Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nothing Can Alter His Plan

The Bible also teaches that nothing can alter God's plan. Ecclesiastes 3:14 says, "I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.

Our Lord is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is immutable-- unchanged, unchanging, and unchangeable. His grace doesn't fluctuate. His power doesn't ebb and flow. His love and mercy don't rise and fall with the tides of any cosmic ocean. He is steadfast, constant, and enduring. The Bible says, "The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations" (Psalm 100:5).

What security and hope! What a basis for an optimistic attitude, even during painful times. And how wonderful to know we don't have to fear the future or worry about our security.

The Bible does not use vague or nonspecific language regarding our salvation. It doesn't use terms like maybe or might or hope-to-be. It says will and shall and is. If you struggle with knowing for certain that you're going to heaven, you can ARM yourself with assurance in three ways, using the acronym ARM:

A= Ask Yourself: Have I sincerely asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins? Am I trusting His blood for eternal salvation? Have I received Him as my personal Savior and Lord? If not, it's important to do so today, for today is the day of salvation.

R= Realize that doubting your salvation is questioning God's faithfulness to His promises. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote, "When God has made an unconditional declaration of His faithfulness, it is hardly becoming in one of His children to entertain any uncertainty in those things which He has promised."

M= Memorize one of the verses cited in this article, meditate on it whenever you're tempted with fear, and rest in the promises of God's Word.

Nothing can separate us from His love. No one can snatch us from His hand. Nothing can alter His plan. We're as secure as secure can be, as hopeful as the brightest promises of God, and as blessed as the richest soul.

Let's start enjoying our eternal life today!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Nothing Can Separate Us From His Love

Not only can nothing snatch us from His hand; nothing can separate us from His love. The apostle Paul declared: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" He went on to say, "I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor power, nor things present nor things to come, 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" (Romans 8:35, 38-39).

The Apostle Paul said, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day" (2 Timothy 1:12). He had a hope that infused his days with optimism. There weren't any insecurities with Paul, even when he was facing execution. he was convinced. He knew. He was persuaded. And no one could tell him otherwise.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Nothing Can Pry Us From His Hand

Many of today's companies offer retirement, investment, and insurance benefits that help ease our minds regarding the future. One insurance company even uses two upturned palms to assure us that we're in good hands when we're in their care. Yet we know by hard reality there's not much security in our world or its economy. We don't know what a day will bring forth. Riches can disappear in a moment. Jobs vanish. Savings and investments can turn sour. Stocks decline. Economies crash. As Proverbs 27:24 says, "Riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations."

As Christians, we don't depend on the world for ultimate security. For us, the eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. We have a hope that endures; for when Jesus comes into our lives, He comes with abiding security. He not only died to forgive us our sins; He rose from the dead to give us eternal life. His resurrection supplies the power, provision, and pattern for our own resurrections. Because He lives, we will live also.

John's Gospel drives this home. At the end of his Gospel, John stated his purpose in writing it-- that we might believe in Christ and have eternal life (John 20:31). He similarly ended his little letter of 1 John by telling us he had written it that we might know we have eternal life (1 John 5:13). Throughout his writing, John used the phrases "eternal life" and "everlasting life" 23 times. For example, Jesus told us in John 10:26-29: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone 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 My Father's hand."

The future just doesn't get any more secure than that!

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Security System - A Hope That Endures

As Christians, we don't depend on the world for ultimate security. It's not enough to have a job that simply takes care of today's needs. Somehow we need to manage wisely for the future. King Solomon drew a lesson from the lowly ant, "which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8).

In ancient Egypt, Joseph wisely stored up grain for the coming days of famine. In Proverbs 31, the wise woman was hard-working manager who provided for her family and wasn't worried about winter. She prepared for the coming seasons in advance. Jesus commended the shrewd steward in Luke 16 for using his current position to insure a secure future.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Confidence in God's Strength

So how do we go about living in God's strength and not being influenced by the culture of fear promoted by Satan? Five ways:

#1) Clarifying God's Strength
#2) Clothed in God's Strength
#3) Claiming God's Strength
#4) Commanding God's Strength
#5) Confidence in God's Strength

#5) Confidence in God's Strength. the strongest bridge in the world is of no use to travelers if they lack confidence in its strength. If you cannot agree with the psalmist who said, "I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust" (Psalm 91:2) -- then you lack confidence in God's strength. Bury your mind in the Word of God and hide your heart in the closet of prayer until you can say, "I have confidence in the strength of my God. I am confident that Christ who lives in me is stronger than Satan who lives in the world."

Remember these five C-principles: clarify, clothe, claim, command, and be confident. With God's armor in place, you will be ready to live a fearless, confident life--- "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Commanding God's Strength

So how do we go about living in God's strength and not being influenced by the culture of fear promoted by Satan? Five ways:

#1) Clarifying God's Strength
#2) Clothed in God's Strength
#3) Claiming God's Strength
#4) Commanding God's Strength
#5) Confidence in God's Strength

#4) Commanding God's Strength. We use the defensive part of the armor (truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation) to repel Satan's attacks, and the offensive part of the armor (the Word of God) to cause him to flee. The best example of using the Word to cause Satan to flee is when Jesus repelled Satan's three temptations in the wilderness by quoting the Word of God: "[Jesus] answered...Jesus said...Jesus said... Then the devil left Him" (Matthew 4:1-11). When Satan discovers that you know the truth, his lies and distortions lose their power.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Claiming God's Strength

So how do we go about living in God's strength and not being influenced by the culture of fear promoted by Satan? Five ways:

#1) Clarifying God's Strength
#2) Clothed in God's Strength
#3) Claiming God's Strength
#4) Commanding God's Strength
#5) Confidence in God's Strength

#3) Claiming God's Strength. The New Testament uses the word "reckon" (as in Romans 6:11) to mean "believe; act on; embrace; live as if" what God has said is true. The promises of the Word of God are what we are to believe. Paul would not write, "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10) if it was not possible for us to be strong in Him. We must believe that we are strong in Him in spite of Satan's accusations to the contrary.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Clothed In God's Strength

So how do we go about living in God's strength and not being influenced by the culture of fear promoted by Satan? Five ways:

#1) Clarifying God's Strength
#2) Clothed in God's Strength
#3) Claiming God's Strength
#4) Commanding God's Strength
#5) Confidence in God's Strength

#2) Clothed in God's Strength. You must, on a daily basis, make sure you have "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11). Theologically speaking, that means you have "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and [made] no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:14). Practically speaking, it means you are relying on truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God as they are found in Jesus Christ -- and covering your life and the lives of others with prayer (Ephesians 6:14-18). Christ is the armor. To be clothed with the armor of God is to be obedient, faithful, dependent, prayerful relationship with Jesus.

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Monday, July 11, 2011

Clarifying God's Strength

So how do we go about living in God's strength and not being influenced by the culture of fear promoted by Satan? Five ways:

#1) Clarifying God's Strength
#2) Clothed in God's Strength
#3) Claiming God's Strength
#4) Commanding God's Strength
#5) Confidence in God's Strength

#1) Clarifying God's Strength. Let's be clear: Satan has enormous strength, and sometimes he is allowed by God to exercise it as in the case of Job (Job 1-2). But here is what must be clarified: Satan only attacks Christians as a way to attack God. Satan's goal in spiritual warfare is to hurt, wound, discourage, or derail you so as to cause you to deny God's goodness, His faithfulness, His promises, and His loving care. If Satan can make your life miserable enough to cause you to deny or desert your faith, or speak poorly of God's love and protection, He will have won the battle. Therefore, God's promise of defense doesn't guarantee you won't ever be attacked or even wounded in spiritual warfare. (Just consider Job, Paul, Jesus, or countless innocent martyrs in the Church.) But it does mean you will have strength to praise God in the midst of every trial. Your goal in spiritual warfare is not comfort -- it is Christ-likeness.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Culture of Strength

Satan's kingdom -- the kingdom of this world -- is based on fear and intimidation. God's Kingdom is based on power and strength. ("For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power..." 2 Timothy 1:7) But it is up to us to avail ourselves of God's defensive strength to withstand the intimidating attacks of Satan, and us His offensive strength to cause Satan to flee from us. It is up to us to permanently imbed in our thinking the most important verse in Scripture about our relationship to God and Satan: "...He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).

So how do we go about living in God's strength and not being influenced by the culture of fear promoted by Satan? Five ways:

#1) Clarifying God's Strength.
#2) Clothed in God's Strength.
#3) Claiming God's Strength
#4) Commanding God's Strength
#5) Confidence in God's Strength

 Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Culture of Fear

Humans' use of intimidation and fear is a "like father, like son" thing. Jesus referred to those who opposed God's kingdom as children of the devil (John 8:44). John wrote that those who willfully sin against God are "of the devil" (1 John 3:8). And because Satan has been given authority to influence life on earth (1 John 5:19), his character is reflected in the culture. From junior high school bathrooms to corporate boardrooms, from battlefields to athletic fields, from neighborhoods to brotherhoods, fear and intimidation permeate the world's cultures as invisibility as the air we breathe.

And Christians are not immune -- we who live in God's Kingdom but reside in this fallen world can be tempted to fear. Satan is free to roar at us whenever he chooses. Sadly, far too few Christians realize they do not have to cower in fear at his tactics. Be aware of his power? Yes. Know his strategies and tactics? Yes. Live a defensive and offensive life? Yes. But fear Satan? NO!

Nowhere in Scripture are we admonished to fear the devil. We are given full information about him so we may live an informed and equipped life as we take the Gospel into his kingdom and anticipate conflicts with him and his demonic forces. To paraphrase President Franklin Roosevelt as he rallied our nation in the grips of the Great Depression, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." And to quote the apostle Paul: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power..." (2 Timothy 1:7a). And, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear..." (Romans 8:15a). Jesus Himself siad it most plainly when He told His disciples, "Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27b, NIV).

Let me say it as plainly as I can: Fear of the devil -- or fear of anything else -- has no place in the heart of the one who fears God. Fearing God means to honor, trust, worship, and respect Him.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Three Ripe Tomatoes

"Prayer is the lever that can exert a force much greater than its size. It's a fulcrum that tilts our circumstances grace-ward. It's a wedge that allows us to open doors and to exert influence. It's a pulley that lifts us upward while simultaneously drawing down the provision of heaven. It's the axle on which the abundant life turns. What a tool is prayer!"

Recently I read the story of John and Mina Clark who were serving in the Belgian Congo, as it was called then, with the Africa Inland Mission (now AIM International). One day Mina became ill with a dangerously high fever. In her delirium, she kept crying, "I want three ripe tomatoes, John! I want three ripe tomatoes."

There were no tomatoes in that region. No one had yet heard of them. John fell to his knees and prayed earnestly for his wife, asking for healing and begging God to send a doctor. He also spoke to the Lord about those tomatoes.

The next day, a tribesman and a neighborhood woman knocked at the door. The woman carried a basket covered by a banana leaf. After casual conversation, the visitors got down to the reason for their visit. Some time earlier a traveler had left the woman some seeds. She planted them, and the bush had borne fruit. But she was afraid of the produce, not knowing if these strange-looking spheres were edible or poisonous. John lifted the banana leaf to see--you guessed it--three ripe tomatoes. Seeing his delight, the visiting woman said, "You can have those. We have lots of them at home."

John took them right into Mina who devoured them; and shortly thereafter the doctor arrived ahead of schedule. Mina was soon on the road to recovery, and John never knew whether it was the tomatoes or the doctor-- but in either case, it was an answer to prayer.

The Lord's answers aren't always that instant and dramatic, but they are always as wisely bestowed. The Bible says, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. and if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15).

One of our greatest benefits is the privilege and power of prayer, for on the cross Jesus opened the way for us to approach the throne of grace with boldness.

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Secret Place

Jesus told us in Matthew 6:6 to enter our "closets" and to pray to our Father in secret. He was referring to the storage rooms included in Israeli homes in the first century. Because most families in those days were filled with children and animals -- there was little privacy. But most houses had a room for storing supplies. It would have been a small room, crowded and unheated. But it was a place where one could find a few moments of peace and quiet for prayer. For the believer, Jesus said, such a humble spot provides direct access into the presence of God Himself. It's a secure communications complex where prayers can be rendered and rewarded.

Dr. Samuel D. Gordon, in his classic 1904 book, Quiet Talks on Prayer, spoke of the kind of people who take advantage of this. "It is wholly a secret service, " he said. "We do not know who these people are...I often think that sometimes we pass some plain-looking woman quietly slipping out of church...and do not know, nor guess, that perhaps she is the one who is doing far more for her church, and for the world, and for God than a hundred who would claim more attention and thought, because she prays; truly prays as the Spirit of God inspires and guides.

Then Dr. Gordon said something interesting about praying for the global missionary task: "A man may go aside today and shut his door, and as really spend a half-hour in India... (as if he were actually there)...Without any doubt, he may turn the key and be for a bit of time as potentially in China by the power of prayer as though there in actual bodily form."

One of the benefits of our Christian faith is the privilege of instant, direct access to heaven's throne. The line is always open. The Lord is always attentive. Romans 5:2 says that "we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand."

To take advantage of this benefit, we must cultivate a set of personal practices involving prayer. It's helpful to have a regular time and place for daily prayer. Many Christians have learned to begin the day with a time of Bible study and prayer as Jesus did in Mark 1:35. Some of us call this by a certain title --our "Quiet Time" or "Morning Watch," or our "Daily Devos."

For other people, the evening is best, or even the lunch break. Find the time that works with your schedule, but make time. To quote Dr. Gordon again: "The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean these people who take time and pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. This something else is important --very important, and pressing, but still less important and less pressing than prayer. There are people that put prayer first, and group the other items in life's schedule around and after prayer. These are the people today who are doing the most for God..."

Of course, our prayers are not limited to our daily devotional time. We're to pray without ceasing. Dr. Stephen Olford, the British expositor, once said he never placed a phone call without pausing to ask God to bless it. Dr. Michael Guido, the radio evangelist, said that he prayed every morning while brushing his teeth that God would give him wise words to say; and as he washed his face, he asked God to give him a cheerful countenance for the day.

We should learn to pause before answering a difficult question, as Nehemiah did: "Then the king said to me, 'What do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king..." (Nehemiah 2:4-5).

Let's also learn to end the evening in prayer, thanking God as we fall asleep for some of the specific blessings we've encountered during the day. Psalm 92:1-2 says: "it is good...to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night."

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Benefits of Being God's Dwelling Place

We are the one's who benefit from the Holy Spirit taking residence in the dwelling of our life -- in at least seven different ways.

1)  Born of the Spirit.
When Jesus explained to the Pharisee, Nicodemus, what it meant to be "born again" (John 3:3), He referred to the new birth as being "born of the Spirit" (verse 6; also Galatians 4:29).  Before believing in Christ, we were "dead in [our] trespasses" (Colossians 2:13); but we have been given new life (been reborn) by the Holy Spirit taking up residence in us.

2) Indwelt by the Spirit.
Six times, in five different verses, the New Testament says the Spirit of God "dwells in you" (Romans 8:9, 11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Timothy 1:14; James 4:5).  Could anything be more clear?  If you are a Christian, the Holy Spirit dwells in you.  At this very moment, the Spirit of God is helping you understand and apply what you are reading -- a permanent, live-in Counselor (or "Helper"; John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).

3) Baptized by the Spirit.
The Greek word Baptizo means "to dip, put into, submerge." and every Christian has "by one Spirit...[been] baptized into one body" --the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).  That means you are a hand, eye, foot, mouth, or some other part of Christ's Body (to use Paul's anatomical metaphor; 1 Corinthians 12:14-27).  Everything you do affects every other member of the Body; no more "Lone Ranger" Christianity --we are part of each other.

4) Filled by the Spirit.
There are eleven references in the New Testament to people being "filled with the Holy Spirit" -- from John the Baptist (Luke 1:15) to Jesus (Luke 4:1) to the apostles (Acts 2:4; 4:8) to the Church (Acts 4:31) and others in between.  And in every case, the reference accompanies some dynamic act, event, or word of power or consequence.  Those filled with the Spirit prior to Pentecost were filled for a purpose; those filled since Pentecost are filled permanently so that our lives may be continually characterized by the power of Christ.  Our responsibility is to remain filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) by not grieving (Ephesians 4:30) or quenching (1 Thessalonians 5:19) the Spirit.

5) Illumination of the Spirit.
Paul says that in Christ, "the eyes of [our] understanding [have been] enlightened" (Ephesians 1:18).  Things that seemed foolish to us before now make perfect spiritual sense.  The Holy Spirit makes God's truth clear to speakers (1 Corinthians 2:13) and hearers (1 Corinthians 2:14):  "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."  If you have Christ, you have the Spirit -- and the ability to discern spiritual truth.

6) Walk in the Spirit.
Paul set up a logical progression for the Galatians:  "If we live in the Spirit, [then] let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).  What good is it to say, "I have the Spirit, "if we are not manifesting the Spirit (the life of Christ) in our life?  That is Paul's point -- walking in the Spirit is an ongoing life of obedience to Jesus Christ as Lord after trusting Him as Savior and receiving the Spirit of Christ who lives within.

7) Fruit of the Spirit.
The evidence that we belong to Christ is the transformation wrought by the Spirit in the form of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control -- the fruit of the Spirit (John 13:35; Galatians 5:22-23).  We have the privilege of being "ambassadors for Christ" on earth (2 Corinthians  5:20), revealing His character by means of the fruit of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit wants to be the sole, permanent resident in the dwelling of your life. The question is, Have you given Him access?  Are you enjoying all the benefits of having Him in your life?

To make sure, why not bow and confess anything in your life that is occupying any of the rooms of your heart and invite the Spirit to fill you completely -- and begin living the Spirit-powered life God saved you to enjoy.

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Most Unique Dwelling Place

In the Old Testament, God dwelt in the Holy of Holies, first in the temporary Tabernacle and then in the permanent Temple in Jerusalem. But after the glory of God departed the Temple in the wake of Israel's exile (Ezekiel 10), God had no dwelling place on earth -- until Pentecost, A.D. 33.

Acts describes the coming of the gift promised by Jesus before He left this earth (John 14:16). From that time until now, and until the Spirit leaves the earth and the Tribulation begins (2 Thessalonians 2:7), God the Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of individual Christians -- the "living stones" from which the "spiritual house" of God, the Church, is built (1 Peter 2:5).

Is that not the most unique, unconventional living arrangement you can imagine -- the holy God of the universe taking up residence in the life of sin-stained human beings? Yes, our scarlet sins have been made white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Yes, we have been declared righteous in God's sight, having been washed clean by the blood of Christ and kept clean by the purifying of the Word (John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; Revelation 1:5). But still -- for the infinite, eternal God to willingly choose to make the body, soul, and spirit of man His dwelling place on earth.

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Certain Conversion

Our "positional" conversion in God's sight is instantaneous, but our "practical" conversion happens over time.  at the moment we pass from time into eternity, our experience of being converted into the image of Jesus Christ will be complete (Romans 8:29).  God uses "all things" (Romans 8:28) in our life to transform our new position into our new reality --and our challenge is to believe by faith that this conversion is complete in His sight and ongoing in ours.

Don't be confused:  religious practices might be new in your life, but they do not make you a new creation in Christ.  That only happens through faith in Him.  If you are not sure you are the new creation the Scriptures promise, tell God today that's what you want to be.  And allow God to make all things new in your life through faith in Christ.  And if you are in Christ today, ask yourself:  Am I walking in the "newness of life" (Romans 6:4) that is my birthright as a new creation.

You have been handed the key to a totally converted life -- yours to live in and enjoy, now and forever!

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Conversion: Making All Things Possible

When God Transforms Us, He Makes All Things New

The clearest statement in the New Testament about how God transforms us is 2 Corinthians 5:17:  "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

But what about a human being becoming a "new creation" in Christ?  How does that work?  If you take a snapshot of a person immediately before he places his faith in Christ as Savior and Lord, and a picture right after his conversion to Christ...the two pictures look identical.  We don't lose our wrinkles, extra pounds, or crooked smile for all to see.  But there is no question we have been turned into (converted; transformed) something new.  In fact, Jesus called it being "born again" (John 3:3; see also Romans 6:4 and Galatians 6:15) --definitely something brand new.

First of all, we get a new description.  We are "the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:24).  When God sees us as a new creation in Christ Jesus, He sees us as righteous (cleansed of sin) and holy (set apart for Him) --just like Jesus.  Indeed, He sees us like He sees Christ.  That newness doesn't show up in earthly photographs, but it shows up in God's sight.

Second, we get a new disposition.  When we place our faith in Christ and become a new creation, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us (Acts 2:38).  When that happens, new character traits begin to manifest:  "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control --when Paul calls "the fruit of the Spirit" (Galatians 5:22-23).  Yes, some of those traits might have been in our life before, but here's what's new:  before, they were not manifistations of the indwelling Christ.  Now, they are (Galatians 2:20).

Third, we get new desires.  Paul says when we are saved by grace it means we have been "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them"  (Ephesians 2:10).  Good deeds done for the glory of God are a new thing for the glory of God are a new thing for those who are new creations in Christ.

Finally, we get a new destination.  Before becoming a new creation in Christ we were desired for a Christless eternity.  But we have been turned around (converted), headed in a brand new direction:  eternity in the New Jerusalem, dwelling in God's new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:1-4).

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Conversion: A Biblical Idea

When God Does A Conversion Project, It is Complete!

While forms of the English word "conversion" only occur five times in our English Bible, the idea is prevalent throughout Scripture.  In both Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament), the original words which we render as convert or conversion are words which meant simply to turn, to return, to turn back, to turn one's back to another, or to turn from one condition to another.  When the turning is spiritual in nature, we use the English word conversion to describe it as in Psalm 19:7 ("converting the soul"), Psalm 51:13 ("sinners shall be converted), and Acts 15:3 ("conversion of the Gentiles"; see also Matthew 18:3 and Acts 3:19).

A true conversion is a complete turning; a 180-degree change in direction or condition; going one way, then turning and going another.   

Think of the Bible as a whole:  God's entire plan of redemption is one of conversion --turning man's direction from being self-centered to being God-centered; turning scarlet, sin-stained souls into souls that are white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).  Throughout Isaiah, God speaks of the "new thing" He is doing in Israel.  With reference to bringing the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt, God said,

Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

And He said the same regarding Israel's return from exile in Babylon:

Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.
(Isaiah 42:9)

And about God's ultimate conversion project, the conversion of the entire planet:

For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
(Isaiah 65:17; see also 2 Peter 3:13; Revelations 21:1-4)

When God does a conversion project, it is complete!  And nowhere is that more evident than when the New Testament talks about those who have been made new in Christ.

Your Benefits Package by Dr David Jeremiah

Friday, July 1, 2011

Loaded With Benefits

The most important thing about our relationship with Christ is -- Christ Himself.  He forgives our sin by His blood, providing an eternal relationship with Him in heaven.  But along with our salvation comes an infinite benefits package and perks that fill our lives with blessings.

One of Paul's most unique writings was the private letter sent to Philemon of Colosse.  This man undoubtedly had many conveniences in life, especially for the times in which he lived --economic security, a home large enough to accommodate a crowd, guest quarters for travelers, and a contingent of personal servants.  But Paul told Philemon he was praying "that you will have a  full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ" (Philemon 1:6, NIV, 1984).

We may have a job with good benefits, but how would your attitude be different today if you had a full understanding of every good thing you have in Christ?  Let me list a few of them:

  • A set of precious promises that never expire.
  • An inner peace the world cannot take away.
  • Dogged hopefulness that cannot be denied.
  • A worldwide family of brothers and sisters and a local group of friends with whom to fellowship weekly.
  • A purpose for living that insures a lasting legacy.
  • The assistance of unseen angelic helpers at timely moments.
  • Constant communication with the God of the universe.
  • A fascinating Book that takes a lifetime to fully study and appreciate.
  • The pledge that all things in life will work together for good.
  • Personal guidance for every decision.
We will focus our attention on five specific benefits that accompany our salvation:  (1) the immediate and long-term transformation process we experience as Christians; (2) the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; (3) our direct access to the Father through prayer; (4) the inner strength God provides; (5) the hope and security that comforts us throughout life.

Your Benefits Package by Dr. David Jeremiah