Precious and Magnificent Promises

2 Peter 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

If you read yesterday’s post of Great Expectations, you caught a glimpse of what God expects from us.  He doesn’t expect for us to succeed in our efforts to please Him because He knows that the old nature cannot please God.(Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.)  It is God that enables us to live holy (separated) lives, but just to be able to do the right thing still comes short of God plan for our lives.  It is one thing to know what is right.  It is still another to do what is right.  It is still another to have your nature altered so that you do what is right naturally.  If it were possible to do what is right all the time, it would still leave you unprepared for eternity.

Doing what is right is great and I do not want to minimize it.  Being right is even better because it is not performance oriented.  When you nature is changed, doing what is right is what you do naturally and takes no effort at all because your sin nature is being put to death daily and you find less and less in common with it.  So how does this transformation take place?

Our scripture gives us the initial clue to how this takes place.  God gives us exceeding great and precious promises to use in this process of transformation.  It is by our standing on these promises and rejecting the old nature that we begin to take on the divine nature.  For example, after I accepted the Lord as my Savior, I noticed that I couldn’t hold the same views that I previously held.  I began to understand things in a different light and my attitude toward others began to change.

Here is a partial list of just some of the promises to get you started in claiming them for your own.

  1. Eternal Life
  2. Nothing shall be impossible with God
  3. God will NEVER leave you or forsake you
  4. Nothing shall ever separate you from the Love of God
  5. God Loves you
  6. God is for you
  7. All things work together for good, to them that are the called
  8. All the treasuries of God are available to you
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Grace
  11. Mercy
  12. Spiritual Gifts
  13. Love (agape)

God would have us to take on His characteristics (likeness and image and dominion) to enable us to interact with Him through out eternity.  We become partakers of His divine nature as we make these promises our own life.

 

Who Are You?

Who are we really? I’ve heard it said that you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.  Its a play on words to get you to think about who you really are.  It may be one of the most popular unspoken questions about ourselves that we could ask.  So I ask you, Just who do you think you are?

If you have a low self esteem, you may think little of yourself or your ideas, and not put yourself forward.  Fear may have a great influence over you and your choices.  Your social skills may not be developed very much.  Your goals may not be very high.  Disappointment, embarrassment, and hopelessness may be your closest friends.

On the other hand, you may have a high self esteem and may see yourself being a success in many of the things you do.  You may have a lot of confidence and are not bothered much by what others think of you.  The world is yours for the taking.  You may be popular and have a measure of success.  Still you may have internal questions that leave you feeling hollow or something is missing.

Neither of these positions answer the questions of who you really are.  I found the answer in the Bible.  Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  It is not the name you hang on your door that defines who you are but the values you hold and what controls you.

So if you have become a servant of righteousness as a Christian, then let me ask you again, Who are you really?  For the answer to that question we must again go to the Bible for the answer.  1.  You are the salt of the earth. Matt 5:13  Do you remember the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?”  Well, I can make him drink.  All I need to do is put salt in his feed.  Then when he is led to the water he will drink of his own choice.  Just create a thirst.  2.  You are the light of the world.  Matt 5:14  The world is in darkness and cannot see the glory of God.  There is a sin barrier between them a God.  You can see the glory of God because the sin issue has been dissolved between you and God, and you can also see those in the world.  You can act as a mirror to reflect His glory to those in darkness.  They can see God in you.  3.  You are the temple of God 1 Cor 3:16  In all of creation the only place that God choose to dwell was in the Christian.  It is an eternal habitation and therefore must be fitted for Him.  He is Holy so we must be Holy.  He is eternal so He offers us eternal life.   1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: and again in 2 Cor 6:16 “. . .as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  4.  Ye are children of God.  Gal 3: 26  Every person is not a child of God because they were born physically.  That is the first requirement that they be human but there is a second requirement to become a child of God and that is to be born spiritually (from above, of the spirit, born again).  That is what Jesus was talking about to Nicodemus in Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  He explained it further when he said that which is flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.  He even  told the Pharisees that their father was the Devil.  5.  Ye are sons (Gal 4:6) . . .heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ . . .(Ro 8:17) A  joint-heir with Christ makes Jesus our brother and we inherit with Christ.  What God has in store for us is so beyond all that we can ever ask or think.  We should so walk that it is clear to all that we are born from above.  6.  . . .ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. . .  We began in this world but we are not of this world.  We have become a part of God’s eternal plan when we chose Christ as our Lord.  Now it is all over but the happening.  Satan can’t stop it and neither can all the demonic forces of the world together.  We are the apple of God’s eye.  We know who we are when we know who’s we are.

 

 

The Comforter

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

There was a time when I was jealous of the disciples because they got to spend over three years walking with the Lord and learning from Him every day.  I guess that I felt cheated because I was not one of them.  I love the Lord and wanted every advantage that could be had to know Him and His way.

I guess that the disciples felt something a bit similar to that when Jesus spoke these words to them.  They had come to respect Him and they also loved Him and knew that He was indeed the Messiah.  I am sure that they felt the impending loss and drew back from it.  You see it in Peter when he tried to defend the Lord with a sword in the garden when Jesus was arrested.

Jesus knew how that we cling to him.  What we don’t see is that clinging is man’s effort to hold onto Him and we should be trusting on His holding onto us.  He told Mary in the morning of His resurrection, “Don’t cling to me.”  He knew that we were weak and could not hang on tight enough so He devised a better plan.  He would hold onto us and He does have the strength to keep us.  Not only that but if He went away we would need His presence and power within us.  His statement about His not going away revealed that this greater relationship would be impossible unless He did.  As long as Jesus was present in bodily form then He could work with us one or only a few at a time.  But with His plan to go away opened the way for Him to live “within” each of us individually.  This promise of the “Comforter” gives us an advantage that even the disciples, who walked with Jesus, never had.  They had Christ with them but we have Christ within us and we can know Him as He is knowing us.

Be Fruitful

This morning I took my son and his family to the airport to begin their journey back to Japan.  It was so great to have them here for two weeks.

Next, I finished the task that I had promised to do for my neighbors that we recently met, in cutting down the two doors they had for their storage area.  I am still looking forward to meeting more of my neighbors that they know and told me about.  It seems like I should have already met them but even after two years of living in this neighborhood, I still only know a few of my neighbors.  This is something that I need to work on.  People are so important.

My plan for today is to spend some time on the new study that I will begin tomorrow evening.  As I sit here writing this blog, I am eating some fresh blackberries.  I really love them.  My favorite desert is blackberry cobbler and my wife fixes it for me in preference to a birthday cake.  It reminds me of God.  He loves fruit more than I do.  He wants us to bear fruit.  Our fruit is named in Galations 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  In Ephesians 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) it is referenced again.  This fruit cannot be produced by ourselves but is the product of our relating to life in the Holy Spirit.  To those who say the the fruit of a Christian is another Christian, I say that the additional christian is not our fruit but is the fruit of God working through you and not you working for God.  If additional Christians were our fruit then it becomes a works religion and not a faith response to God.  The drawing of people is God’s work not ours (John 12:32).  Our job is to lift up Christ.  If we do that then He will draw them.  We lift up Christ by reflecting Him in our character and actions, which consequently, produces our spiritual fruit.  So in the words of God, “Be fruitful, and multiply”.

Why Holiness

The plan for today is to post another article, as well as this blog post and to spend some more time on the Wednesday class on Holiness as a lifestyle.  The theme of the introductory lesson is on Your Body As The Temple of God.  Many look at holiness as either an extremest position or as something out of the ordinary christian walk.  It is for the super christian or the professional but not for ordinary person.  There may be many reasons for this but one reason that I think predominates their thinking is that they see Christianity as an attachment to their lives rather than an all together new life.  Their view of life ends at death and they are just getting through it the best they can.  They do not see that this life is only preparation for what lies beyond this world.  They do not see God’s plan for man as God preparing Himself a place for Him to dwell, for eternity and that place is in us.  We are the Temple of God and as such we are responsible for culling out the things that do not represent Him.  That’s it in a nutshell.  Holiness is not for only a few but it is the norm for all Christians.

This is the last day for my son and his family to be here before they return to Japan.  This trip has been super beneficial as it has not only provided time for us to be together but also the imputes to get my website moving again.  Also, bonding with the grandchildren that we don’t get to see very often.  We do Skype, and that helps but there is no substitute for getting together.

Also, today is our oldest son’s birthday so we will be eating out this afternoon in Celebration of his 52 years.  We will also be taking  care of last minute details for my son and his family’s trip.  Then it is up early in the morning and off to the airport.

Now it Begins

Today I worked on my website.  I have been learning how to navigate through the operations to add post and to correct my mistakes.  Figuring out how to correct a problem is more work for me than making an entry because I am still learning how things work.  I hope that you will be patient with me and overlook my mistakes.  I will try to help you walk through it with me.

In a little while I will be working on the first lesson of a 10 session course I am teaching at my church entitled, Holiness as a way of life.  I would suggest you read the article on this website entitled Fruit Bearing.  What is true for a fruit tree is also true for us.  Just as a tree will try to produce limbs and leaves rather than fruit, so we try to do works rather than become like Christ.  Limbs on a tree are necessary just as works are necessary for the Christian, but left to itself the tree will not produce juicy, sweet fruit nor will the Christian produce the fruit of the Spirit.  We desperately need for God to care for us as the Gardner cares for the fruit trees.  Our spiritual fruit  will become small and bitter without Holiness before God.

The big project that the Lord and I are working on is expanding the scope of the book that I have written entitled, The Mystery of Faith.  It is currently being translated into 4 other languages beside English, which is Chinese, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.  The Chinese translation is now in chapter 6, the Japanese is now in chapter 5, the Russian is now in chapter 3 and the Spanish is now in chapter 2.  More on this later.  I plan to add information on this site about the book and where you can get it.