A collection of articles from Brad Wyrick

by | Nov 6, 2020 | Featured Article, Featured List | 0 comments

 

PRESSING ON TOWARD THE IMAGE OF CHRIST

 

Paul the apostle has a plan to win, “but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

The writer of Hebrews likened the Christian life to running in the Olympics. We that run in a race should put everything we have got into winning. Let us note that we are not running a human race where only one receives the prize. Our competition is spiritual, and we are running ours alone. Of course, we have God running alongside us.

You are not trying to beat other believers over the finish line. The only competitor is you, and the competition is the weights and the sins that might stumble your life off course. Lay aside the old life, sin not, resist the devil and let God be your running track. Stay focused on Jesus and keep within your line.

When taking part in sports activities, it is incredible what people are willing to go through for a corruptible crown. How much more should we be ready to live a disciplined life for the incorruptible crown awaiting us at our finished line?

Paul declared of himself that he had fought a good fight, he had finished his race and was now looking to standing before the Judge, to receive his reward, the crown of righteousness which the Lord our righteous Judge shall give not only to him but to all who loves His appearing.

The necessity of laying aside every weight and running with patience is critical to our success.  If we are to win this race, we must not only put aside every pressure, but we must keep our eye on the goal – Jesus.  He is your focused target and finish line in the race.

To the Philippians, Paul spoke of pressing toward the mark and pressing toward the goal. Since so great a cloud of witnesses surrounds us, we should look at their life of faith and accomplishments through faith.  They witness to us of what hope can do when we exercise it in our own lives. Their lives bear witness to us of the value of walking with God. 

We continuously try to assemble the Christmas toys for our children, avoiding reading the instruction manual at all costs. When all else fails, we turn to our last resort and open the manual supplied us.  Once we begin to follow the instructions, our project takes shape. Moreover, we understand why instructions came with our purchase.

This scenario plays out throughout our entire life, especially when it comes to our walk with God. Our prayer life does not fare much better. We develop a plan for our life and then ask God to bless it. A fiery trial comes our way, and we seek every solution known to man before we commit it to prayer. When we finally in faith, turn it over to God in prayer, we receive the answers, help, strength, and patience to endure the trials of life.

Jesus is the author of our faith. He is the one who has planted faith in our hearts, and He is also the finisher of our faith. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

God will complete that which concerns us. So, having begun, He continues His work in our lives. He is the author, the finisher, the beginning, the end. He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end…” (Revelation 1:8, 1:11, 21:6, 22:13).  He is the finisher of everything.

THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST

Paul’s teaching in Philippians 3:7-14 gives us great insight as to how to live the resurrected life and how to press on in Christ Jesus. That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, we all should want to know Him in the power of His resurrection. And more fully, “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.”  To know HIM is more than merely to read a doctrine about Him. Believers come not only to redemption but to the Redeemer Himself.

That I may know him—in truth and righteousness and the power of His resurrection, being justified through faith in the work of the Cross and raised spiritually with Him, finding our identification with Him in this, as in all the acts of His redeeming work for us, the power of the Divine Spirit, which raised Him from literal death, is the same, which raises believers from spiritual death now and shall raise their bodies from literal death hereafter.

Paul moves on to the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10). I like power, but I do not like misery. If Jesus suffered for us, we should suffer for Him. All true believers will enter the fellowship of His sufferings, for this strengthens our faith and produces maturity in our new life. The lessons we learn will prepare us for any trial we might face.

Partaking in the fellowship of His sufferings—becomes our identification with Him. He bore all our sufferings, so we take part in His. It is part of God’s will for our lives to purify and mature us for His glory.

Our flesh always rebels against suffering. We like the power, but we do not like pain. We do not even like it when someone we love is suffering through a trial. The disciples found it difficult to handle this truth when Jesus started talking about the suffering that He was to experience. Peter cried out, “Lord, be that far from thee.” And Jesus said, “Get thee behind me, Satan, you offend me…. “(Matthew 16:23-24).

It was the natural cry of man, “Spare yourself from suffering.” But Paul is willing to follow Jesus to the Cross. “I want to know him; I want to know him completely.” Yes, the power of the resurrection, but you can never know the power until you have, first, known the Cross.

Paul’s goal in running and winning his race is threefold:

  1. That he might be found in Jesus Christ: Not having his righteousness, the self-righteousness that comes by keeping the law. But the righteousness that is imputed by God because of his faith in Jesus Christ.
  • That he might know Christ, through the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, thus, becoming like Him in His death.
  • To apprehend that for which he was apprehended: Paul was aware that God had a purpose for his life, and he wanted to fulfill it. God has a purpose for our lives, and our goal should be to carry out that purpose for which we were apprehended.

LET JESUS BE YOUR RUNNING COACH THROUGH LIFE

We must keep our focus on Jesus Christ and His purpose for our lives. Jesus was talking to Peter about how he was to die for Christ, turning toward John, he asked: “But what about him?” Jesus, as much as said, “That’s none of your business, you just stay focused on Me.” Many times, we, like Peter, are saying, “But what about them?” Jesus would urge us to focus upon Him and run our race in faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let Jesus be your life coach.  The one who created the universe and held it together. The one who always was always is, and always will be. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the author, and the finisher of our faith.

Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7).

God has given every man a measure of faith. The faith that we have in our heart is a gift of God. Paul said, “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourself; it’s a gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8). Our salvation, the faith by which we believe, is God’s gift. In I Corinthians 12, Paul lists faith as one of the gifts of the Spirit.

Scripture portrays the Christian life as a walk.  It speaks of walking in the Spirit, walking in the flesh, walking in the light, walking in darkness, walking in love, and walking in the truth.

The Lord made a bold statement about faith, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:21-22).

“Faith is believing God’s Word and acting upon it!”

Be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only.”

Many believers have never experienced the power of the risen life.  They have stayed away from the fellowship of the suffering and crucified life. I want to hold on to the things of the flesh. I do not want to see it nailed to the Cross. But you will never know the life of the resurrected Christ until you have first experienced the fellowship of His sufferings.

Some believers feel they have reached, or they have achieved their spiritual walk. But Paul, the apostle said, “Look, I don’t consider that I have attained; I don’t look at myself as being perfect, the work of the Lord is not yet complete in me.”

Conforming to the likeness of His death,” namely, by degrading of the bodily self.” Thus, it ensures the believer to be “accounted worthy to obtain the resurrection from the dead…” (Luke 20:35). And, “The resurrection of the just…” (Luke 14:14).  When the Lord apprehended us, He did so with grace and mercy. He said, “I have chosen you and ordained you that you should be my disciple…” (John 15:16) so, we turn to follow Him in faith.

WINNING THE CROWN OF VICTORY

Behold the finish line of the race we are running, winning the crown of victory, with our course completed, and perfection reached. When we are looking up in Jesus’ face, just overwhelmed by His glory and love, we will say, “I finally have apprehended that for which I was apprehended. The Lord intended for me, to be with Him in His kingdom, to share with Him His glory.

Paul knows where the finish line is, how to reach it, and what prize awaits him. Therefore, he has a plan to win, “but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Looking back is sure to end in going back! The story of Lot’s wife tells us what happens when we take our eyes off the prize. God’s Word to us is as it was to Israel, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward” (Exodus 14:15). The Bible is our landmark to show us whether we are progressing or backsliding.

You will never know the life of the resurrected Christ until you have experienced the fellowship of His sufferings. It is all part of following Jesus and being in Christ. As the children of God, we get to be part of the family of pain: “If children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer for Him, that we may also be glorified together” (Romans 8:17).

Being in Christ is conforming to His death to reach His resurrected life. Christians called according to His purpose will find it a necessary path to maturity, this resurrection life right now, and the ultimate resurrection from the dead. The suffering is worth it, considering the greatness of the goal of transformation into His image, from death unto Eternal Life!

SO PROFOUND THIS GOD WE SERVE

FINALLY, all things work together for good for those in Christ. There was “No Room in the Inn” for Baby Jesus, so He was born in a stable filled with the smell of livestock.

We might think that the Son of God, our Redeemer, and the King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s deserved a Five Star Hotel. However, the fulfillment of the prophecy was satisfied in this stable. Thus, preparing the way for our salvation.

Because Jesus endured the trials on earth (but without sin), He can promise that we will be moving out of our stables here on earth into the Father’s house one day. “. . . In my Father’s house are many mansions, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself”.” (John 14:1-4).

How profound was this, born in a manger with no room in the inn, growing up a carpenter being the Son of God, now building mansions in Heaven for His Bride. Hallelujah!

A PROMISE

“For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Corinthians 1:20-NKJV).

A PRAYER

 “May the LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD to make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; The LORD lift His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” 

 

I AM THE IMAGE MAKER

Is God’s image on the Auction block?

Is God’s image on the Auction block? What will a man give in exchange for his soul?  If not His image than who’s? God created man in His image; unfortunately, for the price of an apple, Adam and Eve discarded their true reflection. Your soul is eternal, and the image of Christ is essential.

The world is going to pass away and the lust thereof.  Then the question, “what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” What would you take for your soul? Some of you have been wandering in the wilderness in your Christian experience, maintaining a barren soul—His image, just a dimming light. God is calling you to spark up the flame, pass over Jordan, and enter the promised land.

Once upon a Midlife crisis, I found myself staring in my mirror, chanting, “You have potential, believe, receive and conquer the day. I will never fail only sale-sale-sale because I love myself and deserve all.” Chasing my shadow, seeking my image, looking into mirrors only to find the wrong reflection of my soul.

When I was a Sales Rep, I bought into the self-esteem movement. I was visualizing my future posting pictures of cars, houses, and buckets full of money all around my home. All I needed to achieve; was to believe it to be true. Think it, feel it, and receive it.

To my surprise, this career was short-lived. I never attain anything in all the books I bought and the seminars I paid to attend. Selling a weight loss product for a year, and I never lost a pound. I could not even push self-esteem motivational tapes even after all the prep in front of the mirror.

Even as a kid, I bought into POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN, otherwise known as the Great Spinach Conspiracy. 

“I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. I am strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”  I would flex in front of the mirror after each portion of that green stuff. Never looking like the bodybuilder promised, I lost all faith in this guy

The most painful deception was when I realized walking on fire only burnt my feet—seeking my potential in the reflection of my mirror only for it to laugh out loud at me. Self-image, self-esteem with all their trappings only held up my real purpose in life. Even then, God’s still small voice was saying, “It is My Image Stupid!”

God’s Word tells us to esteem others more highly than ourselves. To humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift us. Also, who, by giving any thought, could add one hair to their head. Jesus put it this way, “ And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” (Luke 12:25).

Still, destined to be like Him, even though we lost our image of God in the garden. He is the only “pattern” we must follow.  And because he lives his life in us, we too can “walk even as He walked,” “do as He did,” “love as He loved,” “forgive as He forgave,” and “have this mind which was also in Christ Jesus.” Because He became like us, we can identify with Him, and we can become like Him.

Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word! Additionally, half of the truth is the worst part of the lie. With every temptation, there is a lie involved. (1) The Prove It Lie, (2) The “For It Is Written” Lie, and (3) The Short Cut Lie. The devil deceived Eve in the garden with these lies while Jesus was victorious in the wilderness.

The devil would have us conform to the ways of this world through peer pressure.  The Christian life is so different from the world’s way of thinking. The world wants their self-esteem to feel good, while God tells us to esteem others more highly than ourselves. Non-believers need their image to shine above all others, but God wants Jesus’s Image to prevail. The world says to go for it, no matter the cost. God’s Word tells us to count the cost.

God’s image is worth the battle. Winning victories as we put off the old man and put on the new. We experience transformation when we learn how to use the Word of God to overcome the world.

When we become Christians, God does not remodel us or add to who we are – He transforms us.  A Believer does not have two different natures.  He has one new character – the single life in Christ.  The old self dies, and the new person becomes alive; they do not coexist.

God’s Word urges us to “Put on the new man,” a new behavior that is proper to our original nature. But to do so, we must end the patterns and practices of our old life. Furthermore, He has given us the rules, the principles, the strategies, the armor, and the promises for fulfilling His purpose. If we will renew our minds and study the Word, then we will be able to sort out and discern the will of God. When we make the right decisions combined with some skills, we will succeed and come out on top.

The world says to go for it, no matter the cost. God’s Word tells us to count the cost.

 

 

 

 

“WHAT’S-IN-IT-FOR-ME?” ASKED THE CURIOUS BELIEVER

 

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12)

There are so many perplexing questions facing us in life. Such as, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?” GOD came first, creating the chicken with the ability to lay eggs. The WII-FM question is for you and you alone to answer. If you are living for Christ, then the answer would be, ALL ETERNITY!

However, separation from God through sin has ramifications on the individual, their circle of family, and friends. Justly, we do reap what we sow.  Sin has consequences that affect us momentarily, seasonally, generationally, and in some cases, eternally. Since we have free choice, we must choose our decisions in life wisely. We need faith in God to begin anything we try to do.

Hebrews 11:6 states, “But 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.” Notice, we first believe in the existence of God, then we must believe that God is good and rewards those who diligently seek Him. Faith is critical to our new life in Christ. Faith saved us; therefore, we walk in faith; we live by faith, and we bring glory to God when we grow in faith.

If we are to count it all joy during the fiery trials of life, it’s critical to our understanding “What’s-In-It-For-Me,”; so, we know why we are pressing on. We must get it right here on earth, so to be right when we arrive in Heaven. Remember, there are no do-overs once we leave this life behind.

We have many questions to answer, so we know what to dohow to do it when to do it so that we will receive our crown of glory. What are rewards, how many are there, are there different rewards on earth and in Heaven? When do we obtain them?

Before addressing these questions, God would have us pause a moment. Foremost on God’s agenda is the issue of our sins. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin separates us from God, and the penalty is death. Repentance begins our relationship with God through the forgiveness of sins, with the reward of life eternal.

Forgiveness of our sins through the work of Jesus Christ, our Eternal Redeemer, allows us the privilege to partake in all His mercy and grace. This forgiveness prepares us for our eternal salvation. Born again of the Spirit gives us complete access to the mystery of the gospel and all His provisions.

Justification begins our transformation into the image of Christ, setting us apart from the world to do God’s will. Entering this relationship, we “PUT OFF THE OLD MAN” and “PUT ON THE NEW MAN.”  Participating in His suffering through our trials allows us to live in the power of His resurrection. The fruit from this will enable God to help us overcome all the trials of life to live victoriously.

Exploring all the fantastic rewards we can work toward will teach us they are only a byproduct of our earthly life with Christ. We must discover how to live our new life to its fullest through obedience to the Word of God.

We do not receive rewards here on earth. What we do receive are His promises to guide us through this life and prepare us for eternity through His divine purpose. One thing we can count on is the promise that He will never leave or forsake us. We receive the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life crucified with Christ. Whatever benefits, gifts, or ministries given us here on earth are to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are to do good works and store our treasures in Heaven for all eternity. What we do for Christ and His church will determine our position and authority during the millennial reign with Christ at His second coming and throughout eternity.

Although NOT SAVED BY GOOD WORKS; WE ARE SAVED TO DO GOOD WORKS

And the Scripture is clear about that. Ephesians 2:10–“For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.” “Those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works” (Titus 3:8).

God is setting up His Eternal Kingdom, and He uses the trials of life to reward those who DID what He told them to DO here on earth.  These are those who endured the fiery temptations of evil and yet remained faithful and obedient to JESUS and HIS WORD.

The Greater your sacrifice and service for Jesus, and the more that you suffered (putting the flesh to death) by giving up your sinful nature, the higher your reward. So, the greater the suffering (done with the Lord’s strength, of course)— the higher the glory. We should be quite aware of James’ statement by now, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12). The crowns and life everlasting are “WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU” and all faithful believers.

On the great day of His return, those that greatly multiplied and were faithful with what God gave them, shall be made rulers over much. Those that do NOT significantly increase what God gives them shall be made rulers over a smaller amount. And this prize is for all who eagerly look forward to his Glorious Return. Jesus says, “Behold! I am coming quickly, and My Reward is with Me, to Render (Reward) to every man according to what he has DONE” (Revelation 22:12).

TREASURES IN HEAVEN – INHERITANCE ON EARTH

We will receive our rewards and treasures in Heaven, not on earth. However, what we receive from Christ at His Seat of Judgment will set up our position, authority, service, and crowns during the Millennium reign on earth. Our inheritance is the earth during the 1000-year period, where we become joint-heirs with Christ. These rewards and positions of authority will follow us into God’s Eternal Glory.

Many Christians have served the Lord for many years only to give in to the enticement of desire, sensuality, or some other temptation that turns them from serving Christ to reveling in the appetites of the flesh. Although such individuals will not lose their salvation, they might be in danger of losing their crowns they have already earned.

Jesus said, “I am coming quickly [suddenly]; hold fast what you have so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). Every Christian who desires to serve Christ to the maximum during the Millennium is advised to heed our Lord’s challenge to the church of Smyrna, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Paul taught the Corinthians, “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).  The person’s salvation is not at stake. They are secure in Christ, “so as through fire.” These Christians will not lose their salvation, but they will have little or nothing to show for their life of Christian service.

Jesus teaches in Matthew 6:20, “Lay up FOR YOURSELF treasures in heaven.” We store up while living this life down here on earth. If we do not, we will not have any rewards when we get up there. Jesus teaches that we earn our wealth in Heaven for eternity. It may sound startling, but nowhere in Scripture does it show that anyone else will layup treasures for you.

When Christ died, He did not Inherit Heaven, that was already His. At death (that is when His body died), He resumed what He laid aside when He stepped into the human stream. He took again what He had left behind. He did not “inherit” the Glory of Heaven because that was His already.

What then is His inheritance? – What is it that we are to share with Him? The heritage of the Lord is “earthly.” If it is something He inherits, it must be earthly. He inherited the privilege of returning in POWER and GLORY to set up His kingdom. Jesus is coming back; however, He is not coming back as the suffering Lamb of Calvary, but as the roaring Lion of Judah.

The Carpenter is coming back again, but He is returning as a KING! Jesus Christ will appear a second time, not in humility, but, instead, He will arrive in the clouds as the GLORIFIED SON OF GOD to rule on earth. The earth will behold the same Jesus coming, but this time “in the glory of HIS FATHER with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

Jesus is STILL in the role of the Son, and, having fulfilled all on the Cross, He returns to be HONORED on earth as He is in Heaven. And, now, He invites us to be joint heirs, to share His kingdom with Him. Jesus said in Matthew 25:34, “Come ye blessed of MY FATHER and inherit the kingdom of God prepared for YOU!“That is our inheritance prepared for us! The “come ye,” in Matthew 25:34, is Christ’s invitation to SHARE in His earthly inheritance as joint heirs with Him.

Joint-Inheritance” with Christ

So, our “joint-inheritance” with Christ has NOTHING to do with rewards.  Instead, it must do only with the privilege of appearing with him on earth to taste the glory that goes with His EXALTATION. “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

One way to prove (Validate) that you are a true Christian is your obedience to Jesus and His Word. We show evidence by our “Fruit” and obedience to Jesus— out of our Love for Him. 

WHAT GOOD WORKS NEED TO BE DONE?

Salvation is by faith alone; however, if we say we have faith, we prove it by being doers of the Word and not hearers only. Since good works will receive rewards, we need to know what constitutes an excellent work. The following are some possibilities described in Scripture. Once again, faith is hearing, believing, which leads to obeying God’s Word out of a Love for Jesus.

Deeds and works are the basis of our rewards, not a condition for our eternal salvation. The Scripture is clear on that subject. Faith is the only condition. Jesus did everything necessary to secure Heaven for us when He died in our place and paid for our sins on Calvary. There isn’t anything we can add to what He has done. We can only rest in it. And that’s what faith is resting in the finished work of Christ. Salvation is by faith alone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Witness:  Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Christians are to let their light shine for the world to see.  They stand for the Lord Jesus Christ before the world that, for the most part, does not know Him.  Part of a Christian’s good works involves living a pure life and being a consistent witness for the Lord.

Worship:  Jesus referred to the worship of Himself as an excellent work.  When a woman anointed His head with precious ointment, He told His anxious disciples to leave her alone because she had “done a good deed to Me” (Matthew 26:10).  Very often, we limit our concept of worship to the adoration of and praise to God.  Worshiping Christ is decent work, as well.

Generosity:  1 Timothy 6:18 says, we learn that being “rich in good works” involves being generous and willing to share.  Specifically, the verse says we’re to be “ready to share.”  In other words, it is primarily the attitude of generosity that makes up the good works.  If we have the wrong position or motivation, our so-called charity is not good works.  But all acts performed with the proper motives will stand the test of fire and receive a reward.

Jesus makes it clear that even the smallest deed is excellent work.  In Matthew 10:42 He said, “Whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”  Even a seemingly insignificant word or deed for the glory of the Lord will receive divine compensation.  So, virtually anything done for Christ with the right attitude and motive will receive a reward.  As described in 1 Corinthians 3:12, these deeds are as gold, silver, and precious stones.

Works with Wrong Motives: By contrast, Jesus tells us that deeds done with the intention of impressing men are worthless in His sight.  In Matthew 6:2 He flatly states that anyone who does a clever work to receive praise from others will receive no reward from God.  Earthly approval is the only reward that a person will receive.  These works, of course, are the wood, hay, and straw mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:12.  They will not survive the test of fire.

Rewards That Last: The two greatest enemies of Christian service, selfishness, and laziness have robbed many of God’s children of awards they should have received.  Don’t let these enemies overcome you lest you become a victim of the judgment of loss (1 Corinthians 3:15).

What kinds of rewards will we receive?  In Scripture, we find mention of five different crowns reserved for those who are faithful to do God’s work. We will look at these crowns along with a diverse list of rewards, in detail, in another article.

Crowns are a symbol of authority. As such, they denote the authority granted to some Christians during the Millennial period when they reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Christians are earning their position of service for Christ here on earth.  Knowing this should give us the incentive to pursue better and more lasting heights in fulfilling God’s purpose for our life.

  1. AN INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN – THE VICTOR’S CROWN
  2. THE CROWN OF LIFE – THE MARTYR’S CROWN
  3. THE CROWN OF GLORY – THE ELDER’S CROWN
  4. THE CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS – FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIS APPEARING
  5. THE CROWN OF REJOICING – THE SOUL WINNER’S CROWN

Loss of Rewards: There will be a loss of rewards for individual believers (see, 1 Corinthians 3:14-15). God’s Word does not reveal to us all that that entails, but what we do know is that: However much a true Believer obeys his Master (Jesus), they will receive rewards. We should take nothing for granted. We should fear God and live a Holy Life.

We should Heed the Warnings from Jesus to be a Bride that is Ready for His Appearing (wearing the White Spotless Wedding Dress) – Holy— and without spot or wrinkle. Always be Ready and waiting for the Return of Jesus.

We are THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, – Faithful and Blameless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR WHAT PRICE?

 

IS GOD’S IMAGE ON THE AUCTION BLOCK? WOULD YOU SELL IT FOR THE PRICE OF AN APPLE?

Is God’s image on the Auction block? What will a man give in exchange for his soul?  If not His image than who’s? God created man in His own image, unfortunately, for the price of an apple, Adam, and Eve discarded their true reflection. Your soul is eternal, and the image of Christ is essential.

The world is going to pass away and the lust thereof.  Then the question, “what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” What would you take for your soul? Some of you have been wandering in the wilderness in your Christian experience, maintaining a barren soul. His image just a dimming light. God is calling you to spark up the flame, pass over Jordan, and enter the promised land.

Once upon a Midlife crisis I found myself staring in my mirror, chanting; “You have potential, believe, receive and conquer the day. I will never fail only sale-sale-sale because I love myself and deserve all.” Chasing my shadow, seeking my own image, looking into mirrors only to find the wrong reflection of my soul.

When I was a sales Rep, I bought into the self-esteem movement. I was visualizing my future posting pictures of cars, houses, and buckets full of money all around my home. I was told that whatever I thought could be achieved if I believed it to be true. Think it, believe it, and receive it.

To my surprise this career was short lived. I never attain anything I was promised in all the books I bought and seminars I paid to attend. Selling a weight loss product for a year and I never lost a pound. I could not even push self-esteem motivational tapes even after all the prep in front of the mirror.

Even as a kid I bought into POPEYE THE SAILOR MAN, otherwise known as the Great Spinach Conspiracy. 

“I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. I’m strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach. I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.”  I would flex in front of the mirror after each portion of that green stuff. Never looking like the bodybuilder promised, I lost all faith in this guy

The most painful deception was when I realized walking on fire only burnt my feet. Seeking my potential in the reflection of my mirror only for it to laughed out loud at me. Self-image, self-esteem with all their trappings only held up my true purpose in life. Even then God’s still small voice was saying “It is My Image Stupid!”

God’s Word tells us to esteem others more highly then ourselves. To humble our self in the sight of the Lord and He will lift us up. We are also instructed that who by giving any thought could add one hair to their head. Jesus put it this way, “ And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” (Luke 12:25).

Even though we lost our image of God in the garden we are still destined to be like Him. He is the only “pattern” we must follow.  And because he really lives his life in us, we too can “walk even as He walked,” “do as He done,” “love as He loved,” “forgive as He forgave,” and “have this mind which was also in Christ Jesus.” It is because He became like us that we are identified with Him and we can become like Him.

Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word! Additionally, half of the truth is the worst part of the lie. With every temptation, there is a lie involved. (1) The Prove It Lie, (2) The “For It Is Written” Lie, and (3) The Short Cut Lie. The devil deceived Eve in the garden with these lies while Jesus was victorious in the wilderness.

The devil would have us conform to the ways of this world through peer pressure.  The Christian life is so different from the world’s way of thinking. The world wants their self-esteem to feel good, while God tells us to esteem others more highly than ourselves. Non-believers need their image to shine above all others, but God wants Jesus’s Image to prevail. The world says to go for it, no matter the cost. God’s Word tells us to count the cost.

God’s image is worth the battle. Victories are won as we put off the old man and put on the new. Transformation into the image of Christ is only realized when we learn how to use the Word of God to overcome the world.

When we become Christians, God does not remodel us or add to who we are – He transforms us.  A Believer does not have two different natures.  He has one new character – the single life in Christ.  The old self dies, and the new person becomes alive; they do not coexist.

God’s Word exhorts us, to “Put on the new man,” a new behavior that is proper to our original nature. But to do so, we must end the patterns and practices of our old life. Furthermore, He has given us the rules, the principles, the strategies, the armor, and the promises for fulfilling His purpose. If we will renew our minds and study the Word, then we will be able to sort out and discern the will of God. When we make the right decisions combined with some skills, we will succeed and come out on top.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

“In the beginning God”. . .

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:49).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT GOD DESIRERS FOR YOU

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

(Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).

“In the beginning God”. . .

In Genesis chapter one, God began with creating the earth and adapting it for man. When God had the earth ready, He “formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). When God created man, and placed him upon the earth, He created him with his spirit uppermost. Man was spirit, soul, and body, reflecting the image of God.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

When Adam and Eve were Cast Out of The Garden their punishments were pronounced. They lost the privilege of living in Eden because God drove them out of the garden. The most important thing that Adam and Eve lost was their likeness to their Creator. (Genesis 3:22-24).

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE FALL

  • Spiritual Death: Fallen from their Triune Image
  • Physical Death: Age becomes a factor
  • Sin and Separation: Eternal Judgment
  • Paradise Lost: Earth was forfeited to Satan

Even though we lost our image of God in the garden we are still destined to be like Him. He is the only “pattern” we must follow.  And because he really lives his life in us, we too can “walk even as He walked,” “do as He done,” “love as He loved,” “forgive as He forgave,” and “have this mind which was also in Christ Jesus.” It is because He became like us that we are identified with Him and we can become like Him.

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly”

(1 Corinthians 15:49).

The Redeemer Cometh

Fallen man through the sin (eating the forbidden fruit) committed in the garden gave up the world to Satan. Man’s broken relationship with God caused our image and likeness of God to no longer reflect His glory. We are unable to fellowship with God in this fallen state. This separation from God keeps us from experiencing the original purpose, promises, and plans of God.

However, God still loved mankind and always wanted a meaningful, loving relationship with us. But sin was in the way. Thus, God devised a plan of redemption to pardon the sins of those who would like to return to fellowship with Him. This plan involved God manifesting His love for man by sending His Only Begotten Son into the world to take man’s sin and die in his place. Thus, redeeming man from sin. Also, Christ is the only one who can redeem the ‘Title Deed’ to the earth back from Satan.

Even as man exercised his free choice to leave God so now must man use his free choice to come back into fellowship with Him. Through Jesus, the Messiah, the way back to God is possible; man can experience the real divine intention for his existence.

So, God sent His Son as the redeemer for mankind. The redeemer would pay the price of our debt owed due to our fallen state, thus releasing us through the process of redemption. For example, we see recovery for slaves during Old Testament times, freedom for people put in debtor prison by someone paying a ransom price for their redemption.

The redemptive work of Christ on the Cross brings deliverance through His death, from the guilt and power of sin. Redemption in a spiritual sense is the work of Christ in “redeeming” men “from all iniquity,” “lawlessness,” and the “bondage of self-will,” which rejects the will of God. The whole Gospel deals with God being just when He justifies the ungodly. Those of us receiving His grace and mercy.

JESUS’ REDEMPTIVE PURPOSE IS THREEFOLD

  1. He came to redeem humanity from their sins, so they would be worthy to fellowship with a Holy God again and live a resurrected life.
  2. To restore His image and likeness in us through the transformation and born-again conversion; thus, inheriting eternal life.
  3. To redeem the world back from Satan, reclaiming the ‘Title Deed’ lost in the Garden of Eden.

THE MAKING OF AN IMAGE

GOD IS TRIUNE, (three in one) He is God the Father, God the Son and, God the Holy Spirit. He is three individuals and one at the same time.  Water is a fitting example; it is liquid, vapor, and solid ice, all being separate in form, but still one; depending on its function.

Similarly, the typical pattern of prayer and worship involves the unique roles of each member of the Trinity:

  • We address our prayers to the Father (the Source)
  • We pray in the name of Jesus Christ (the Mediator)
  • We pray with the power of the Holy Spirit (the Enabler).

The fall reversed Adams’ triune nature, becoming the body, soul, and Spirit.  His appetite and allegiance changed, seeking body appetites first, soulish things second, and spiritual things last; if at all. When you are within the proper trinity (triune nature), you are Spirit, soul, and body.  Your soul (the conscience), guides your Spirit, and your body follows peacefully.

In your fallen state, (body, soul, and Spirit), the conscience, self-will, and inner man exist trapped between the body and the Spirit.  They battle one another, the body dictating to the conscience, the Spirit crying out. The Spirit can only be confused, making for incomprehensible sins and actions.

When we are born again of the Spirit, God breathes spiritual life into our fallen nature, reversing our triune environment to its original state, and we become alive to God in Spirit and Truth. If we are to believe the Whole-Truth about Jesus’ work, we must believe in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

Jesus’ shed blood has obtained eternal forgiveness for us. But, as Adam and Eve had to put on their coats, we must put on Christ. “For through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:11-14).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN FOR SALVATION

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

Jesus Spilt His Blood on The Cross for Our Salvation. If We Get a Splinter Picking Up Our Cross, It Will not Kill Us.

The Cross of Christ is the most urgent message this world will ever hear. Jesus died on the CROSS for WHOSOEVER would in faith believe and receive the gift of salvation. Jesus’ past workings on the Cross fulfills His promise to anyone today who will respond to it. Therefore, faith is believing God’s Word and acting upon it.

Salvation is summed up by Paul here in Romans“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

THE THREE ASPECTS OF SALVATION

Salvation is instant from the spiritual side, but on the human side, it has three dimensions.  First is justification, (forgiveness) second is sanctification, (setting ourselves apart), and third is glorification (new heavenly bodies), which is at our union with Christ.

Past Aspect – frees us from the PENALTY of sin

  • Predestination – Salvation has happened in the past (justified).

Present Aspect – frees us from the POWERof sin

  • It is happening in the present (sanctification).

Future Aspect – frees us from the PRESENCEof sin

  • Will happen in the FUTURE (glorification).

Spiritually speaking all three aspects took place simultaneously in God’s mind. For whom He foreknew He also predestined them who would come to this saving faith. Thus, a predetermined conclusion. IT IS FINISHED!

Physically speaking we are to set ourselves apart from the world and put on the mind of Christ – To persevere toward our high calling in Christ Jesus. We still sin and must ask for forgiveness; we still have a thought life and must bring our thoughts under control. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

So, salvation has happened in the past (justified), is happening in the present (sanctified), and will occur in the future (glorified). We need to have complete confidence in our salvation. There is no room for uncertainty about its adequacy or the durability of its protection. If our salvation hinges on anything but the finished work of Christ on the Cross, we are in deep trouble.

The process of sanctification reveals His image as we put off the old life and put on the new.

Do not let Satan discourage you or rob you of the anticipation of the hope that makes you committed. We are free from the tyranny of a life mastered by the flesh that we might walk in fellowship with God through the Spirit.

LET’S CHASE THE ELEPHANT OUT OF THE ROOM

The Unpardonable Sin is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit. The longer you sin, the easier it is to reject Christ. That is the road to the unpardonable sin. Continual rejection of the call of the Spirit will leave you hard and calloused. Eventually, as you continue the path of denial, it will be too late. You will die without Jesus, and pardon will be impossible. If you care and worry about if you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, then He is still working on you. You have not committed the unpardonable sin. If you do not care, who knows?

The UNPARDONABLE SINis the rejection of the Holy Spirit’s Testimony concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Lord, and Savior of the World. If we repent of our sins and receive Christ Jesus, we will inherit Eternal Life. Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Testimony concerning Christ will separate us from God for all Eternity.

This Unpardonable Sin can only become a Forgivable Sin up to our last breath on earth. If our final words are asking for forgiveness, then we have made a death-bed confession, and God will receive us into His Kingdom. Remember, the First Fruit of Jesus’ Labor was the one thief on the Cross that confessed and entered Paradise with Him that very day. 

The free choice is ours to make, to faithfully believe, and receive unto salvation or reject and deny unto eternal damnation. Remember, God does not send anyone to hell; we make that decision alone. There are NO-DO-OVERS once we have left this earth.

THE MERCIES OF GOD

The Mercies of God provides the following:

  • Justification from the guilt and penalty of sin
  • Adoption in Jesus and identification with Christ
  • Placed under grace, not law
  • Giving the Holy Spirit to live within
  • Promise of help in all affliction
  • Assurance of a standing in God’s election
  • Confidence of coming glory
  • Confidence of no separation from the love of God
  • Confidence in God’s continued faithfulness

We must believe that these Divine mercies have persuasive powers over our wills. Past, present, and future decision making must be submitted to God as we present our bodies a living sacrifice.

Spiritually speaking, our bodies (our entire being) spirit, soul, flesh, and mind are brought to God’s altar. When we give the body to God, the soul and spirit goes with it.

God wants you, not just your works. You may do all kinds of work for God, but never give Him yourselfThe body is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. Keeping it in God’s will as a living sacrifice keeps the body where it should be.

The sacrifice is living because it is brought alive to God’s will through our surrendering, the sacrifice is living because it stays alive as we live out His will as an ongoing commitment. (Romans 12:2)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Notice we first apply this scripture and then we understand His will.

WHAT GOD DESIRERS FOR YOU

TO BE THE IMAGE BEARER OF GOD“So, God created man in His image; in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

TO BE CONFORMED TO THE CHARACTER OF CHRIST: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

TO BE LIKE GOD IN TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS:  . . . And that you put on the new man according to God, in true righteousness and holiness…” (Ephesians 4:24).

TO LET GOD BE THE TRUE KING OF YOUR HEART: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

TO BRING GLORY TO GOD: “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7).

Finally – Control Your Thinking and Let God’s Image Shine Bright For All To See!

II Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHASING ELEPHANTS

 

Have you ever asked God to let you be half as good as your dog thinks you are?

FOCUS ON GOD; NOT THE ‘I GOT YOU QUESTIONS’

There are so many perplexing questions facing us in life. Such as, “Which came first the chicken or the egg?” GOD came first, creating the chicken with the ability to lay eggs.

Have you ever asked God to let you be half as good as your dog thinks you are? Well, I want to be greater than great; in fact, I am leaning toward being the greatest. Our pride is astounding at times.  So concerned with our self-image, what others have, and what we do not. God is not impressed with how your self-esteem is feeling but how bright the Image of Christ reflects in your life.

Many things in life are not worth the time invested, questions we entertain have no redeeming qualities, and our positions on earth are fleeting at best. Our eternal posts and crowns must have our complete and undivided attention. For this reason, James tells us to, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

When you think about all the “Got You” questions in life, it is amazing what people come up with, especially concerning God. “Since God is love, why would He send anyone to Hell?” HE DOESN’T! Those who deny Christ will, by that decision alone, determine their eternal state. Free choice can either be a gift or a curse. Recall the fall in the garden and stay obedient to God’s Truth.

Here is a ridiculous question asked of me, “If God is so great, can He make a rock too heavy for Him to pick up? WELL YES, HE IS GOD. But then He could reduce the weight and toss the rock across the universe. Silly little “Got You” Questions that only comfort those who would debate and deny God anyway. GOD DOES NOT PLAY THAT GAME!

When David killed Goliath, was he great, his aim greater or the rock greatest? His faith was more significant than the men of war; however, the God he served was the greatest. The Lord’s strength was the greatest of David’s weapons. He humbled himself before God for such a time as this.

“WHAT’S-IN-IT-FOR-ME?”  ASKED THE CURIOUS BELIEVER

The WII-FM question is for you and you alone to answer. If you are living for Christ, then the answer would be, ALL ETERNITY!

However, separation from God through sin has ramifications on the individual, their circle of family, and friends. Justly, we do reap what we sow. Sin has consequences that affect us momentarily, seasonally, generationally, and in some cases, eternally. Since we have free choice, we must choose our decisions in life wisely. We need faith in God to begin anything we try to do.

Hebrews 11:6 states, “But 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.” Notice, we first believe in the existence of God, then we must believe that God is good and rewards those who diligently seek Him. Faith is critical to our new life in Christ. Faith saved us; therefore, we walk in faith; we live by faith, and we bring glory to God when we grow in faith.

If we are to count it all joy during the fiery trials of life, it is critical to our understanding “What’s-In-It-For-Me,”; so, we know why we are pressing on. We must get it right here on earth, so to be right when we arrive in Heaven. Remember, there are no do-overs once we leave this life behind.

HOW HIGH DOES A FLY FLY, BEFORE TURNING OVER TO LAND ON THE CEILING?

LET’S CHASE THIS ELEPHANT OUT OF THE ROOM!

The Unpardonable Sin is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit. The longer you sin, the easier it is to reject Christ. That is the road to the unpardonable sin. Continual rejection of the call of the Spirit will leave you hard and calloused. Eventually, as you continue the path of denial, it will be too late. You will die without Jesus, and pardon will be impossible. If you care and worry about if you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit, then He is still working on you. You have not committed the unpardonable sin. If you do not care, who knows?

The UNPARDONABLE SINis the rejection of the Holy Spirit’s Testimony concerning Jesus Christ, the Messiah, Lord, and Savior of the World. If we repent of our sins and receive Christ Jesus, we will inherit Eternal Life. Rejecting the Holy Spirit’s Testimony concerning Christ will separate us from God for all Eternity.

This Unpardonable Sin can only become a Forgivable Sin up to our last breath on earth. If our final words are asking for forgiveness, then we have made a death-bed confession, and God will receive us into His Kingdom. Remember, the First Fruit of Jesus’ Labor was the one thief on the Cross that confessed and entered Paradise with Him that very day. 

The free choice is ours to make, to faithfully believe, and receive unto salvation or reject and deny unto eternal damnation. Remember, God does not send anyone to hell; we make that decision alone. There are NO-DO-OVERS once we have left this earth.

IT IS ALL FINISHED, PAID IN FULL!

The Christ who died on Calvary’s Cross, will not have to die again for our new sins or to offer a new atonement for any transgressions we may yet commit. The fulfillment of all things happened when Jesus became the target of God’s wrath and judgment of sin, when, “He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God the Father laid upon God the Son all the guilt and wrath our sins deserved, and He bore it in Himself perfectly, totally satisfying the wrath of God for us. He successfully offered Himself as a substitute sin offering for all humanity. He then prepared to yield His life and die, having finished the work.

Christ has offered himself, and died and suffered in our stead, and gone into His glory in heaven. If we cannot depend upon Him, what more would we have him do? Shall He come and die again? If we rejected Him once; would we reject him if He died twice?

So, when Jesus had received the sour wine, He spoke three words, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit. John 19:30. He had finished the eternal purpose of the Cross. His finished work became the foundation of all believer’s faith, grace, hope, peace, and Eternal Salvation.

So, having begun, He continues His work in our lives. He is the author, the finisher, the beginning, the end. He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end.” This is true of God’s faithfulness in completing His new creation in us. He is the author of it, and He is the finisher of it.

Pressing Toward the Goal: “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12).

Who invented toast and why?

DO ALL ROADS LEAD TO GOD? WELL YES AND NO.

“I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE”

 Jesus rules out every other religious system. He is not “a” way but “the” only way to the Father. Thomas said unto him, Lord, we do not know where you are going; and how can we know the way? Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me (John 14:5-6).

He is declaring He is not one of many ways, but the one and only way. He is also “the truth,” not “a truth,” and “not a way but the way to life eternal.”

The greatest and most deceptive lie conceived by man is that “ALL ROADS LEAD TO GOD.” This eternally destructive lie states that since God is love, and you are a good person, God will never send you to hell. The whole and complete truth is, that all roads do lead to God but for distinct reasons and different ends: believers for their rewards and non-believers for judgment.

Furthermore, God does not send anyone to hell. We alone choose between heaven or hell according to our belief in or rejection of Jesus Christ. Those who accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior will receive eternal life. Those who deny Christ will be judged, and by that decision alone, be separated from God for all eternity. Free choice can either be a gift or a curse. Recall the Fall in the Garden and stay obedient to God’s Truth.

IT LOOKS LIKE THE ELEPHANT IS BACK IN THE ROOM

Eternal Security: Only you can move this elephant (of eternal security) from the room. Remember, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” (Philippians 2:12)

Searching the Scriptures, you will find passages supporting both views. An EXCELLENT PERSONAL STUDY you might want to spend time on for your peace of mind. What does the Word of God tell you about both views?  The appeal of Peter will serve you well, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to answer every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 1:5).

Our positions on various Scriptures that are not related to Doctrine will not interfere with our Salvation. For example, many debate the Rapture of the Church. When does Christ come for His ChurchPre-TribulationMid-Tribulation, or Post-Tribulation.

Our position does not matter in God’s Plan of Salvation. God will take His Bride out in His time. It will happen when it happens; we only need to be ready. Not even Jesus knows the day or the hour.

Where it’s right to hold an opinion, it is not right to let that opinion hold you. The pessimist sees the glass half empty, the optimist sees the glass half full, but the Psalmist proclaims, “My cup runneth over…” (Psalm 23:5). Our views on reality might be different from mind to mind, but our opinion doesn’t give us a pass on eternal matters. We must still have our Salvation worked out before the coming of the Lord.

Here is an effective way of thinking when contemplating the rapture:

  • If it is Pre-Tribulation, then praise God and be ready.
  • The Mid-Tribulation camp should be ok because they need not fear the mark of the beast during the first 3 ½ years.
  • But Woe unto the Post-Tribulation believers because all hell is going to break out. Please remember that 666 is not your friend, no matter how bad it gets.

When believers live according to God’s purpose and will, they should find security in their Salvation. For those who commit spiritual suicide by walking away from the Lord, should be much concerned. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19). If you are in Christ, He abides in you.

THANK GOD, the Spirit of God is conforming us into the image of Christ as He works within us day by day. The finished work of the Holy Spirit in my life will have me thoroughly conformed into the image of Jesus, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15). On that day, we will see him face to face, and again be what Adam was when God first created him. So, we diligently surrender to His Spirit working within us. Putting-off and putting-on.

FROM GLORY TO GLORY: The reflection of His glory will shine forth in us even in this life, also as we share His agony and bear His Cross. From glory to glory, to even closer conformity with the image of the Son of God. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Because we are destined to be like Him, He is the only “pattern” we must follow.  And because He lives His life in us, we too can “walk even as he walked” (1 John 2:6), and “do as he done” (John 13:15), “love as he loved” (Ephesians 5:2; John 13:34, 15:12), “forgive as he forgave” (Colossians 3:13), “have this mind which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

WHY WAS BABY JESUS BORN IN A STABLE?

My wife has always been concerned about where baby Jesus was born. Foremost, there was not even “Room in the Inn” for this precious child. After all, wasn’t He God’s Son and our Redeemer? Though He is the King of Kings, He was born in a stable filled with the smell of livestock. The fulfillment of the prophecy was satisfied in this stable. Thus, preparing the way for our salvation.

Sometimes we feel there’s “No Room in the Inn” for us. Our life takes a direction we had not planned. The trials of life consume us to the point of wanting to give up. A Five-Star Hotel is not in the budget. We begin listening to all the lies from our enemy to end up questioning God Himself. 

Satan’s greatest weapon is man’s ignorance of God’s Word!  Additionally, half of the truth is the worst part of the lie. With every temptation, there is a lie involved. (1) The Prove It Lie, (2) The “For It Is Written” Lie, and (3) The Short Cut Lie. The devil deceived Eve in the garden with these lies while Jesus was victorious in the wilderness.

God is setting up His eternal kingdom, and He uses the fiery trials of life to build our faith, mature us, lead us, deliver us, and develop character within us. Foremost, tests are one-way God’s plan can merge with His purpose for our lives.

So, it’s critical to understand the purpose of trials so to know what to dohow to do itwhen to do itwhy we are doing it, what happens if we don’t do it and what are our rewards for doing it right?  A great insight is we embrace trials while resisting temptations. We must get it right here on earth, so to be right when we arrive in heaven. Remember, there are no do-overs once we leave this life behind.

Absolute belief in God’s Word is mandatory for every believer. From receiving Jesus Christ, having your sins forgiven to taking part in His promises, and receiving eternal life. The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to man. The only way to know the truth about God is through His Word-JESUS. Scripture should always be at the threshold of every decision we face because the Bible Is God’s Mind Written Down. Jesus is reciting Himself.

Discerning the origin of trials helps formulate the proper response to them and uncovers God’s purposes behind them. Are they from the devil, our carnal mind, imposed by a fallen world and the people around us, or something God would have us embrace?  Discovering the purpose of trials, how to overcome them, how to be obedient during them, how to grow because of them will lay the foundation to “. . . Count it all joy” when these fiery trials appear.

Jesus is dead serious about His Word; in fact, He died to keep His Word. He says that we must be born again of the Spirit, enter the fellowship of His suffering, conformed into His image, and live in the power of His resurrection. We’re also told to do good works on earth, lay our treasures up in heaven, and seek the kingdom of God more than anything else. Knowing that the truth will set us free, we will rely on the author and finisher of our faith (Jesus) to teach us the doctrinal truth in everything.

Since faith is our lifeline to God, we will believe the good news that God is for us and not against us. He can use any situation in life to bless us. For example, because Mary and Joseph endured the “No Room in the Inn” trial, our Savior was born to die on the CROSS for WHOSOEVER would in faith believe, receive, and be saved eternally. Although salvation is free, we must repent of our sins and give God control over our lives. Our sojourn begins at our conversion, and He has much to do through us in this lifetime. 

Finally, there was “No Room in the Inn” for Jesus, yet that didn’t stop Him from fulfilling His purpose!  Because Jesus endured the trials on earth (but without sin), He can promise that we will be moving out of our stables here on earth into the Father’s house one day. “. . . In my Father’s house are many mansions, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself. . .” (John 14:1-4).

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” -Romans 8:28-31

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Have questions search the scriptures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN OF THE SPIRIT

 

UNLESS ONE IS BORN AGAIN

Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).  We need a spiritual rebirth because that is where the Spirit lives. The flesh offers nothing of value.

LET GOD’S BUTTERFLY PROJECT TAKE FLIGHT IN YOUR LIFE

Paul wrote, “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:13-14). There’s a whole other dimension when a person is born again of the Spirit.  The natural man knows nothing about this realm. You’ll never understand God until you enter that spiritual dimension.

Being born-again makes the process of transformation possible. It’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Transformed is the ancient Greek word ‘metamorphosis’ describing the astonishing alteration taking place as we put off the old life and put on the new.

THE SOUL AND THE SPIRIT

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5::23).

The Hebrew word for soul translated means breath, Spirit, and life. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The Greek word used in the New Testament translates into the soul, denoting the breath, the breath of life.

The natural life of the body, immaterial, invisible part of man is as follows:

  • The seat of personality
  • The position of will and purpose
  • The place of appetite and desires
  • The inward man, the seat of the new life

When we are born again, God restores His original image in us. His Spirit breathes the breath of life in us, and we again become Spirit, soul, and body. God created man with a spirit that has a soul (a mind, will, and emotions) that exists within us.

As we grow in our new life in Christ, patience will serve us well. “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19). Our soul becomes alive in Him as we develop the patience to wait on the Lord. The Word of God teaches that trials produce perseverance, and from patience, there comes a line of fruit. Therefore, the teachings in the book of James is especially crucial to our spiritual growth.

The purpose of James is to help the believer to correct faults, to show wavering, to help instill discipline into their lives, and to rebuke backsliding.

When we are physically born, we enter life as fallen creatures, inheriting Adam’s sinful nature.  God tells us to become as little children and to be born again according to His Spirit and truth. Children are teachable; they do not have preconceived ideas or prejudice; they accept things at face value.

GOD IS TRIUNE, (THREE IN ONE)

GOD IS TRIUNE, (three in one) He is God the Father, God the Son and, God the Holy Spirit. He is three individuals and one at the same time.  Water is a fitting example; it is liquid, vapor, and solid ice, all being separate in form, but still one; depending on its function.

Similarly, the typical pattern of prayer and worship involves the unique roles of each member of the Trinity:

  • We address our prayers to the Father (the Source)
  • We pray in the name of Jesus Christ (the Mediator)
  • We pray with the power of the Holy Spirit (the Enabler).

The fall reversed Adams’ triune nature, becoming the body, soul, and Spirit.  His appetite and allegiance changed, seeking body appetites first, soulish things second, and spiritual things last; if at all. When you are within the proper trinity (triune nature), you are Spirit, soul, and body.  Your soul (the conscience), guides your Spirit, and your body follows peacefully.

In your fallen state, (body, soul, and Spirit), the conscience, self-will, and inner man exist trapped between the body and the Spirit.  They battle one another, the body dictating to the conscience, the Spirit crying out. The Spirit can only be confused, making for incomprehensible sins and actions.

God breathes spiritual life into our fallen nature, reversing our triune environment to its original state, and we become alive to God in Spirit and Truth. If we are to believe the Whole-Truth about Jesus’ work, we must believe in His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.

Jesus’ shed blood has obtained eternal forgiveness for us. But, as Adam and Eve had to put on their coats, we must put on Christ. “For through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God” (Hebrews 9:11-14).

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

Christians called according to His purpose will find the Cross a necessary path to maturity. We are opening the way to enter the fellowship of His suffering. Thus, living in the power of His resurrection. Also, resulting in a true reflection of His Image for all to behold. Remember, the resurrected life always follows the crucified life. When we take an area of our lives to the Cross and put it to death, God resurrects that area in newness for His glory.

Knowing that the truth will set us free, we must rely on the author and finisher of our faith (Jesus) for our daily instructions. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

EXCELLENT QUESTION FOR JESUS

Nicodemus had an excellent question for Jesus, which prevails today in many minds. “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus was talking about a spiritual rebirth. We were born of the flesh and born of water in our mother’s womb.

Jesus is distinguishing the INHERITED LIFE (Adam’s sin) of the flesh, which leads to death and separation, from the SPIRITUAL LIFE (in Christ) of the Spirit. Once again, Adam’s sin prevents us from living in the presence and will of God. Therefore, even though we are born of flesh and water, we must be spiritually reborn of the Spirit. Jesus made it plain that a man’s first birth does not assure him of the kingdom; only being born again gives this assurance. Unless one is born again – he CANNOT enter or be part of the Kingdom of God.

The Apostle Paul states, “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).

OUR FOUR-PART SOLUTION

PART ONE: Is believing Jesus is your Lord and Savior who DIED on the Cross for your sins.

PART TWO: Is believing in your heart that God RAISED Him from the dead after dying on the Cross to take care of our sins.

PART THREE: Is believing God raised Jesus from the dead so that we might live in the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION.

PART FOUR: Is believing Jesus is in Heaven on the throne and will be COMING BACK FOR HIS CHURCH.

Scripture urges us to work out our Salvation because it’s between you and God. Christian books, commentaries, preachers, or sermons can’t save your soul. Eternal life is between you and God! There is no other way to come to the knowledge of God. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

It’s our responsibility to, study to show ourselves approved and search the scriptures daily to know whether these things are right. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to answer every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

A Paraphrased Example of the Promise in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Here are the two vital principles of God’s Word. 1) We must understand that “God’s past promises/workings meet our present response.” 2) And, “Faith is believing God’s Word and acting upon it.”

We have a Past Promise that if we in faith believe in Jesus Christ and are born again, we will receive eternal life. We must apply this promise through the Principle of faith. Without these two Principles, the Process of Transforming us into the Image of Christ will not take root to change our lives.

  • THE PROMISE – Everlasting Life
  • THE PERSON – Jesus, God’s Only Begotten Son
  • THE PURPOSE – Never Condemned
  • THE PROCESS – Believe What God Has Said
  • THE PATH – The Cross of Jesus

JESUS’ past workings (on the Cross) meets our believing God’s Word (confession of sins) producing (salvation and redemption) with our prompt response. Accepting and applying promises will save us, change us, heal us, conform us, and prepare us to exhort and comfort others.

THANK GOD, the Spirit of God is conforming us into the image of Christ as He works within us day by day. The finished work of the Holy Spirit in my life will have me thoroughly conformed into the image of Jesus, “I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness” (Psalm 17:15). On that day, we will see him face to face, and again be what Adam was when God first created him. So, we diligently surrender to His Spirit working within us. Putting-off and putting-on.

FROM GLORY TO GLORY: The reflection of His glory will shine forth in us even in this life, also as we share His agony and bear His Cross. From glory to glory, to even closer conformity with the image of the Son of God. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

Because we are destined to be like Him, He is the only “pattern” we must follow.  And because He lives His life in us, we too can “walk even as he walked” (1 John 2:6), and “do as he done” (John 13:15), “love as he loved” (Ephesians 5:2; John 13:34, 15:12), “forgive as he forgave” (Colossians 3:13), “have this mind which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

A PROMISE

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

A PRAYER

Dear God, help me to live a committed life sanctified through your holy scripture. Give me a burning desire to increase my faith and lean not to my understanding. To acknowledge your path is the right road for me to travel. Give me wisdom in all decisions and let me drink of your living water. Help me bring my thoughts under control by putting on the mind of Christ. Utmost correct me and hear me when I cry out for forgiveness. In Jesus’s name-AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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