Be Anxious for Nothing

September 12, 2023 by Keith   Comments (1)

Jesus warned that, in the last days, the world would face unfolding trauma. There would be wars, earthquakes and many other disasters. Yet, to His disciples, He said, "Do not be terrified" (Luke 21:9). He also said that, because of world conditions, men's hearts would fail "from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth"(Luke 21:26 NKJV). Not only would actual events generate worldwide fear, but the ..expectation ..of difficulties would cause men's hearts to fail.

Today, heart failure is the number one cause of death in North America. Approximately every thirty-four seconds a heart stops beating and another person dies, usually suddenly. There may be many contributors to heart failure, but one major source is the inability to handle stress.

There are times when stress is unavoidable - the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, moving to a new home, severe illness, or going through a divorce - all take a toll. But most of the time accepting anxiety should not be so readily accommodated. The problem is that, just as death entered the world through Adam's sin (see Rom. 5), so the substance of death enters our personal world through our sins as well. Indeed, when we carry anxiety-related stress, we are carrying in our soul a container of death that, without fail, takes an ever increasing toll upon our lives.

Consider our world: War and terror attacks can occur at any time and anywhere. Our stock market and economy continues to bolt up and down, like a wild roller coaster. We have many unanswered questions about the future that are multiplied stress factors.

We also have personal situations. We worry about aging and our health. We have stress at our jobs and stress with a lack of jobs. Our homes should be a harbor of peace, yet they often are a place of strife and anxiety, especially as our children become teens. Someone once said, "A mother is only as happy as her saddest child." It is true for fathers also. We all carry people in our hearts, and as we love them their battles become ours, further adding to the burden of anxiety we carry.

If you want to know how stressed you are, look at your disposition when you drive. If you are always exceeding the speed limit, it reveals the lack of rest in your soul. That extra push on the accelerator is continually occurring on your heart throughout the day, not only when you are driving. Driving simply makes apparent the level of anxiety we have learned to live with.

Paul wrote, "Be anxious for nothing" (Phil. 4:6). Yet we seem to be anxious for everything. In fact, stress-related anxiety is so much a part of our lives that, somehow, it has escaped being identified as being sinful. We medicate it, but do not change the habits of fear that caused it in the first place. But anxiety is sin. At its core, it is a stubborn refusal to trust the goodness of God or rest in His power. Anxiety is a by-product of unbelief. It is a spiritual "terror attack" from hell that is silently killing tens of thousands every day.

God Is With Us

Certainly, I am not suggesting we become passive. However, I am saying we ought to abandon our fears and the stressful anxieties that come from not trusting in God. Our Messiah is "Immanuel," which means "God with us." Jesus promised to be with us, "even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). At some point we must accept the wonder and power of Christ's promise. Those who ..believe ..enter His rest (Heb. 3). He is with us always! To mistrust this promise is to reject the very character of God's nature. This is not a minor issue.

Yet, even now Jesus says,

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).

Let us come to Him. Let us cast our burdens upon Him, for truly He cares for us. Let us break our addictions to stress. We don't have to be tied up in knots inside. The God of peace will crush Satan beneath our feet shortly (see Rom. 16:20). Anxiety is sin. Let us break the bondage of this sin and walk as sons and daughters of God, who are anxious for nothing.

Lord, forgive us for our sin of anxiety... we renounce fear... we declare that our souls are Your property, that You have promised to care for us... we believe Your promises... we come to You and entrust all that we are into Your love and care... in Jesus' Precious name Amen.

Pray a Prayer of Release

May 2, 2023 by Keith   Comments (1)

'...[The] curse does not come to rest.' Proverbs 26:2 ......
Author Stormie Omartian grew up with a mother who told her she was worthless... She locked Stormie in a closet because she couldn't 'stand to see her daughter's face'! Stormie writes: 'I was raised by a mentally ill mother...and...her behaviour left me with guilt, hopelessness, helplessness and deep emotional pain... By the time I was a young woman I was still locked in-only the boundaries were emotional not physical-a deep, ever-present pain which expressed itself through self-destruction and paralysing fear... Years later [with help from a Christian counsellor] I learned that unforgiveness as deeply rooted as mine...must be unravelled one layer at a time. One day I felt led to pray, "Lord, give me a heart like Yours for my mother." Immediately I had a vision of her as a beautiful, fun-loving, gifted woman with no resemblance to the person I knew...I was seeing her the way God made her to be, not the way she'd become... What an amazing revelation! In an instant I put together the pieces of her past-her mother's tragic death...the suicide of her beloved uncle and foster father, her feelings of abandonment, guilt, bitterness and unforgiveness...Touching the heart of God brought such forgiveness that when she died...I had no bad feelings... In fact, the more I forgave her the more God brought to mind good memories...People are often the way they are because of how life shaped them, and only God knows their history... To enjoy everything God has for you, pray a prayer of release and let go of the past.' Only then can you move on.
Blessings to you myCBN Brother's and Sister's.

How do I accept Jesus as my Saviour?

April 27, 2023 by Keith   Comments (1)

Do you want to know God?

Do you yearn to experience the Lord's comforting presence, power, and wisdom? That's good, because God loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you forever.

The problem is . . .

 .. . . one thing separates you from a relationship with God-sin. You and I sin whenever we fail to live by the Lord's holy standard. In fact, Romans 3:23 "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

Furthermore, Romans 6:23 explains that the penalty for sin is death-separation from God in hell forever. No matter how hard we try, we cannot save ourselves or get rid of our sins. We can't earn our way to heaven by being good, going to church, or being baptized (Eph. 2:8-9).

Understanding how helpless we are because of our sins, God sent His only Son, Jesus, to save us.

Jesus Christ lived a perfect, sinless life, and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (Rom 5:8). Three days later, He rose from the dead-showing that He had triumphed over sin and death once and for all.

So how can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection (Rom. 5:10).

Romans 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you've done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus' name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations! You are now a part of God's world wide Family, Welcome!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make-one that will change your life forever!

The Passion of the Christ

April 7, 2023 by Keith   Comments (2)

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Colossians 1:17

When I saw the movie The Passion of the Christ years ago, I was struck by the brutal cruelty with which the soldiers treated Jesus... like a bunch of poorly paid drunken legionnaires, they couldn't wait to take out all their frustrations on who they thought was a stupid, luckless Jew... they beat and abused him mercilessly.

The face which Moses had begged to see--was forbidden to see--was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20). The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth's rebellion now twisted around His brow... the back and the rear of Jesus' legs felt the whip--soon the body of the Saviour would look like a ploughed Judean field... by the time the spitting is through, more saliva is on Jesus than in Him... when the soldiers raised the mallet to sink the spikes into Jesus' hands, it occurred to me that the Son of God whom they were crucifying was the very One sustaining their lives! Someone must sustain their lives minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own... Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds a man's molecules together? Only by the Son do "all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17). How amazing, how incomprehensible that the Son, the victim, is granting breath and being to His own executioners!

Close your eyes if you will and think deeply on the things you just read... consider so great a Saviour who would submit himself to such torture...for your salvation. Think of the cost and sacrifice involved in Jesus' crucifixion... then, commit afresh and anew to live on a higher, more sanctified level as you trust and obey Him with new resolve... Praise your Saviour for granting you breath and being, as well as life eternal... what a Saviour!

Dear Saviour, We are awestruck that You did not turn away from the cross and also glad that You didn't, but travelled the road to Calvary for us... may our lives today reflect our love and devotion to You... in Jesus' Precious name Amen. God Bless You myCBN Brother's and Sister's.

How Do You Treat Your Enemies?

January 16, 2023 by Keith   Comments (5)

'Don't gloat when your enemy falls, and don't let your heart rejoice when he stumbles, or the LORD will see, be displeased, and turn His wrath away from him'. (Proverbs 24:17-18 HCSB).

How we treat our enemies says a lot about our relationship with God... Society today takes great joy in the falling and stumbling of those seen as our adversaries or opponents... Such attitudes permeate our civil and political discourse... We rejoice whenever our enemies fail.

We grow up like this. How often, as kids, did we mock someone who physically fell or stumbled? It's natural that as adults we rejoice in the falling of our enemies... Sometimes we even attach divine justice to their stumbling as proof that God prefers us and looks out for us against our enemies... Such sentiments, however, are evil in the eyes of the Lord.

Jesus commanded His followers, 'I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you' (Luke 6:27-28 NLT). He called upon His followers to love their enemies. in fact, for Him, this was the principal characteristic for those belonging to the kingdom of Heaven-love your enemies.

While rejoicing in our enemy's failures and failings is simple human nature, love of our enemies requires our obedience to Jesus... In a world where the misfortune of our enemies provides cause for rejoicing, Jesus demands His followers to live differently, to love their enemies.

Even the misfortunes of those hostile to our faith and God we cannot celebrate, for God causes His rain and sun to come upon the righteous and unrighteous alike (Matthew 5:45). God does not distinguish between friend and foe in His mercy, and neither can we (Luke 6:36).

The test of our faith is not how we treat those who think like us, act like us, or even like us... The test of whether we are true followers of Jesus is how we love those who don't think like us, who are not like us, and who don't even like us. 'Don't rejoice when your enemies fall. don't be happy when they stumble'.

Father, may we walk in obedience to You today by loving our enemies and showing mercy to them, as You show mercy to them... in Jesus wonderful name Amen.

Jesus' Birth

December 15, 2022 by Keith   Comments (3)

The time came for the baby to be born, and [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. (Luke 2:6-7)

I wonder if you spotted something different in this reading? Instead of 'no room . . . in the inn' we had 'no guest room'.. It's a recognition that the Greek word traditionally translated 'inn' is better translated as 'guest room'.. It makes more sense because given that Joseph was of the line of David he could probably have knocked on almost any door, listed his ancestry, been identified as a distant relative and been offered a room.

What seems likely is that the house where Joseph and Mary planned to stay had only two rooms: one for the family and one for the guests.

For some reason-possibly the census-the guest room was full. The only alternative was the lower part of the house, where the animals were usually kept. Of all the traditions associated with Jesus' birth, one of the most reliable is that he was born in a cave, and it's quite likely that the lower part of the house would have been cut in a cave-like way from the rock.

So, the baby is born, wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in the manger-the animal feed trough. That this was highly unusual is suggested by the shepherds being told that 'the baby in a manger' is a sign.

With Jesus' birth we come to something quite extraordinarily profound. Christian teaching is that, in this baby, God was somehow entering his own creation. The all-powerful Maker and Sustainer of everything-from tiniest bacteria to largest galaxy-is reduced to a few pounds of helpless flesh.

This is the extraordinary truth that we call the incarnation-that, in Jesus, God became one of us. It is an extraordinary descent from highest majesty to lowest insignificance, from unbelievable wealth to desperate poverty. What can we learn from this? Well, we get some idea of exactly how much God loves us. being born in this context set the pattern for the rest of Jesus' earthly life.

There is another thing worth noticing-the phrase that Luke uses: 'She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger . . . 'At the end of Luke's Gospel, in chapter 23, we read that Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body and 'then he took [the body] down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock'. The parallel is very striking.

For our sake Jesus became the lowest of the low, quite literally from the cradle to the cross.

Lord Jesus, as we at this Advent time marvel at the fact you became human in order to show your great love for us, thank you that by your death and resurrection we can now know freedom from the past, new life today and a hope for the future... in Your name Amen. God Bless You myCBN Brother's and Sister's.

This Should Be the Day

May 16, 2022 by Keith  

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.


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.


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.