son.

By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16)—With this phrase, John introduces the standard of love that is reflected in genuine Christianity. It becomes the measuring stick for every expression of love which is not just in words, but in deeds and in truth (1 John 3:18). When the love of God is a powerful force in your life and His love in you is reaching out to others, your own life is enriched in a way you never would have thought possible. That’s where the real blessings come from, not what I do for God. But what God does through me. It will never be enough in this all too short and brief life, if all I ever do is to pursue what pleasures me. Ask Solomon, who had everything in this life beyond what anyone could ever want. Yet, afterwards when his life was coming to an end, he was filled with a dissatisfaction that could only be described by him as “meaningless, and chasing after the wind.”

Beloved friend, This brief devotion is merely scratching the surface of all that God is wanting to do in the life of a believer. To devote yourself to wanting to know God, and know His great love for you through His Son, Jesus Christ. We only have to look to the cross, and there we find as we read and study His Word, the revealing of God’s unmerited love for you, and for those whom you love, will become more real than ever before. The simple transformation one has who has an encounter with God by faith, in the revealed Word of His truth, and His great care for His children, can only be a challenge to you to seek Him and find out for yourselves. There can be no other place to go to in this life, where not only is God revealing Himself to us, but also lets us see our own depravity and need of His offer of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  Prayer: Father God, through the wonders of Your great love, and transforming power of Your Holy Spirit in my life, do what is impossible for me to do for myself. And enrich my life through Your redeeming love for me. For Your glory, and my good, amen.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!




Marks of the Ministry

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: “in an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.  2 Corinthians 6:1-10

When you tell someone you are a Christian, how far do you go in revealing what Christ has done for you? How in depth do you elaborate the calling or kind of ministry the Lord has equipped you for? How urgent is your message at telling others their need of being saved? These are the subjects of what Paul refers to on the subject his ministry for Jesus Christ. The first point is his position, being joined with Christ. Workers together with Him—And then pleading with his readers not to receive God’s grace in vain,” Most of the Corinthian believers were saved but hindered by legalistic teaching regarding sanctification. Some were not even truly saved but deceived by a gospel of works (Galatians 5:4), which was being taught by the false teachers in that day. In either case, Paul’s proclamation of the gospel of grace would not have been having its desired effect, and would have had cause for serious concern that his many months of ministry at Corinth would have been in vain. Now is the day of salvation—Paul applied Isaiah’s words to the present situation that there is a time in God’s economy when He listens to repentant sinners, who ask for His mercy and seek His forgiveness for their sins. And it was then, and still is now, that time that we are living in known as, the age of grace. Solomon wrote in Proverbs, Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. (Prov.1:23) In this call to wisdom, God promises the spirit or essence of true wisdom that is linked to divine revelation to those who repent from their sin laden life. So Paul’s emphasis of “Today,” as the day of salvation is because there will be an end to that time when anyone can freely come to God in true repentance and Godly sorrow.

We give no offense in anything—Jesus gave His disciples a very strict warning that not everyone will accept your gospel message. If fact, be prepared for those who will hate you because of Me. Like Paul, any believer who engages in a faithful ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20) should expect to be rejected and accepted, to be hated and loved, to encounter joy and hardship. The faithful ambassador for Christ does nothing to discredit his ministry, but everything he can to protect its integrity.

We commend ourselves—The word “commend” means “introduce” with the connotation of proving oneself. The most convincing proof is the patient endurance of character reflected in Paul’s hardships and nature of his ministry. These marks of ministry can be seen in three ways: First of all, In the physical sense. In much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings (vv.4-5); The preposition (in) talking about the physical sufferings and hardships that he endured as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then changing the word to (by) he speaks now of  mental things that he endured: by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love. Then from there, Paul speaks of the third mark of his ministry, the spiritual things of importance and of the righteousness God had granted him through the Holy Spirit. These spiritual things: By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and the left, (vv.6-7). So the ministry, the proof of ministry, it’s marks it left in the life of Paul, these characteristics of ministry God gives to all of His faithful ministers even today who serve the Lord and their fellow man. These interesting contrasts that take place within the ministry; “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, yet I possess everything.” All because I possess Christ. Or maybe it should be said, Because Christ possesses me. I have surrendered my life unto Jesus Christ, The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)

Beloved friend, The mark of ministry that has genuine character and is effective in this world is paradoxical and therefore must never be trying to conform itself to fit or be like the world’s standards, but rather, must take if necessary the hard stance in which God’s word will not ever be compromised even if it brings much persecution with it. We must prepare ourselves through prayer, and with the reading and studying of His Word. God’s Word must take deep lodging in our hearts, and become synonymous with our actions and responses in everyday life. We need to take the warning seriously on the subject of purity, the enemy of our souls will do all he can to get you to compromise your purity in lieu of popularity. The tactics of spiritual warfare are ever present today, as they were when they wrote them to warn the believers about it during the first century church. The marks of your ministry will be what is part of the cost at being called a disciple of Jesus Christ. Knowing whom you’ve received it from, should be enough evidence and proof that the Lord Jesus Christ has equipped you for this ministry, and will provide all of what is needed in His written Word to allow you to fulfill your ministry. Praise His name, go out and make it count for the kingdom and glory of God. Prayer: Lord Jesus, I don’t want to “act important,” but rather I want to be an important vessel You use in furthering the gospel to our world. In Jesus Name, amen.

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!





Well-Driven Nails

The words of the wise  are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, whether good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:11-14

The English title, “Ecclesiastes,” comes from the Greek and Latin translations meaning “Preacher.” The book chronicles Solomon’s investigations and conclusions with most of which, he is looking back at his own life’s mistakes, in regarding man’s lifework, combining all of his activities of pursuing potential pleasures and limited satisfaction. The role of wisdom surfaces repeatedly particularly when Solomon must acknowledge that God has not revealed all of life’s details. Whenever we read the Bible we should listen carefully, or should I say, “prayerfully,” to what God says, and be admonished whether we think that will never happen to me or not, when were young or during our senior years in this life. We are never too old to get wiser or act like a fool. We can read many books about many subject matters, but let us major on what God says through His written Word to us, and live a life of wisdom. If you fear God, you need not fear nothing else. You will be safe in the Father’s will for your life. Let’s have a look.

It is with the examples of two shepherds tools that Solomon refers to in showing his understanding of what it means to learn life’s most meaningful lessons. In one viewpoint, “goads” are used to motivate reluctant animals, the other, “well-driven nails” are dependable multipurpose in use, these are picture aspects of applying wisdom to one’s life. One Shepherd—True wisdom has its source which comes from God alone. Books written on any other subject proved to Solomon to be far less than what anyone could be hoping to find fulfillment from. Here, Solomon again is recalling in hindsight his quest for knowledge and pleasure in this life. Here is someone you could say, “had it all!” We often wonder today, what it would be like to have such riches, such opulent lifestyles of the rich and famous, look at those people! What were forgetting is that Jesus said to us, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more” (Luke 12: 48). Ignorance of God’s laws will never be an excuse for anyone who will one day face God’s judgment, just like ignorance of the law does not prevent you from getting a ticket. There is a spiritual application here for us, If you or I would pursue anything in this life, no matter what it is, pleasure, knowledge through education, prominent standing socially or in business, and forsake ever knowing what God’s will is for us, we will be greatly disappointed on the day when we would face God who will use His Son, Jesus Christ, to judge our works. If we never trusted in Christ, for our salvation, never become truly born again, then all of these earthly pursuits will never have no merit for your eternal soul.

Fear God—Solomon’s final word on the issues raised in the 12 chapters of this book, Ecclesiastes; as well as life itself, focus on one’s relationship to God. All of the concern for life under the sun, with its pleasures and uncertainties, was behind Solomon by now. Such things that seemed so important to him, were now comparatively irrelevant to him as he faced the end of his life. But death, in spite of all the focused attention he had given to it in Ecclesiastes, was not the greatest equalizer. No he found out that it was God’s judgment/retribution is the real equalizer. As God will bring every person who has ever lived acts to judgment. Unbelievers will stand before the Great White Throne judgment: Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). Why did this happen? Because their thoughts (Luke 8:17), words (Matthew 12:37), and actions (Matthew 16:27) will be compared to God’s perfect, holy standard (Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15-16) and will be found wanting (Romans 3:23).

Beloved friend, If you have given your life over to Christ, then you and I will one day stand before Christ too. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). That “Day,” refers to the time of the Judgment seat of Christ. And only what has been accomplished in this life through His Spirit’s power working in the lives of believers, and all that was done for His glory will survive and be rewarded. So I to have ask you, “What is your passion?” What are you pursuing with all of your heart? If it is to glorify Christ, then you will find fulfillment, contentment and peace in your pursuits. But if it is only for what you think is going to bring you much pleasure and fulfillment, you will be very disappointed at the end of your life, when the insignificance of what you at one time found to be more important to you, than learning if God is at the head of it. It seems to me that Solomon was given “Carte Blanch,” by God Himself (2 Chronicles 1:11-12), but it was given so that we who are here today, could learn from what he learned, and that is a life in pursuit of happiness and fulfillment without God, can never bring what every person needs, that is the knowledge that in the end, it will all be brought before a holy God, who will bring it to judgment. Don’t you want to be pursuing after what glorifies Him when He comes back for us? He will come at an hour when we least expect it, according to His Word, yet, wouldn’t it be more helpful if we believed it could be today?

May the Lord bless your walk with Him today!