Tag Archives: devotion

God will keep us from stumbling.

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” — Jude 24, 25 ESV

The author of Jude concludes this New Testament letter with a note of praise and acknowledgement to God for saving each of us from sin.

This passage is like a very detailed picture in an art museum, full of details and very mentally stimulating.

The writer reminds us of God’s capacity to keep us from stumbling. Most of us have experienced stepping awkwardly and nearly falling.  God alone can keep us from the more dangerous spiritual fall.

God is also able to present us as persons without blame.  And in the presence of everyone:  God, friends, angels, EVERYONE.  But notice the connection between these two “acts of God.”  He prevents our injury (through actions that would otherwise damage us) and He shows us as clean, unaltered by life in a world that needs redemption!

Jesus comes into the narrative as the central player, the instrument of our ‘being made right.’

There’s another piece here worth noticing.  Two phrases: ‘presence of his glory’ and ‘with great joy.’  There’s a lot to think about in those words.

God, eternity are definitions of what glory truly is.  Here the awkward one (you, me) is made comfortable in the glorious presence of God.  Our natural tendency is forgotten.  Never comes up again in this passage or in Eternity.

Now notice the next part.  ‘With great joy!’  Ever been around someone who got the task done but with a boatload of protest?  Like, ‘do I HAVE to mow the lawn?’  Not this one, salvation, is done with joy.

That’s how God is.  How about you and me?  Are we joyful about others?  1
 
1 The above is used with permission. Worship encouragement from my friend Pastor Mark Johnson, President SDA Church in Canada
 

Leaning towards our promised eternal life

Waiting for things patiently is a quality that must be developed in us (see Romans 5:3–4; James 1:3–4; 5:11; Revelation 13:10; 14:12). Patience is one of the Spirit’s fruit borne in our lives. It includes fortitude, endurance, and the ability to bear up under pressure in order to attain the desired goal.

In the same way that our “hope” gives us fortitude, the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. At times, our weakness is so intense that we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. At those times, the Spirit voices our requests for us. He intercedes by appealing to the only one who can help us, God himself. We may not know the right words to say, but the Holy Spirit does. His groanings to God become effective intercession on our behalf. (Romans 8:26)

The companionship of the Spirit in prayer is one of the themes of this chapter. Here, the Spirit literally “joins in to help” us, expressing for us what we can’t fully express for ourselves. How should we pray?

• Utilize all the forms prayer takes: adoration, confession, petition, thanksgiving, and meditation. As we pray, we should trust the Spirit to make perfect what is imperfect.

• Listen during prayer. We should ask the Spirit to search our hearts and minds, and then we should be silent.

• Practice prayer as a habit.

• Combine prayer with other regular spiritual disciplines (see Philippians 4:4–8).

• Confess sins that the Spirit points out.

The Father knows all hearts and he knows what the Spirit is saying (see Romans 8:26-27). God can look deep, past our inarticulate groanings, to understand the need we face, our hidden feelings. Even when we don’t know the right words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays with and for us, always in harmony with God’s own will. With God helping us pray, we don’t need to be afraid to come before him.

Because the Spirit’s efforts on our behalf are carried out in full agreement with God’s will, everything that happens to us in this life is directed toward that goal. What happens may not itself be “good,” but God will cause everything to work together for the ultimate good of his children, to meet his ultimate purpose for their maturity. The point is, God works all things for good, not “all things work out.” (Romans 8:28) Suffering will still bring pain, loss, and sorrow, and sin will bring shame. But under God’s control, the eventual outcome will be for our good.

God works behind the scenes, ensuring that even in the middle of mistakes and tragedies, good will result for those who love him. At times this will happen quickly, often enough to help us trust the principle. But there will also be events whose results for good we will not know until eternity. Our ultimate destiny is to be like Christ. God’s design is more than just an invitation; God summons us with a purpose in mind: we are to be like Christ and share his glory.

1Barton, B., Comfort, P., Osborne, G., Taylor, L. K., & Veerman, D. (2001). Life Application New Testament Commentary 

Jesus refers to Himself as The Truth

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13 ESV)

It is noteworthy that Jesus referred to Himself as the embodied character of absolute truth and honesty as noted in these verses: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. He would often say in the gospel of John regarding the truthfulness of His words: “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8:45 ESV); and “If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?” (John 8:46 ESV); and “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth…” (John 16:7 ESV)

And if it wasn’t true he’d tell you: “if it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:6; 14:2 ESV).

Before He ascended to the Father, He told His disciples that “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13 ESV). All truth is not half-truths. Half-truths are lies. The apostle Paul wrote: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom 8:14 ESV)

When you accept Jesus, you are then sharing the glory of His absolute Truth, his Holy Spirit’s Light on the subject, His Love towards your understanding, and His Moral Laws that you can know the wiles of the devil, and thus His Divine attributes as One in the trinity -divine unity with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

You realize that to believe everything He says and lovingly represented as an incarnate man, you’ve now bound yourself to this convincing logical insight – and thereby have let the Spirit of Christ guide you to honesty within your own heart.

Climate Change: The hope for a better days ahead

When Adam sinned, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse; that is, to futility, change, and decay. Creation also is cursed because it is unable to attain the purposes for which it was made – to bless mankind made in His image.1 For example: when the people of Israel began worshipping idols God put the whole land under an agricultural curse, often challenged by radical weather changes and drought. Moses had warned of punishment for rebellion.

You will sow much seed in the field but harvest little, because the locusts will consume it. You will plant and cultivate vineyards, but will neither drink the wine nor gather the grapes, because worms will eat them. You will have olive trees throughout your territory but will never anoint yourself with oil, because the olives will drop off. (Deuteronomy 28:38-40)

A word on climate change  The scriptures teach that we are also stewards of the earth and all nature. In fact, God told Adam to take dominion over the entire earth. (Genesis 1:26-28) Soon the perfect order in the world was marred by sin; therefore, fallen people had to live in a fallen world and have demonstrated over many years that they have not been caring stewards – quite the contrary. Our perfect world continues to be harmed by a world population concomitantly marred by continuing sin as it continues to deny the Creator’s guidance. Yet all nature’s creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. Revelation 22 describes the future removal of the curse from the earth when the earth will be renewed. (Romans 8:20–21)

Adam and Eve were the first polluters of the environment when they sinned. Their act of rebellion affected the entire world. It has taken many centuries to realize the interrelatedness of this global village, but the Bible begins with that assumption. Having the same Creator links us with the rest of the created order. But as much as we do personally and corporately to clean up and care for the environment, we must realize that creation will require the same kind of transformation that we require in our hearts in order to be set straight again.

In fact, in Romans 8:22–23, Paul pictures the fallen creation as groaning as in the pains of childbirth. Consider earthquakes, floods, fire, drought, famine, plagues—these are surely not what creation was meant to be, but sin and evil now rule. Just as the pains of childbirth end at the birth of the child, so the groaning and pain of the creation will end at the birth of the new earth. Creation groans and longs for its release and transformation into the new heaven and new earth. We Christians also groan to be released from pain and suffering, longing for our own release from the cycle of sin, effects of aging on health and eventual physical death (Romans 8:23).

We long for redemption when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. In this process we are not alone, for the Holy Spirit groans with us, expressing our unutterable longing to God and giving us a foretaste of future glory. But until the time of our release and redemption, we must groan, wait, and hope.

When we put our faith in Christ as Savior, we are saved and we can eagerly look forward to the freedom we will have at Christ’s return. (Romans 8:24–25) We already have the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is unseen, but we must eagerly wait for our new bodies, which are also unseen. Our full redemption has not yet happened; it will happen when Christ returns. That is why it is still a hope for believers.

Our salvation is both present and future. It is present because the moment we believe in Jesus Christ as Savior we are saved (Romans 3:21–26; 5:1–11; 6:1–11, 22–23); our new life (eternal life) begins. But at the same time, we have not fully received all the benefits and blessings of salvation that will be ours when Christ’s new Kingdom is completely established. While we can be confident of our salvation, we still look forward with hope and trust toward that complete change of body and personality that lies beyond this life.

1Barton, B., Comfort, P., Osborne, G., Taylor, L. K., & Veerman, D. (2001). Life Application New Testament Commentary 

Resisting worldliness today

The world today is not unlike the world of Elijah when many of the Israelites were worshiping pagan gods. He built an altar to demonstrate that Yahweh, the God of creation exists and still actively governs even his wayward children led astray by pagan secular religions. In the ten commandments, God made it clear that:  You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall make an altar of earth for Me, and you shall sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen; in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you. (Exodus 20:23-24 NAS)

Elijah built an altar according to the commandment. He wanted to reveal to the people and King Ahab that he was the prophetic spokesperson, not the false prophets who led the people astray to worship idols.

Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. Prove that I have done all this at your command. O LORD, answer me! Answer me so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God and that you have brought them back to yourself.” Immediately the fire of the LORD flashed down from heaven. 1 Kings 18:36-38 When the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried out, “The LORD is God! The LORD is God!” (1 Kings 18:39 NLT)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may be taking too large a perspective. Let God worry about all the injustice in the world; you just need to find one small injustice and start there. The world is filled with evil, and you are here to be a light in the darkness. Even a small candle can lighten a dark room. As you minister, you may find that others gain the courage to join you, and you can begin to broaden your perspective. God’s Promise 1

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NLT)

1 Beers, Gilbert; Beers, Ron. The One Year Mini for Men (p. 309). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

The Deity of Christ – as revealed by Jesus

Jesus noted a man at the pool of Bethesda, a man laying there, an invalid for 38 years.

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him,“Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” rAnd at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. – John 5:6–9

Further, Jesus was being harassed by the Jewish leaders for breaking Sabbath rules. (John 5:16–17) But Jesus told these leaders, “My Father never stops working, so why should I?” With this statement, Jesus challenged the notion that God himself was somehow literally subject to the Sabbath rules. As we look at this consider the following: 1

If God stopped every kind of work on the Sabbath, nature would fall into chaos and sin would overrun the world. Genesis 2:2 says that God rested on the seventh day; he rested from the work of creation but began the work of sustaining the creation.

While it is true that God rested on that first seventh day from all His creative work, He has never rested from His governmental work, His providential work, supplying the needs of His creatures. The sun rises and sets, the tides ebb and flow, the rain falls, the wind blows, the grass grows on the weekly Rest Day as well as on any other. What we may term works of necessity and works of mercy—that is upholding and sustaining the whole realm of creation and the daily recurring needs of His creatures—God never rests from. 2

God has been at work and continues to work; so does his Son, Jesus. With this claim, Jesus affirmed his equality with God. Furthermore, Jesus was teaching that when the opportunity to do good presents itself, it should not be ignored, even on the Sabbath.

The Jews realized that Jesus’ words revealed his very personal relationship with God. In saying, “my Father,” he was clearly claiming to be God’s Son, thus equal with God. For a human to claim equality with God was blasphemy; and blasphemy was a sin carrying the death penalty (Leviticus 24:15–16). People regularly misunderstood Jesus, and he was constantly correcting them. Jesus never attempted to correct the understanding that he was claiming to be God, for that was exactly what he meant. Thus the Jewish leaders tried all the more to kill him.

In verses John 5:19–20 Jesus did not say that he would not do anything independent from the Father, but that he cannot: “The Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing.” The Son performs the tasks the Father wants to be done because they are of one spirit. The Father and the Son know and love each other completely. So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise”.

When Christ said:  “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing”, does this mean that His ability was limited? Or that His power was restricted? Do His words signify that when Jesus “made himself of no reputation (R. V. emptied himself) and took upon him the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7)” that He was reduced to all the limitations of human nature? No. Instead of pointing to an imperfection, either in His person or power, they, rightly understood, only serve to bring out His peerless excellency while he glorified both his father and himself in humility as an incarnated man – scornfully misunderstood and vilified by the Jewish leadership. But here as everywhere else, the scriptures must be interpreted by scripture, and once we heed this rule, difficulties disappear like the mists before the sun (John 5:39). 3

When our Lord came to earth as man, He submitted Himself to the Father in everything. “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God” (Hebrews 10:9). He veiled His glory and laid aside the independent exercise of His divine attributes. In the wilderness, Satan tempted Him to use His divine powers for Himself, but He refused to act independently. He was totally dependent on the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit of God. 4

Jesus acted equally to the Father in immediacy whilst mirroring his Sovereign will. Jesus as a man, potentiating the father’s mind in his earthly ministries, acting likewise, revealed his own equality with God – his own divinity! Similarly, the unity of our mind, when in Christ’s Spirit, reveals our abiding relationship by responding in obedience to scripture, acting as royal priests in the will and favour of the triune God, advocating his will, empowered by his imparted strength. By so living, each soul represents those sealed by God, in accord with the Spirit’s promissory guarantee, unto eternal life. (1 Pet 2:9, Rom 8:14, 2 Tim 2:19, Eph 1:3, 4:30, 2 Cor 1:22) 5

Lenski brings out an important point, with regard to the judgements weighed against Jesus: It is absolutely impossible that Jesus should ever break the law, including that of the Sabbath. This is impossible because he is the Son, from eternity, one with the Father and now the incarnate Son, come to earth to carry out absolutely nothing but the Father’s will. If the Son, then, be charged by the Jews with breaking the Sabbath law, the charge would strike the Father himself. He is, indeed, “the Son,” this Jesus who stands before the Jews in human flesh. The Jews were perfectly right when in John 5:18 they understood that Jesus made himself “equal with God.” This very relation of the Son to the Father makes it simply impossible that Jesus should do, now or ever anything “of himself,” so that the thing would emanate from him alone and be done by him alone, separate and apart from the Father and thus deviating from and contradictory to the Father’s will—even as the Jews charged that Jesus was breaking God’s Sabbath law. Such a thing is possible for men; even Moses thus did a thing “of himself” (Num. 20:11, 12): but in the case of the Son, since he is the Son, this is absolutely excluded. 6

Because of their transparent relationship, the Son always knows what the Father is doing and works in harmony with him to see it accomplished. Because of his unity with God, Jesus lived as God wanted him to live as he worked to redeem mankind during his life right up to the time he was arrested and killed (Matt 26:39). Jesus promised to do far greater things. According to the following verses, this refers to the Son’s ability to give life to the dead and to execute judgment, beyond remarkably forgiving sinners and raising the invalid to vigour.  (Matt. 9:6, 7; Mark 2:9, 11, 12; Luke 5:24, 25)

This statement would have shocked Jesus’ audience because it ascribes to the Son—Jesus himself—what was seen as exclusively the activity of God the Father. (John 5:21) God alone can raise from the dead anyone he wants to. That God gave that power to the Son is demonstrated in Jesus’ raising of Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41–44).

The certainty of our salvation is in the hands of the Son because God entrusted him with judicial and executive authority to judge. (John 5:22–23) Thus, he has equal dignity and honour with the Father—“everyone will honour the Son, just as they honour the Father.” The flip side is that those who refuse to honour the Son are not honouring the Father who sent him. Here Jesus was referring to that time when everyone will recognize his lordship. The tragedy will be that many will then recognize Jesus’ true nature but will have lost the opportunity to receive his saving help. Those unwilling to honour Christ now will discover that they have not been honouring the Father either. People should not say they believe in God while ignoring the power and authority of his Son.

In John John 8:17–18, we learn that The religious leaders did not understand that the Father and Son lived in each other and were with each other (see John 10:38; 14:9–11; 17:21). Therefore, even though the Son came from the Father (John 8:14) and was sent by the Father (John 8:16, 18), he was not separate from the Father—for the Father who sent the Son came with him and provided testimony for him. His confirming witness was God himself. Jesus and the Father made two witnesses, the number required by the law.

Here D.A. Carson adds the bias of the Jewish leaders’ persistency: Jesus’ opponents instantly grasp the implications of his remark, including the fact that he was calling God his own Father. Perceived infractions against Sabbath laws were serious, and might provoke murderous intent; but a man making himself equal with God was challenging the fundamental distinction between the holy, infinite God and finite, fallen human beings. For this reason, the Jews (John 1:19; 5:10) tried all the harder to kill him. 7

The Jews were meticulous keepers of the Mosaic laws found in the old testament. What they miss is paramount to their problem of not perceiving the Son of God. The Jews did not focus on compassion and love, as Moses had made paramount the royal law found repeated in the new testament. (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12: 28-34; James 2:8; Romans 13:8, 10; Galatians 5:14) If they truly loved the Father, they would indeed love his Son if they fully understood the dynamics of filial love.

To love God, as our Father,  is to concomitantly love and follow his Son. The first precedes loving others. To be obedient in our love for God the Father we see the Divinity of Christ, and both the Father and Son in a combinate mission to redeem humanity. The work of Christ when healing the lame man on the Sabbath at the Pool of Bethesda is a perfect demonstration of loving compassion to a disabled man. 8

Examine other texts in John 5, confirming the absolute equality of the Son with the Father. 9

  • In his Ministering Service to mankind: John 5:16–18
  • In his Conjoined Focused Will: John 5:19
  • In his Mutual Love and Compassionate Co-working: John 5:20
  • In his Sovereign Rights of Healing and Imparting Life to the dead: John 5:21
  • In his Divine Judicial Honors: John 5:22–23
  • In Imparting Eternal Life at the Final Resurrection: John 5:24–26
  • In Judicial Power and Authority to Judge both the righteous and those who have done evil and not repented: John 5:27–30.

Arthur Pink offers an interesting insight into how God’s power will bring the atomically disintegrated bodies in the grave to rise from the grave for the Final Judgement of Christ:  In connection with the Deity of Christ in these last verses,  the fact that “all that are in the graves shall hear” the voice of Christ and shall “come forth unto judgement, proves that He is far more than the most exalted human. Who but God is able to regather all the scattered elements which have gone to corruption? Who but God is capable of acting as Judge of all humanity who died in history past? None but God can read the heart, and none but He possesses the necessary wisdom for such a stupendous task as determining the sentence due to each one of that vast assemblage which will stand before the great white throne. Thus we see that from start to finish this wonderful passage sets forth the Godhood of the Savior. Let us then honour Him even as we honour the Father, and prostrate ourselves before Him in adoring worship. 10

John McArthur sums up the fact that Jesus is indeed God: There is no question more important than, “Who is Jesus Christ?” Its implications are profound and its significance unparalleled. Simply posing it immediately evokes a vast array of emotions—from outright hostility to fervent adoration. Merely contemplating it is not enough—it is a question that must be answered. And answering it incorrectly no matter what the excuse, ultimately leads to eternal devastation. Throughout history, that very question has sparked much confusion and debate. Such was even true in Jesus’ time. When He asked, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt. 16:13), the disciples listed several popular possibilities: “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:14). There is, however, only one correct answer to Jesus’ question, and Peter gave it when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). 11 

Scripture abundantly reaffirms Peter’s assessment of Christ’s true identity. He is called “God” (John 1:1, 18; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8; 1 John 5:20), “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1), the “Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6), the “I AM” (John 8:58; cf. Ex. 3:14), the “first and the last” (Rev. 1:17; 22:13; cf. Isa. 44:6; 48:12), the “Lord of lords” (Rev. 17:14; cf. Deut. 10:17), and the “Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 22:13; cf. Rev. 1:8). He is one in essence with the Father (John 10:30); He exists in the form of God (Phil. 2:6) and is the “exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:3); He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (John 1:3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:3; cf. Gen. 1:1; Isa. 40:28); He is the Lord of the 7th-day Sabbath (Ex. 20:11; Matt. 12:8; Luke 6:5); and “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9). He is the One who forgives sins (Mark 2:7, 10; cf. Isa. 43:25; Dan. 9:9), raises the dead (John 5:21; 11:25), and receives the worship reserved for God alone (Phil. 2:10 [cf. Isa. 45:23]; Matt. 14:33; cf. Matt. 4:10). Clearly, the biblical evidence leads to only one possible conclusion: Jesus Christ is God. 12

1 Barton, B., Comfort, P., Osborne, G., Taylor, L. K., & Veerman, D. (2001). Life Application New Testament Commentary (p. 394). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.

2 Pink, A. W. (1923–1945). Exposition of the Gospel of John (p. 258). Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot.

3 ibid

4 Wiersbe, Warren W.. The BE Series Bundle: The Gospels: Be Loyal, Be Diligent, Be Compassionate, Be Courageous, Be Alive, and Be Transformed (The BE Series Commentary) (p. 735). David C Cook. 

5 Glen Jackman, Theological Application

6 Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The interpretation of St. John’s gospel (p. 379). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

7 Carson, D. A. (1991). The Gospel according to John (p. 249). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans.

8 Glen Jackman, Theological Application

9 Pink, A. W. (1923–1945). Exposition of the Gospel of John (p. 258). Swengel, PA: Bible Truth Depot.

10 Ibid

11 John MacArthur, New Testament Commentary

12 Ibid

Finding a fresh breeze in a close-minded world

There are periods in life when things seem pretty stressful. They come and go through life. You rely on your meditative discipline to stay calm. Yet, life seems to have a series of struggles we must learn to overcome in business, family life, and social interactions.

With the pandemic and its lockdowns, the leftist social and news media cross-examining everything on behalf of the elites, the polarization of society increases. A disallowance of debate affects business lockdowns, family solidarity, and social distancing. Sadly evident are the counter-punching divisive views whacking the truth about natural health immunity, fueling a narrative for a draconian civic duty to get vaccinated at all costs. The inability of the Christian church to find one authentic voice is not unified but somewhat divisive. Questions are posed: “Are we facing an apocalyptic plague”? “Are we in the final throes of the earth’s history”? Just how soon is Christ to return”? Others may be content to ask: “did you get your double jab”?

When many paradigms in life are shifting and seem to be going wrong, Christ says, trust Me, abide in Me. When your life feels increasingly out of control, thank Him for reminding you of your need. Then allow Jesus to lead you by His Spirit to lift you above your circumstances.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing...If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15: 4-7)

If you do what comes naturally in the face of life’s trials, you may fall prey to fear. Fear breeds negativism already building in an angry collective consciousness pervading society with an increasingly closed-off mindset.

A few complaints can slide you down the slope of delusional despair. It will fog your ability to weigh all the facts before you find clarity. In times like this, ask the Lord who promises guidance, remain calm and wait. (Proverbs 3: 5-6, 4:11; Exodus 15:13; Psalm 23:2-3, 48:14, 139:9-10, 37:23-24; Isaiah 58:11)

To hear and sustain truth in your mind takes ongoing patience. The payoff is a fresh perspective and a mindset reliant on Christ. I find that I must write out everything I question and ask for guidance, tweaking out lies and deceptions. (Revelation 14:12)

We must turn away from following the ideals of the global elitists of the world, which is increasingly controlling society. Ask, “Will I want to surrender my reasoning powers to accept any mandate interfering with my right or anothers’ right to freedom”? Many now comply with societal surveillance employed by the conjoining governments of the entire world following one lock-step agenda. (Revelation 13:8 NIV)

We are vulnerable if we think: “my alternate opinion flowing from my mouth or pen won’t find an ear to hear or an eye to see what matters most right now”. Don’t fear censorship, either. Avoid that slippery dark descent of angst. Paul’s guidance is helpful:

God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time, there is a remnant, chosen by grace.  (Romans 11:2-5)

The solution is to cry out to Christ for His Spirit to lead you! Affirm your trust in Him, regardless of how you feel. Thank Jesus Christ for everything; though this may seem unnatural—it’s not irrational. The Spirit of Christ honours trusting faith that aims to glorify Him. (Isaiah 30:21; Philippians 2:5)

Gradually you will begin to ascend, recovering your lost ground. When you are back on ground level, you can face your circumstances from a humble perspective. If you choose supernatural responses this time—trusting and thanking Christ—you will experience His unfathomable peace. (Psalm 13:5)

The concept applied to this period in life is inspired by portions of the ideas from Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling (Jesus Calling®) (p. 290). Thomas Nelson. 

The Divine Truth

The ultimate truth of all life, is Jesus.

The Exclusive Claims Of Christianity

Isaiah 43:11 (NIV) “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour.”

Hosea 13:4 (KJV) “Yet I am the Lord thy God… and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”

John 14:6 (NIV) “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, and others taught a way to God, some truth about God, and gave instructions on how to live life. These religions did not originally claim to be exclusively true, just better than competing brands. Christianity, however, is unique. It claims “revelation” truth: that God has once and for all “expressed Himself” through Jesus Christ — the exact representation of His Character.

Hebrews 1: 1–3 (ESV): Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. (see also Matt 21:38, 28:18; John 1:3; 2 Cor 4:4)

Colossians 1:15-18 (ESV): He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

John 14:6 (Phillips): “I myself am the way and the truth and the life. No one approaches the Father except through me.”

Acts 4:12 (NIV): “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

The Parable of The Various Opinions About The Door

Imagine that you are trapped inside a large building, where people are arguing about various opinions about if there is a door and how to get out. Some believe that this wall has a door in it, others that wall. Groups are formed to encourage belief in which phantom door is best. One group asserts that the way out is up through ladders that extend into the sky. And here is a group trying to tunnel out using dark, secret, ancient maps. Another group is sure that any wall will have a door if you “just believe” in yourself. And yet another group insists that “the door” and “outside” are merely a state of mind. Some have seen through all this nonsense and given up the search entirely.

Enter one who says: “I have some good news! There is a way out, but only one. It’s narrow, there isn’t a large door. I will prove it. Give up your deep, sophisticated, or silly notions and follow me!” But the various groups are so enamoured with their own ideas that few pay much attention. The “phantom door” group thinks it unsportsmanlike to assert that there is only one door. Intellectual evolutionists might complain that this “good news” lacks sophistication or intellectual appeal. The “deep ones” go to inspect the door, collect facts about it, even “hang out” around it, but never go through it. They become experts at door trivia. The “just believe” types are always happy to hear of a new door and are emboldened by this news to try ever harder to walk through revolving doors that don’t exist. In the end, for various reasons, very few make it out through the revealed door.

One Way?

John 10:7, 9a-10 (NIV): Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever come before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved…The thief comes only to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Acts 4:12:  “In no one else can salvation be found. For in all the world no other name has been given to men but this, and it is by this name that we must be saved!”

Many find this aspect of Christianity offensive. “How arrogant! What an insult to the other great world religions!” But consider this: If God ever did desire to express what He was like, wouldn’t He also make sure to say: “This is it–the true version” to differentiate His revelation from contradictory, man-made religions? If God ever has really revealed Himself, that religion would “stick out” by claiming from the foundation of the world through many generations — as it has through the Jews — to be exclusively true. Some are likely to be upset by this, but if there is any truth to be had, it must be packaged like this.

God Decides To Communicate With Man

John 1:1-2,14 (Phillips): At the beginning God expressed himself. That personal expression, that Word, was with God, and was God, and he existed with God from the beginning…So the Word of God became a human being and lived among us.

John 1:14b (NIV): We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 Timothy 2:5-7 (Phillips): For there is only one God, and only one intermediary between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. He gave himself as a ransom for all men–an act of redemption which stands at all times as a witness to what he is… (I speak the sober truth; I do not lie)….

Fact Or Fiction?

Christianity has claimed to be true from the very beginning. These events really happened.

1 Corinthians 15:1-7 (NEB): And now, my brothers, I must remind you of the Gospel that I preached to you; the Gospel which you received, on which you have taken your stand, and which is now bringing you salvation. Do you still hold fast the Gospel as I preached it to you? If not, your conversion was in vain. First and foremost, I handed on to you the facts which had been imparted to me: that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised to life on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas, and afterwards to the Twelve. Then he appeared to over 500 of our brothers at once, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, and afterwards to all the Apostles.

1 John 1:1-4 (Phillips): We are writing to you about something which has always existed yet which we ourselves actually heard and saw with our own eyes: something which we had the opportunity to observe closely and even to hold in our own hands, something of the Word of life! For it was LIFE which appeared before us: we saw it, we are eyewitnesses of it, and are now writing to you about it. It was the very life of all ages, the life that has always existed with the Father, which actually became visible in person to us. We repeat, we really saw and heard what we are now writing to you about. We want you to be with us in this–in this fellowship with the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son. We write and tell you about it, so our joy may be complete.

Acts 3:15 (NIV): “You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.”

Acts 2:32 (NIV): “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.”

The Gospel Truth

Acts 13:30-31 (NIV): “But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had travelled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.”

Acts 10:39-42 (Phillips):”Now we are eyewitnesses of everything that he did, both in the Judaean country and in Jerusalem itself, and they murdered him by hanging him on a cross. But on the third day, God raised that same Jesus and let him be clearly seen, not indeed by the whole people, but by witnesses whom God had previously chosen. We are those witnesses, we who ate and drank with him after he had risen from the dead! Moreover, we are the men whom he commanded to preach to the people and solemnly witness to the fact that he is the one appointed by God to be the judge of both the living and the dead.”

2 Peter 1:16-19 (NIV): We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “this is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

2 Corinthians 4:2b-4 (Phillips): We speak the plain truth and so commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. If our gospel is “veiled”, the veil must be in the minds of those who are spiritually dying. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe and prevents the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them.

The Truth Has Nothing To Fear From Scrutiny

1 Thessalians 5:21 (NIV): Test everything. Hold onto the good.

Acts 17:11 (NIV): Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

2 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV): For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for it.

The Whole Truth And…

1 Timothy 4:1-2,6-7 (Phillips): God’s Spirit specifically tells us that in latter days there will be men who abandon the true faith and allow themselves to be spiritually seduced by teachings of demons, teachings given by men who are lying hypocrites, whose consciences are as dead as seared flesh…You will be a faithful minister of Christ Jesus if you remind your church members of these things. You will show yourself as a man nourished by the message of the true faith and the sound teaching he has followed. But steer clear of all these heathen old wives’ tales.

An Open Mind is A Cesspool of Thought. Rather:

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV): We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV): “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Truth As Trivia?

• A.W. Tozer: “Truth in Scripture is more than a fact. A fact may be detached, impersonal, cold and totally disassociated from life. Truth, on the other hand, is warm, living, and spiritual…. At what point, then, does a theological fact become for the one that holds it a life-giving truth? At that point where obedience begins…Truth that is not experienced is no better than error, and may be fully as dangerous. The scribes who sat in Moses’ seat were not the victims of error; they were the victims of their failure to experience the truth they taught.”

The Responsibility of Knowing The Truth

James 4:17b (Phillips): If a man knows what is right and fails to do it, his failure is a real sin.

Hebrews 10:26 (NIV): If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

Philippians 3:16 (Phillips): It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have already learned.

Do We Really Love The Truth or Do We Pick and Choose?

• A.W. Tozer: “We can hold a correct view of the truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself. It is a grave responsibility that a man takes upon himself when he seeks to edit out of God’s self-revelation such features as he in his ignorance deems objectionable.”

2 Thessalonians 2:10b-12 (NIV) They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

2 Timothy 4:2-5 (Phillips) Preach the word… Reprove, correct and encourage, using the utmost patience in your teaching. For the time is coming when men will not tolerate wholesome teaching. They will want something to tickle their own fancies, and they will collect teachers who will speak what they want to hear. They will no longer listen to the truth but will wander off after man-made myths. For yourself, keep your mind sane and balanced, meeting whatever suffering this may involve. Go on steadily preaching the gospel…

The Spirit Of Truth

1 John 2:20-21,24a,26-27 (TEB) But you have had the Holy Spirit poured out on you by Christ, and so all of you know the truth. I write you, then, not because you do not know the truth; instead, it is because you do know it, and also know that no lie ever comes from the truth…Be sure, then, to keep in your hearts the message you heard from the beginning…I write you this about those who are trying to deceive you. But as for you, Christ has poured his Spirit on you…For his Spirit teaches you about everything, and what he teaches is true, not false…

John 16:12-13 (NIV) “I [Jesus] have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

The Truth Is Worth Repeating

2 Pet 1:12-15 (Jerusalem Bible) That is why I am continually recalling the same truths to you, even though you already know them and firmly hold them. I am sure it is my duty, as long as I am in this tent, to keep stirring you up with reminders, since I know the time for taking off this tent is coming soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ foretold to me. And I shall take great care that after my own departure you will still have a means to recall these things to memory.

John 8:31b-32 (NIV) “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:31b-32 (NEB) “If you dwell within the revelation I have brought, you are indeed my disciples; you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”

Does Nature Fully Reveal God?

“He made all things, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3)

I aim to answer the friend who says: That God is revealed in nature. Well, God has indeed revealed his creative powers in nature — this is true — yet it is a statement that needs qualifying. 1

Nature reveals the existence of God, but how little it tells of His character.

Nature manifests His natural attributes—His power, His wisdom, His immutability, etc.; but what does nature say to us of His moral attributes—His justice, His holiness, His grace, His love?

Nature, as such, knows no mercy and shows no pity. If a blind saint unwittingly steps over the edge of a precipice, he meets with the same fate as if a vile murderer had been hurled over it.

If I break nature’s laws, no matter how sincere I may be, there is no escaping the penalty. Nature conceals as well as reveals God. To acknowledge and reveal God, beyond nature, we need his insight found here in the Word of God.

“He made all things, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).

How this brings out, again, the absolute deity of Christ! Here creation is ascribed to Him, and none but God can create. Man, with all his boasting, is unable to bring into existence a single blade of grass. Observe that the whole of creation is here ascribed to Jesus Christ, the Word—” he made all things.”

1 Arthur Pink, Exposition Gospel of John

Are you Standing Free in Christ?

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people”. – Jeremiah 31.33

Jeremiah noted the heart of stone would become a heart of flesh. This is a metaphor 1 of being reborn via the Spirit writing the Royal law on our hearts, thus radically changing it to love the Spirit-led way. Christ offered this to all at the cross, as his sacrifice instituted the New Covenant in his blood. (Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18, 22-25; Matt 26:28, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Hebrews 12:24)​  ​

If one then cannot find joy, peace and righteousness in each of the conjoined body, mind, and spirit that you were born with, there will be angst, an indication that one is giving way to darkness and disobedience is being potentiated. These are the warnings of the Holy Spirit: restlessness, joylessness, lack of confidence, confusion and zero peace. (Romans 14:17; Isaiah 48:22)

To achieve this confidence and freedom in Christ, call unto him for help to overcome any sin or obstacle hindering your walk with him. He is the author of your salvation and he will and he desires to help you. (Philippians 1:6; Revelation 3:20; Psalm 51:10)

Waste no time to submit to the Lord, call on Him to block the portals you’ve opened to Satan, wake up and stand guard over your soul. Obedience demands discipline of your entire being. Stand free in Christ, empowered by his indwelling abiding Spirit. May joy and peace be yours as you stand guard over your soul and your fellow believers. May God help you to never surrender to the dark side! (Luke 11:36; Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 9:15, 8:13; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26; 2 Corinthians 1:12, 3:3; Acts 2:26)

1 A heart of stone pictures selfish uncaring, unkind arrogance. A heart of flesh pictures a heart with the capacity to be loving and free in joyful unity with others via the Spirit activating God’s guidance when the heart submits to Christ, born anew in the Spirit.