Tuesday, July 26, 2016

OVERCOMING FEAR IN TODAY'S CHAOTIC WORLD

If I were to focus just the slightest attention on all the chaos in our sin-sick world today, I would be overwhelmed and constantly depressed - perhaps even suicidal!  BUT, I have chosen to believe what God's Word has to say about our times, and regardless of the media, the politics, the "wolves in sheep's clothing," Islamic terrorism, and the continuous threat of having my Social Security benefits reduced or stopped, I stand on the Bible promise of God (1 Cor. 10:13 below in KJV and  NLT): 

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
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"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful.  He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."

The Greek word translated "temptation" is  πειρασμός (peirasmos), which, depending upon the context, can mean:  "a test," "a trial," "a temptation," or "a threatening situation." " πειρασμός" is found in "The Lord's Prayer" (Mt. 6:13), and it refers to one's life be threatened in Acts 20:19.  However, the best example is found in Revelation 3:10, which says, "Because thou hast kept the Word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth."  I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that based upon this and other Bible verses (Jn. 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:50-54; 1 Th. 4:13-18; etc.), born again believers will be "Raptured" before "all hell breaks loose" in the Tribulation (Dan. 9:27; Mt. 24:3-29; Rev. Ch. 6-19).

In the Book of Revelation, Chapters Two and Three, the seven churches in Asia Minor are promised the same thing:  to those who overcome this world, Jesus promises a reward (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).  To the person unfamiliar with God's Word, that sounds like He is saying that in order to be saved, one must not yield to temptation.  However, the same John who wrote Revelation, also wrote 1 John 5:4-6 which explains how one overcomes this world:

"For (whosoever) is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?  This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood.  And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth."


To overcome life's trials, simply trust in the resurrected Lord:  Jesus Christ!

Monday, July 25, 2016

THE LORD'S UNUSUAL GENEALOGY

The genealogies of Jewish families rarely, if ever, included the names of women.  The Book of Matthew, written to introduce Israel's Messiah to the Jews, not only included women, you might say they were the kind of women who were unlikely to be listed in the lineage of a king (MT. 1:1, 3, 5, 6, 16)!  Matthew Chapter One:

[1] The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 
[3] And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar (Tamar); and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
[5] And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab (Rahab); and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
[6] And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her (Bathsheba) that had been the wife of Urias;
[16] And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Verse 3:  Tamar played the harlot in order to bare an heir in David's lineage (Gen. 38:6-30)!

Verse 5:  Rahab was a Gentile harlot (Josh. 2:3; 6:17-23) who was David's great, great, grandmother.
She is listed in the "Hebrews Hall of Faith," which says, "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace" (Heb. 11:31); and James wrote of her, "Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?" (Jam. 2:25).

Verse 5:  Ruth was also a Gentile, a Moabite who was the daughter-in-law of Naomi.  The Book of Ruth is about her faithfulness to Naomi, her conversion, and her marriage to Boaz; she was the great grandmother of David.

Verse 6:  Bathsheba, ("her that had been the wife of Urias"), was an adulteress who could have refused David's advances, but instead, she submitted and their union produced David's heir, Solomon; their adultery resulted in David insuring that Urias was killed in battle (2 Sam. 11:3-27)!

Verse 16:  Mary, who was "espoused to Joseph" (engaged), was "with child" before their marriage.  That would normally result in her being stoned to death.  However, God made sure Mary and her child would be safe.  Matthew wrote: 

"... before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of (in the lineage of) David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.'  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:  and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called His name JESUS" (Mt. 1:16-25). 

If God can use these examples, He can surely use you and me!


Sunday, July 24, 2016

JESUS: LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

John 1:1, 14 - "In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God. - And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of The Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

John 10:30-31 - "I and My Father are one.  Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him."

John 14:6-9 - "Jesus saith unto him, I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.  If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also:  and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.  Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?  He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?"

John 17:21-22 - "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us:  that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.  And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one."

Philippians 2:5-8 - "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."

Colossians 1:12-16 - "Giving thanks unto the Father, Who  hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:  in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins:  Who is the image of the invisible God...."

Colossians 2:8-9 - "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

Hebrews 1:1-3, 8 - "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. - But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever:  a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom."

1 John 5:7 - "For there are three that bear record in heaven, The Father, The Word, and The Holy Ghost:  and these three are one."


Our reverence for The Father, also belongs to His Son!




Saturday, July 23, 2016

WHO HE IS AND WHAT HE DOES

WHO IS JESUS?

Creator God - John 1:1, 3, 14 - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

God Manifest in the Flesh - 1 Timothy 3:16 - "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."

God With Us - Matthew 1:23 - "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

The only Begotten Son of God - John 3:18 "He that believeth on Him is not condemned:  but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

The Almighty - Revelation 1:8 - "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, The Almighty."

The I AM - John 18:5-6 - "They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am.  And Judas also, which betrayed Him, stood with them.  As soon then as He had said unto them, I am, they went backward, and fell to the ground."

Master and Lord - John 13:13 - "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am."

King of kings and Lord of lords - Revelation 19:16 - "And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

WHAT DOES JESUS DO?

Jesus Saves - 1 John 4:14-15; Romans 10:9-10 - "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God."  "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."






Friday, July 22, 2016

OUR RESURRECTED BODIES

Recently, someone pointed out a unusual passage of Scripture; it is unique and appears only once in the entire Bible.  It is closely related to a similar phrase that appears five times, all in the New Testament.  They are:

*     Matthew 16:17 - "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."  [Note:  God, the Father, possesses neither flesh nor blood!  John 4:24 confirms this:  "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."]

*     1 Corinthians 15:50 - "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."  [Note:  Because "flesh and blood" cannot enter heaven, our bodies need to be changed, and they will be - See 1 Cor. 15:35-52.]

*     Galatians 1:16 - "To reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood."  [Note:  The context (v. 16-18) is that following the Apostle Paul's conversion, he did not get his theological understanding from man, but from God. - See Acts 9:15-16 and 26:16.]

*     Ephesians 6:12 - "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."  [ Note:  This verse refers to Satan and his "fallen angels."  Angelic beings are spiritual beings according to Ps. 104:4 and Heb. 1:14, although they can take on human form, or even that of an animal.  See Mt. 12:43-45; Mk. 5:2-13; Heb. 13:2.]

*     Hebrews 2:14 - "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."  [Jesus became a human being, having both flesh and blood, so that He could die for the sins of mankind, and to be raised again according to prophetic Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1, 3-4).  This verse appears to describe Satan, a spirit being, and the "angel of death."]

All of the verses above refer to humans as being "flesh and blood."  According to 1 Corinthians 15:35-52, "flesh and blood" cannot enter heaven.  So, when our bodies are resurrected, or when we are "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52-54), what will our new bodies be like?  The answer is found in at least two places: 

1)     Luke 24:39 - Our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ said,  "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have."  [Note:  When Jesus died, His blood was poured out in the garden (Lk. 22:44), when He was tortured (Jn. 19:1; Mt. 27:29), when He was nailed through His hands and feet (Ps. 22:16; Jn. 20:24-27), and when a spear was thrust into His dead body (Jn. 19:34)!  That is why Jesus did not say He was "flesh and blood," but that He was "flesh and bone." 

2)     1 John 3:2 - "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see Him as He is."




Thursday, July 21, 2016

THE JESUS OF THE BIBLE

As this world rapidly descends into a God-less, lawless, reprobate planet, false prophets abound and many who will cry "Lord, Lord," will only truly believe in Jesus when they are forced to stand before His Great White Throne Judgment (Mt. 7:21-23; Rom. 1:28; Rev. 20:11-15)!  The vast majority of this world's population has heard about Jesus, but the god of this world has blinded them from "seeing Him" as their Lord and Savior (2 Cor. 4:4).  Not only that, but believe it or not, it is quite likely that a very large proportion of people who claim to be Christians, are C.I.N.O.'s (Christian in name only)!  According to Revelation 3:1-5, and 14-22, "the Church in Sardis," and "the Church of the Laodiceans," are described as being dead (v. 1), and as being "lukewarm" (v. 15-16)!  I truly believe the reason these churches describe so-called believers in such a fashion, is because neither of them view Jesus Christ as Lord, as the authority in their lives.

"Tucked in between" the "dead church" (v. 1) and the "Christ-less church" (v. 20), is the church representing genuine believers:  "the Church in Philadelphia" (v. 7-13).  John wrote this about the faithful Church in Philadelphia, an ancient city in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey):  "And to the angel of the Church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works..." (v. 7-8)!  While "religious works" cannot save a person, (Eph. 2:9), those who are born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, will be "doing good works" because of reverence for, and gratitude to, Him (Eph. 2:10; Jam. 1:22-27; 2:17-20).  Earlier, I made reference to Matthew 7:21-23; let's look at what it says:

"Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?  And in Thy name have cast out devils?  And in Thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity."

What is "the will of My Father?"  John 6:28-29 says:  "Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent."  Notice that the only "works" God requires for salvation, is for us to "believe on" Jesus.  Man is not born again by doing something; he is saved by believing on Jesus!   That is, those who truly believe that Jesus died for their sins, that He was buried, but that God raised Him from the dead in order that He might become their Lord  (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).  Then in 1 Corinthians 15:58, Paul wrote:  "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

Who is Jesus?  He is Lord!  Those who believe in Him, want to obey Him!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

JESUS IS GOD

In the Old Testament, God identified Himself:  "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you" (Ex. 3:14).  The Hebrew word is  יְהֹוָה (Yĕhovah), and it is translated LORD 6509 times, GOD 4 times, and JEHOVAH 4 times according to  Strong's Concordance of the King James Version of the Bible. In his New Testament Gospel, the Apostle John clearly identified Jesus as "I AM."  Here are a few examples:

John 5:43 - "I AM Come in My Father's Name, and ye receive Me not:  if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive."

John 6:35 - "And Jesus said unto them, I AM The Bread of Life:  he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst."

John 8:12 - "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I AM The Light of the World: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." 

John 8:58 - "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM."

John 9:5 - "As long as I am in the world, I AM The Light of the World."

John 10:9 - "I AM The Door:  by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

John 10:11- "I AM The Good Shepherd:  the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep."

John 10:36 - "Say ye of Him, Whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I AM The Son of God?"

John 11:25 - "Jesus said unto her, I AM The Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

John 13:13 - "Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I AM."

John 14:6 - "Jesus saith unto him, I AM The Way, The Truth, and The Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me."

John 15:1 - "I AM The True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman."

John 15:5 - I AM The Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing."

John 18:5-6 - "They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I AM. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.  As soon then as He had said unto them, I AM, they went backward, and fell to the ground. -

John 18:37 - "Pilate therefore said unto Him, Art Thou a king then?  Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I AM a King.  To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.  Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice."

John 19:21 - "Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that He said, I AM King of the Jews."

In the first verse of John's Gospel, he  declares that Jesus is truly God.  He wrote:  "In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and The Word was God."  And just so we understand Who he means by "The Word," in verse fourteen, he wrote:  "And The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of The Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." 


When you believe in the Jesus of the Bible, you are believing  in God!