Unbelievers vs. Believers

This is our prayer request

2Cor 1 to 4 Unbelievers have a veil over their minds and their hearts. They cannot understand nor comprehend who Jesus is. But when the Holy Spirit reveals Him, the veil is removed, and they see, understand, and clearly see Jesus. Paul explains it this way: “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God.” [2Cor 4:4] The god of this age is, of course, Satan, who diabolically wants to keep unbelievers in his kingdom of darkness. But God’s light is greater than Satan’s darkness ” For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” is the one who shined in our hearts to give us the light of the glorious knowledge of God in the face of Christ.” [2 Cor 4:6].

Today pray for those whose hearts are blind to the gospel and Jesus.

What God sees and what the world sees:

hear and obey

Matt 5-7 Hear and Do — What is my life built on?

Bear with me in my tears. James reminds us that we can sit all day and hear the words of Jesus flowing forth from preachers, friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, and even ourselves, but if we do not obey, we are self-deceived. “But be sure you live out the message and do not merely listen to it and so deceive yourselves.” [James 1:22]

The Son, Jesus, looks inwardly. Jesus challenges us to look inwardly to see what He sees. He asks us, Is your life built on him, the Rock of Ages, or is your life built on wood, hay, and stubble? Remember this; what you see me do or not do is not the standard. Jesus says you have heard my words now, step up and do them; otherwise, you are the fool who builds his life on sand. You must mourn over sin, and you must seek humility. You must seek the kingdom of heaven, for all of what you do outwardly is rubbish.

Am I praying? Am I seeking to share the gospel message? Am I sensitive to the hurts of others that we might win their heart for Jesus?

He taught as one with authority and not as the scribes. Therefore, listen and obey, for the scribes are building their lives on sand. You, beloved, are salt and light to a lost and dying world. Therefore, go and Build your life on the Rock.

God’s Silence is Broken—a Message of Hope!

God so loved...

“Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.” [2Tim 3:16, 17]

 Luke 1 and John 1:1-14 It has been 400 yrs. of silence since heaven spoke, yet in His perfect time; God spoke again that the people might know that His plan was still effectual and present, perfectly time just for you!

Years before Luke and John wrote, the prophet Zechariah had seen eight visions for a discouraged people to remind them that His love was everlasting and why He had been faithful to them. [Jer. 31:3] Fast forward 400 yrs., and God sends another message of love and plan to a discouraged people through a priest named (ironically) Zechariah as he ministered at the altar of incense. This Zechariah listens but questions, unlike the prophet Zechariah of 400 yrs. ago! Gabriel, the angelic messenger, says that you will be silent because you did not believe until God’s plan comes to pass. 

Do we question God’s plan when we hear His voice? Beloved, God loves so much that His plan is perfect, and His timing is perfect and He sends His message of love to you who may be discouraged today.   

The A, B, C’s

The Psalms

Psalm 119: Many of us have scores of Bibles at our fingertips, bookstores galore, and many different websites that offering different versions of the Bible. But, the early Israelites learned through oral recitation using the memory aid tool: “abecedaries,” just like children today learn their A-B-C’s in a sing-song fashion. All 176 verses of this psalm remind us of the steadfast love of God and His Word and mention the Word of God in nearly each stanza. 

Martin Luther memorized this entire psalm, and as a monk, he followed the pattern to recite long passages of scripture. He found Psalm 119 was easy to memorize because of its sing-song pattern. What a great challenge for us! Just as the psalmist said, those who are blessed are blameless and obedient to the law of the Lord. They choose to observe God’s rules and seek Him with their whole heart.

The psalmist knew the principle of 2Tim 3:16 “All scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, reproof correction, and training in righteousness.” Take time to walk through each stanza for your edification so that you might know who God is and what He does through the hearts and minds of those who taste and see that the Lord is good.

The Gospel Message

Jesus is the Light

Advent Series #2: 1John 1-2

The Apostle John authored five books in the NT. John, along with his brother James fished the Sea of Galilee as part of the family business. Yet, 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 began his first book with the words: “in the beginning,” and his full purpose was to proclaim the truth about Christ and His life as well as challenge us to follow Him fully. John’s message was that Jesus was the Word with God, life eternal, and He is light.

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. 

Have you met Him? Without him, Advent has no meaning.  Come to him and know of him that you may have eternal life. 

Is your light under a bushel?

Ps 22 & Ps 78 The psalmist says we are to tell the next generation about the Lord and his saving deeds and what he has accomplished. We can’t pass that job off onto the preacher or the missionary because the psalmist says, “we” will tell. Jesus said to “go and tell.” How many of us are like those who say, “my faith is personal, I don’t share it, I just live it?  Jesus left us a commandment: go and make disciples. That means we do just that; we tell about God’s saving grace.

Do we realize that God will hold us accountable for lives who would have chosen Jesus had they had heard the gospel message? The psalmist says to tell the next generation so that the truth will be heard from us to the next generation.   They need to hear from our lips the truth of the gospel message. We also need to do that so that they will not be lost and without hope.

Psalm 78:6 says to tell the next generation, and they, in turn, will tell the next generation about Jesus. If each generation carries on this tradition, imagine how many souls will hear the gospel? And in contrast, if we don’t tell how many souls will enter a Christ-less eternity because we have failed in our responsibility?

Today I challenge you to tell someone about Jesus.

How’s Your Vision?

Ps 13 to 15 “Through God’s Eyes”

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could see with God’s eyes? Instead, God says trust me, for I see not as man sees. King David reflected on his world around him and viewed with a renewed vision exactly what God saw. First, he saw men like blameless Job who probably wondered ‘how long.’ Then he saw men who were fools because although the creation screams God’s power and majesty, they refuse to bow the knee to Him. Lastly, he saw men of integrity as he examined their character.

Seeing with God’s Eyes about the past: God was faithful in the past and will be faithful in the future; therefore, we can trust Him.

Seeing with God’s eyes about men: Ps 14: Men are fools! They ignore the evidence before them. Although they are wicked and deny God, those who have chosen His way can say with assurance: He is our shelter.

Seeing with God’s eyes about ourselves: Ps 15: O God, I see it now! I may someday enter your presence because I have chosen Your way, Your standards, Your path. I want God, who sees all things.

Beloved, are you asking God to help you see with His eyes, or are you still satisfied to see with seeing with your earthly vision?

Lamps and Light

2Samuel 22:29/Psalm 18 “Indeed, you are my lamp, Lord. The Lord illumines the darkness around me.” The scriptures are filled with verses that teach us about the benefit of light.  Science has proven that plants lean toward the light, and if you want them to grow straight, you must rotate them each day. The Israelites were used to the Lamp of God, a.k.a. the pillar of fire, leading them in the desert. Jesus called himself the “Light of the World.” He illumines our soul with truth because, as he said: “I am the Truth.”

When God instructed the Israelites to build the Tabernacle, he chose the Menorah to illumine the Holy Place. It was to be made of beaten gold and exhibited seven branches. It was to be placed on the south side opposite the table of shewbread and illumined this place for the priests to do their work. The wicks were to be trimmed each week—what a beautiful picture of the Light illumining our work for Him.

Jesus illumines our soul with truth and is a guide out of the darkness of the sin-filled world in which we live and move and have our being. “Only bats, and owls, and unclean and ravenous things are fond of the night. Children of light walk in the light and reflect the light.” [Spurgeon]

Where are you reflecting the Light to others in this time of uncertainty?

Photo credit: One for Israel Ministries