Tag Archives: Gospel

Found Forever

Philemon is a short letter but it is surely a gem. In Philemon 1:15, Paul writes that Onesimus was lost for only a little while so that Philemon could have him back forever. The forever that is mentioned is not talking about the return of Onesimus to the position of servant to Philemon, for him to serve forever. The forever mentioned is eternity. Onesimus was lost as a runaway for a little while, so that he could return to Philemon with eternal life. He left a slave to Philemon; he would return a slave to Christ.

In the past few months there have been a lot of deaths among family and friends. Whenever someone is called home to the Lord, we grieve in our own ways as we have lost someone we love. We consider how we won’t be able to do something with someone who is now in heaven. We may recognize that one day we will see them again, but it is the today and tomorrow that we see and our loved one isn’t there. Those who have passed away may be lost for a little while, but we will have them back forever if they have put their faith in Christ Jesus.

Today, remember that it is through faith alone in Jesus Christ that we are saved. Remember, that the only way to the Father is through the Son. Remember, that there are people in your life right now that have not heard the Good News. They could be forever lost. Be intentional. Take the time to share the Gospel and to live it out. Pray that those who come along your path will be found forever.

“It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever.” – Philemon 1:15 [NLT]

 

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Truth for a Lie

Imagine if you had this precious gem that was worth more than anything else in the entire world. Imagine if you found something that’s more amazing than anything you have ever encountered. Imagine if you discovered something more powerful than anything you have seen before. Now consider the Truth. Consider the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is the precious gem. This is the “something that’s more amazing.” This is the “more powerful than anything you have seen” and so much more!

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We understand that all truth is God’s truth. As believers in Jesus Christ, we believe that the Gospel is true. Because we believe in Jesus, we are called children of God. We are sons and daughters of the King. Sadly, it is easy to trade the truth about God for a lie. It has happened in the past and it will continue to happen. Paul wrote about people who did just that, and they “served the things God created” instead of serving God.

Be careful not to do the same. Keep your eyes focused on the truth. To be able to detect the lies of the world, it is crucial that you know the Word of God. To know His Word, you must spend time chewing on it. Read it. Remember it. Keep it with you. Study it. Meditate upon it. The more you embrace His Word, the less likely you will trade the truth for a lie.

“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, Who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” – Romans 1:25 [NLT]

Glory to His Name

We have been given the privilege and authority to share the Good News. We have a great responsibility and a great opportunity to tell people everywhere what God has done. As we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and what He has done in our own lives, the Spirit will grow the kingdom of God. When people believe, they will obey. In doing so, God will be glorified.

We have a great role in the Kingdom. It is not something to take lightly. God has sent us to go to the nations and this requires dedication and sacrifice. We have been given everything we need to do what He has called us to accomplish. We simply need to walk in faithful obedience.

Today, embrace the privilege and authority He has given you. Ask the Spirit how you can share what God has done for you. You are a chosen vessel, but remember the Spirit does the rest. Pray that those who hear about Jesus will open their hearts, believe, and obey. To God be the glory.

“Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to His name.” – Romans 1:5 [NLT]

But As For Me

In Psalm 59, we read about people who wander about for food, growling when they are not satisfied. What imagery we get from the Psalmist. It is easy to picture. The Psalmist continues, “But as for me.” I love it. “But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love.”

Life is difficult. Indeed. Even so, we have the choice to embrace God and the life He’s given us—to move forward as He leads. Or we have a choice to grumble in dissatisfaction and roam around growling.

Today, do you want to be a grumbler like the Israelites? Do you want to growl in dissatisfaction? Or will you be one of the few who say, “But as for me”? You have the choice. Do you look around and thank God for where He has placed you and His many blessings? Do you feel unsatisfied and complain? Will you sing with joy about His power and love?

God calls us to share the Good News with the whole world. Consider how many you reach with your grumbles and growls. Consider how many you reach with songs of praise and thanksgiving. When God gets the glory, eyes are pointed to Him.

“But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love. For You have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.” – Psalm 59:16 [NLT]

Life-Giving Light

After weeks of not having a light at the top of the stairwell, we finally replaced the light bulbs. It took so long to remember to buy the right light bulbs, and then to get the time when we could be together to take on the cringeworthy task of switching out bulbs at the top of the stairs. We wait until all three bulbs are out before we attempt the feat. I still do not understand why the light couldn’t be closer to the far side of the landing, instead of right at the edge of the stairs. We need Spiderman to simplify the task.

The Bible tells us that God is light. Jesus even says that He is the “light of the world.” When we look around the world during the daytime, though we can see all around us without the need of a flashlight, it is still filled with darkness. You see the world is filled with the darkness of the grave. God’s Word tells us that the wages of sin is death. We are all dead in the grave without Jesus. He is the One Who provides the light that leads to life—life-giving light. All around us, there is sin, brokenness, and chaos.

The world is a dark place but we are meant to live in it right now. God wants us to be light-bearers who point to Jesus. The illumination that shines comes from the presence of God. You see the presence of God is within us—the Holy Spirit. As we walk through this dark world, we can shine a light and share the Good News with those who are still in the dark. We can lead others to know the One Who is Light. Remember, it is His light that leads to life. Share the Life-Giving Light. Share Jesus.

“For You have rescued me from death; You have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in Your presence, O God, in Your life-giving light.” – Psalm 56:13 [NLT]

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow Me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.’” – John 8:12 [NLT]

 

Encounters with a Stranger

As I sat at my desk going through my task list, I noticed an elderly woman approaching the office door. Was she coming inside? She is not a client. I went to the door to greet her and figure out who she was and what she needed. She saw a van parked outside our office just leave, and she thought that we were the business advertised on the van. I informed her that the company was only visiting our office to do some work and apologized.

As we were about to part ways, she told me she was having a tough time. She recently moved and she was struggling to get everything in order. She was hoping to catch the man in the van, or get some answers from his associates within, only to discover she wasn’t close to the place to find answers. Nonetheless, the Spirit gave me a nudge to help her out. Little did she know; the answers were online. She was led to share her struggles. I needed to listen to the voice telling me to slow down and pay attention. In no time at all, she had the answers in hand and it was time for her to leave. It was a simple encounter, and it was easy to help her. Five minutes. But she was so grateful and she left with a smile.

We often have these encounters with strangers. Do you consider why they are brought your way? Some people are in your path to help you grow. Some people are in your path for you to bless. Some people are in your path for you to shine the Light. Don’t trivialize evangelism. Don’t think sharing the Gospel is all about big demonstrations with fancy words. Small encounters with strangers, embracing and showing compassion—these encounters are precious. Do small things with great love and watch God move in mighty ways.

“And do everything with love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 [NLT]

Pass On

Timothy is told to pass on what was taught to him by the Apostle Paul. When we are taught something, we aren’t supposed to keep it just for ourselves. Paul was pouring a wealth of teaching upon Timothy. He was sharing great insight into the ministry of the Good News. He wanted this teaching to continue to pour out from Timothy to others. This is how the spread of the Gospel works. Ministry is a team effort.

If you look at the Early Church, you will find that those who were intimately involved with Jesus Christ during His early ministry rose up to spread the Good News. After his conversion, Paul did the same. Many of these people had small groups meeting together, sharing together, doing life together. This Good News was then spread by these people to others. As it was shared to some, it was passed on to many others. People were being equipped and empowered.

Too often we get caught up in thinking that the people in our lives will hear the Gospel from some pastor at a local church or on television. We think that ministry is all about someone speaking to the masses. But the Bible shows us that the Early Church spread the Gospel not simply by speaking to large groups, but by focusing on a small group who then passed on the great spiritual truths. Do not keep what you know about Jesus to yourself. What you learn, pass on. Whether you pass it on to your family, to your friends, or you start a small group or lead or teach at church—pass it on. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you share what you know, teach you more, and to show you who is ready with open ears to hear these spiritual truths.

“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.” – 2 Timothy 2:2 [NLT]

Throw Yourself

Paul ends chapter 4 discussing what it means to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. In verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to “not neglect the gift” (NIV). Verse 15 says to “be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all” (NIV). The NLT translation says to “give your complete attention” and to “throw yourself into your tasks.”

Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of the gift he was given and the importance to press forward with that gift, to throw himself into the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Just like Timothy, we each have a ministry. For everyone, the ministry is different because each of us is unique and gifted differently. If you know the ministry you have been called to, throw yourself into it. Give it your attention. Remember the great importance of pressing forward. If you are still wondering about the ministry for you, pray for the Spirit to reveal this to you. Continue to diligently read His Word and serve His people. He will show you the path to take.

“Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress.” – 1 Timothy 4:15 [NLT]

Freedom for Everyone

It really upsets me when I hear people say that God sends people to hell. The truth is that hell is a choice. People choose to go to hell because they don’t want a life with Jesus—Who is in heaven at the right hand of the Father. God “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (v. 4). In 2 Peter 3:9, we read that “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise… instead He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV).

Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice—to purchase freedom—FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. In John, we read that God loved the entire world, everybody, that He gave His one and only Son and everyone who believes in Him will not perish (3:16). God loved the entire world. Jesus purchased freedom for everyone.

Hell is a choice. Heaven is a choice. You have a choice. Jesus Christ paved the way for you to have these two options, instead of it ending at the wages of sin being death. There are two options. You decide. Everyone chooses for themselves. God wants you to choose freedom. He wants you to choose heaven. He wants you to choose life. He wants you to choose Jesus. But He loves you so much, He’s given you the choice. It’s the only way for you to truly love Him, to truly have freedom, to truly have life. You decide.

“Who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth… He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.” – 1 Timothy 2:4, 6 [NLT]

Shoulder to Shoulder

In Zephaniah, we read of what is to come, and it is such a beautiful image. In verse 9, it says, “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” The ESV translates this as “with one accord.” The HCSB says it differently, “with single purpose.” Picture this—God’s people shoulder to shoulder, with one accord, with single purpose.

I love considering what this verse means for us. This verse speaks about a time when we will join together in one accord to spread the Good News. Our mouths will be filled with pure words, purifying words, of the Gospel that we will spread throughout the world. This is where we are currently. This is not something that is to come—it’s NOW! Believing in Jesus Christ, receiving the Holy Spirit—this has given us the opportunity to speak with purifying lips, to serve shoulder to shoulder.

Nothing can keep us from serving shoulder to shoulder, joining together in one voice, in one accord—in harmony for the Lord Jesus Christ—except for ourselves. We allow our pride and our fears to get in the way. We take our purifying lips and allow them to be used for defiling purposes. Today, consider this verse. Consider what was prophesied here. Be a part of the purifying lips. This is only the beginning my friends. We will continue to join together shoulder to shoulder until the whole earth knows about Jesus. When He returns, when the new heaven and new earth come, we will continue together in one voice, glorifying the Lord. We will sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come” (Revelation 4:8).

“Then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” – Zephaniah 3:9 [NIV]