Monday, January 1, 2018

Harmony, Peace, Good - Goals for 2018 and Beyond (Part 1)

Live in Harmony with One Another. 

Live in harmony with one another. If two singers sing the same notes at the same pitch, it is not harmony. If one sings melody while another sings bass, it is not quite harmony either. But, if each sings notes, even words, unique to themselves while complementary to the other, that is harmony.

I must sing as I am able, in my voice range and with tonal quality and dynamic volume, using meaningful and thoughtful lyrics that come from my heart.

Yet, if all the world's a stage, it is not my time to bellow a solo. Alas, the stage is quite populated. Nor am I the Director who decides who else is on the stage. To seek to harmonize, I must listen carefully to other voices as well. Music is the result of collaboration, be it duo, quartet, or orchestra.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:16-21)

I believe there is a reason Paul included this advice to the Christians and would-be Christians in Rome. It is simply this:

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

~   ~   ~

Note to the reader:

To live in harmony with one another is just one of my many goals for 2018 and beyond. My other goals include living peaceably with all, and overcoming evil with good, phrases also found in the same passage above. I will write about those goals in later posts.

My hope and prayer for you are that God draws you to Himself, and then you diligently seek Him. For God so loved the world (John 3:16a), absolutely, and that includes you specifically.

If this devotional has touched your heart, please do not keep it for yourself. Share it. Leave a comment if you'd like. But most of all, thank God, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Salvation 101 (Part 10) - Is Salvation Permanent?

Salvation is absolutely permanent. If at anytime you were saved, you were absolutely saved from that moment on. Salvation, therefore, is eternally yours.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)

Who has the Father given to Christ? All who believe in Him.

As John MacArthur said, "If you could lose your salvation, you would." In fact, nothing in all creation could cause you to lose your salvation. "They will never perish." (from John 10:28)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

And finally, what could be better than a guarantee of your salvation from God, the Creator of all things, who designed salvation from before the ages?

And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 5:5)

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Remember, salvation is a gift, not of works. It is by grace one is saved, through faith (trusting God instead of yourself for your soul salvation). Works cannot earn salvation, nor can they maintain salvation. Christ did the work, all of it.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Once saved always saved? Absolutely! Guaranteed!

(See previous post on What's Become of You in Christ?)

Saturday, December 2, 2017

You Know Me, Yet You Love Me

Dear Father,

You know me by name, O God. You know my thoughts. You know my words before they are formed in my mouth. You know the desires of my heart. You know the intents and thoughts deep inside my heart.

And yet You love me.
I love You, Lord.

I want, I desire, and I delight to know Your thoughts and the abundance of Your heart, Father.

Your Son,

(Oct 23, 2012, edited)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Hate the Sin Nature, I Desire More of God

Dear Father,

I hate the sin nature (even though I'm not a slave to it). Rather, I want to know You more. I want rest in Christ. Father, reveal more of Yourself to me. Give me more of the light and wisdom of Your thoughts and ways in Your word. Grant me courage to always pursue You with all my heart.


(Oct. 21, 2012, edited)

Monday, November 20, 2017

What's Become of You In Christ

What's Become of You In Christ:
36+ Things at the Moment of Salvation

"The old has passed away; 
behold, the new has come." 
(2 Cor 5:17b)

1. A believer is in the Eternal Plan of God, sharing the destiny of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such the believer is:
Foreknown: Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1:2
Elect: Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:4; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:2
Predestined: Rom. 8:29,30; Eph. 1:5,11
Chosen in Christ: Matt. 22:14; 1 Pet. 2:4
Called: 1 Thess. 5:24

2. The believer is Reconciled:
By God, 2 Cor. 5:18; Col. 1:20
To God, Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:20; Eph. 2:14f.

3. The believer is Redeemed: (purchased from the slave market of sin)
Rom. 3:24; Col. 1:14; 1
Pet. 1:18; Eph. 1:7.

4. The believer is removed from Condemnation: 
John 3:18; 5:24; Rom. 8:1.

5. The believer is under Grace and not under Judgment: (doctrine of Propitiation)
Rom. 3:24–28; 1 John 2:2.

6. The believer's sins are judged by the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross: 
Rom. 4:25; Eph.1:7; 1 Pet. 2:24.

7. The believer is made dead to the old life and alive unto God. He/she is:
Crucified with Christ: Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20
Dead with Christ: Rom. 6:8; Col. 3:3; 1 Pet. 2:24
Buried with Christ: Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:12
Risen with Christ: Rom. 6:4; Col. 3:1

8. The believer is free from the law: 
Rom. 6:14; 7:4,6; 2 Cor. 3:11; Gal. 3:25.

9. The believer is adopted: (placed as an adult heir in the family of God)
Rom. 8:15; 8:23; Eph.1:5.

10. The believer is justified: (declared righteous)
Rom. 3:24; 5:1,9; 8:30; 1 Cor. 6:11; Titus 3:7.

11. The believer is regenerated: (born spiritually into the family of God)
John 13:10; 1 Cor. 6:11;
Titus 3:5. In regeneration the believers are:
Born Again: John 3:7; 1 Pet. 1:23
Children of God: Gal. 3:26
Sons of God: John 1:12; 2 Cor. 6:18; 1 John 3:2
New Creations: 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10

12. The believer is made acceptable to God: 
Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5.
To make a believer acceptable to Himself, God sees to it that the believer is:
Made righteous: Rom. 3:22; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9
Positional Sanctification: 1 Cor. 1:30; 6:11
Perfected forever: Heb. 10:14
Made qualified: Col. 1:12

13. The believer is forgiven all trespasses: 
Eph. 1:7; 4:32; Col. 1:14; 2:13; 3:13

14. The believer is made nigh: (heavenly citizenship based on Reconciliation)
Luke 10:20; Eph.2:13,19; Phil. 3:20

15. The believer is delivered from the kingdom of Satan: 
Col. 1:13; 2:15

16. The believer is transferred into God's Kingdom: 
Col. 1:13

17. The believer is placed on a secure foundation: 
1 Cor. 3:11; 10:4; Eph. 2:20

18. The believer is a gift from God the Father to the Lord Jesus Christ: 
John 10:20; 17:2,6,9,11,12,24

19. The believer is delivered from the power of the Sin Nature: 
Rom. 2:29; Phil. 3:3; Col. 2:11

20. The believer is appointed as a priest unto God: 
1 Pet. 2:5,9; Rev. 1:6

21. The believer is under the care of God as a chosen generation and a protected people: 
Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9

22. The believer is given access to God: 
Rom. 5:2; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 4:14,16; 10:19,20

23. The believer is within the much more care of God; as such we are:
Objects of His love: Eph. 2:4; 5:2
Objects of His Grace: for salvation, Eph. 2:8,9;
for keeping, Rom. 5:2; 1 Pet. 1:5; for service,
John 17:18; Eph. 4:7; for instruction, Titus 2:12
Objects of His power: Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:13
Objects of His faithfulness: Phil. 1:6; Heb. 13:5
Objects of His peace: John 14:27
Objects of His consolation: 2 Th. 2:16
Objects of His intercession: Rom. 8:34; 7:25; 9:24

24. The believer is part of Christ's inheritance:
Eph. 1:18

25. The believer is a beneficiary of the inheritance from God: (an heir of God and a joint-heir with the Lord Jesus Christ)
Rom. 8:17; Eph. 1:14; Col. 3:24; Heb. 9:15; 1 Pet. 1:4

26. The believer has a new position in Christ: 
Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 1:9; 3:9; 2 Cor. 3:3,6; 5:20; 6:1,4

27. The believer is the recipient of eternal life: 
John 3:15; 10:28; 20:31; 1 John 5:11,12

28. The believer is a member of the family of God: 
Gal. 6:10; Eph. 2:19

29. The believer is Light in the Lord: 
Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:4

30. The believer is united with the Father: 
1 Thess. 1:1, cf. Eph. 4:6
He is united with Christ: John 14:20, cf. Col. 1:27
A member of His Body: 1 Cor. 12:13
A Branch in the Vine: John 15:5
A Stone in the Building: Eph. 2:21,22
A Sheep in the Flock: Eph. 2:21,22
A part of His Bride: Eph. 5:25-27
A Priest in His Kingdom: 1 Pet. 2:9
He is united with the Holy Spirit Rom. 8:9; 8:29

31. The believer is the recipient of the ministry of the Holy Spirit:
Born of the Spirit: John 3:6
Baptized by the Spirit: 1 Cor. 12:13
Indwelt by the Spirit: John 7:39; Rom. 5:5; 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; Gal. 4:6; 1 John 3:24
Sealed by the Spirit: 2 Cor. 1:22; Eph. 4:30
Recipient of Spiritual Gifts: 1 Cor. 12:11; 12:27-31; 13:1,2

32. The believer is glorified in Christ: 
Rom. 3:20

33. The believer is made complete in Christ: 
Col. 2:10

34. The believer is the possessor of every spiritual blessing: 
Eph. 1:3

35. The believer is the recipient of a human spirit: 
Rom. 8:16; 1 Cor. 2:12; 2 Cor. 7:13; 1 Thess. 5:23; Eph. 2:5

36. The believer has access to all Bible truth through the Grace system for Bible understanding
and Christian growth: 
Col. 2 and Eph. 4
A Saint of the new species: 2 Cor. 5:17

(Credit for this list goes to Lewis Sperry Chafer.)

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Salvation 101 (Part 9) - How Does Getting Saved Differ in the Old and New Testament Periods?

How does getting saved differ in the Old and New Testament periods?

Quick Answer: 
How one gets saved does not differ in any period. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Longer Answer:
If you have read and understood the previous parts of this 'Salvation 101' series, you might be at the point where the Q&A here is obvious. Of course, how one gets saved is the same because it's about trusting God for His gift for the salvation of your soul. 

It's not about behavior modification, an emotional or physical response, nor any need for additional sacrifices. Salvation can and does only come from God as a gift. It only happens that after Jesus was born that we could know His name. (PS: 'Christ' is His title, not His last name.)

All throughout the Psalms, for instance, King David trusted and exclaimed that salvation only comes from the Lord.

Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people! Selah (Psalms 3:8 ESV)

My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. (Psalms 119:81 ESV)

...and many, many more.

In fact, even in the New Testament, we can read about Paul holding up Abraham's salvation as an example to the Jews to clearly show it was 1) apart from the law and 2) due to Abraham's trust in God that the righteousness of God was credited to Abraham.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- (Romans 3:21 ESV)

For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:3 ESV)

This 'Scripture say' verse is quoted from...

And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5-6 ESV)

Final Note: There is a tremendous difference between salvation in the church-age and salvation in other times. But how one gets saved and what it means to be saved is absolutely the same - by grace through faith, for the righteousness that comes from God. 

The difference is in the church itself, by which I mean the body of Christ, not just "a called out assembly." God has done something extraordinary in the church-age, which will the topic of future posts in another series, plus sprinkled messages here and there.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

And This is Eternal Life...

Ultimately, God wants, and even longs for, fellowship with us. 




And this is eternal life, 
that they know you the only true God, 
and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 
(John 17:3)

...these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. 
For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 
(1 Corinthians 2:10)

Jesus answered him, "
If anyone loves me, 
he will keep my word, 
and my Father will love him, 
and we will come to him 
and make our home with him. 
(John 14:23)

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, 
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 
(Ephesians 3:19)

Sunday, November 5, 2017

He is In Me (Journal Entry September 25, 2012)

In me.

The One and Only Holy Spirit is dwelling in me. Christ, the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world, God's only begotten Son, is in me, as I am in Him. 

If I love Him, which I do, He and the Father, my Brother and my Father, will come and make their home in my heart. I do love Him so. 

But, my flesh is weak; though the tapes are old.

I cling to my will until I realize it is as vapor in the air. I'm scared, Father. I want to pray, "Help me die to myself and live for You!" But, I fear, as a result, as a means of helping me do just that, all that is comfortable and familiar to me in this world will be stripped away, perhaps violently. 

I'm scared to lose worldly things, Father.

Because You love me, You will show me, even convince me, Your grace is sufficient. I don't need "things" to know the joy, peace, and love that only can You give. I can safely detach from the lustful idea and shallow desire that material "goods" will ultimately satisfy me. 

I can let go. I can detach. For You are with me. You are in me.

Then will I fully appreciate Your goodness and Your kindness. You have not given me a Spirit of fear. Rather, You have given me a Spirit of adoption as a son, by which I can cry out, "Abba! Father!"

The truth is, when I believed in Your Son, Jesus Christ, and trusted Him for my soul's salvation, You gave me a gift beyond compare: Yourself. The very Spirit inside You is now in me.

Journal Entry Sept 25, 2012

Saturday, November 4, 2017

O God, What Must I Do? (Letters to My Father - May 15, 2012)

O, God, let me call out to You in praise and thanksgiving always. Let me continually know joy and peace in my heart that comes from You alone, and know the deep love of Christ that surpasses worldly knowledge.

Yet, I do not want to be where I am. My financial burden is much greater than I can bear. Help me to trust in You. Help me to know what I must do.

I know what I must do...

Seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness first, love You, and believe in Him who You have sent.


(May 15, 2012)

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:32-34)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Salvation 101 (Part 8) - What Are the Prerequisites for Salvation?

Me: What must I do before I can be saved?

God: Hear me out.

Me: That's it?

God: Yes. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Salvation is a gift from Me for you to believe and accept by faith. Whoever believes in My Son, Jesus Christ, will have eternal life. But, how are you to believe in Him of whom you have never heard?

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

Me: But, I've done some bad things in my life. Plus, I know I'm not perfect and will likely offend You in the future as well. Don't I have to somehow make up for that first?

God: No. Christ died for your sins, all of them: past, present, and future. Your personal sins are not an issue in salvation, nor can your future sins undo the salvation I give by My grace. I am completely satisfied in the work of Christ on your behalf to make you utterly righteous and justified in My eyes.

He [Jesus Christ the righteous] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us [Paul and fellow believers, even today] to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses [sins] against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Me: {Later that day...} Awesome! Now I get when and why I was lost and condemned. I could do nothing about my condition, and nothing is what I did.

The "Bad News" is awful. I saw my need for a Savior only You could provide, and provide Him You did. I heard how He did everything You would ever require so I could be reconciled to You. I could rest my weary soul in Him, forever. Amen!

What happened before I was saved? I heard the word of Christ.

I learned enough about salvation from God's perspective in His word to know there was nothing I could do. I did not need to do my best, or anything for that matter, to become salvation-worthy. I believed in Him whom He sent, and salvation was gifted to me.

Even if I behaved perfectly, I could do nothing about my sin nature. Salvation had to be on God's terms because anything done from my sin nature was unacceptable. His terms were simple: turn from thinking I could do things my way and instead trust and rely solely on Christ for my soul salvation.

 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Previously, I had followed plenty of theories about what God required, spoken confidently by religious men in religious buildings, or written by sophisticated theologians. These same stated in so many words of tradition and of their own imaginations that if I was to be saved, it was going to be by the skin of my teeth.

Or, I'd seek an easier message of grace and love for anyone who said they believed, backed with contemporary music and stylish stages to maximize an emotional response. Yet, these messages lacked knowledge and authority from God, and were simply based on acceptance, tolerance, and acts of compassion.

Eventually, I finally understood salvation from God's perspective when I was taught exclusively from His word. Only then could I see the contrast in His thoughts and ways versus man's. Only then could I understand just how much love He expressed and power He exerted for our salvation. It was all Him. I had nothing to offer. Nothing.

as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." (Romans 3:10-12)

~ ~ ~

I so desire to share with you some of the things I learned about God's perspective of salvation from His word in this blog series, Salvation 101:

1. Saved? Saved From What?
2. Why Do I Need to Be Saved?
3. How Can I Be Saved?
4. What Does It Mean to Be Saved?
5. What Does It Mean to "Work Out Your Own Salvation?"
6. Who Can Be Saved?
7. What About Personal Sins?

In summary, hearing the word of Christ is about listening to God's perspective on:

1. Realizing our lost state and seeing our need for a Savior (the Bad News).

2. Hearing the Gospel, the provision of a Savior, the Good News of the message of reconciliation.

3. Accepting the gift of salvation through faith, trusting Christ for the salvation of your soul.

More to come...