Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (Day of the Lord) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin (the Antichrist) be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing Himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians. 2:3,4)

The title of this article comes from a well-known line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Three witches predict that Macbeth, a Scottish general, will receive a title of Scottish nobility from the king and become king himself one day. When the king makes Macbeth the thane of Cawdor, Macbeth, now believing the prediction given him by the witch, and with encouragement from Lady Macbeth, kills King Duncan and becomes the king of Scotland. This begins Macbeth’s descent into evil. The words in our title were spoken by one of the witches, of Macbeth, as he approached them to find out more about their prophecies regarding him.

The above verse speaks of a day when evil will be personified like never before in a man the Bible calls, among other names, the Antichrist. He is referred to as “the beast” in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation and “the man of sin in the above verse.” He will rise out of obscurity promising peace to the world and he will be accepted by most in the world of that time. Many believe he will be of Jewish descent because he will make a seven-year peace agreement with Israel and Israel will accept him as their messiah.

This man will head a ten-nation confederacy and initially come to power professing peace. This will quickly change and he will set about to conquer. He will be empowered by Satan and perform great wonders. The world will stand in awe of this man. He will demand to be worshipped and will speak against the Lord.

“And he (the Antichrist) opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His Name.” (Revelation 13:6)

The signing of the agreement between the Antichrist and Israel is the beginning of the last seven years before Christ’s return. This period is referred to in the Bible as “The Great Tribulation.” It will initially bring a long sought after peace to Israel, but it will only be a temporary peace.

The Antichrist will be helped by the false prophet who the Bible says “had two horns like a lamb, but spoke as a dragon. He also will be empowered by Satan and will “cause the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast (Antichrist).” The false prophet will require all to receive a mark in the forehead or hand, without which no one could buy or sell. The mark will be “the name of the beast (Antichrist), or the number of his name.” The Bible says that the mark is “the number of a man; and his number is six hundred, threescore and six (666).” Those that agree to receive the mark will “drink of the wrath of God.” In other words, they will be eternally lost. Believers in the Lord will refuse the mark and will face death.

At the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation, the Antichrist will turn on Israel, breaking the peace agreement, and come against it militarily to destroy the nation and kill all the jews. Satan is behind this final effort to destroy God’s people, for the Lord has made promises to Israel. His Word says all Israel will be saved in the end. Satan knows that if God’s Word is not fulfilled regarding the Jewish people then He wins. This will not happen. All of the Lord’s Word will be fulfilled. The Second Coming of the Lord will defeat Satan, all Israel will be saved, and the thousand-year reign of Christ will be ushered in.

“The blindness in part is happened to Israel (rejecting Christ initially) until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in (the church age ending with the rapture). And so all Israel will be saved (at the end of the tribulation with the Second Coming ).” Romans 11:26

As Christians, the Bible says we are “not appointed to wrath” and that the Lord is coming for us before the Great Tribulation. These last seven years before the Lord’s return will be the worst time this world has ever seen. The judgment of God will bring famine, pestilence, earthquakes, war, and much more in the way of destruction and death to an unrepentant world. The Lord loves us and wants all to be saved from His end-time judgment. His mercy and grace have provided us with a Way whereby we will be saved from all that will come upon the earth. The Lord of glory came to earth and died on the cross for our sins. We must repent and believe in His sacrifice at Calvary to be saved. If you have not come to the Lord in repentance and faith; won’t you come to Him today. The Lord has given us signs of the approaching tribulation and they are all around us today. Something wicked this way comes and we can escape it by faith in the Lord who loves us.

The Rapture of the church is an evacuation of all believers from the earth before the wrath of God comes upon this world as the following verse states:

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thessalonians 4:16-18)

See the A, B,C’s of Salvation page on this website

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The Wayside, Stony Places, Thorns, and Good Ground

The Parable Of The Sower – Matthew Chapter 13

“Behold, a sower went forth to sow. And when he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside, and the fowls came and devoured them up. (Matthew 13:3,4)

This seed (word of God) fell by the wayside (a hard surface not prepared for planting) and fowls (Satan and company) devoured them up (takes it away). This seed by the wayside speaks of those that hear the word, have no desire for it and allow Satan to steal that which was sown. They see no value in what they heard, turn from the truth, and will not come to the Lord in repentance and acceptance of the salvation message.

“Some fell on stony places, for they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.” (verses 5,6)

The stony places suggest a shallow place (no depth) where there is some soil but rock is just below the surface. Jesus says of these individuals: “He who hears the word, and anon (immediately) with joy receives it.” There is a good start made here; they immediately believe the word and accept Christ. The Lord goes on to say: “yet he has not root in himself, but endures for a while.” There is some progress made because there is some soil, but the roots cannot grow down because of the rock below. Jesus explains the end result as follows: “For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended.”. They are offended after a short period of time due to tribulation or persecution and turn from the truth and lose their way.

“And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and chocked them.” (Verse 7)

This third group makes more progress than the previous two. The soil is good and the roots begin to grow, but thorns impede the growth of the planted word. Jesus explains: “The care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, chokes the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” These individuals make a good start and continue for a considerable amount of time, but are distracted by other things and become unfruitful (lost). Jesus said: ” Every branch (believer) in Me (the True Vine) that beareth not fruit (does not continue in faith) He takes away (removes from the Vine ).” The Lord loves us and is patient and longsuffering towards us, however, if we cease to believe then we have cut ourselves off from the love of God that is in Christ.

“But other fell on good ground and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. ” (verse 8)

This last group eagerly receives the word with hungry hearts under the conviction of sin. They understand that they are sinners in need of forgiveness. They accept the Lord’s work on the Cross and come to Him with great joy. They continue to yield to God, and as a result, bring forth “good fruit” (Christian growth). Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. ” The result is that the Holy Spirit can bring forth good fruit because of the fertile soil (hungry receptive heart).

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (verse 9)

This verse points to the fact that all will be held accountable by the Lord for what they have heard (i.e the Word), and will be judged for what they did with it. Those in the first group hear the Word and reject it. The second group accepts the Word and begins to live for the Lord, but because of tribulation and persecution falls away. The third group starts out well and continues for a considerable period of time, but eventually is distracted by the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches and loses their way. The final group eagerly accepts the word and yields themselves to the Lord, resulting in the Holy Spirit working mightily (hundredfold, sixtyfold, thirtyfold) in their life.

It’s disconcerting to note that only one in four of those that heard the word continued in it. Three out of four did not. Sadly, I believe church history proves this out. Matthew 7:14 explains the reason for this: “Because strait is the gate, and narrow the way (faith in Christ Crucified) which leads to life, and few there be that find it.” We can only find life by our continued faith on a daily basis in the One that offers that life to us. Jesus speaks of this in John chapter 15: ” I am the Vine, you are the branches: he who abides in Me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit.” Everything that we receive from God comes exclusively through what Jesus accomplished on the Cross. This must always be the object of our faith. It alone allows the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to bring forth the fruit that will bring the victory that we so desire. Jesus is the True Vine. Our life is in Him and Him alone.

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How Do I Live A Victorious Christian Life?

“For the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the Law of Sin and Death.” (Romans 8:2)

I’m born again and love the Lord, but I keep failing. I have tried, with all that is within me, to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. I’ve prayed more, read more in my Bible, and fasted, but there is still no victory.

Does this sound familiar? The victory escapes us and we become discouraged. We want to follow the Lord, but we keep failing. The battle is intense at times and the fight seems to get tougher. What should we do?

The answer we seek can be found in the fact that the only fight we are called to fight is the good fight of faith. Striving in our own strength to live a life pleasing to the Lord will bring us only failure and great disappointment. The battle is the Lord’s. He has already won the victory.

The introductory verse above points the way. It was written by the Apostle Paul after a personal battle within himself to try and live a victorious life. Paul said this regarding his battle, “ For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing” Paul is frustrated because, trying his most earnest, he cannot live a life of obedience.

Paul finds the victory he seeks in placing his faith in Christ and Him crucified. As Romans 8:2 above says: ” For the law (Law of God) of the Spirit (Holy Spirit – how He works) of life (life from God) in Christ Jesus (His victory at the cross) has made me free (brings victory) from the law of sin and death.” These are the two most powerful laws. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is the only law more powerful than the Law of Sin and Death.

We learn here that our feeble attempts, in our own strength, will never give us victory over the law of sin and death. We must place our faith in Christ and Him crucified. This will allow the Holy Spirit to work mightily in our lives to bring us the victory we seek. The Holy Spirit works in no other way.

The Christian disciplines (e.g. bible reading, fasting, praying, church attendance) are very important, but our faith must not be in these for victory over sin. The Bible does not say that we will come to a place of sinless perfection in this life, but it does point the way that we are to walk if we are to live lives pleasing to the Lord. We have been born again by placing our faith in Jesus and His great sacrifice at the cross. Our walk with the Lord is no different. We are to continue to place our faith in Christ to walk out our daily life. We are unable to save ourselves or sanctify ourselves by our own efforts. We are to rest in His finished work, and the Holy Spirit will bring us victory. Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Walking in the Spirit is not doing, but believing ….. believing in Christ and Him crucified.

Jesus paid the price for us at the cross. We love Him for the love He showed for us by this incredible act. We are to remain in that love believing that the result will be the rest and the victory we so desire in our lives. Jesus said “It is finished” and He meant it. We need to believe it. There is nothing that He has not accomplished for us. We are victorious “in Christ”. In the words of the Rock of Ages hymn below: “Be of sin the double cure (the cross). Save from wrath (salvation) and make me pure (victory over sin)”. The Lord has done it and it is marvelous in our sight. Only believe!

” Abide in Me (total faith in His finished work on the cross) and I in you (His promise). As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in Me (the only way to victory).” (John 15:4)

Rock of Ages

(Composed by Rev. Augustus Toplady in 1763)

Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. Let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure. Save from wrath and make me pure.

See the Victorious Christian Living page on this website

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Where Could I Go To find Refuge For My Soul?

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2)

Our secret place of the Most High is Christ. Jesus said in John 14:20: “At that day (after the Resurrection) you shall know that I am in My Father (Jesus is God), and you in Me (salvation), and I in you (newness of life).” To place our faith in Him and what He accomplished (Christ Crucified), and keep it there, results in us abiding under the shadow of the Almighty (divine care and protection). Jesus placed His faith totally in His Father and looked to Him exclusively during His earthly life and ministry. This Psalm portrays Jesus walking through this life with all its troubles and coming out victorious. We will be blessed in reading this Psalm in its entirety, for it is placed there for our instruction and encouragement. If we are to attain victory in this life we need only look to Him.

The Psalm begins with: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High.” We see by this that we have a choice. We must choose to dwell (where we live daily) in Christ. Deuteronomy 33:27 says: “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

The Psalm goes on to say this of the Lord: “He is my refuge and my fortress.” The KJV Dictionary defines refuge as “shelter or protection from danger or distress” and defines fortress as: “a fortified place; a stronghold, a place of defense or security.”

So, through faith, we are safe in the shelter and stronghold of the Lord. We are told in Proverbs 18:10: ” The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it and is safe.”

We are secure in Him. John 10:27-29 says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29).

He watches over us with loving care and nothing can separate us from His love for us. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:38,39: “For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.” God’s love for us never wavers because we are “in Christ Jesus” and protected by Him from everything that might oppose us in our Christian walk.

There is only one place where we could go to find refuge for our soul. It is only with the Lord God Almighty; He truly is our refuge and fortress. And when we find the secret place of the Most High; we are safe and secure in the shadow of the Almighty. We must remind ourselves of these words when life’s difficulties come along. Proverbs tells us that: “Every word of God proves true; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” And to this, we say amen.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Appendix A

THE NAMES OF GOD – The names of God tell us much about the God we serve: who He is, and what He is like. They are: El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty), El Elyon (The Most High God), Adonai (Lord, Master), Yahweh (Proper Name- I AM), Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner), Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals), Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There), Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies), El Olam (The Everlasting God), Elohim (God), Qanna (Jealous), Jehovah Jira (The Lord Will Provide), Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace), Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts).

Appendix B

A CLOSER LOOK AT GOD’S NAMES The Lord God Almighty (all-powerful- the mighty One), the Most High God (above all gods), is my Banner (protection, leadership, deliverance), my Shepherd (feeds and leads His flock), the Lord that heals (healing, deliverance), the Lord is there (His promise to complete the work started at creation), our righteousness (Christ Crucified), and the Lord who sanctifies (the Lord’s work not ours). He is the Everlasting God (God of all ages and generations), the Lord of Hosts (Lord over earthly and heavenly armies) who is jealous (for us), will provide (will provide for our needs – nothing too difficult) and Who is peace (our peace is in Him).

Where Could I Go But To The Lord

Where could I go, oh where could I go? Seeking a refuge for my soul. Needing a friend, to help me in the end. Where could I go, but to the Lord?

(Composed By James Buchannan Coats in 1946)

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It’s All By Grace, And Yes, It’s Quite Amazing.

Do You Know Him? Have You Answered The Clarion Call?

“That as sin has reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through Righteousness unto Eternal life Through Jesus Christ” Romans 5:21

In this verse, Paul points to sin as “reigning unto death” in all of us prior to coming to the Lord. He goes on to say that grace will reign through Righteousness (being right with God) once we have accepted Jesus and what He accomplished for us on the Cross.

So what does all this mean? All of us born of Adam, due to original sin (the consequences of the fall), have his nature (sin nature) and are hopelessly lost. Our only way of escape is through the righteousness of God given to us by grace. In other words, we do not earn it, but it is freely given to us by God when we admit we cannot save ourselves, repent of our sins, and accept the payment made for our sin by our Lord on the Cross. This is grace …. the grace of God towards us.

This is a wonderful picture of the mercy and grace that God has shown towards us. God loved us even when we were lost and without Him. Our acceptance of what Jesus did for us on the Cross (our being born again) moves us from death to life. The Gospel of John says in the first chapter “But as many as received him (Christ), to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” Romans 8:16,17 says ” The Spirit Itself (Himself) bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God …. joint-heirs with Christ.”

So we see that we were born lost and death was reigning in our lives due to the fallen nature. We were doomed to an eternity without the Lord in this fallen condition, but incredibly, God sent a Savior to rescue us. He not only rescues us but we become children of God; joint-heirs with Christ. We will have a glorified body (no more infirmities) for 1 John 3:2 says “When He appears we shall be like Him”.

This is absolutely amazing! One minute we are dead in our sins and without God, and the next, after repentance and placing our faith in Christ and Him crucified, we receive the gift of eternal life; all by God’s mercy and grace. We not only go from death to life eternal, but we become sons of God and partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3,4 ). This love and grace of God is offered to whomsoever will accept it. John 3:16 emphatically states ” For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have Eternal Life”. The Lord is calling out through His mercy and grace, displayed for all to see, so that all those that hear and answer the clarion call might experience His wonderful, marvelous, and quite amazing grace. Do you know Him? If not, call on Him today! He is waiting with open arms to receive whomsoever will come to Him in repentance and faith.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. T’was blind but now I see. T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed.

(Composed by John Newton in 1772)

[See the A,B,C’s of Salvation and The Sinner’s Prayer pages on this website]

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Is Your Foundation Sure? The Wind Is Only Going To Get Stronger.

Difficult Times Are On The Horizon – We Must Have A Sure Foundation

In these difficult times, we may wonder if even the foundation of our society will remain in place. As the winds of increased lawlessness and uncertainty blow across our whole land; What are we to do? We hear the news and see things seemingly getting worse by the day. The things that are happening in our country are so foreign to us. We have been a nation blessed by God since our inception. What has happened to our country that the rule of law does not hold firm? Why are some willing to cast off our form of government and all the blessings that have been ours? The answer is that we have forgotten God. We have cast Him out of our public life and not brought up our children in the admonition of the Lord. What we see going on in our country and around the world lines up with what the Bible says things would be like just prior to His coming. What are we to do?

When the wind does blow, and there is a stronger wind coming, we will stand and not be swept away if our faith is in the Lord and His Word. In the following verse, the Lord likens the one who has placed his faith in the Lord and His Word to a man building a house on a sure foundation:

“He is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock. (Luke 6:48)

If we walk in the knowledge and grace of the Lord we will make it through. The Bible clearly shows us that the Lord is with us, protects us, and will see us through the difficulties of this life. If we belong to the Lord, He watches over us.

“And when the flood arose, the streams beat vehemently upon the house, and could not shake it: for its foundation was upon a rock.”

That rock is Christ. If we have our faith in Christ and Him crucified, we can rest in the knowledge that we are on a sure foundation. The winds of end-time trouble may blow but we are secure in Him. The Lord’s Word says that leading up to His return, troubles will increase in frequency and severity. He has said that though the floodwaters come against our “house”, it will stand. This is a great promise in these troubled times.

“But he who hears, and does not (does not come in faith), is like a man without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:49)

We may have things that come against us in this life that are hard to deal with. If we don’t have a firm foundation then these life events can weaken, or even destroy us. Today, we not only have these to deal with, but we have a changing world around us that is hard for us to understand. The Lord, of course, knew this and warned us of its coming and provided a safe harbor for us. What happens if everything we know today, all that we have become accustomed to and count on changes overnight? We have seen our life change pretty dramatically this past year alone. Many are wondering if life will ever return to normal. Many are wondering what will happen next. These are uncertain times. The Lord wants us to know that He is our sure foundation – our place of rest.

“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

We need to prepare for whatever is coming, both in our personal lives and in these end times. The Lord came to defeat the powers of darkness and He was victorious at the cross. The church age is nearly over and the Lord will return to defeat the enemy and restore all things. Our sure foundation will keep us in these troubled times. We need only rest in the knowledge that the Lord knows all, has told us these times would come, and will keep us in the midst of any trouble we may face in the coming days. He is our sure foundation as we await the day of His return ….. and what a day that will be!

What A Day That Will Be

There’ll be no more sorrow there, no more burdens to bear, no more sickness, no pain, no more parting over there. And forever I will be, with the One Who died for me. What a day, glorious day that will be.

Composed by James Vaughn Hill

(See The A,B,C’s Of Salvation page on this website)

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You Put My Tears In Your Bottle

The Lord Watches Over Us With Great Care

You number my wanderings (He knows what we are going through); Put my tears into Your bottle (He is tenderhearted toward our sorrows); are they not in Your book (He records our trials and sorrows).” (Psalm 56:8)

David wrote this psalm at a very difficult time in his life. He was being pursued by Saul and was in grave danger. The Holy Spirit through David lets us know in the above verse that the Lord sees all that we go through and records all our “wanderings” in His book. The Lord watches over us at all times and looks upon all our trials and tears with great compassion.

“When I cry to you ……” (verse 9)

David shows great faith in the Lord in this psalm. This next verse says, “When I cry unto you, then shall my enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.” What a bold statement of faith in God despite his terrible circumstances. Saul had tried to kill David on numerous occasions. David exclaimed regarding this: “My enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many who fight against me …” And yet despite the constant peril and his fear; David chooses to look to the Lord. He boldly proclaims: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in You… I will not fear what flesh can do to me.” In this psalm, David had his faith firmly anchored in the One he knew loved him and watched over him. David was pursued by Saul for a long time, yet no matter how dark things became in his life; he knew the Lord loved him. David made some mistakes in not trusting the Lord at times, but he was a man after God’s own heart and never forgot all that the Lord had brought him through. What an example for us!

” In the world you shall have tribulation….. ” ( John 16:33)

Jesus told us that we would experience tribulation and persecution while we walk out our life of faith in Him. He said: “In the world, you shall have tribulation.” Regarding persecution, He said: “If the world hates you, you know it hated Me before it hated you.” The world is hostile towards the Lord because it is not willing to admit their need for what Christ accomplished on the Cross. So, we as Christians, are hated by the world because we have Jesus in us – “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (by the Cross).” In our life, we will have tribulation and may experience persecution. The Lord wants us to know that He watches over us through all of this and that he has overcome the world by the Cross (we win in the end).

” He will not leave you …….. ” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The Lord tells us that He is with us at all times. Sometimes, we may wonder if the Lord is there, but the Word of the Lord is very clear regarding this. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, ” It is the Lord that goes before you, He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” The Word of the Lord says that not only is the Lord always with us, but He goes before us and will never forsake us. We can be secure in knowing that He watches over His own for our good.

“…I will strengthen you..” (Isaiah 41:10)

We can be encouraged by these words of Isaiah41:10,”Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We can see from this verse and the other verses referenced above; that we can be confident that the Lord will strengthen and uphold us; that He will never leave us; that He goes before us, is with us, and sees all we are going through in this life.

“I will lift up my eyes ……..” (Psalm 121)

Psalm 121 says, ” I will lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. The Lord shall preserve (guard) your going out and your coming in from this time forth (when we place our faith in Christ and Him Crucified), and even forevermore (always!).” Just as David looked to the Lord for all his needs, let us anchor our faith in the creator of Heaven and Earth; the One that helps us and guards our way now and forevermore.

“Ascribe to The Lord the glory …. (Psalm 29:2)

How great is our God (that we can call on the creator of Heaven and Earth)? How worthy of our worship and praise. Psalm 29 entreats us to: “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.” Let us worship the Lord for who He is: our great God. Let us praise Him for the care he gives us: He watches our every step lest we fall. He cares for us and will bring us through to that great day when we shall be with Him in glory. As it regards the trials and sorrows we might go through in this life; we know He is constantly watching over us for good and is tenderhearted toward all we go through. We can say with David: “This I know: for God is for Me.”

Our Future Hope

” And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

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The Promise Of The Father

The Baptism With The Holy Spirit

Painting By Bonnie Quinn (1945-2017)

“Therefore (Jesus) being by the Right Hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the Promise of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:33)

“For the Promise (the Baptism with the Holy Spirit) is unto you (all those present at the time); and to your children (will continue), and to all who are far off (not limited to Jerusalem but for the whole world), even as many as the Lord will call (available to all even to our time).” (Acts 2:39)

The Apostle Peter spoke these words on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon those in Jerusalem in power. This day is considered the birthday of the church and the start of the church’s mission to reach the lost with the Gospel. The Holy Spirit could not come until the sin debt was paid. The Lord paid the price at Calvary which ushered in the long-awaited time when the Spirit would come in a new way, dwell in those who believed and empower the believers for service.

When a person is born again or born of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit comes and resides in that person. The Spirit will help us in our daily walk with the Lord. He is present to glorify Jesus, to lead us and guide us, and teach us all things. As we place our faith in Christ and Him crucified the Holy Spirit will guide us in all truth and work in us to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. He works no other way as the following verse states:

“For the Law (this is a law of God) of the Spirit (how the Holy Spirit works) of Life (from Christ by way of the Holy Spirit) in Christ Jesus (speaks of His accomplishment at the Cross), has made me free (victory) from the Law of sin and death (the only way to be free from sin).” (Romans 8:2)

So, our sanctification, our daily walk, is accomplished by our placing our faith in Christ and Him Crucified which allows the Holy Spirit to work in us and bring us the victory over sin that we so desire. There is no other way to victory. We cannot accomplish this by our efforts. The Lord paid a terrible price a Calvary so that we might be free. After coming to the Lord by faith, if we could walk out this life in victory by what we did, or by adhering to Christian disciplines, then Christ’s victory on the cross was not total. The Apostle Paul spoke about this in the following verse:

“I do not frustrate the grace of God (move our faith from Christ crucified to anything else): for if righteousness come by the Law (any law), then Christ died in vain.” ( Galatians 2:21)

So, we see that we frustrate or stop the action of grace if the object of our faith is anything other than in Christ and the cross. Many feel that we must do our part through Christian disciplines. We cannot overcome sin by what we do. If our faith is in these things, as necessary to our Christian walk as these things are, then we will fail. We must keep in mind that Paul wrote the above words to believers.

If the Holy Spirit guides us and gives us victory over sin, then what is the purpose of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit? The Baptism is for power for service. Jesus was adamant about His followers waiting for the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost before they did anything.

“(Jesus) Commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which, said He, you have heard of Me.” (Acts 1:4)

” But you shall be baptized with Holy Spirit not many days hence (Day of Pentecost).” Acts 1:5)

“But you shall receive power (power for service), after that, the Holy Spirit is come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)

The Lord commanded them to wait for the “Promise of the Father” which was the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Lord was telling them not to go out in ministry until they had received the Holy Spirit in power. This happened on the day of Pentecost. We see the Apostles receiving power when the Holy Spirit came upon them in the baptism and they accomplished mighty works for the Lord. The Apostle Peter, who weeks before denied the Lord three times, stood up among them and preached a powerful sermon with a boldness that saw three thousand saved. And many miracles were wrought by the believers.

In summary, we receive the Holy Spirit initially when we repent of our sins and place our faith in Christ and Him crucified. He guides us in the truth and gives us victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is a subsequent work of the Holy Spirit that gives us power for service with the initial physical evidence of speaking with other tongues. Is the Baptism with the Holy Spirit essential for salvation? The answer is no, but why would we not seek the baptism the Lord has made available to all. The Lord thought it so important that He commanded His followers to wait to receive it before going out in ministry.

[Miracles, healings, deliverance from unclean spirits, boldness in proclaiming the Gospel, thousands coming to faith in the Lord, and the leading of the Holy Spirit in ministry- Read the Book of Acts to see the work of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles and believers in the early church.]

We need this same baptism today to accomplish all the Lord would have us do. The only requirement to receive it is that we be born again. It is received by faith just as the Apostles and the believers that were present at the time received it on the Day of Pentecost.

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues (the initial evidence one has been filled).” (Acts 4:31)

If you have not received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit; won’t you come in faith today and receive the “Promise of the Father.” Jesus is the baptizer with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11), and it is for “even as many as the Lord will call.”

“And I (Jesus) will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter (helper – the Holy Spirit), that He may abide with you forever.” (John 14:16)

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Unto Us A Son Is Given

The Gospel Of John Presents The Son Given As God – God In The Flesh

Silhouette pregnant Mary and Joseph with a donkey on star of cross background

“In The Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:1,14)

What an incredible way to begin the Gospel of John. Each time I read these verses I think maybe a trumpet should sound to announce them. It is all so regal. They announce to all that will hear that the Word was there with God in the beginning. He was with God (in relationship) and was God (Trinity). Jesus, of course, is the Word as He would certainly have to be in order to reveal God to us as He did. Jesus made this clear when He said: “He Who has seen Me has seen the Father”. (John 14:9)

I can’t imagine what it was like for Him to leave Heaven’s glory and become the God/Man in the flesh. Imagine what the angels thought seeing the God of Glory humble Himself and become man. The love of God towards us is displayed clearly in His first Advent.

We look back on this incredible happening and take it for granted in many ways, but who would have ever imagined that the Lord’s love for us would shine forth in such an incredible way.

This love for us that was manifested in the Virgin Birth was due to the Lord seeing our fallen condition and knowing that without His intervention we would be doomed. He burst onto the scene to reveal God to us and to die for our sins that we might have forgiveness and know Him.

Jesus, the God/Man is present in His fullness in this Gospel. It reveals His Person, not his actions. The love of God towards us can be seen in every chapter. Praise be to His Name.

As we enter this special and blessed time of year we acknowledge the incredible gift the Lord has bestowed on us – the gift of His Son. May we seek to serve Him each day for the love He has shone forth for us. His mercy and grace are an anchor for our soul. May we seek to know the One – the One that loved us, came to live among us and died for us. He is present among us even now, and as we place our faith in Him, He will carry us through this life and we will spend our eternity with Him. We praise His Name for great is mercy towards us. Surely the Lord’s great love shines through brightly in the gift of His Son this Christmas season.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us, a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

[See Jesus In Every Book Of The Bible on this website]

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So, Just Who Goes To Heaven?

The Answer Is In The Bible And May Surprise Many!

A man was asked if he thought that he would go to Heaven. He answered, “If there is a Heaven; I believe I will go there.” When pressed on why he believed he would go, he said that he would go to heaven because he was good. That is the belief and hope of many when the subject of Heaven comes up. Many believe that the way they live their lives and the good things they accomplish during their life determine their final destination. While living a good life and doing good things are admirable goals and something we should all strive after; these things, in themselves, will not result in our going to Heaven.

We must understand that we have a fallen nature. If we were to be honest with ourselves, we know that we have failed to live a perfect life. And perfection is what the Lord requires to gain Heaven. So, even if we seek to live a morally good life, we will fall short of God’s standard for fellowship with Him and access to Heaven when we die.

So, what are we to do? If we cannot live a life pleasing to the Lord; How can we gain Heaven? The answer is that we must realize the helpless condition that we are in and seek the Lord for His mercy and grace. We cannot, in ourselves, please the Lord and gain Heaven.

The Lord saw our lost condition and provided a way for us to have fellowship with Him and gain Heaven. Jesus spoke of this way in John chapter 3 when He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (spiritual birth), he cannot see the kingdom of Heaven.” What the Lord was saying was that just as a person is physically born and at that moment has life; we must be born again to have spiritual life and see, or understand, the Kingdom of God.

So, we are unable to save ourselves. The Bible says, before being born again, that we are dead in our sins. Once we understand our desperate condition, we can seek the Lord and His solution. His mercy and grace is the answer to our need. We are born again or quickened by faith in the Lord and the way He has provided.

“And you has He quickened (made alive spiritually), who were dead in trespasses and sins (totally lost).” (Ephesians 2:1)

The way the Lord provided for us was to send His Son, the Lord Jesus, to pay the price for our sin and to offer us “newness of life” by faith in Him and His great sacrifice at Calvary. We are “born again” into a new life (spiritually) when we come His way by faith. The Lord offers us this through His mercy and grace. Jesus said the following regarding this way:

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

In this one verse, Jesus tells us that He is the only way to the Father. There is no other. We are born spiritually when we place our faith in Him and His great sacrifice at the cross. This is the way to Heaven and the way to have fellowship with the Lord. It is the only way. Our sins are forgiven and the Lord sees us “in Christ”. His righteousness becomes ours. We become children of God by our faith in Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross that paid for our sins.

“But as many, as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those that believe in His Name ( Christ and Him crucified).” (John 1:12)

In summary, we are unable to please God and live a life that will result in us going to Heaven when we die. We must be born spiritually. We do this by placing our faith in Christ and Him crucified. It is at Calvary that the Lord paid the price for our sin. He offers us forgiveness and newness of life when we place our faith in Him. And we can know that we are going to Heaven, not by our goodness, but by the Lord’s mercy and grace. He saw our need and our helpless condition and provided a way for us to be saved; We are forgiven and will spend eternity with Him in glory. The Lord’s Word says it best:

“For by grace (unmerited favor) you have been saved through faith (in Christ crucified); and that not of ourselves (not earned): it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

We are saved by faith and we are kept by our faith in the Lord and the Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary. And through faith, we can know that we have eternal life and will be with our Lord in Heaven.

“These things have I written unto you who believe on the Name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)

The Lord loves us and has reached down in His mercy and provided for us in our fallen state. Psalm 118:23 says it best: “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”

[See the A,B,C’s of Salvation on this website]

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