Job 14-16 Job asks the age-old question: “man dies and is powerless, he expires – and where is he?” and “if a man dies, will he live again?” Job struggled, but Jesus gave the answer: I am the way to the afterlife; believe in me.
It seems that all religions/faiths believe in some form of afterlife, but the real question is what Job asked: “will he live again?” The resurrection of Jesus proves that there is life after death. Jesus spoke of the reality of our destiny in [Luke 16:19-31]. Two men, Lazarus, and the rich man die. Jesus pulls back the curtain into eternity to show us that our destiny is sealed while we are alive.
Our witness to that truth is Jesus Christ, who “died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures and that he appeared.” [1Cor 15:3-7] He appeared to not just Peter but to the many that went forth to tell the world: yes, there is life after death.
From Jesus, we can know that yes, we will live again. The question all need to ask is: where will you and I spend eternity? The two thieves on the cross and the story Jesus told in [Luke 16; Luke 23:39-42] tell us that man must choose NOW for once death comes, there is no return ticket to this earthly life.
What will you choose?
Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life.” [Jn 10:40 and Jn 5:24].
Genesis 4 to 7 Two men in Gen 4 to7 are noted as “walking” with God. Although Moses did not note the character of Enoch, the author of Hebrews gives us this insight: “[Enoch] was commended as having pleased God.” [Heb 11:5]. Noah is noted as a righteous and blameless man. [Gen 6:9] Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. [Gen 5:24] These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.[Gen 6:9]
So what does it mean to walk with God? Micah tells us: “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord really wants from you: He wants you to carry out justice, to love faithfulness, and to live obediently before your God.”
When we walk with God, we can be assured of this truth: “I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be my people” –[ Leviticus 26:12] When we walk with God, it is sweet communion, and “Even though [we] walk through the darkest valley, [we] will fear no evil, for God is with us. His rod and [His] staff, comfort us.” – [Psalm 23:4 author paraphrase]
As Jesus walked along the road to Emmaus with the two disciples, He opened their hearts and their understanding of the scriptures. Thus, walking with God is a time of intimacy when He reveals what we are to hear and what we are to do.
1John 5 Do you have any doubts? Do you worry? Take heart dear reader, for John shares the secret to quiet assurance. It is the belief that Jesus is the Son of God. The Greek word for believe is [pist-yoo’-o], meaning to be persuaded of, to credit, to place confidence in. Did you grasp that last word? Confidence is the foundation of assurance.
Further, John says it is because we are assured we have the confidence to come boldly before the throne of God. We can ask anything according to his will, and God hears what we have longed to share with Him trusting Him who hears and answers. He may not answer how we think it should be answered because our motives may be selfish or improper, but He will answer. We must always remember these wise words from Isaiah: Indeed, my plans are not like your plans. Thus God will answer according to His plan, which is superior to ours.
Will we trust Him? Will we have confidence in Him who knows the end from the beginning?
E.M. Bounds noted: Only God can move mountains but faith and prayer move God
How often do you go through FB or your email and receive this notice: this is a one-time offer! Pleading with us that after x,y,z minutes, that offer will not be available. How grateful to know that Jesus’ sacrifice was a one-time offering and it is never rescinded. Now He asks just as Isaiah: “Come, let’s consider your options,” says the Lord. “Though your sins have stained you like the color red, you can become white like snow; though they are as easy to see as the color scarlet, you can become white like wool. [Is 1:18]
His offer to save you stands now as it did centuries ago when he died on that cruel cross. If you have partaken of this offer, you, along with the many who have, stand sanctified in Christ before God and have access to the Father Himself.
Therefore, let us draw near Him because we are sprinkled clean; our bodies are washed in pure water. We are to hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess. We are not to be like the wavering sea of the ocean that James presents. We are to consider how to stimulate others to love and good deeds, for this is the avenue by which the world will know who we are. We are to assemble to encourage others and even more so as we see the day approaching. Lastly, we are to endure to the very end.
The author of Hebrews, who may be unknown to us, is not unknown to the Father. He extols the virtues of our Savior to those who were facing persecution. He reminded them that Jesus is better than the angels, better than Moses, better than the Priesthood, better than Joshua, better than the Law so stand firm! Therefore, take heed lest you lose heart and fall irreparably. Stand firm is our admonition; stand firm in the midst of persecution; stand firm in the midst of accolades. Remind yourself of the children of Israel who sold their faith because of fear and wandered around the desert wilderness for 40 years.
We must follow the admonition of the author to review the blessings of God that He has bestowed upon us and cling to them and the message of hope. God’s lovingkindness was poured upon them and yet they refused to obey. May we not be so but rather be steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord.
God in his sovereign love directed the runaway slave Onesimus from Colossae to encounter Paul, an aged prisoner, somewhere in Rome. Watching Paul and hearing his story, he would see, not fear but a peace that passes all understanding. He would learn the truth and power of forgiveness that would forever change his heart and soul. You too might be just like Onesimus, a runaway. You are fearful of today and tomorrow but God is calling you to Himself. It was because Paul took Onesimus and discipled him that he moved from being a willing slave of the evil kingdom of fear and bondage to being a bondslave of the heavenly kingdom.
Yes, Onesimus would have to return to Colossae and Philemon to “face the music.” However, before he was useless, but now he was useful not only for Paul but also for his earthly master. Don’t you want to meet him in eternity?
Are you like Onesimus? Are you running away from God? Are you living in fear of what lay ahead? Jesus says: Come follow Me and I will remove all your fears and give you the peace that passes all understanding!
Our world is consumed with protecting investments. Seminars are replete with: give me your money and I will invest it and bring you dollars untold. As Paul closes this personal letter to Timothy he leaves him with one charge and it has nothing to do with the investment of money. Instead, he charged Timothy and us in turn, to invest and protect the gospel message. We are to “protect what has been entrusted to [us].” [2Tim 1:14]
He has entrusted us with the precious gospel message. We are to protect it because it is the life-giving message of hope. Practically we protect or guard this investment by being vigilant or intentional to stand firm in the faith. We conduct ourselves as a model of purity and righteousness. We are to be a Christ-like model in speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity being conscious about how we live and what we teach. Intentionally we are to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness.” [1Tim 6:11] And we are to do it until “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…” who is “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”[1Tim 6:15-16]
We, who are believers, are charged with being the guardians of the TRUTH. How are we at guarding the investment Christ has left us?
Advent #7 The Nativity Tells the Story of Christ’s Birth
One of the things we can be certain of; Christmas will come and Christmas will go. A child anticipates the coming of Santa but is that what we want our children to remember? Or is that Christmas is the birthday of our Savior? It is all about Him, not Santa. Perhaps that is why the Apostle John spent so much time writing about Jesus and why he chose to author five books in the NT. Perhaps it is why he left the family business to follow Christ. Perhaps that is why when Christ said, “follow me,” he left it all behind. He never looked back but became the disciple whom Jesus loved and was the only one not martyred for his faith.
John wanted all of those who read his letters to know that his full purpose was to proclaim the truth about Christ and His life as well as challenge us to follow Him fully as well. John’s message was that Jesus was the Word with God, life eternal, and He is light. Perhaps that is why we celebrate Christmas with lights.
As the angels rejoiced, so should we because Jesus was and is faithful and righteous, forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. He is our advocate with the Father. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and the sins of the whole world. And that is what Christmas is all about.
Without him, Advent has no meaning. Come to him and know of him that you may have eternal life. Take time this season to teach children the real meaning of Christmas; Christ came, lived, died, and rose again that they might know Him and be known by Him.
Are you facing a season of ups and downs? Beloved, know this, you can return to the faith of the authors of the Bible and be sustained. James reminds us that if we doubt God’s goodness or His plan, we are like the sea wave, which is blown and tossed by the wind. At times like this, we all need a refresher course in the hymns written in the past. Ruth Caye Jones faced challenging times during WWII, and as she stood in her kitchen, she penned these words: “In times like this, you need a Savior.”In times like these, you need an anchor, Be very sure, be very sure your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock! This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One.”
David’s anchor was the Lord and his words from Ps 34 remind us to seek God’s face. “I sought the Lord, and when I sought him, he answered and delivered me from all my fears.” This one thing we can know for certain: The Lord hears the cries of the godly. He is near to the brokenhearted; He hears, He saves, He is near. [Ps 34:17 paraphrase] Isaiah also knew, “You keep completely safe the people who maintain their faith…for they trust in you.” [Is 26:3]
The world would have us look everywhere but to the Lord. Have you tried other ways? Sit with a hymnal and sing or read the words to calm your soul.
Many echo the sentiment that they would believe if only they could see. They want facts before their faith. Yet Jesus said to Thomas: “Have youbelievedbecauseyou have seen me? Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.” [John 20:29] Thus, with those thoughts in mind, the Apostle John and Dr. Luke reveal God’s inspired word “so that you may know for certain” that which was spoken by the prophets is true and fulfilled just as God said. We recall from Revelation: “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it.” [Rev 1:3]
God’s words are true and will be fulfilled just as He said it regardless of our belief. But so that we may believe with certainty that He who is true and faithful and His “promises are “Yes” in him;….[ 2Co 1:20] He has chosen to give us an account of His plan that we may say with Thomas: “My Lord and my God.” [Jn 20:29]
And what is it that we are to believe? “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” [John 20:31] May we all know this truth this Christmas season; Jesus Christ is our greatest gift.