Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Beautiful Feet

"How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those
who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion, 'Your God reigns!

(Isaiah 52:7)

"The vision is of the feet of the one who runs from the scene of battle across mountains to the city waiting for news (2 Sam. 18:26) The glorious message of this runner is salvation, meaning 'victorious deliverance'. This is good news or glad tidings. The idea appears in the NT as 'to tell the Good News.' The message Your God reigns stands behind all history; the Lord controls every power on earth." (commentary from my NKJV Study Bible)

"How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"" (Romans 10:14-15)  Feet are usually considered dirty and disgusting, especially after traveling in the dust...thus we see the custom of foot washing in the Bible. However, the feet of those who bring good news/glad tidings of salvation and proclaim God's sovereignty and peace are seen as beautiful and attractive because they do the Lord's work (the Great Commission). They are beautiful instruments of motion in the hand of God. They are "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (Ephesians 6:15) If the coming of a messenger declaring that the captivity at Babylon was ended, was delightful and exciting, how much more so should be the coming of the messenger proclaiming that people can be reconciled to God and be forgiven & free (from the captivity of sin) forever?

"What is the greatest crime in the desert? Finding water and keeping silent." (Eastern proverb) We Christians have found the living water, but...have we been keeping silent? Have we committed the greatest crime in the spiritual desert? We must be vocal and active in sharing the Good News that offers the living water to the thirsty, pardon to the guilty, deliverance to the oppressed, hope to the hopeless, and salvation to the lost.

The character of the messenger should correspond with his/her message. Can others see in our lives the joy of salvation, the beauty of transforming grace, and the peace of putting our trust in God alone? May we, who are to be joyful messengers of the Gospel, always walk in faith and obedience, in love and holiness, exuding grace, mercy, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and gentleness! Often, people really don't care to hear what we have to say about God, Jesus, the Bible, Heaven, the Good News until they are convinced that we sincerely care about them.

Let's do all we can to reach the lost (especially the unreached) with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The harvest is ripe.  The need is urgent.  What are you doing about it?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Ministry of Reconciliation

"All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

God is the Initiator of reconciliation. God's plan of redemption and reconciliation is accomplished by Christ's finished work on the cross. His death removed the barrier to reconciliation as described in Isaiah 59:2, "Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear." Sin separates us from God; Christ restores our relationship/ fellowship with God. "All this redemptive work that Christ has done to help and transform men is from God. Men neither deserve it nor share the credit for the results." (James Reid) The unsaved (those without Christ) are enemies of God. Those who are in Christ are friends of God and children of God.

One of the jobs
 God assigns to all His children (no exception) is a ministry of reconciliation. Ministry ("diakonia" in Greek refers to servanthood/service). As Christ's followers (who have been reconciled to God through Christ), we are to serve as Christ's ambassadors. We are called to be His representatives spreading His message of reconciliation to the broken world...that by our words and actions, we might bring others into reconciliation with God. We should take this task and responsibility seriously with passion and conviction as though God were making His appeal (urgent request) through us. We are to implore (plead or beg for urgently) people on Christ's behalf to be reconciled to God. Can you see the sense of urgency? Tons of people die and go to Hell every day. Are we diligently doing our job of sharing the Gospel? Are we living out our faith in Jesus boldly and faithfully? God has entrusted us to share the Good News of redemption and reconciliation with others so that they too can be at peace with Him. We must tell people that Jesus died on the cross to forgive all their sins, resulting in the canceling of the debt they owe God because of their trespasses. Because our trespasses were imputed to Jesus, the justice that our sin demanded is satisfied (not excused). When we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we make the greatest exchange--our sin for Christ's righteousness. Our sin was laid on Christ at His crucifixion and His righteousness is imputed to us at our conversion. We must help others see the need for repentance, reconciliation, and redemption. Tell them that God loves them and wants to restore them to a relationship with Himself. May we share Paul's resolution: "I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24)

"How tragic when God's messengers of peace harbor enmity toward each other. It is a travesty to carry a message of love and yet be filled with hatred. If there is someone whom you refuse to forgive, your message of reconciliation is hypocrisy. The evidence that you are a disciple of Jesus is that you love your fellow Christian (
John 13:35). In each of your relationships, make certain that your actions share the love and forgiveness that reflect what you received from God. Then you will not only speak the message of reconciliation, but you will live it as well." (Henry Blackaby)

"God has a purpose and plan for your life
When from your sin He has given release;
You're an ambassador for Jesus Christ—

Go and tell others of His perfect peace."

"The goal in ministry isn't culture, relevance or innovation. The goal is Jesus. Let us please Him, preach Him & prepare the world to see Him." (Paul Chappell)

Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for reconciling me to Yourself through Christ! I am forever grateful for Your rescue, redemption, reconciliation, and regeneration! Please remind us to take our job as messengers of reconciliation seriously since it is Your will and commission for us. Please empower us to faithfully and boldly spread the Gospel and be effective in our ministry of reconciliation. I pray for unity among Your children that we may love one another and work together to further Your kingdom. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Choose Joy

Habakkuk goes from complaining to God and arguing with God to praying to God and praising God. In the end, he remembers that God is always faithful, powerful, and good. He is resolved to rejoice in the Sovereign Lord, who is his Savior and Strength, no matter what happens.

We, God's children and heirs, who are redeemed and forgiven, who are blessed with every spiritual blessing, and who are born again into a living hope of eternal life with an imperishable inheritance, always have reasons to rejoice ("agalliao" in Greek, meaning "jump for joy")! "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) We can rejoice even in our trials and sufferings for we know Whom we trust and Whom we belong to. 
The joy of the Lord is our strength! Rejoice in His forgiveness. Rejoice in the Lord always. This joy of the Lord gives us strength to obey and persevere. Find joy in Who God is, in His faithfulness, in His presence, in His provision, in His power, and in His promises. A heart that always sees God's goodness and praises Him cannot help but being joyful. Rejoice at God's Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ. Rejoice at His redeeming grace. Rejoice that you are forgiven and free. Rejoice that someday Christ will return.

Is Jesus your constant Joy and Delight? Joy is the deep gladness that is not dependent on circumstances. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit living in us. Joy is found in our gratitude to Jesus for loving and saving us. Joy is found in knowing Jesus. Joy is found in having an intimate relationship with Him. Joy is found in relying on God and obeying Him. Joy is found in living for God and doing His will. Jesus is the Source of joy. O let us take joy in the God of our salvation! Joy unspeakable... unexplainable...undisturbable! 

When we struggle to understand God's ways and/or when our prayers are not answered the way we hope they would be, it's important for us to remember God's faithfulness over the years and choose to trust Him and be joyful in Him. Remember that we cannot always choose what happens to us or around us, but we can choose our attitude towards each situation and how to respond/react. "I can alter my life by altering my attitude of mind." (Unknown) "It has been said that the habit of always seeing the bright side in life, is worth a large income to a man. It makes life a great deal easier." (J.R. Miller)  When we change our attitude into one of gratitude, we can experience joy. It's also important to remind ourselves that God is ultimately in control. "There is no attribute of God more comforting to His children than the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe troubles, they believe that Sovereignty hath ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all." (Charles Spurgeon)

"You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." (Psalm 16:11)
There is fullness of joy in God's presence. Each day is a gift from the Lord filled with new possibilities. Though.....(fill in the blank), yet I will rejoice and take joy in my God who loves me and saves me...who never leaves me nor forsakes me. The omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Jehovah is always with me and for me. When all seems lost and all else fails, remember that God alone is enough and He never fails. Circumstances change but God never changes. May we live by faith in God's strength with joy always!

The secret of Christian joy is to believe what God says in His Word and act upon it. Faith that isn't based on the Word is not faith at all; it is presumption or superstition. Joy that isn't the result of faith is not joy at all; it is only a 'good feeling' that will soon disappear. Faith based on the Word will produce joy that will weather the storms of life." (Warren Wiersbe)

PrayerHeavenly Father, thank You for loving me and saving me! Thank You for always being with me giving me grace and mercy in all circumstances. I am so grateful for Your presence and sovereignty which bring me much comfort, confidence, peace, and joy. Please help me to keep my eyes on You. Please empower me to trust in You totally and choose gratitude & joy through any trials and uncertainties. Please make my life a joy to You & to others everyday. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

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