II — Faith: God Made All Things

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Hebrews 11:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

The hand that made this earth was a very intelligent hand. The land masses consist of soil, rocks, ores, and minerals–most of which are essential to man’s life on earth. In the beginning when God performed His handiwork, this land was “without form and void.” The water, according to Genesis 1:2, was dark and deep.

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“The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Genesis 1:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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As the sun shines upon the water–whether the ocean or the rain–evaporation rises into the atmosphere. Then it comes back to the earth in the form of dew, rain, sleet, hail, or snow. This allows for a constant recycling of moisture. God planned all of this so you and I might live in relative comfort upon this earth. According to Morris and Woolfenden (2018), vegetation inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This is done during the daytime as a part of photosynthesis. The plant uses water in combination with the carbon dioxide to complete photosynthesis. Oxygen is a by-product of this process. Thus, we humans are supplied with the oxygen needed to live here on earth (Stancil, 2019). No one person could have thought of all the necessary components to create our functional universe. In my opinion, whether or not science believes it, science itself is daily proving the Holy Bible to be true.

At this point I feel I must ask: Why is Creationism not given equal time in our science texts alongside the Big Bang Theory — Darwinism — Evolution? Maybe because it makes far more sense; it just requires a little bit of faith. There are some major components missing from those theories. For example, what caused the Big Bang? Where did the components that created the Big Bang come from? How did the Big Bang create conditions conducive to life and to evolution? From my point of view, current scientific explanations leave much to be explained and the answers to the queries I just put forth can never satisfy a truly curious mind.

What caused Evolution to begin, and then to continue? All conditions had to be just right for everything to happen at just the right time. My faith tells me Creationism is the most valid theory out there. God has planned the beginning of this universe, and He tells us the earth and all the elements will burn up with a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10); so, he also knows how and why the earth will be destroyed.

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“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

2 Peter 3:10 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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My faith assures me, God made all things. It is an event I did not see, but I read about it in Genesis chapter 1 of the Old Testament and in other scriptures throughout the Bible. So, I believe what I am told therein. Hebrews 11:1 says:

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“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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My evidence is before my eyes every waking moment. As I said earlier, I did not see God create this universe, but I am told of His handiwork in His Word. Since it exists and I am a part of it, His Word is sufficient to convince me. Thus, my substance is also found in God’s Word. Even today, science debates the life-giving element in our bodies.

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“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”

Genesis 2:7 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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According to the Holy Bible, God breathed life into Adam. Subsequently, He has breathed life into every living thing since then. So, according to God’s Word, our breath is the life-giving substance in our bodies. Science cannot explain it, but my faith says “God’s Word does explain it!”

The first five books of the Holy Bible: Old Testament–Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy–contain the “Law of Moses” which was inspired by God as Moses wrote it. The detail in this law would be impossible for one man to conjure. This says God is a very intelligent being.

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1 — “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

2 — “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

Genesis 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version

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David’s faith assured him God created the earth. He writes about it in the book of Psalms. In chapter 33, David tells us, God formed the heavens, He gathered the waters together as a heap and lays up the excess in storehouses. Could these storehouses be the underground rivers known as table-waters. These underground rivers are the sorce form whence water has traditionally been tapped for drinking, cooking, and other home uses. Today, much of the underground storehouses has been depleted. Now, cities need such large quantities of water that most resort to lakes and above-ground rivers to supply the needs demanded by those living within their limits. This water is then passed through water treatment plants to remove impurities and make it safe for human consumption. God has also provided other “storehouses” filled with crude oil, coal, iron, and a host of other ores, minerals, etc to be tapped in order to provide for our needs.

David went on to say the entire earth and everyone who is a part of this world should fear and stand in awe of God. The reason he gives is, “He spoke and it was done, He commanded, and it stood fast.” I know–personally, I stand in awe of what God has done, is doing, can do, and will do. I stand in awe of his knowledge and his power.

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6 — “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”

7 — “He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses.”

8 — “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”

9 — “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”

Psalms 33:6-9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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We have seen evidence, in previous discussions, showing Jesus is the Word (mentioned in John 1:1-3). The Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was/is God. Therefore, Jesus was a participant in the world’s creation. Then, He came to earth in fleshly form to die for my sins–and for your sins. Do you know anyone else who would die for your sins? I can assure you, I do not know anyone else who would die for my sins. But, Jesus did just that. He died for our sins that we might have an eternal home with Him in heaven.

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1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”

3 — “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”

John 1:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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When things get rough in my life, I turn to God and Jesus. I tell them, in prayer, what is happening and describe the troubles I am having with the events taking place. I ask for their assistance, guidance, and protection. Then, my faith assures me they will respond in like manner–and they do! Just as David said in Psalms chapter 9, verses 9 and 10, the Lord is my refuge. I can always trust God and Jesus to be there when I need Them, and I know They will never forsake me.

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9 — “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”

10 — “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

Psalms 9:9, 10 — Holy Bible, Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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In Psalms chapter 119, verse 105, David said:

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“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Psalms 119:105 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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So, as we saw above, the first three verses of John, chapter 1, tell us Jesus is the Word of God, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was God. Then the next verse, John 1:4, tells us He is also the “Light of men.”

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“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

John 1:4 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Are we beginning to see that Jesus coming to earth in fleshly form to die for our sins was already planned when “God” created this universe?

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“And God said, ‘Let there be light:’ and there was light.”

Genesis 1:3 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 1:1, 2. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 Jun 2021). Genesis 1:1 – 1:2 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 1:3. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). GENESIS 1:3 KJV “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 2:7. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). GENESIS 2:7 KJV “And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:1-3. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). John 1:1 – 1:3 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:4. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). JOHN 1:4 KJV “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Hebrews 11:1. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). HEBREWS 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Hebrews 11:3. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). HEBREWS 11:3 KJV “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Peter 3:10. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). 2 PETER 3:10 KJV “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Psalms 9:9, 10. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). Psalms 9:9 – 9:10 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Psalms 33:6-9. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). PSALMS CHAPTER 33 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Psalms 119:105. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (8 June 2021). PSALMS 119:105 KJV “NUN. Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Morris, Richard J, and Woolfenden, Hugh. (17 January 2018). How do plants breathe? John Innes Centre; Norwich, UK. (8 Jun 2021). How do plants breathe? | John Innes Centre (jic.ac.uk).

Stancil, Joanna Mounce. (3 June 2019). “The Power of One Tree – The Very Air We Breathe.” U.S. Department of Agriculture. (8 June 2021). The Power of One Tree – The Very Air We Breathe | USDA.

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Photo Above: The Universe by beate bachmann @pixabay.com.

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I — Faith: Jesus is the Word

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Matthew 24:35 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

There is so much talk today about the sixty-six books that make up the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Holy Bible, and much of this talk seeks to discredit the validity of the Word. While this is often discussed among those who follow Jesus’ teachings, what we do not tend to discuss is the essence of this posit. The ultimate goal of discrediting the Word of God is to discredit Christianity. The idea that the books of the Bible are not inspired by God is not a new one, but there are falsehoods being touted as fact in these attempts to discredit God’s Word. These untruths focus on invalidating the divine conception and the purity of Christ’s life here on earth. All sixty-six books of the Holy Bible were inspired by God, and they form a cooperative effort to describe God’s love as well as the truth and grace which Christ imparts.

Attempts to discredit and destroy the Bible have never been successful because God will not allow it. The opening scripture (above) tells us God’s Word will never pass away. When the 2020 protests were occurring at the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, one fact that was not widely reported was the burnings of the Bible and the American flag (Holton, 2020). According to Holton, there were some Christians involved in attempts to resolve the problem, but many Christians across the nation were not aware of this part of the protests. This says the protests that occurred across America in 2020 were intended to discredit Christianity as well as the American government. America was founded upon Christian principles. Freedom of religion–the right to worship as a follower of Christ, the Reformation Movement– was one of the main principles upon which the United States of America was founded. The world may try to destroy the Bible and Christianity, but Christ and His church will live forever.

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  • 1 — “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
  • 2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”
John 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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  • 14 — “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
  • 15 — “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, ‘This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.'”
John 1:14, 15 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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John, in the first two verses of his Gospel, tells us “the Word was in the beginning. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” A little further down in the first chapter (verse 14), John tells us the Word was made flesh. Reflecting on this in combination with the first verse, we can see–Jesus is the Word. Then in verse fifteen, we are reminded that John the Baptist bore witness of Him and said, “This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.” How could this be possible when John the Baptist was born before Jesus (refer to my Lesson on Scripture: “Zecharias’ Son John is Born“).

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“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”

Romans 10:17–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Faith is the primary tenet of Christ’s teachings. As we see in Romans Chapter 10, Verse 17: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Thus, we must “hear” the message in order to have a “faith” that the message is true. As the verse continues, we are told this message is from “the Word of God” (Jesus). ” In scriptures noted above, we learned that Jesus is the Word of God.

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  • 7 — “‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:'”
  • 8 — “‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.'”
Matthew 7:7, 8–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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In His “Sermon on the Mount”–Matthew Chapter 7, Verses 7 and 8–Jesus said, “If we ask, we will receive; if we seek, we will find; if we knock, it will be opened unto us.” Therefore, if we are truly and diligently seeking the truth, Jesus will guide us to it. Once we find it, if we knock, He will open the door of eternal life to us. At this point, it will still be up to us to enter into that door, because He will not force us to enter. Christianity is an act of faith; by faith we follow Christ’s teaching and enter into eternal life.

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“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Hebrews 11:1–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Once we have diligently searched for the truth and Christ has guided us to that truth, it is by faith that we act upon that truth as Jesus instructed through His apostles. We hope for the ultimate reward of an eternal home and life in heaven with Jesus and God, but we cannot see that home in heaven until Jesus returns to receive His own. Our faith that Jesus brought God’s Word to us, that He “is” God’s Word, that He “was” in the beginning with God, and that He “is” God in heaven is the substance that leads us to action. Our faith is the evidence that convicts us of these truths and compels us to act upon these truths. Our faith is what prompts Jesus to open the door to eternal life when we knock.

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  • 24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
  • 25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Romans 8:24–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Our hope of salvation is the basis upon which we “knock”; this is the faith upon which we enter into salvation. If we could see and reap the reward Jesus promised to us during His life here on earth, we could have no doubt it exists, but we cannot see heaven and eternal life until Jesus returns. It is our faith in the reality of this hope that leads us unto salvation. We must then act upon that faith and “knock” if we want Jesus to open the door to eternal life, and we must follow through on that knock with obedience of the commands He gave, continuing in His commands until He returns to receive us into that eternal life in heaven. If we had no hope, there could be no faith. If we have no faith, there can be no obedience unto eternal life, and there would be no continuation in that faith and obedience. The hope of eternal life fuels our faith which transports us into life eternal.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Hebrews 11:1. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). HEBREWS 11:1 KJV “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). John 1:14, 15. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). JOHN CHAPTER 1 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 7:7, 8. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). Matthew 7:7 – 7:8 (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 24:35. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U. S. Congress. (30 May 2021). MATTHEW 24:35 KJV “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Romans 8:24, 25. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). ROMANS CHAPTER 8 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Romans 10:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 May 2021). ROMANS 10:17 KJV “So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Holton, Chuck. (3 August 2020). As Antifa Agitators Burn Bibles in Portland, What Role Should Christians Play? CBNNEWS: The Christian Perspective. US: CBNNEWS.COM. (30 May 2021). As Antifa Agitators Burn Bibles in Portland, What Role Should Christians Play? | CBN News.

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Photo Above: by Priscilla Du Preez @Unsplash.com.

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All Things Work Together . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Romans 8:24-39

  • 24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
  • 25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
  • 26 — “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  • 27 — “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
  • 28 — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • 29 — “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
  • 30 — “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
  • 31 — “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  • 32 — “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
  • 33 — “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
  • 34 — “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
  • 35 — “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
  • 36 — “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
  • 37 — “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
  • 38 — “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come,”
  • 39 — “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Source: Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV).

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Notes:

In the eighth chapter, twenty-eighth verse of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul tells us to keep uppermost in our mind the promise: “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Oftentimes, we tend to become discouraged by all the negatives in our lives, and we might complain there are not enough positives happening. The past year is one of the times this might be more apt to occur. Is this something you struggle with? Are you discouraged by all that has happened to you, your loved ones, your family, and your country during the past year? If so, you are not alone. Many others struggle with the same spiritual ailment. Furthermore, it is not a new trial faced by modern-day Christians. It has been here since the inception of Christ’s life on earth and before.

When we are tempted by Satan or one of his many demonic slaves, we can rest assured that nothing they do can harm our soul–unless we allow it. There is an old saying my Mama often quoted: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” (Anonymous). As many have pointed out, words can and do hurt, often for a lifetime. However, Paul is telling the Romans, “If you are one of those who have been called according to His purpose, Jesus life, death, resurrection, and ascension offers hope for life after death through Him becoming “sin”–all of the world’s sin–and the sacrifice of His life in place of ours. All who hear His calling, obey His commands, and continue in His Light have this “hope,” and those who abide in His Way can be assured of eternal life with Him and God the Father.

When we mess up, if we have heard and obeyed the requirements He sets forth in the New Testament, Christ and the Spirit make intercession for us with God the Father. Christ determines who is abiding Him and who is not. If I abide in His Way unto death, I not only have the hope of that gift, He assures me I will receive that gift, and I will be in heaven after I die. If I know I am abiding in Him, I no longer have to hope for eternal life, I can know I will receive it–I can “see” it.

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am a sinner. Because of my sin, I deserve eternal damnation, not eternal life with God and Christ. When I sin, I have the assurance, as God’s child, Christ will make intercession and insure that sin is wiped from my slate IF I repent of that sin and go back to living the way He has instructed. He also has assured me–as Paul states in Romans 8:28–I can know that whatever happens to me in “this life,” it all works together for my good.

Each trial and tribulation we endure–and remain in Him as we endure–works with all other events in my life for my good. If I learn from my mistakes, I can also learn from the mistakes of others. I can ask (pray) for guidance when I do not know what I should do in a specific situation. He will guide me to the answer in some way. I may read the answer in something I come across. I may hear someone talking and “say” the answer even though that person is talking to someone else. I can even “know” His will by the fact that I have no choice as to what I do. Someone or some statute tells me what I “must” do. Even when what I am doing appears to be sin to others, if I learn from it and address it through prayer, He makes intercession for me. If the prophets of old were hindered from attending tabernacle by being cast into a dungeon–or by some other means–it was not held against them when they addressed it through prayer to God.

Again, whatever life throws at us, we can know it will work to our ultimate good if we abide in the way Christ set forth. No one else can do it for me, and no one else can offer me forgiveness for my sin unless that sin involved that person in some way. We can rest in peace with the assurance that everything we experience and endure will work together for our good. This is faith in His promise. He said it–albeit through His apostle–but He said it; so, it is true.

God knew before we were ever birthed on this earth, what our response would be to His calling. He is omnipotent. He was, and is, and always will be. His Son is basically His apology to mankind for not having a plan for “all” to be forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven.

I, personally, appreciate His sacrifice. What more can one do to let another know he/she loves that person? God’s Son died on the cross for MY SIN– not His sin–MINE! How can I ever justify not abiding in His Way? How can I ever “not” want to spend eternity with God and Jesus Christ?

If you heed Christ’s calling and obey the instructions He set forth, you too can be assured of your home in heaven. So, whatever happens here on earth–know there is a purpose for it in God’s great plan for things. Know, that everything will work together for your good, too–if you heed and abide in His Way!

In the book, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verses one through five tell of Cornelius, an Italian centurion. He and his whole house were good people; they gave alms and prayed for guidance. Their faith and Christ-like actions came to God’s attention. As a result, God maneuvered events in Cornelius’ life so he and his house could know what they must do to be a part of Christ’s church and abide in heaven forever. Thus, Cornelius and his whole house immediately became Christians–in the middle of the night–and they became the first “Gentiles” to be added to Christ’s church.

Prior to this time, God’s plan of salvation had only been available to those of the Jewish nation. If a Gentile wanted to be the recipient of that salvation, he/she had to first become a part of the Jewish nation. Then they could be offered God’s plan. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and ascension changed this. He freely “gave” so that we might “freely live.”

So, if a person iis truly searching for answers, as we see in the example of Cornelius and his household, God will guide that person to the answers, or He will guide others to that person to provide those answers. Then, the choice lies with that person. He/She has the choice to obey or to reject Christ’s teachings. So, the choice that person makes determines their eternal destiny.

I pray that all will want to live with God and Christ in heaven throughout eternity. However, His Word tells me this will not be the case. Many will not believe or obey Christ’s teachings. Even so, I continue to pray all will obey Him.

My hope and prayer is that each of you will have a peaceful and blessed day amid all the turmoil in the world about you. Be Blessed and Stay Safe!

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Photo Above: by Jasmin Ne @Unsplash.com.

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Charity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The word “charity,” in the New King James Version (NKJV), is translated “love.” Thus, in this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians, the two words might be used interchangeably. Apparently, there were many issues concerning the Christians at Corinth. In chapter 13, Paul addresses the need for love to abound. He notes a number of achievements to be worked toward as Christians in Christ’s church; then he cautions that without “charity” or “love” none of these is worth anything in Christ’s church. Though one may attain a high level of honor, without love, that person is nothing in God’s eyes.

How often do we, today, teach the importance of “charity” or “love?” Love, or charity, should be a frequent topic of our Bible lessons. It takes extensive study on the topic to exhibit the love Christ had, and has, for His church.

Love is one character trait deserving of frequent address. Too often we “go through the motions” but they mean nothing to us. Verse 2 says:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”–I Corinthians 13:2–NKJV.

Though it is possible to have faith enough to accomplish any feat—with God’s help–if I have not ”charity” or “love,” faith profits me nothing.

Faith, hope, and love are the three most essential characteristics of a Christian. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17–NKJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1—NKJV) Faith is instilled by hearing, reading, and learning the word of God. It is important to follow hearing with study in order to learn the true meaning of the scripture presented. Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15–KJV). When we hear the Word, that hearing must be followed by our own private study to ensure we understand what is being said, when it was said, to whom, and about what. Thus, we learn the true meaning of the scripture uttered in our hearing.

The more we study God’s Word, the more it impresses upon us the need for love in our own character. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-47

43 — “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,”

44 – “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;”

45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

46 – “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”

47 – “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?”

 The more we try to emulate Christ, the more love we will extend love to others. It is a tall order to “love our enemies and do good to them.” This tells us, if we have not love we are not emulating Christ—we are but pretenders. This pretense means nothing to God and will not ensure entry into heaven. We must grow as Christians if we are to hold the love for others that Jesus requires.

A new Christian has learned to love him-/herself enough to want to spend eternity with God and Christ. A mature Christian has grown in the emulation of Christ so that love is evident. Christ laid down His life to save us. How many of us would do the same?

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Photo Above: by reenablack @pixabay.com.

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Sources:

Eds. biblegateway.com. (2021). Holy Bible – New King James Version (NKJV). 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

Eds. Biblegateway.com (2021). Holy Bible – King James Version (KJV). 1987 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

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