This Should Be the Day

May 16, 2022 by Keith   Comments (0)

There is only one way to escape God's judgment, and that is by faith in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him". When we trust that Jesus is the only perfect human being who ever lived and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, God gives us credit for the perfect life He lived.

Maybe you know about God but do not know God. The first step in knowing God is accepting Jesus as your Savior. God's Son came and dwelt among us, knew no sin, paid the sacrifice for our sins on the cross, rose three days later, and now sits at the right hand of God interceding on our behalf. If you have ever wanted to know how to receive Jesus as your Savior, here is a simple plan of salvation that will lead you to the cross of Jesus.

PLAN OF SALVATION

God loves you! "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life". (John 3:16).

God has a wonderful plan for your life! "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly". (John 10:10).

Because of your sin, you are separated from God. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". (Romans 3:23).

The penalty for sin is death. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 6:23).

The penalty for your sin was paid for by Jesus Christ! "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us". (Romans 5:8).

If you repent of your sin, confess and trust Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will be saved from your sins! "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". (Romans 10:9-10). "For 'whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved". (Romans 10:13).

No matter what you have done wrong, God will forgive you.

GOD FORGIVES YOU

You're forgiven. How relieving is it to hear those words after you ask for forgiveness from a loved one for what you did wrong! God offers the same words to you. No matter what you have done wrong, God will forgive you. Nothing you've done is outside of God's forgiveness. God's forgiveness is like putting your sin as far away as the east is from the west". (Psalm 103:12). When God forgives you, He welcomes you into His presence where there is joy and pleasure forever. Ephesians 1:7 says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace". You can receive God's forgiveness and have your greatest turning point today.

To receive God's forgiveness, simply ask Him to forgive you for your sin. Here is a simple suggestion for your prayer:

Lord Jesus, I'm like everyone else-I can't make it through life on my own. I'm imperfect. I'm prone to sin. I have come to realize that there's nothing in the world I can do to make myself acceptable to You. But I know that You have loved me so much that You were willing to submit to the cross and die on my behalf. That's a grace so amazing I cannot understand it. I can only accept it. And I do. I accept Your free gift, and I know that from this moment on, I am saved. I am a child of God. And I give the rest of my life to serving You and experiencing the joy that only You can offer. I thank You and praise You! Amen.

How to Know You Are a Christian

May 14, 2022 by Keith   Comments (2)

Someone once said that sitting in church doesn't make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car. The apostle John would agree with that sentiment. His first epistle, the book of First John, is devoted to helping God's people identify truth and discern genuine spirituality. As with his gospel account, John tells us exactly why he wrote this first letter: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God". (1 John 5:13).

The purpose of First John is so we might say with confidence, "I know that I have eternal life". It is not a matter of opinion but fact. God wants us to know with certainty that we have eternal life. In the pages of this epistle, we find five tests by which anyone can evaluate whether they are a Christian.

The Faith Test (1 John 5:1)

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God". John's first test requires us to believe that Jesus is the Messiah of God. You can't be a Christian without faith-but not just any faith. You must believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Son of God. We don't become Christians by praising, worshiping, serving, or teaching. We only become Christians by believing.

We don't become Christians by praising, worshiping, serving, or teaching. We only become Christians by believing.

In 1 John 4:1-3, John explains what it means to believe that Jesus is the Christ: "Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God". (verse 2).

At the time of John's writing, a heresy called Gnosticism was sweeping through the Middle East. It was not unlike the New Age movement of our day-a mystical approach to spirituality. John was writing to counteract the teachings of Gnosticism-to set in order the truth about knowing God. In verse two of chapter four, John highlights five essential things for a Christian to know and believe about Christ.

Authentic faith believes in the pre-existence of Christ: "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh". (1 John 4:2). John does not say that Jesus began in the flesh, but that He came in the flesh, having pre-existed in spirit. His existence did not begin when He was born in Bethlehem. He arrived in Bethlehem having existed already. That was His pre-existence.

Authentic faith believes in the incarnation of Christ: He came "in the flesh". Although Jesus existed long before He became Mary's Son, He became flesh by incarnating Himself in a human body. He was God walking around in a body. The Gnostics did not believe in incarnation. They believed Jesus became the Christ at His baptism. John refutes their error by stating that Jesus Christ existed before Bethlehem, that when He came to Bethlehem, He was born in the flesh.

Authentic faith believes in the deity of Christ: Beyond being a human Messiah or the Messiah of the Old Testament, Jesus is the Son of God. He pre-existed His birth, was born as God in the flesh, and is the divine Son of God. He is the Deity, the Messiah, the One prophesied in the Old Testament.

Authentic faith believes in the humanity of Christ. He was not only divine, but He was also fully human-the God-Man. Christ's baptism did not transform His status from humanity to divinity. He was entirely human and entirely divine from the moment of His birth.

Authentic faith believes in the eternity of Christ. Before Christ came in the flesh, He existed outside of earth's space and time boundaries. He lived eternally before coming to Bethlehem in the flesh, and He lives eternally today. He came "in the flesh" and went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. Christ is the only one who could die for our sin and give us the gift of eternal life with Him.

Before Christ came in the flesh, He existed outside of earth's space and time boundaries. He lived eternally before coming to Bethlehem in the flesh, and He lives eternally today.

We do not have to understand the mysteries of the God-Man's incarnation to believe these things as Christians. First John 5:12 says, "He who does not have the Son of God does not have life". We must have Jesus-believe He is the Son of God-to pass the faith test.

The Life Test (1 John 2:29)

Christians practice righteousness (1 John 2:29. 3:7, 10). Numerous times in First John, the apostle contrasts what people say with what they do. It's easy to say something, but the reality is whether we do what we say. If we talk about righteousness without living a righteous life, we are not Christians. While we don't become Christians by doing good works, we will choose to do good works once we are Christians. I have often had people tell me how their lives changed dramatically-they gave up an unholy habit or lifestyle-when they became Christians. That is evidence of the new life that belongs to every Christian.

Ephesians 2:8-10 provides the necessary framework. Many people are familiar with verses 8-9 that say we are saved by grace. But verse 10 continues, saying we are created "for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them". Those good works are the life test-the evidence that we have indeed been born of God (2 Corinthians 9:8. Titus 2:14. 3:5, 8. James 2:18). The Christian is not saved by works but for works. How we live is part of the evidence of what we believe.

The Christian is not saved by works but for works.

The Love Test (1 John 4:7)

There is a progression of truth regarding love in chapter four of 1 John:

verse 7: "Love is of God".

verse 8: "God is love".

verses 9-10: "This is love... that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins".

verse 19: "We love Him because He first loved us".

See the sequence? Love is from God. God is love. God showed His love by sending Jesus into the world. He loved us, so we can love Him and others. If God had not first loved us, we would have no way of knowing how to love.

Verse 11 gives the ultimate point of progression: "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another". Anyone who claims to be a Christian but doesn't love their Christian brothers and sisters has a problem of inconsistency. Granted, not everyone in the world, or even in the Body of Christ, is easy to love. However, God loves us when we are not easy to love, and we are to love others as God has loved us.

When we find ourselves supernaturally able to love others the way God loves us, we provide evidence that we are born of God to ourselves and others. We have passed John's love test. That love is the love God puts in our hearts for our family members-members, that is, of the family of God. Just as we love the members of our families, even though it's not always easy, we do it because of our family bond. And the connection that all Christians have-all who are truly born of God-is that they love one another the way God has loved them. Because God is love, and He demonstrated His love by sending Jesus Christ to die for us, we can love one another if we have partaken of His love by believing in Christ.

The connection that all Christians have-all who are truly born of God-is that they love one another the way God has loved them.

So the next time you struggle to love a person who is not easy to love, prove to yourself that you are born of God by loving that person by faith.

The Growth Test (1 John 5:4)

The growth test is one of overcoming the world: "Whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith". If we are born of God, we develop a spirit, an inner conviction and an ability, to begin rising above the pressures and temptations of the world system in which we live. Over time, every Christian should look back on things that once created personal struggles and conflicts, which are no longer. That is evidence of an overcoming spirit.

Second Corinthians 5:17 says that old things are passing away. They don't immediately die the day you become a Christian, but they begin to pass away. The war against the world, the flesh, and the devil does not cease, but as you overcome, you win more battles than you lose. If sin is constantly defeating you, you have reason to ask whether you are, indeed, born of God. As we walk with the Lord, we should experience more and more victories in our Christian life.

If the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4), then we ought to be overcoming! This is a test for all who claim to be Christians-who believe they are born of God.

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I grow convinced that overcoming the world is more about falling in love with Jesus than about focusing on resisting the evils of this world.

The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I grow convinced that overcoming the world is more about falling in love with Jesus than about focusing on resisting the evils of this world. When we contemplate what Christ has done for us, we find ourselves not wanting to displease Him by giving in to the world. Our attitude changes from, "I'm going to try not to do such-and-such", to "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". A person born of God focuses on Christ, not the world. as a result, they overcome the world.

The Sin Test

"We know that whoever is born of God does not sin. but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him". Those truly born of God cease to live lives characterized by sin. This verse doesn't mean that Christians never sin, but it does mean that we don't immerse ourselves in sinful patterns. We belong to God, not Satan, and our life demonstrates that fact.

Many Christians have puzzled over this verse and others (1 John 3:6, 9, 10). "I still find myself sinning", they say. "Does this mean I am not born of God?". If this were true, there would be no Christians on earth! Only Jesus has lived a perfectly sinless life. First John 3:4 contains the key to understanding 1 John 5:18. "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness" and "lawlessness" is the transgression of the Law.

John is talking about sin as evidence of contempt for God's Law-utter disregard for and rebellion against God's authority as the moral ruler of the world. Anyone who consciously and intentionally violates God's will cannot pass the sin test. John distinguishes the Christian who sins unintentionally and is sorry for that sin from the person who sins intentionally and is not repentant. The latter person is not born of God.

Anyone who consciously and intentionally violates God's will cannot pass the sin test.

In these verses, John uses present tense verbs to talk about sin. This treatment assumes an ongoing, continual action. Christians do not make sin a routine practice. We may sin occasionally, but it is not a constant reality, a defining characteristic. A Christian can indeed choose to backslide and sin willingly, but a genuine believer will be miserable in that condition. Anyone who says they're a Christian and who is not repentant when they sin fails to pass John's final test.

Evaluating Your Test Results

John's approach is simple: Either you know God and your life reveals that relationship, or you don't. He did not want Christians to believe they could live in a manner inconsistent with truth, light, and especially love. For that reason, John's first epistle is a powerful antidote to careless theology in our modern era. Knowing that Christians find reasons not to love one another, abstain from worldly temptations, and walk by light and truth, John gives a firm-but-loving directive for the Church.

How did you do on John's five tests? If you failed all, I encourage you to seek the Lord and examine whether you are indeed His, a person genuinely born of God. If you failed on one or more, ask the Lord for insight into those areas of your life so they will align with your profession of faith. And if you passed all five, give God thanks for His grace at work in your life-grace whereby He first loved you so that you might love Him in return.

When Passover Is Fulfilled in God's Kingdom

April 16, 2022 by Keith   Comments (0)

"Easter" Or "Passover"?

Most of us are aware that the early church did not celebrate Easter with jelly beans, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chickens. The early Christians celebrated Christ's resurrection and the New Covenant that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on Passover.

The word Easter actually comes from the Anglo Saxon Eastre, the "goddess of spring." As Christianity spread, to avoid conflict with local traditions, the early church incorporated several pagan holidays into church culture. Obviously, colored eggs, rabbits and chickens were not biblical symbols of resurrection but were actually part of the pagan fertility rites of spring.

Although most Christians, myself included, still refer to the season of Christ's resurrection as "Easter," in my heart, I look past the cultural roots of some of these issues and gently call everyone's attention to the great miracle that we've come to celebrate: the resurrection of Christ.

The Christian Passover

Yet, while we can forgive and cover non-Christian traditions in love, we should not let these traditions obscure the profound truth of God's Word. The Hebrew feast of Passover was not only commemorative, it was also prophetic in nature. Gentile believers saw a great fulfillment in the Passover, a fulfillment lived out in the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Even as Paul wrote, "Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7-8).

The Gentile Christians in Corinth were urged by Paul to celebrate the Feast of Passover. However, the gentiles did not engage in the Old Testament rituals as did the Jews. Rather, they approached the feast from its spiritual perspective, focusing on Christ, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

Indeed, the Christian Church kept the Passover not only in remembrance of Israel's deliverance from Egypt but in the universal view, remembering and celebrating Christ, their Passover Lamb, delivering man from sin.

The Old Testament Passover, for all its powerful intrinsic and literal value, was actually an anticipation of what Christ would fulfill on behalf of mankind. Remember, the feasts were shadows of something greater than themselves. Paul said their "substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:17). Thus it is absolutely remarkable that, of all days in the calendar year, Christ, the Lamb of God, was crucified during the days of Passover. At roughly the same time the high priest was offering a lamb for the sins of the Jews, Jesus was praying for the sins of the world: "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

The Kingdom Passover

Yet there was more to the Passover, which the Lord related to His disciples during the "Last Supper" (the Passover). He said, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God" (Luke 22:15-16).

There will be another fulfillment to the Passover where the feast is "fulfilled in the kingdom of God." This will be a time when those who are truly Christ's are divinely protected during the sequence of end-time judgments. Whether you believe in a pre-, mid- or post-tribulation rapture, God has not destined us for wrath. The Kingdom Passover, fulfilled by the Lamb of God, positions us in the eternal protection, both now and at the end of the age.

In whatever manner Jesus' words shall be fulfilled, let us require of ourselves to partake of the whole Lamb. Let us diligently apply the Lamb's blood over the doorways to our hearts, as well as over our families and loved ones. And even as the world around us spirals ever deeper into darkness and judgment, let us instead press into God's kingdom. For the time is coming when we shall celebrate the Passover with Christ in the kingdom of God.

Just Like a Child

December 17, 2021 by Keith   Comments (2)

Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it (Mark 10:15, NIV).

I recently read the story of a young family who went out to eat at a local restaurant. They were the only family with children in the restaurant. The mom sat their little boy, Erik, in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, "Hi." He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin as he wriggled and giggled with joy.

The mother looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man wearing baggy pants and shoes so worn that his toes poked out. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. The man sat far away but the mother was sure he smelled bad. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists in an effort to make Erik laugh.

"Hi there, baby. Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster," the man said to Erik. Erik's mom and dad exchanged looks and asked, "What do we do?" Erik continued to laugh and answer, "Hi." Everyone in the restaurant noticed the man who was creating a nuisance with the beautiful baby. Their meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, "Do ya patty cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo." Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk.

Erik's parents were embarrassed and ate in silence. Not Erik. He was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. The parents finally got through the meal and headed for the door. The husband went to pay the check and told his wife to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between the mother and the door. "Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik," she prayed. As she drew closer to the man, she turned her back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As she did, Erik leaned over her arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's "pick-me-up" position. Before the mom could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from her arms to the man's.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head on the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and tears hovered beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled the baby and gently stroked his back.

No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. The mother and every other person in the restaurant were awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and in a firm and even commanding voice said, "You take care of this baby." Somehow the mother managed, "I will" from a throat choked with emotion.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. The mom took her baby and the man said, "God bless you, ma'am, you've given me my Christmas gift." With Erik in her arms, the mom ran for the car. Her husband was wondering why his wife was crying and holding Erik so tightly saying, "My God, my God, forgive me." Everyone had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment. a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. The mother was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. A ragged old man had unwittingly preached the message found in Scripture, "To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children."

It is so easy for us to live each day with tunnel vision... to dismiss people because they don't look like we do or act like we do... Jesus never did that... He always made time for the lonely man, woman and child in need... I want to be more like Him... I want to have His eyes and His heart when it comes to meeting the needs of people He brings into my life... How about you?

Father, please forgive us for the times we have judged others and failed to love them like You wanted us to love them... Help us see others through Your eyes of unconditional love... please give us a heart of love and mercy toward others in need... in Jesus' name Amen.

Imam's Daughter Finds Prince of Peace

October 9, 2021 by Keith   Comments (0)

Subaidath is the daughter of an Islamic scholar and imam, who considered herself a staunch Muslim. However, there was one thing she lacked-peace of mind. One day she discovered a Christian tract in her school dormitory. When she read the Gospel for the first time, it resonated within her soul, but her heart was hardened. But a few nights later something unusual happened. Jesus revealed Himself to her in a dream, touched her with His nail-pierced hands, and said, "Do not be worried and upset. Believe in God the Father and also in me. for I am the Prince of Peace. I have been crucified, died, and resurrected to give you peace and eternal life."

When Subaidath told her family about her commitment to Jesus, they got extremely upset. When they recognized she would not change her mind, her father and brothers decided she must pay the ultimate price for dishonouring the family. They devised a crude electric chair. They stripped off most of Subaidath's clothing and forcibly bound her to the chair. But when her father flipped the switch to send high voltage through the chair, nothing happened. They tried different outlets and sockets, but it was as if the electricity refused to flow. Her father got so angry and frustrated he beat her once more and screamed, "You are no longer my daughter," then threw her outside the house, half-naked. With tears streaming down her face-filled with humiliation and pain-she ran to a Christian friend's home across town.

The following day, her friends asked their neighbours what they thought when they saw a half-naked woman run through the streets. One of the neighbours happened to see Subaidath that night, but he reported that he saw her wearing a beautiful white dress. She believes God hid her nakedness, clothed her in the white dress, just as He took away her shame and covered her with the righteousness of Christ. Subaidath remains a faithful servant of Jesus Christ and is active in the underground church.

Praise God that He 'seeks and saves that which was lost.' Please Pray for Muslims converting to Christ... Thank You myCBN Brother's and Sister's. God Bless You.

A Correct View of Salvation

March 27, 2021 by Keith   Comments (2)

'You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house'. Matthew 5:14-15 AMP.

Every Sunday countless people all over the world sit in church buildings with a false sense of security... they assume that their morality, lifelong church membership, or baptism will earn them a place in heaven... while many of these folks have a sincere desire to please God, they are confused about what the Christian life is all about... they think in terms of doing rather than being... So they imitate the actions of good Christians: going to a weekly service, praying, reading the Bible, and trying to be decent people.

However, salvation is not the product of our good works... we come into the world with a corrupt nature, and our wrongdoing is born of a heart turned away from the Lord... Because we are all sinful people, we sin... it's that simple... The good news is that in the salvation experience, we are given a brand-new nature (2 Cor. 5:17). Our sin is wiped away because Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to pay the penalty we owed... from the moment we trust in Him, the Holy Spirit dwells in our heart so we can live righteously.

The world values action, but God prioritizes relationship-specifically a right relationship with Him... People who scurry about flaunting religiosity are missing out on the deeply satisfying and joyous intimacy between a believer and the heavenly Father.

We can help correct others' tragic misunderstanding by being ready to explain the reason for our hope. (See 1 Peter 3:15.) Knowing Christ is what matters... so speak of the personal relationship with Him that's possible when a person admits his or her need and trusts in the Saviour.

True Love this Valentine's Day

February 14, 2021 by Keith   Comments (5)

Do you feel genuinely loved, or is there a nagging sense of emptiness in your life that never seems to go away? For some people, the arrival of Valentine's Day brings no assurance of affection, only a reminder that something's missing. When this most basic of life's needs goes unmet, we can easily try to find substitutes to fill the void. In a search for fulfillment, some people enter into unwise or sinful relationships. Others turn to career advancement, the pursuit of success and wealth, endless shopping, or a quest for pleasure. But there is no substitute for genuine love.

As our Creator, God has placed a hunger for love in each of our hearts. But it's a longing that can never be satisfied completely by other people because every human relationship eventually brings disappointment. Only the Lord can fill our empty hearts. And because He doesn't want anyone to feel starved for love, He's made provisions for us to experience the joy and fulfillment only available in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Yet, instead of turning to Him, many people continue to live with the heartache of feeling unloved.

Perhaps you're unsatisfied in your relationships and are longing for more, but you don't really believe it's causing a problem in your life. That's because it's possible to become accustomed to the emptiness and think it's normal. But the symptoms are still there, waiting for you to open your eyes and face them.

Those who feel unloved often have trouble loving themselves. This could be due to feelings of rejection that manifest as a sense of unworthiness. Another symptom is a tendency to be jealous of others who seem to have better relationships than we do. With a focus on what's lacking in our lives, self-pity soon follows. Even when we're with others, we may feel isolated and alone. It just seems like everyone else is satisfied and fulfilled while we're lonely and empty.

The most defeating aspect of being starved for love is that it makes us unable to freely love others. That's because genuine love is a selfless commitment to another person. It flows from a heart seeking to do what is best for someone else. However, if our emotional tank is empty, we'll be on the lookout for someone to meet our needs rather than someone to love. The only solution to this cycle of self-defeat is to let God satisfy us with His love.

That's why we need to understand the characteristics of divine love. First of all, the Lord is the true source of love. The Bible says that God is love-it's His nature. This means it isn't conditioned upon our behavior or lovability (1 John 4:16). Whenever we feel unloved, the problem is our perception. The only way to live securely in God's love is to believe and abide in it. Instead of focusing on our own unworthiness, we need to count His Word as true, accept His love by faith, and filter all our experiences through this truth. The more we get to know the Lord through His Word and prayer, the more we'll abide in His love and feel it surrounding and upholding us. When people fail us, our hearts will find comfort in the guarantee of God's love for us.

Second, His love restores. God's love is not just a warm, fuzzy emotion but is expressive and active. The proof is found in Romans 5:8: 'But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' He first shows us His love by meeting our most urgent needs-to be forgiven and then restored to fellowship with Him. Once we've entered into that relationship through Christ, He continues to demonstrate His love by restoring us in other ways too. He brings healing to our hurts and sorrows, rebuilds our sense of self-worth, calms our fears with a sense of security, and satisfies our longings until we're emotionally complete.

Third, God's love flows through us to others. The deposit of His love fills the empty places in our hearts, and like a fountain, overflows to the people around us (1 John 4:19). Instead of seeking someone to meet our needs, we'll be able to give sacrificially of ourselves to benefit others. Knowing that we are so deeply loved by God empowers us to forgive those who wrong us, be kind to those who misunderstand or misjudge us, and joyfully reach out to serve and share His love with others.

When I think about my past, I remember my struggle to believe God truly loved me. Assuming that His love was dependent upon my character and behavior, I was on an emotional rollercoaster. I can't describe what a difference it's made in my life since I settled that issue and accepted His amazing, unconditional love for me. Now He gives me an awesome sense of love for people I don't even know. The same thing can happen to you. When He plants His love in your heart, it grows and matures, satisfying your emotional hunger and filling you up to overflowing, so you can express love freely to others.

Created to Love

January 28, 2021 by Keith   Comments (6)

Have you ever wondered if your life has a purpose? The Word of God says it does-one that is both noble and desirable: Every believer was created by God to love and be loved... God loves you personally and individually, without limit or qualification. He desires to shower you with His affection and kindness. Let me assure you of several things:

God's love is the most important thing we can know about Him. ..

The very essence of God's being-in other words, His personality and nature-is love (1 John 4:8). It is the reason Jesus came to earth, lived a victorious life, and then died to restore man's relationship with the Father (John 3:16). The most important decision we can ever make is to receive this gift of God... The Lord's affection is absolute, unwavering, and sacrificial. Moreover, God's love is not subject to favoritism. He cares for the sinner as much as He does for the saint. In our human pride or our desire to be "somebody special," we may find that fact difficult to swallow. But God grants love to each person... The Bible tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and the sun shines on the righteous and the wicked (Matt. 5:45). This means that with or without faith in God, everyone experiences certain benefits and blessings from Him. But the person who receives Jesus as Savior is in a position to reap the blessings that accompany an outpouring of love into his or her life... The Lord's love is not based upon what we do, what we have, or what we achieve. He freely gives it to us simply because we are His creation. You cannot win or earn more of God's favor-it has nothing to do with performance. Accept and delight in that truth.

The most important response we can make is to reciprocate God's love.

John said it simply and eloquently: "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19, NKJV). And Jesus said the first and foremost commandment was this: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" (Matt. 22:37). The only acceptable response to God's great outpouring of love toward you is to love Him back... We can choose to rebel. And while this doesn't affect God's nature, it will change us. Those who refuse to acknowledge and receive divine love cut themselves off from great blessing. Not only that, but such individuals typically yield to anger, hatred, and bitterness. To harden one's heart toward God is the supreme act of rebellion-in doing so, a person hurts himself far more than he hurts others. Humbly receiving God, on the other hand, brings good into one's life.

Satan constantly tries to convince us that if we follow Jesus, we will have to give up personal freedom, identity, and pleasure. But those who live apart from God's love inevitably discover their rebellion did not make them any freer. They may not go to jail, but they end up in emotional or psychological prisons-caught in addiction or trapped by feelings of resentment. The longer they live separated from the Lord's love and mercy, the less pleasure they find in life. In that situation, it is easy to become cynical, jaded, critical, and in the end, apathetic to nearly everything... But those who embrace and reciprocate God's love enjoy inner freedom they never imagined. They develop as individuals, discovering hidden talents and abilities. They experience true delight in God's creation and know the joy of perpetual discovery... When we choose to love and obey God, we can be sure He will guide us toward doing what will bring about the greatest fulfillment in life.

God's love is our ultimate reason to hope. ..

If we know with certainty that God loves us and desires good for our lives, what is there to fear? Hope in Christ is for everyone. It compels us not to remain in a state of dread, doubt, or worry but to seek transformation by the Holy Spirit's power. Trust encourages us to anticipate God's best and look for the dawning of a new day... Our heavenly Father is generous-even extravagant-in His love. Open your heart and let the Lord shower more of His good gifts upon you. You won't regret yielding your life to Him.

A Final Word

December 31, 2020 by Keith   Comments (1)

Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.' Revelation 5:5

On this last day of the year, we look to the future and wonder, could this be the year of Christ's return? If so, you will experience for the first time what it feels like to be pure and blameless. You will see your loved one walk without a limp. You will witness the stroke-survivor walk without his cane. You will know family members and friends as God intended them to be all along, their best attributes shining brightly, and their worst traits gone with the wind. No bruises on your daughter, free from the shackles of an abusive marriage. No confused thoughts, no mental illness, no Alzheimer's disease. .

You will see what lessons the angels and demons learned about God from observing Him at work in your mother, languishing in that nursing home. You will stand amazed at how your perseverance through pain sent repercussions rumbling through the lives of people you never knew were watching. You will be awestruck to see how your endurance through hardship forced others you hardly even knew to make tough decisions about God and suffering. Oh, what a wonderful day that will be!

If you faced deep heartache and disappointment this year, take encouragement that soon the Lamb who sits on the throne - the Lion of the tribe of Judah - will triumph. Every tear will be wiped away. Let this fact encourage you for the weeks and months ahead. Commit afresh and anew to deepen your walk with Jesus Christ in the New Year, preserving for yourself "a rich inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you" (I Peter 1:4).

Lord Jesus, I look forward to the day when you will receive endless praise and honor and glory for your amazing grace. Thank you for preserving my life through this year and impart fresh grace in my heart to honor and obey you in the year ahead.

Christmas - A Personal Promise

December 24, 2020 by Keith   Comments (0)

What do you consider most significant about Christmas? Many people would say visiting with relatives, attending parties, or giving and receiving gifts. For believers, however, Christmas is far more than a December holiday with time off from work. It is a personal promise from God to mankind.

The significance of this special day is embodied in two scriptural names. In the first chapter of Matthew, an angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary, his fiancé..e, would bear a son conceived of the Holy Spirit. He instructed Joseph to name the child 'Jesus'. (v. 21). He also announced that the birth would fulfill Isaiah's prophecy: 'They shall call His name Immanuel',which translated means 'God with us' (v. 23, referring to Isaiah 7:14).

Let's examine the two names in this passage-Jesus and Immanuel. The name 'Jesus' is a transliteration of the Old Testament Hebrew word Joshua, meaning 'the Lord is salvation' When the angel said, 'You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins' (v. 21), he was pointing to the significance of that original Christmas: God provided a solution for your sin and mine, as well as for the sin of the entire world-past, present, and future.

Seven hundred years before Christ's birth, Isaiah's prophecy was a word of hope and encouragement to Judah as it faced a great crisis. The prophet's message was an indication of what God was about to do then as well as what would ultimately be fulfilled in the Messiah's advent. Immanuel, a name full of promise, was God's way of assuring the Old Testament saints that He was with them. Taken together, these two names encompass what we need for our entire life: Jesus, the pardoner of our sins, and Immanuel, the divine presence within us to help and guide every moment of every day. The names and the promises in them are the foundation for every facet of Christian life.

So how did God engineer that first Christmas to fulfill the promises of Jesus and Immanuel? His method was the incarnation. On the night Christ was born, the eternal God-motivated by love-entered the human family. He was supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit and physically born of a virgin. Jesus never ceased to be God, and He remained perfectly sinless in His being.

If the incarnation hadn't taken place exactly as it did, then we would still be living in our sin. According to Scripture, the punishment for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The Bible also says that God rejects any imperfect sacrifice (Deut. 17:1). Jesus, because of His absolute sinlessness, is the only one who could save us by offering Himself as a payment for our sin debt.

Apart from the birth of God in human flesh, every one of us would have to stand before God with all of our sin resting upon us, and our sins would separate us from Him (Isa. 59:2). So the incarnation is the promise of Jesus-the Lord is salvation-for every person in the world.

But that was not the full extent of God's awesome plan. He also promised us His presence, which was fulfilled in the birth of Immanuel. Jesus was 'God with us', the incarnate Deity, who physically lived and walked among men to show us what the heavenly Father is like.

Before His crucifixion, Jesus encouraged His disciples with the promise of God's indwelling presence. Christ said that when He went away, He would ask the Father to send the Spirit of truth, who 'abides with you and will be in you' to teach, remind, comfort, and guide every step of the way (John 14:17, 26).

Far better than God simply being 'with me' is God within me, for me, and through me! And that is His promise to every generation of believers-the incomparable, supernatural, immeasurable God will take up residence inside us and be everything we need. Once He lives within you, there will never be a time you have to walk without Him (Heb. 13:5).

In light of the wonderful promise of God's redemption and presence, believers should be confident and courageous. We don't have a single need He can't satisfy. How can we worry when the sovereign, almighty God is with us?

So this year, as you gather on Christmas morning, I encourage you and your family to kneel and give thanks to almighty God. The incarnation is the very essence of Christmas. There's nothing wrong with the gifts or festivities, as long as they don't crowd out what belongs in first place: Christmas is about God breaking into humanity, shattering time, and becoming life and hope and help to all mankind.