Precious

tools of crucification

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“…just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
(Ephesians 5:25)

Today while writing a another blog, I felt compelled to stop and write about how precious God’s children are to Him. I believe someone reading this blog needs this message today.  One of Satan’s favorite accusations to use on the believer is: “How could God love you? Look what you have done or thought!”  While the whole time Satan knows the opposite is true. He knows you are exceedingly precious to God.

God waited to reveal Jesus until the Greek language had become the language of trade around the Mediterranean basin and beyond so the gospel could be transmitted by a language that would be understood by many nations. The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 2: 12-13 the following, concerning the words He used to write and teach the good news taught to him by the resurrected Jesus:

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” (Emphasis mine)

Paul says it was the Holy Spirit that taught him what words to use to bring the mysteries of God to light for His children.

We see the value of the Greek language when we see how specific it is. A good example is the number of Greek words we translate “love” in the English New Testament.  One such Greek word is phileo which “is the response of the human spirit to what appeals to it as pleasurable.” (Wuest)  This is translated in I Peter as “brotherly love”. An example would be that you find a person who has the same interest as you and you find it pleasurable to  be around them because you both like the same things.

Another Greek word translated “love” is agapao and its meaning is different from phileo. “Agapao” is the Greek word selected by the Holy Spirit to use for God’s type of self-sacrificial love.  Wuest says the following:

“Agapao speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in an object which causes one to prize it. It springs from an apprehension of the preciousness of an object. It is a love of esteem and approbation. The quality of of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, and that of the object loved. ”

“Agapao is used in John 3:16. God’s love for a sinful and lost race springs from His heart in response to the high value He places upon each human soul. Every sinner is exceedingly precious  in His sight.”

“….each sinner is most precious to God, first, because he bears the image of his Creator even thought that image is marred by sin, and second, because through redemption, that sinner can be conformed to the image of His dear Son. This preciousness of each member of the human race to the heart of God is the constituent element of the love that gave His Son to die on the Cross. The degree of preciousness is measure by the infinite sacrifice which God made. (emphasis is mine)

Each believer is so precious to God that while we were yet sinners, He sent His only Beloved Son to die on the cross so we could be free from the guilt and penalty of our many, many, many sins. While we were yet sinners, he deemed us exceedingly precious. This alone proves that salvation by grace is from God because the heart of man could never conceive of such self-sacrificial love.

The incarnation, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is proof that you are exceedingly precious to God. Don’t ever doubt it saint!

If you are someone who has not received Jesus Christ as your Savior, do not reject this great love He has for you lest you perish in your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.

Receive His Love For You

Carl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Talk

IMG_8349

Said the Robin to the Sparrow

“I would really like to know why these anxious Human Beings rush about and worry so?”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin,

“Oh, I think that it must be that they have no Heavenly Father such as cares for you & me.”

—Unknown (Source: Teach Us To Number Our Days by David Roper)

Lord Jesus said:

“No one can serve two masters…” “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

ON THIS ACCOUNT I AM SAYING TO YOU, Stop worrying about your life, what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, and about your body, with what you will clothe yourself. Is not the life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the heaven, They are not sowing seed, nor reaping, not even are they collecting into granaries.  And yet your heavenly Father is feeding them.  As for you, do you not surpass them? “

“For your heavenly Father knows that you are in constant need of all these things.  But be seeking first the kingdom and His righteousness, and these things, all of them, shall be added to you.  (abbreviated Matthew 6:24-34 NASB & Expanded Translation, Emphasis mine)

Please read the complete text when you have opportunity. I would like to briefly expand on several points:

  1. Jesus’ words tell us that worry keeps us from obeying God. He told us in the  parable of the soils (or hearts) that worry is one of the weeds that chokes out the word of God in our hearts keeping us from knowing it and obeying it.
  2. When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you receive His righteousness; therefore, you have already sought His righteousness as instructed in verse 33. You already possess it in Christ through salvation. Romans 5:17 says “….much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
  3. As a born again believer, you can now “see” (i.e. understand) and “enter” (i.e. begin to live under the rule of God) “the kingdom” of God. This what Jesus told Nicodemus in his discussion about being born again in John 3.  We now just need to keep expanding the kingdom of God in our character and life, i.e. II Peter 1: 2-11.
  4. THEREFORE, as a believer, you have and are fulfilling the instructions that Jesus gave in verse 33. And this means “…that all these things shall be added to you.”  So let us “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God.” (Philippians 4: 6) “Casting all of your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7)

As a born again believers in Jesus Christ, we are precious to God the Father.  Evidence of this is seen on the Cross as He sent Jesus to display His self-sacrificial, agape love for us.  May we lay hold of His promise (v33) by faith and walk with our minds girded for action and sober in spirit; free from the crippling and thought paralyzing mental attitudes of worry, fear and such.

Remember Texas and Louisiana in your prayers as they grapple with Hurricane Harvey.

Carl

 

 

 

Hope

I found this sign in the MD Anderson Emergency Room. Only patients from the various MD Anderson hospitals are allowed admittance to this ER; therefore, the patients have already experienced the palpable fear of being diagnosed with a killer disease and the waiting, testing and surgery to save their lives. Having to rush to the emergency room due to some complication only adds to the fear.

From experience, let me say there is a lot of fear in such situations and, if it was not for the prayers of the saints for you and your loved one, you would be totally consumed by it. Satan wants to bring you to the abyss of hopelessness and chain you in it with the fear of death, but, bless God, the prayers and love of the saints keeps you free.  I feel sorry for the individual who has to go through this alone, without God and His children interceding for them.  Ephesians 2: 12  says before our salvation, we were “having no hope and without God in the world.” 

Therefore, this little exhortation scribbled in marker on a dry erase board, speaks volumes to those going through these life and death struggles.

The Apostle Peter who knew about struggles and persecution tells us in his first letter where to put our hope about the future:

“Therefore, gird your mind for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1: 13)

The “…at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” is when He appears in the sky to rapture the church out of the earth.  This will include all born again believers alive and dead.  Those who claim to know Him, but are just religious and not born again, will not be taken. Jesus told a leader of the Jewish nation “Truly, Truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

The “… grace” to be brought to you refers to your inheritance that Peter referred to in verse 3 and 4 when he wrote “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,…”   This inheritance, among other things,  refers to our glorified bodies we will receive when He raptures the church. Our salvation will be complete.  We are justified by faith in Christ’s work, we are going through sanctification now and then at the rapture we will be glorified.  Our mortal bodies will be transformed into a glorified body just like the Lord Jesus’ glorified body.

Peter says “in this you greatly rejoice..” (verse 6). “Rejoice” is from a “Greek word speaking of extreme joy expressing itself externally in an exuberant triumph of joy. In verse 8 we see that it is a glorified joy made possible by our future glorified state, a joy not possible now in our mortal bodies. Tears of joy are just evidence of the inability of our present state to fully feel the joy that comes to us at times. But then in our bodies of glory we will be able to drink in and appreciate all the boundless joys of the Savior’s presence.” (Wuest)

Peter says this is what we should “… fix your hope completely on..”  And this hope is not a mere wishing that something may happen.  Hope here is a “complete hope, a perfect hope, wanting nothing, being in its character an assured expectation.  Peter exhorts us to “set your hope perfectly, unchangeably, without doubt and despondency upon our future glorification.”‘ (Wuest) The phrase “…to be brought to you…” means that this grace or inheritance is already on its way. Wuest says you could translate it “which is being brought to you.”

Dear Pilgrim, just passing through this temporary earthly realm, don’t set your hearts on the trinkets of this existence but keep pursuing God until you experience His Glorious Presence at the Rapture and your mortal being is swallowed up in immortality.  What a day that will be when we will see Him face to face.  Are you ready?  Praise His Name!!!

Thank you for your time.

Carl

 

 

The Promise of His Presence

“I will not, I will not cease to uphold or sustain you; I will not, I will not, I will not forsake someone in a state of defeat or helplessness in the midst of hostile circumstances.” 

God (Hebrews 13: 5b Greek Amplification)

“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

Moses to all of Israel before entering Promise Land (Deuteronomy 31: 6)

“All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”    Jesus (John 6:37)

This morning as we said goodbye to one of our precious daughters and her son returning to their European home, through tears,  we shared the lead scripture with her.  What a comfort to know that He is watching over us no matter where we are.

Scripture says that those who do not know God and Jesus, His Son, have NO HOPE and are WITHOUT GOD in a Satan dominated world system. What a stark picture that is.

What blessed promises God has given to His children; those He “has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are PROTECTED by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1: 3-5 Emphasis mine)

Thank you Father God and Lord Jesus for your presence in our lives at all times by your indwelling Spirit.  Bless your name!

Carl

Moral Excellence

 

 

Apostles-all-have-beardsNow for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, …”   (II Peter 1: 5)

Virtue or moral excellence is the manifestation of the “energy” of the Holy Spirit working in us, in response to our faith in Jesus Christ. Our response to this “energy” is to have “energy” in the outliving of our faith which will manifest itself as “change” in our behavior, resulting in increased moral excellence.

Now stop and read the first paragraph again before going on. Do you see this in your life?

Change” takes “energy” or power.  From whence does it come? Listen to what is on record and is just as true today as when it left Peter’s writing instrument 2000 years ago.  “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge  of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  (II Peter 1: 3-4) He has given us “everything” we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of God, which is found in scripture, and precious magnificent promises that are found in scripture also. Why did He do this? So His born again children could be partakers of His divine nature, which has been implanted in them,  escaping the corruption that is in the world through lust or passionate cravings.

“Change” always takes “energy” or power.  Our precious Lord Jesus told the disciples before His death,  “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:8)  He sent His Spirit to come along side of us and to help us successfully live the victorious Christian life.  He, the Holy Spirit of God, is constantly releasing His energy so we will desire the sweet will of God and, then as we say “yes” and move our will to obey, He releases His power to make the change a reality.

Peter begins this exhortation of II Peter, by asking that sanctifying grace and sanctifying  peace be multiplied in the sphere of and by the full knowledge of our God, even Jesus, the Lord.  Listen to Wuest’s explanation of this knowledge:

“The particular word for knowledge here, epignosis, speaks of experiential knowledge, that is knowledge gained by experience. This knowledge of Jesus Christ possessed by the believer therefore, is not a mere intellectual knowledge of the facts concerning Him acquired by a study of the Gospels, for instance, but a heart experience of what and who He is, gained by such a study, including a personal association with Him, by means of the Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is a person with Person knowledge through intimate fellowship.”

He has not left us as orphans.  He is wanting to fellowship with us. Reflect on that for a moment. Out of this fellowship will flow two things: 1. sanctifying grace, the work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded believer producing Jesus’ personality traits.  2. Also out of this fellowship will flow sanctifying  peace, the tranquility of heart which is the result of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our life.

May His “energy” be evident in your life.  May you be increasing in all the fruit of the Spirit as you fellowship with your Lord and Savior Jesus.

Carl

 

The Refiner’s Fire (Part 3)

smelter

Note: This, the last in three posts concerning The Refiner’s Fire. If you missed the first two posts, please scroll down to the end of this post, to read first two.  Thank you.

“And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness.” 

In the last post we showed that each born again believer is a priest to God, The Father through Jesus Christ (I Peter 2:5) and that the “sons of Levi” are actually a type of us and that we, as believer-priests, now offer sacrifices on the altar of our dedicated, consecrated heart.

Since every believer is a priest to God The Father through Jesus Christ, this purifying and refining process applies to you and me. The Lord Jesus is going to purify and refine us so that we offer to God unblemished sacrifices which is our reasonable service, since we are recipients of His many mercies.

Just as the smelter would scoop the impurities off the hot liquid, looking for a clear reflection of his face in the purified gold or sliver,  so the Savior is looking for the reflection of His face in our hearts, the real you and me. A reflection of Him in the “hidden man”. The characteristics of His Personality.

Another scripture states this a little differently. Speaking of the Lord Jesus it says:
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”  (Ephesians 5: 25-27)

Instead of the using the metaphor of a smelter, the Holy Spirit speaking through Paul states that Jesus is going to sanctify or set apart the believers from the world, to Himself, by washing them with the Word.  In other words, as the believer obeys the commandments of God, they will purify their souls (mind, will and emotions) becoming holy (more Christ like) and blameless (practicing righteousness).  Peter said in I Peter 1:22 “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls…”. 



In respect to this purifying and refining, this is why in James 1:2 it says “Consider it all joy,…when you encounter various trials…” because they are refining and purifying events, with the goal of making us more like Jesus and providing proof of our faith. Satan may mean to use the trial for our destruction but, by us remaining faithful during the trial, Jesus will redeem it for our good.   James 1:3 explains the good: “…knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  

The end result of various trials is to make us perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  “…perfect” means mature.  Ephesians 4:13 says, the goal of the operation of the Holy Spirit gifts within the church is: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Trials, whether disciplinarian (Hebrew 12: 5-11) or adversarial (I Peter 1:6), mature us into more Christ likeness by stopping us from practicing sin and replacing it with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Ignatius [Bishop of Antioch, martyr; first century believer] said it this way:

“None of these escape your notice, if you are maturing in faith and love towards Jesus Christ. For these are the beginning and end of life: faith is the beginning and love is the end, and the two, when they exist in unity, are Godlike. Everything else that contributes to moral beauty follow from them.”

The “…complete, lacking in nothing”, does not refer to worldly things like money, cars, food, shelter, etc. but refers to not lacking in the characteristics of Jesus’ personality in our lives.  The Apostle John refers to this as being perfected in love. Some of these characteristics are listed in Galatians 5:22:  “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”.  The fruit of God the Holy Spirit.  Three more can be added from II Peter 1: “moral excellence”, “knowledge“, and “perseverance”.  “…humility of mind…” would be another. This is what the Father desires for His children.  Christ likeness.  To be more like His Son.

Colossians 3:1-2 tells us

“If you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is…” “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

What are these “things” we are to keep seeking for? A mansion in Heaven? A cloud to sit on? A throne like James and John sought for? No! I am not certain what all “things” entails, but I know they include Jesus’ personality traits because our life is hidden in Him.  He is our life.
Therefore, the Lord Jesus is the smelter and the washer in our born again lives, with the end result being, we can offer spiritual sacrifices to God the Father through Him that are unblemished and righteous. This is only possible because we are alive from the dead and He loves us enough to purify and cleanse us so we can “share in His holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). This is the sanctification process in our lives.  Psalms 149: 4 says:

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” 

In closing let me say this about trials.  There are disciplinary trials that come from our heavenly Father who disciplines each child for their good so they can share in His holiness (Hebrew 12:4-11). There are adversarial trials which come from the world and Satan.  The world hates Christians. The world is controlled by Satan; therefore, we should expect adversarial trials to come.  Jesus said they would come.  As a born again child of God, we are pilgrims in the earth heading toward our new, heavenly home. (See Hebrews 13) We need to “gird our minds for action and keep sober in spirit..” as Peter said and expect trials.  It helps me to know that Jesus is my smelter and washer and that whatever comes my way He is using it for my ultimate good.

Remember, our brother and sisters in other countries whose trials include imprisonment and even death.

So let us rejoice NOW and ALWAYS in our Great Savior and God, Jesus Christ, and thank Him for His watch care over us. Because of this refining and purifying, the Word says that we will be so joyful one day that, “you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2).

Thank you for your time.

Let us be paying close attention to ourselves,
Carl