Assurance

My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God’s words of assurance. I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking, and they forget the meaning of God’s assurance— they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.

Blessed Assurance – Story behind the song

Fanny Crosby, America’s most prolific hymn writer, wrote 8,000 Gospel songs and hymns during a lifetime, which spanned nearly a century.

Frances Jane Crosby was born in Putnam County, New York, on March 24, 1820. A poorly trained doctor applied a mustard plaster poultice to her eyes when she was only six weeks old, rendering her totally blind. Even in her childhood, she realized she had a special gift.

She often said, “I have a jewel — content.”

When only 9 years of age, she wrote:

“O what a happy soul am I,

Although I cannot see,

I am resolved that in this world

Contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy

That other people don’t.

To weep and sigh because I’m blind,

I cannot, and I won’t.”

During her 15th year, she entered the New York Institute for the Blind. Her record there was such that after graduation, she was asked to teach at the institute. She remained on the faculty for 11 years.

One day in 1873, Fanny was visiting with a friend, Mrs. Joseph Knapp, a musician of sorts and wife of the founder of Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. During their visit Mrs. Knapp played a tune on her piano, which she had recently written. She then asked Fanny, “What does this tune say?” After kneeling in prayer for a few moments, she rose and declared, “It says, ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!’”

Fanny began to dictate verses to Mrs. Knapp, who wrote them down, fitting them to the melody just as we hear it sung today.

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

O what a foretaste of glory divine!

Heir of salvation, purchase of God.

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Chorus:

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior, all the day long,

This is my story, this is my song,

Praising my Savior, all the day long.”

Fanny Crosby died Feb. 12, 1915.

“Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.” -Psalm 145:2

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Zeal

Zeal

As with meekness, many people labor under an inaccurate or insufficient concept of zeal. A lot of Christians tend to equate zeal with enthusiasm. Though these two are related, they are different in many respects. Enthusiasm involves a keenness or excitement that generally contains a large emotional element. As a result, it usually comes and goes in spurts. It is difficult to sustain a continual high level of enthusiasm without a lot of undue strain and weariness. Unfortunately, those who make the mistake of equating enthusiasm with zeal can feel bound to live at an unreasonable level of emotional intensity. Or else they can feel guilty and less than zealous for failing to maintain such a level.

I’ve known other Christians who have succeeded in making themselves somewhat obnoxious and difficult to relate to through their misguided efforts to be “zealous.” In order to be a strong and zealous Christian, it is not necessary to wear a perpetual, “joyful,” toothy grin, to speak in pious-sounding Christian jargon, or to unleash a heavy blast of high intensity enthusiasm at everyone we encounter. In fact, it is not only unnecessary, but inadvisable and wearisome for everyone involved.

In essence, true zeal consists of a determined, aggressive dedication to something or someone. It should not come and go in a Christian’s life, because it is not subject to the vagaries of the more emotion-based enthusiasm. Christian zeal is a constant feature of a strong Christian life, because it is a dedication to God founded on a fundamental decision. It’s not affected by how we’re feeling, what day it is, how we slept last night, or whether things are going our way. It is certainly true that enthusiasm supports our zeal for God and his kingdom, making our determined, aggressive actions easier to sustain. But our zeal should last through thick and thin, long after enthusiasm has waxed and waned, and waxed and waned again.

I believe having this zeal is a gift and an important blessing for Christians.  A steady zeal that keeps the faith.  Zeal should characterize us, also. As Peter says: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). This defense of the faith, zealous as it is, must also be blended with meekness, if we are to act in the spirit of the Lord. Whatever the cost, it is a price worth paying for so great a treasure as the truth of Christ.  Zeal should epitomize the character of a Christian servant as does meekness and humility, and it is vital to the full expression of servanthood in the Christian life.

Xenial Relationship

This might be a little stretch, but God really does take us into relationship, we were strangers to him, but he brought us into his family.  So what does xenial means in the first place?   The dictionary says ‘Xenial’ means- hospitable, especially to strangers and foreigners.

You may or may not feel foreign to God, but he takes us in and is hospitable to us and makes us feel like part of his family.  He wants everyone to be a part of his family, when we become new in Christ Jesus and we are accepted into the fold.   We no longer are on the outside looking in, but a insider – co heirs with Christ.

So how do I cultivate this deeper relationship with God?

Communication is key to any relationship. And with God, it’s no different! Here are four ways you can communicate with Him.

  1. Read the Bible

God communicates through the Scriptures, revealing His character and His will. The Bible isn’t just another ancient book; it’s inspired by God. So whenever you read it, the Holy Spirit will speak through its words.

  1. Pray

Prayer is just another word for talking to God. He wants to hear your thoughts, needs, and desires. You can talk to Him about everything; He hears you and answers you, too. Plus, prayer is a way you can thank God for all He is doing in your life.

  1. Hang Out With Christians

Being together with other Christians, encouraging and building up one another, is vital for growing in your relationship with God. The Greek word for this is koinonia, which means “sharing in common.” It’s so important to share your Christian experience with others who love God, so that God can use you to encourage and challenge them, and in turn, be encouraged and challenged. God has appointed the church as a place to meet other Christians, learn about Him, and worship Him. Bible studies and other meetings can also really help you grow in your relationship with God.

  1. Share Your Faith

When you make yourself available for the Holy Spirit to speak through you, you are communicating with God. He’s able to use you to show Christ to those who don’t yet know Him. Where you can be hospitable to strangers and show the love of Christ.  Xenial Relationship – A incredible gift.   And the more we share the treasure with others, the deeper our own joy in God will become.

As you rely on the Holy Spirit for power, read the Bible, pray, spend time with other Christians, and tell people about Jesus, God will produce His character in you. And there’s no question: you will experience spiritual growth.

Worshiping God is a Blessing

 

Worshiping God is a Blessing to Us

In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.   Exodus 20:24

In every place where God is worshiped, God blesses. Worship forms a two way road between heaven and earth.  Worship is not a means to blessings; but blessings are a by-product of worship.

Deut. 11:13 through Deut. 11:14 (NIV)
13So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul—14then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil.

In order to understand the blessings that come from worship, we must first understand true worship. Over the last decade the term “worship” has become a household word in the church and in Christian homes, but not in the sense that God intended.  We can go to the store and buy a “worship cd”, churches are hiring “worship pastors”, bands are holding “worship concerts”. These are all wonderful, but if worship is nothing more than singing a few songs, we have completely missed the boat.

When we look at “worship” in this way, we can see that it goes beyond thirty minutes on Sunday and fifteen minutes on Wednesday. Yes, the bible does command us to worship in song, but that is not complete worship. When we are faithful to live our entire lives for God, there are blessings that will follow.

Verse 14 says that the Lord will send rain. Rain is a synonym for blessing. Malachi chapter 3 says that when we tithe the windows of heaven will be opened up. What is that? Blessing. Now I know that there is a lot of controversy in the Christian world about the blessings of God. Some say that God wants us to stay humble and poor, others say that God wants us to be rich, living in a 5,000 square foot home driving a new Corvette. I am not going to get into that. I am simply saying that word of God says that when we live our lives for Him, that He will bless us!

I know that when I live for God that all my needs will be met. I will not go hungry, I will always have shelter over my head and clothes on my body. The bible clearly states that that when we live a life of worship, our business deals will be blessed. We will have favor with those around us. I can’t speak for God, but the Bible says that God wants to give better gifts to us than a father would give to his own son.

Why? Because we have set our heart and mind on making Him happy. I think Psalm 103 says it best. Verse 1 says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.” That means do everything you can to make Him happy. Thank Him, love Him, serve Him, and bestow praises on Him every chance you get. Verse 2 says that when we do that, there are benefits that will follow: forgiveness, healing, redemption, love, satisfaction, and energy.

You see, God loves to make His children happy, but He also expects us to live a live that makes Him happy, and that, my friends, is worship. Decide today to serve Him in all areas of your life. If there is sin in your life, confess and get rid of it. If you need to make a fresh commitment in a certain area of your life, do it now, and live the life a life of worship unto God.

Victory over Death

Victory over Death

O death, where is thy sting? . . .
—1 Corinthians 15:55

Death is the most democratic experience in life for we all participate in it. We think of its happening only to other people. We don’t like to grow old and we don’t like to die. The Bible teaches that death is an enemy of man and God. But it also teaches that this enemy, death, will ultimately be destroyed forever; that in fact it has already been defeated at the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Death, for a Christian, brings permanent freedom from evil. It also means the believer will be like Jesus. We shall be like Christ in love. So much of self is involved in what we do here; but one day, in Christ, we will have perfect love. What a glorious time it will be when we get to heaven!

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “it is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up the spirit.  John 19:30.

Foremost among those things included the word “IT” is death.  Jesus said it was finished, he meant death was finished, because sin was finished.  Jesus bared the sin of the world on the Cross.  He conquered death through resurrection.  So we see that Christ, bore the sin of the world on the Cross and died.  He was able to pass through death and was raised up.  Death is conquered through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  There is now New Life.

What this means is what the Bible says many times over – His victory is our victory.  Death may take our body, but it cannot touch the rest of us.  And even that body will be raised anew on the day appointed by God the Father.

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love.  According to the book Real Love, unconditional love is, in essence, true love — so different from the kind of love most of us have known all our lives that it deserves a definition of its own. Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It’s unconditional love when other people care about our happiness unconditionally.

The Very Nature of God is Love

Volumes have been written about the characteristics of God, but when it is distilled to the most basic categories, He is love (1 John 4:8), life (Jeremiah 10:10; Revelation 22:1), and holiness (Psalms 99:9). And in reality, His life and holiness are based upon and are an expression of His love: love gives, so He gives life; love desires the best, so holiness proceeds from Him.

Love is not something he chooses to do or give. It is the very essence of who He is. He doesn’t just love-He is love (1 John 4:16). It motivates His every action, directs His activities, and reflects His desires (1 John 4:10). Love is the greatest and purest essence of who a person is and its proper expression brings fulfillment.

However, God’s love is not like the love expressed by many in our culture today: a love of convenience and ego. That is, “I will love you as long as you add value to my life and please me. When that ceases, so does my love for you.” For many, love is conditional. The conditions may be different depending upon the relationship, but there are still conditions to be met in order to “earn” our love.

God’s unconditional and intense love for fallen humankind motivated the plan of salvation (Revelation 1:5). Simply, salvation is God making us whole or complete. It is a healing of the soul, bringing us back to the state of Adam when God breathed life into him and made him a living soul. Separation from God, caused by sin, is separation from life. A person might have biological life, but not the quality of life God envisions for us.

Love requires relationship, as love is a dynamic force or presence that naturally seeks expression. Simply put, love loves! And in order to do that there must be an object of that love or it is incomplete.  Our relationship with God is an intimate one.  AMEN.

Trinity

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty
God in three persons, blessed Trinity

Blessed Trinity – God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is a concept that we use a 3 leaf clover, different forms of water (Liquid, Frozen and Vapor) and using a math problem – it would be 1x1x1=1. God is a triune God.

No illustration is going to be perfect.

But from the very beginning we see God as a Trinity. Notice the plural pronouns “us” and “our” in Genesis 1:26 — Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Though not a complete list, here is some other Scripture that shows God is one, in Trinity:

  • “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4)

  • “I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God.” (Isa. 45:5)

  • There is no God but one. (1Cor. 8:4)

  • And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matt. 3:16-17)

  • “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 28:19)

  • Jesus said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)

This is truly hard for us to understand because  the three divine Persons, though really distinct from one another, are one and the same God because this is a supernatural mystery.  A supernatural mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand, but which we firmly believe because we have God’s word for it.

Because of this blessing, we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit when we become baptized in Christ.  We will never totally understand God because we live in a 3-dimensional world and God is not limited to space and time.

 

S is for Salvation

Salvation is the real game changer.  Jesus Christ came to save us from ourselves, and in the process gave us salvation to be co-heirs with him.

You are a child of God.

This means that God accepts you as one of His. You are adopted into His family. He loves you and will never disown you.

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” Colossians 1:13

The greatest blessing that we are able to receive from God is salvation (Ephesians 2:4-8). Yes, salvation is primarily about making it to heaven and having eternal life with the Father.

Salvation is not just about what you can receive. It is also about being able to bless others and about blessing God. Are you willing to receive and give?

Resurrection

Christ predicted His resurrection. The Bible records, “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things … and be killed, and be raised up on the third day” Even though His followers did not understand what He was telling them at the time, they remembered His words and recorded them.

Jesus made numerous appearances to His followers. He comforted the mourners outside His tomb on Sunday morning. On the road to Emmaus, He explained things about Himself from the Old Testament. Later, He ate in their presence and invited them to touch Him. Scripture records that Jesus was seen by more than 500 at one time. Some may argue that a few people could have agreed to a deception, but how can one explain the collaboration of 500 people?

The unrelenting faith of the disciples convinces me of the Resurrection. Those disciples who were once so afraid that they deserted their Lord now courageously proclaimed this news, risking their lives to preach. Their bold and courageous behavior does not make sense unless they knew with absolute certainty that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

The growth of the Christian church confirms the Resurrection. Peter’s first sermon, which dealt with Christ’s resurrection, stirred people to receive Him as their living Savior. Luke records the thrilling results: “That day there were added about three thousand souls.” And that group of believers has multiplied until now it reaches around the world. Today, there are almost a billion Christian believers today.

Finally, the testimony of hundreds of millions of transformed lives through the centuries shows the power of the Resurrection. Many have been delivered from addictions. The destitute and despairing have found hope. Broken marriages have been restored. The most conclusive proof for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that He is living within believers today in all of His resurrected life and transforming power.

The Resurrection sets Christianity apart. No other religious leader has broken the power of death and conquered sin.  Amen – Hence the blessing.

Quail

I prayed and I searched and I finally concluded I am using the word “Quail.”  Why not, it was the second part of God’s gift to the Israelites.   So it was a blessing.

Manna and Quail from Heaven

Exodus 16:13-15

“I have heard the grumblings of the sons of Israel; speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God.'”So it came about at evening that the quails came up and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.  When the layer of dew evaporated, behold, on the surface of the wilderness there was a fine flake-like thing, fine as the frost on the ground.…

God provided and yet the people after along time tired of the blessings and these gifts sustained them.  Those who tried to hoard the manna found it would be wasted and eaten up by worms and becoming good for nothing.  God continues to provide for us with the early crops that we richly enjoy.

Then after time, they grew tired of the foods God provided and in Numbers we see what God does, he provides them too many quail.  They were complaining to him about craving other type foods, and  ‘the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” (Num. 11:4-6)  

What a scene of all these quails being blow in from the sea.   God was angry and he was going to teach them.  Many of the people ate so much, they became sick, “But while they were gorging themselves on the meat—while it was still in their mouths—the anger of Yahweh blazed against the people, and He struck them with a severe plague. So that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah [kib-rawth-HAT-ah-vah] (which means “graves of gluttony”) because there they buried the people who had craved meat from Egypt.” (Num. 11:33-34)

How often do we grumble about our blessings.  These people are not any different.  We have to realize that our God can provide and our God can take away.  Who is in charge of our life?