Life, What Does It Offer? 

Isaiah 48:18-19
“Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”


The Word of God is given to the child of God as a light to guide us through life’s darkness. Whatever we are facing, we should learn to look to the Bible for guidance. Isaiah details some of the benefits of living life like that.

First, he declares, this will lead to having peace like a river. Rivers have a constant flow that keeps the water fresh. A life lived in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, will be flowing with peace, even in the most difficult times. Jesus spoke of this peace being unlike anything the world could ever provide (John 14:27). In contrast, Isaiah writes,

Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

Second, Isaiah declares, a life lived in accordance with the ways of God will experience righteousness like the waves of the sea. Waves are an interesting phenomenon, they are created by storms; the larger the storm the larger the wave. Waves also develop by traveling over great distances. Strong winds, and lots of time, are what make waves bigger and better. In the same way, God will use the difficulties of life, and the time we spend walking with Him, to produce righteousness in us. This is only true, however, when we use the time to apply the Word of God. I remember hearing, as a kid, “Practice makes perfect.” As time went on, I also learned that practicing something incorrectly only makes it more difficult to re-learn correctly, later. In our trying times, we want to look to the Lord, and do things His way.

Finally, Isaiah speaks of the impact this will have on the next generation. He speaks of our offspring and our descendants being positively impacted by Our right living. I don’t think the impact our lifestyle has on the next generation could ever be overstated. If we want to see our children and grandchildren love, honor, and follow Jesus, we must set the pattern for them.

Remember, no matter what the past looks like, it is not to late for you to commit to Christ and live for His glory.

Pastor Jim

 

Blessing

Numbers 6:22-27
The Priestly Blessing

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, “This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you;  the Lord make His face shine upon you,  and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”””

“So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

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Truth Bearer

Proverbs 25:9
“Debate your case with your neighbor, and do not disclose the secret to another;”

The Bible clearly teaches that we are not to lie. Truthfulness is a very important trait, and is the foundation for healthy relationships. We cannot have a relationship with someone we cannot trust and we cannot trust someone who does not tell us the truth. That being said, it is also important to remember, we are not required to divulge all the information to every one who asks. If you are walking casually through the local department store and make eye contact with a passerby who asks the common question, “how are you,” a simple, “fine,” would suffice. It is not necessary, for the sake of honesty, to give an elaborate backstory, or to share your deepest feelings. In the same way, some truths, have their best applications when they are concealed. There are matters that are best left to you and your spouse to discuss, and are not the business of others. Sadly, we have all had the experience of trusting delicate information to another, who does not treat it with the same care. Soon their lose tongue has shared the matter with others, and we are left to pick up the pieces. Being the first to know something, or share it with others, does nothing to improve your character, but sharing matters that are not yours to share, reveals a weakness in your character, and hurts those you are supposed to love.

If you have had a problem with releasing information that is not yours to share, perhaps the following reminders may help.

Proverbs 20:19
“He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets,  Therefore do not associate with a gossip.”

Psalm 34:13
“Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit.”

Proverbs 11:13
He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, 
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.”

Psalm 141:3
“Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Pastor Jim

 

Sealed And Sent

Revelation 7:3
“Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.”

Revelation 7 begins with four angels holding the winds of judgment in their hands, waiting to be released upon a Christ-rejecting world. Fortunately, before they are allowed to begin, another angel is released from heaven to seal those who belong to God. We are not told exactly what this seal looks like, but we know that it is a mark that God places upon the forehead of these believers. It indicates that they belong to Him. There is a similar picture to this found in Ezekiel 9, where prior to judgment coming upon Israel, a messenger of God clothed in linen, marks all who belong to God rescuing them from divine judgment.

Ephesians 1:13 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise . . .”

While it is clear, Revelation 7 is speaking of a particular group of people, sealed during the great tribulation, it is also true that all who trust in Christ receive a seal which marks them as God’s possession. That seal is the Holy Spirit, who indwells us at the moment we trust Christ for salvation. Paul tells us, upon receiving the indwelling of the Spirit, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.

Just yesterday, I was privileged to meet a woman and watch as she made a decision to trust Christ. She was beaming with joy so great, she could hardly contain it. All the pain and anguish of the difficulties of life, both past and present, seemed to be overshadowed by the intense joy that filled her upon receiving Christ. She was sealed with the spirit of promise.

Revelation 7:9-10 “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

Those sealed by the Lord did not simply stand around and discuss how they had been sealed. Instead, they looked upon the world they lived in, and saw multitudes in need of Christ, and they declared the Gospel. What an amazing thing it will be, to stand in heaven and meet those who you helped lead to Christ.

Recently, I met a woman, who when she learned I was from America, began to thank me for those missionaries who came to the former Soviet Union in the early 90′s. She and her husband, along with many friends, had come to Christ through the ministry of one such missionary. What she did not know, the man standing with me, was one of those early missionaries. Fresh out of High School, he had given a year of his life to take the Gospel to Eastern Europe. What joy filled her eyes as she met, not the man who led her to Christ, but one who symbolized for her, all who loved her enough to risk it all for the Kingdom. What a joy! One day we will be in heaven with saints from every tribe and tongue, who have been washed in the Blood of the lamb and sealed with the Spirit.

Pastor Jim

 

Throne Of Grace 

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

It seems the Apostle Thomas sometimes spoke what the others were thinking. On one occasion, when Jesus spoke of where He was going, Thomas replied, “Lord we don’t know where You are going or how to get there” (John 14:5). To which Jesus stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6). It was through the cross that Jesus made a way. On the cross He bore our sins and their penalty, opening a doorway, for any and all who trust in Christ, to have access to God. That access to God has two applications. First, when we die, we attain heaven. Jesus was declaring, as emphatically as possible, that heaven is awarded to those, and only those, who trust Christ for salvation. This is not the only time this truth is declared.

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”

Acts 4:12 “Nor is their salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

But there is a second application this doorway into heaven provides. Hebrews 4 states, while we live, we have access to the throne of God. For the Christian, this is not a throne of judgment, where we are penalized for the things we have done wrong, or things we have neglected to do. Instead, it is a throne of grace, where we are able to receive from God the things that we need while here on earth. The word grace speaks of the giving nature of God. Because of His love for us, and our relationship with Him, He desires to give good things to His children. He will not hold back anything from us that would help us to become more like Him, or assist us in making it to the end of our journey and enter glory. Notice, at the throne of grace, we receive two things. First, there is mercy provided for the failures of the past. Second, there is grace given to help us not fall into those same snares in the future.

The way has been made to a throne of magnificent grace. All that remains is that we come boldly, consistently, and expectantly. I want to encourage you to take some time right now to sit before the Throne of Grace, pouring out your heart and receiving mercy and grace to help.

Pastor Jim

 

Old Faithful 

Titus 3:8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

Sometimes, when we want to emphasize the importance of something, we might add a phrase like “to tell you the truth” or “honestly speaking” or “without a doubt” or “without question.” It was common for Jesus to use the term “verily, verily” or “truly, truly”, when driving home a particular truth. For Paul, the favorite lead-in was “this is a faithful saying.” He used it five times in his writings, and each time emphasized a different truth.

1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”

Beyond any doubt, the reason for Jesus coming into the world was to save sinners. He did this by willingly laying down His life on the cross. The Jesus who called the dead back to life, walked upon the water, and commanded the demons to depart, is the same Jesus who allowed Himself to be tortured and crucified; all this to save sinners. For us to benefit from His work on the cross, we must, like Paul, realize we are the sinner He died for, and receive the pardon He provides.

1 Timothy 3:1 “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.”

Something happens when we begin to grow in our relationship with Jesus. Within us, a desire grows to serve Him. People, who prior to coming to Christ, may have been extremely selfish, now find themselves wanting to help others, or serve in the local church. Paul explains, wanting to serve the Lord is a good thing, and wanting to serve in the capacity of a pastor is a call of God. If you are being called, answer.

1 Timothy 4:9 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.”

Before making this statement, Paul had declared, “godliness is profitable for all things in this life and the one to come.” Whenever making an investment, we want to know the profitability of it. Will I get back what I am putting in? Paul explains that with godliness you will get a return far greater than the investment you make. Godliness will affect every part of this life, and will leave a storehouse of treasures awaiting you in the next.

2 Timothy 2:11 “This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.”

This is the first line of a chorus sung by the early churches. It declares, without question, there is life after this life. For those who trust Christ, we will live with Him for all eternity. Heaven is filled with glory, but the heaven of heavens, is the presence of Jesus. To be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord.

Titus 3:8 “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

This is the final use of the phrase in Paul’s writings. Here, he is emphasizing the fact that all who trust in Christ for salvation should be filled with good works. Doing good things will not save you. However, if you are saved, you will long to do good works. You will desire to show your trust in Christ by living a brand new life. These good works should show themselves in your home, neighborhood, place of business, school, hobbies and circle of influence. How do you think your world would be affected, if today, you walked out the door seeking opportunities to do good works unto others, as a way to reveal Christ to them?

Let’s be sure to maintain good works, after all, the salvation of our loved ones may depend on it.

Pastor Jim

 

Life, What Does It Offer?

Isaiah 48:18-19

“Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.”

The Word of God is given to the child of God as a light to guide us through life’s darkness. Whatever we are facing, we should learn to look to the Bible for guidance. Isaiah details some of the benefits of living life like that.

First, he declares, this will lead to having peace like a river. Rivers have a constant flow that keeps the water fresh. A life lived in accordance with the teaching of Scripture, will be flowing with peace, even in the most difficult times. Jesus spoke of this peace being unlike anything the world could ever provide (John 14:27). In contrast, Isaiah writes,

Isaiah 48:22

“There is no peace,” says the Lord, “for the wicked.”

Second, Isaiah declares, a life lived in accordance with the ways of God will experience righteousness like the waves of the sea. Waves are an interesting phenomenon, they are created by storms; the larger the storm the larger the wave. Waves also develop by traveling over great distances. Strong winds, and lots of time, are what make waves bigger and better. In the same way, God will use the difficulties of life, and the time we spend walking with Him, to produce righteousness in us. This is only true, however, when we use the time to apply the Word of God. I remember hearing, as a kid, “Practice makes perfect.” As time went on, I also learned that practicing something incorrectly only makes it more difficult to re-learn correctly, later. In our trying times, we want to look to the Lord, and do things His way.

Finally, Isaiah speaks of the impact this will have on the next generation. He speaks of our offspring and our descendants being positively impacted by Our right living. I don’t think the impact our lifestyle has on the next generation could ever be overstated. If we want to see our children and grandchildren love, honor, and follow Jesus, we must set the pattern for them.

Remember, no matter what the past looks like, it is not to late for you to commit to Christ and live for His glory.

Pastor Jim