Saturday, December 31, 2016

God our Father Can Tell Us What Shall Be--and It is Good!

"Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. 7For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?" (Ecclesiastes 8: 6-7)

Any one of us can find great revelation in reading the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Solomon in his old age muses on what a sad and empty life he leads. He acquired great wealth and riches, wives and concubines, children, buildings, a great name and incredible wisdom.

Yet he summed up his life in the first chapter with "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!"

For those of us who know Jesus, who have the Savior and Messiah that he did not know, we can reject his empty cynicism. The questions he poses, we have an answer, because Christ Jesus is our Wisdom and righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Here is another set of questions we can answer:

"Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?" (Ecclesiastes 8:6-7)


"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)

and also

"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8)

Even Isaiah declared the omnipotence of our Lord:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:10)

Our Father can declare the end from the beginning. He can relate a matter from the end to the beginning. He is outside of time, and no one can upend His will.

And what is His will for us?

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11)


"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

While King Solomon, for all of his wisdom. feared for the future, and had no knowledge of what was to come, today because we are in Christ, and Christ is in us (Colossians 1:29), we have nothing to fear, and everything to hope for!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Because of Jesus, We Will Never Again Walk in the Shadow of Death

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.' (Isaiah 9:2)

This prophecy in the Old Testament speaks of Jesus.

The rest of the passage particularly points to His birth:

"6For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

"7Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6-7)

During His earthly ministry, He preached the Gospel to great acclaim, specifically to the Gentiles, the people of "the nations":

"Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations." (Isaiah 9:1)

Notice "Galilee of the nations", which speaks of non-Jewish believers.

Jesus is the Light of the World, for Jew and Gentile, for slave and free:

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)

He is our light, and He came into a world covered in darkness, a realm where the pagan Empire of Rome was dominating the people of Israel.

Today, though, let's meditate on how Jesus is the Light of the world for all of us, and how no matter how dark the circumstances may be around us, we will never stumble.

Consider again the prophecy of Isaiah:

"They tat dwell in the land of the shadow of death ..."

Where have we read a passage like this before?

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4)

Notice that David wrote this Psalm, long before Jesus arrived. He prophesied of our Savior, specifically detailing the account of His Crucifixion in the previous Psalm.

Today, let us recognize that we can never find ourselves under the shadow of death.

Jesus, the Light of the world, has established His Kingdom. He died for us, He died as us, and He rose again from the dead, now seated at the right hand of His Father (Ephesians 1:21-2)

Looking back over the verse in Psalm 23, notice that David starts with "Yea, though" or "Even though."

This verse does not communicate that some day we may end up in this valley.

Read over his musings in Psalm 139:

"8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;" (Psalm 139:8-9)

The statements are hypothetical, just like in Psalm 23: "Even if I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ..."

The truth, the Grace and Truth which came to us in Christ Jesus, we can never walk in the shadow of death ever again!

He is our Light, and He is our Life!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

No Other Law But Faith

Whether we realize it or not, many of us live by internal rules we have set for ourselves.

We tell ourselves what we should and should not do.

When we fail, we miserably attack ourselves, and hold ourselves to high standards.

This was my life.

Many times, I found myself getting so angry with myself. I had failed in many cases. Whatever standards I was living by, I had failed.

Those standards were not even Biblical based on the Old Testament.

I had placed a rugged necessity on myself to right every wrong, to take down and shame anyone who had hurt me or made me feel bad.

Now, today, I realize that in greater measure a lot of our shame and pain comes from not measuring up to standards which ... don't really measure up in the first place!

We are delivered from the law to live under grace:

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14)

We are not guided by law, which actually brings out sin:

"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." (Romans 7:23)

The law is good, but it cannot make me good.

"For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. 12Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." (Romans 7: 11-13)

Now, this revelation applies to our own self-imposed rules.

Any standard that is not Jesus does not measure up.

It cannot.

Let's keep it simple, just as Jesus did when explaining to the earnest Israelites during His earthly ministry:

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:28-29)

and then

"23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3: 23-25)

How do we live, then?

No longer by law, or even our own little rules of conduct.

We live by faith!

"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17)

and also

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:23-25)

We are called to live by no other law than faith!

We are dead to the law.

And our rules and standards no longer matter.

Let us trust in His grace and receive His gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Made to Rule Over, Not Ruled By, the Beasts of the Field

4What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.

6Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

7All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;

8The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

9O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

God did create man to fear the beasts of the field.

He intended--and still intends--for man to have full domain over the lesser creation which our Daddy God created.

So, what did Solomon mean when he wrote the following?:

"I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts. 19For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 3:18-19)

At the outset of his book, Solomon declares "All is vanity."

It's all vanity without God's Life in us.

Without Him, we are plants without ground, fish without water, or starts without a sky.

At the end of his long, troubled life, Solomon had done everything by his own hand--so he claimed.

The truth is that we are dead men in need of life. Though Adam. we are all dead, but in Jesus we reign in life (Romans 5:15-17)

Without His life in us, we are no better than the beasts.

But because Jesus gave Himself for us, we reign in His life, seated in Christ at the right hand of the Father! (Ephesians 2: 4-6)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

His Death, Our Death--His Life, Our Life

Jesus did not die for us only.

He died as us:

"I 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.' (Galatians 2:20)

When he rose from the dead, we rose with Him:

"Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4)


"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12)

and also

"And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." (2 Corinthians 5:15)

This revelation is crucial (Cross).

Jesus did not come to make bad men good.

He came to bring dead men to life!

Jesus announced who the Devil was and what he wanted to accomplish--but also what He was determined to do for all of us!

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)

"When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." (John 11:4)

Jesus is glorified not just because He healed the sick.

The greatest revelation to all that He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25) because He brought Lazarus back from the dead:

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" (JOhn 11:25)

We believe on Him -- and we are brought to life!

That is the one work Jesus exhorted the Jews of His day--and all of us--to do:

"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29)

Jesus gave life to Lazarus for all to believe:

"And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go." (John 11: 43-44)

Jesus died our death, and we live His life!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

We Are Free From Sin When We Know We Are Free to Sin

"Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." (Psalm 32:2)

David calls this man "blessed."

The man whom the LORD does not impute sin.

"Impute" means that he does not punish sin.

Now, the man still commits sin, does he not?

Otherwise, there would be no sin to impute in the first place!

So, what do we have here?

A picture of the Gospel!

Paul announced this clear change in covenants to his people:

"Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses." (Acts 13:38-39)

We must understand that righteousness is a gift which God keeps on giving to us:

"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 gift is something that we receive, even when we sin (verb):

"7Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

8Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Romans 4:7-8)

Paul later explains that this gift of righteousness sets us free from sin!

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:1-4)

We are released from sin, when we recognize that we are released from the penalty and granted a new life!

This Gospel is a deep offense to man.

The moment that we tell people that all their sins are forgiven, they become fearful and indignant.

"You are giving them license to sin!"

Yet Paul knocks down that lie without blinking.

On the contrary--we are giving people the power to overcome sin.

In effect, men and women are set free from sin ... when they know that they are free to sin without punishment.

Let us not forget that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)

Man needs LIFE!

Jesus came to provide us life--Himself!

I am free to sin?

No thanks!

Life is better! His life is the best!

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)

When I know that there is no longer any condemnation for sin--guess what? I do not want to sin!

I receive His spirit and life, and I have no desire for dead things.

We are truly set free when we know the Truth Who sets us free! (John 8:32)