Assurance

Assurance

John 10:  7  So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 “All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 “I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (Observation) Jesus is the door to the pasture. The “pasture” is abundant life. The sheep know Him. There is no one else that the sheep know. (Interpretation) I suggest to you that the sheep in the pen are those who are waiting for their “shepherd,” the promised Messiah. Further, I suggest to you that the sheep will know Jesus when he calls because they were predestined by God to be saved “and go out and find pasture,” in other words, eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. Jesus explains further in John 10 below that there are “other sheep” who also are destined to hear His voice, that is the Gentiles, who will join “the fold” when they hear the good news about Jesus and believe it. (Cross-reference) Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the...
Trying to Please God

Trying to Please God

“…even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.” 1Timothy 1:13 Paul said of those who crucified Christ, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”1 He again said, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent.”2 When a man stands before God and argues that he is innocent because of ignorance, he will face three hurdles he must jump: First, he must be ready to defend before God that he had a legitimate excuse why he did not know. Second, he has to defend what he did in light of the Golden Rule. Third, when under authority he is commanded to treat people different from how he wishes to be treated, he must evaluate whether the authority under which he finds himself is egregiously violating what God expects of him. For example, if you are a soldier under authority who is told to kill a traitor who has not been found guilty by an official trial, would you do it? It may be that seeking the will of God results in doing wrong, simply because we cannot know the motives of others, as illustrated by soldiers drafted into the army to fight a battle started by the ruler. It is easy to use people in our endeavor to accomplish our objectives. All of this is a minefield that is exceedingly difficult to cross without getting hurt. The conscientious follower of Christ...
Edification

Edification

Matthew 11:28… Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. I find that in spite of my best efforts and intentions to focus on our Lord in my life, life (in this world) still often times becomes burdensome. I often get caught up in the issues of “being in this world” and lose my focus and where my focus ought to be. For me, this most often involves either business or family issues that often make life feel “very heavy.” During my morning quiet times, when I sometimes find myself feeling sorry for myself, our Lord reminds me and convicts me of others in my life who have “real burdens!” Two fellow believers who are battling cancer and another brother whose wife, in her mid-50s, has just been diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s just as she retired from teaching a year ago! As a result of much meditation and discernment, I have felt a strong call to edification in my ministry. Even committed Christians often get tired, discouraged and overwhelmed from carrying the weight of worldly responsibilities. They need to be reminded of where their true hope is in Jesus and his promises. They need to be told that you care about them and are praying for them! No one will doubt that Paul was a great evangelizer! But he also constantly edified the Christian communities he established. How many times do we read in Paul’s letters that he is thinking of them, thanking them, showing appreciation and encouraging them to trust God to help them work through the difficulties they...
Seeking God in Our Pain

Seeking God in Our Pain

“Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.” Psalm 78:17-18 The Psalmist recounts the multiplicity of blessings God bestowed upon Israel during the Exodus. The more God gave them, however, the greater their expectations and the more difficult they were to please. This seems to be a common malady among humans. Affluence tends to anger people more often than it fills them with gratitude; you would think the opposite would be the case. It seems pain was the only way God could get their attention: “When he slew them, they sought for him; they repented and sought God earnestly.”1 It is easy to take God’s blessings for granted, allowing His goodness to create unrealistic expectations. The more He gives us the harder time He has pleasing us. When that happens, He uses His rod to break our ingratitude. Ingratitude for your circumstances is a sure way to “test” God and provoke His anger. If you are like I, you would rather learn to be grateful for the circumstances in which Providence has placed you, rather than being broken to a place of repentance by the heavy hand of God’s displeasure. 1.   Psalm 78:34 For more articles by Walt...
Six Commitments in Walking by Faith

Six Commitments in Walking by Faith

Because we walk by faith, it must have challenges; otherwise, we would not need the God-given faith. Our only evidence that our faith is in God is how we walk by faith. Everyone does walk by faith; the question is, “faith in what?” The evidence of faith illustrates whether our faith is in God or elsewhere. God intends us to love Him as He loves us. He loves us unconditionally—we are totally undeserving of it. God’s love is a matter of choice. God gives us our faith to walk with Him regardless of the challenges and to love Him as a matter of choice. Joni Eareckson Tada is perhaps the greatest example of this in our time. As a quadriplegic, she has demonstrated this choice of faith in God and impacted countless lives. Her ministry of Joni and Friends distributes wheelchairs and other aids to indigent people all over the world. They share their faith while doing so. She has influenced the lives of many people who had no reason to hope. (Joni has published a book telling her story.) She had every worldly reason to run from God but has stayed the course, even though in tremendous pain. She says she simply turns it over to Jesus. I believe that if you intend to walk with Jesus there are some commitments you must first make: 1. The bible is the infallible Word of God and the inerrant Word of God. The giant question for those who do not agree with this, yet profess Christianity is what then is your source for knowing God? 2. You must continually work...
Are you teachable?

Are you teachable?

“And when He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?’” Matthew 21:23 Jesus performed miracles in the presence of scribes and Pharisees, and they asked Jesus this question. “Doing these things” pertained to the miracles they witnessed. Assuming that Jesus was unable to control the natural order, who gave Him the authority/ability to alter the natural order? If I see what I believe, rather than the opposite, how do I avoid what these religious authorities did? If I saw a man performing miracles, and he preached as truth that which differs from my understanding of the Bible, how would I respond to him? Jesus therefore answered their question with a question, to which they responded: “…but if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the multitude; for all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And he said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.’” Matthew 21:26-27 How do I avoid allowing culture to shape my assumptions of reality? All are teachable. The question remains, “From whom will I learn?” When I say a person is not teachable, I merely suggest that he refuses to learn from me. For more articles by Walt...