Saturday, July 4, 2015

His Spirit Gives Us Liberty and Independence

"Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (2 Corinthians 3: 17)

Liberty, freedom, independence: everyone wants these three things.

Many people think that liberty means: "I can do what I want to."

At its core, though, liberty, is all about living the life within us, without a sense of coercion, force, of fear.

To live free means to be led by love, not doomed to fail, and not condemned when we fail.

Freedom means living in Christ, and having all things given to us through Him!

"1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8: 1)

When we understand that we have been set free from all condemnation because of Jesus, then His Spirit can live in us and lead us:

"2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8: 2)

With His Spirit in us, we learn that we are sons before God the Father:

"14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:14-17)

We are therefore not slaves forced into dire straits, but kings and priests (1 Peter 2: 9) invited to reign in life with Jesus.

We cannot enjoy this Life, this liberty in ourselves.

We need His Spirit, for where His Spirit is, there is liberty, and there is wisdom and direction for all things:

"

Liberty is all about the grace of God, freedom from the law and living by His grace:

"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12: 10)


Paul would then write

"20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2: 20-21)

and therefore today:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." (Galatians 5: 1)

Apart from the Spirit of God there is no liberty. In Christ, we are set free!

Friday, July 3, 2015

By The Stripes of the Morning Star, We are Free

This week, Americans celebrate their liberty from one country and their nation becoming another one.

The Stars and Stripes Forever speaks of this country's banner.

For those of us in Christ, we have something greater than the banner of one country:

"Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing." (Isaiah 40: 15)

Our Banner is one of victory, because of Jesus.

One type of Jesus our banner we find with Moses, when the Israelites defeated their enemies in one battle:'

"And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi:" (Exodus 17: 15)

and also

"He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love." (Song of Solomon 2: 4)

So, we have a banner which rises above all others.

Not only that, but Jesus is our star, greater than any other field of stars:

"I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." (Numbers 24: 17)

and

"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" (2 Peter 1:19)

and thus

"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." (Revelation 22: 16)

There are also stripes that are more powerful than the ones on the American flag, too:

"1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
 
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
 
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53: 1-5)
 
Indeed, in the United States we celebrate the Stars and Stripes, the flag which represents our new nation, liberty from tyranny and the national independence which followed.
 
Let us also rejoice in the greater banner, Jesus, our Day Star, and how by His stripes we were set free from sin and healed from all disease and lack.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Jesus, Your Surety Until the End

"And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver." (Isaiah 46: 4)

The surest retirement package for man is not our pensions, or savings, our efforts or forethought.

Even into our old age, we are cared for because of God our Father:

"6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1 Peter 5: 6-7)

In the above passage, we have the full assurance that He will care for us from beginning to end.

"I have made"

He made us, and He has made the way for us:

"[We have been brought] To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect," (Hebrews 12: 23)

and

"He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23: 3)

and also

"3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." (Psalms 100: 3)

"I will bear"

Let us not think for one second that we have to bear God. He bears us, and will continue to carry us!

He was carrying the Israelites in the wilderness, even when they had not believed Him to prepare the perfect Promised Land for them:

"And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place." (Deuteronomy 1: 31)

and

"They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Psalm 91: 12)

He even declared before affirming His protection for the Israelites from beginning to end:

"Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:" (Isaiah 46: 3)

Today, we have Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13: 8), and we have this promise:

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8: 37)

Jesus, He who has been from the beginning (1 John 2: 12-14), who declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46: 10), is our surety until the end:

"Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28: 20)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

He Rains Righteousness on Us

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you." (Hosea 10: 12)

Whenever we read the Old Testament, we must rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2: 15), recognizing that many of the promises foretold through the prophets have been fulfilled in Christ.

In the Gospel of Luke, the High Priest Zechariah announced in song:

"67And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
 
69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
 
70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
 
71That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
 
72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;" (Luke 1: 67-72)
 
and then
 
"The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." (Luke 16: 16)
 
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Messiah who would put away our sins and establish us in His righteousness:
 
"In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee." (Isaiah 54: 14)
 
Jesus promised to fill those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness:
 
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5: 6)
 
Jesus promised to His disciples, and thus to all of us, that His Spirit would convict us of righteousness:
 
"And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:" (John 16: 8)
 
Today, because of all that Jesus has done for us -- and continues to do for us as our High Priest forever at the Father's right hand, righteousness is raining on us, and we reign in life:
 
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)
 
This righteousness is now a gift which we keep on receiving.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Joy and Peace Accompany Us

"For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." (Isaiah 55: 12)

This verse was fulfilled when Jesus rebuked the religious leaders during His earthly ministry:

"37And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

38Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.
 
39And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

40And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." (Luke 19: 37-40)
 
This passage is fulfilled today and forever because of what Jesus did at the Cross, fulfilling the Old Covenant and establishing the New.
 
"For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee." (Isaiah 54:10)
 
It's all about the grace of God, revealed to us by Paul (Galatians 1: 6), through Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth (John 1: 14).

Today, we who are in Christ must recognize that all of creation is groaning, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of men to stand out:

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." (Romans 8: 22)

Now, what will cause of all of creation to rejoice?

That we are led with joy - and joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," (Galatians 5: 22)

Also, the Kingdom of God within us is defined by joy, and also peace:

"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14: 17)

We have joy and peace accompany us, then, because of God's gift of righteousness, granted (and still being given to us) because of Jesus:

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)

Do you hear the mountains and the trees clapping and singing? Get ready, because you have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5: 21), joy and peace accompany you!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Come to God Without a Doubt

"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10: 22)

When we come to God about any need in our lives, we need to come without a doubt.

What is the root of doubt about our Daddy God?

It all comes down to the notion that our sins have not bee put away forever.

Jesus was there to save Peter before he drowned in the stormy sea:

"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14: 31)

Peter would rest assured in God's saving power once again during the early ministry of the Church in the Book of Acts:

"And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews." (Acts 12: 11)

In the Book of Hebrews, we learn at length about the need to believe in Jesus, that He has completed the work:

"16For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. 17But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? 18And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?" (Hebrews 3: 16-18)

Let us not doubt that God has accomplished the Perfect Work through His Son Jesus:

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" (Hebrews 1: 3)

Why should we be surprised or put aside this revelation? The prophets foretold that the Messiah would come and put away our sins forever:

"4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 
"5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53: 4-5)

and in the Psalms:

"As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

and

"But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared." (Psalm 130: 4)

Paul quotes another verse from the Psalms of David:

"Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:8)
 
Come to God your Daddy (Romans 8: 15), and come boldly!

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Romans 8: 15)

and then

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4: 16)

Let us come to God without a doubt, therefore, and believe that in our times of need, we will find His grace ready for us!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

God is Faithful: He Delivered on His Promise

"Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised." (Hebrews 11: 11)

Sarah, the lawful wife of Abraham, did not conceive a child until she was will into old age.

In fact, the Bible writes explicitly what her condition was:

"Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women." (Genesis 18: 11)

What is the importance of recognizing the physical impossibility for Abraham and Sarah to have a child?

They could not have the child on their own. They needed the miracle-working grace of God:

"[Abraham] against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be." (Romans 4: 18)

It's all about believing what God said, not taking our circumstances or feelings as the final authority.

Now, back to Sarah. She judged God faithful to fulfill His promise.

We have a more sure certainty of God's promises in our life.

Why? We have Jesus!

"16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. " (John 3: 16-17)

He was promised to come from the beginning, after the fall of man

"14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
 
"15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3: 14-15)
 
And
 
"24But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4: 24-25)
 
And then
 
"Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." (1 Peter 1: 10-12)
 
We can trust that God is faithful, because He fulfilled the greatest promise, to send the Messiah, Jesus, to be our Savior.