Monday, January 30, 2017

I Know Whom I Have Believed

I Know Whom I Have Believed

As a preacher, Apostle and teacher of the good news about Jesus, Paul experienced many hardships and tremendous persecution. But despite his sufferings, Paul found confidence and assurance as he walked with Christ daily in obedience to his calling.
  • 2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Paul clearly understood who Jesus was and trusted what that meant for both his earthly life and for eternity.

To Know Him
Knowing of Him is not the same as knowing Him!
  • Psalm 9:10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
    • Knowing God through Jesus Christ leads to the most personal relationship a person can have. This understanding of who God is through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is a gift from God.

To Trust Him
Not just to believe, but the transformation of belief into a decision to trust.
  • Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’”
  • Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
    • Demons believe in God (James 2:19). But followers of Jesus Christ trust Him and voluntarily surrender all that they are to Him.

Why is Knowing and Trusting Him so important?

Eternal Life
Knowing God and trusting the truth of His Word through faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to reconciliation with God and eternal life with Him in Heaven!
  • John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  • John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
  • 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

And how does knowing Him and Trusting Him change your life?

You Have A New Perspective, Position and Partnership
  • Philippians 3:7-10 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
    • Through the lens of truth (God’s Holy Word) you see things very differently.
    • In Christ, you stand in His righteous before God.
    • Without Christ, we can do nothing of eternal value for God’s glory.

In Whom (or What) Have You Believed?


Dear Lord, please use the truth of Your Word to bring those who don’t know You to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Give them the opportunity and desire to know You and the faith to believe. Convict them with Your Holy Spirit and draw them to Yourself. I pray to You through Jesus and I ask these things in His name. Amen

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Contradictory Christian Characteristics

Contradictory Christian Characteristics

Bible based preaching, teaching and personal study help Christians to come to a deeper understanding of who we are in Jesus. And as we grow in that understanding, we also more clearly establish who we aren’t. The testimony of who we are and aren’t is revealed by how we live our lives. God sees what’s going on in our hearts and minds. God and people see what we say and do.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have a very special:

  • Hebrews 11:13-14 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
    • Christians are the spiritual descendants of Abraham (Galatians 3:29) and share in the traditions of Godliness demonstrated by those champions of faith found in Hebrews chapter 11.
  • Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
    • Christians have been adopted into God’s family (Galatians 4:4-5). We are joint heirs with Christ!
  • Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,
    • Christians are to conduct themselves in ways that honor God and reflect His character (Ephesians 5:1-2).

As Children in God’s family, as Soldiers in God’s army, as Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, and as Conveyers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: we should not esteem, emulate or embody characteristics that contradict with what the Bible teaches about how Christians are to live. In 2 Timothy chapter 1, Paul helps us to see some of who we are and aren’t.

Each of the following descriptions is an oxymoron!

Isolated Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:3-5 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
    • Followers of Jesus should never feel or be detached. Whether you come from a long line of Christians or are the first in your family to believe, you are now part of the Church of Jesus Christ – you have an enormous church family that loves you.

Apathetic Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
    • God has given us gifts for the benefit of the church, the salvation of the lost, and the glory of His name. We should never show indifference towards the gifts He has given us or how we use them.

Unruly Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
    • A Christian’s life should be marked by discipline and order; not a boring life, but controlled and honoring to our Heavenly Father.

Incognito Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
    • We are pilgrims in a foreign land – we should never blend in or be invisible. We should confidently face our struggles together.

Dispensable Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
    • God has purposes for our lives. We are part of His eternal plan! We didn’t earn or deserve to be used by Him; He just loves us that much.

Lukewarm Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
    • Those who have surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and committed their lives to follow, serve and obey Him should never be halfhearted about how they live.

Empty Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
    • Since we value what God has done, is dong and will do in and through our lives, we diligently preserve it by seeking Him daily, obeying Him promptly, trusting Him completely, loving Him fervently…

Selfish Christian
  • 2 Timothy 1:16-17 The Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; 17 but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me.
    • Sharing the love of Jesus with others is always important and often inconvenient. When we put other’s needs above our own, we are following Christ’s example.

In what areas of your life are you exhibiting
Contradictory Christian Characteristics?

Don’t be an oxymoron when it comes to
Living out your testimony for Jesus Christ!


Father, please keep me from being an oxymoron when it comes to my life as Your saint, servant and slave. As You already know, I fall short in many areas. But, over time I see the changes You are making in my life and how my desire to honor You grows deeper and stronger. Please work in the lives of all who love You to help us better model the example of Christ. I offer this prayer in the name of my Savior Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A Call to Victory

A Call to Victory

Over the course of 2016 I studied Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. This letter, the inspired Word of God, is a call to the Christians at Ephesus (and by extension to all followers of Jesus Christ) to live Godly lives. This devotion focuses specifically on Paul’s rallying cry to victory found in Ephesians Chapter 6.

One aspect of Ephesians 1:1 – 6:10 is a call from God to unity, love, light, wisdom, submission, respect, obedience, kindness and strength. God speaks through Paul to petition followers of Jesus to be and live like Jesus. But this is not a motivational speech, it is an in-your-face challenge and charge for Christians to live the life they were called to live – forgiven through Christ’s shed blood, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit and experiencing victory in spiritual warfare for the glory of God, their own benefit and the benefit of others.

In verses 11-12 of Chapter 6, Paul explains why it is so critical that we embody these attributes of Christ; there is an ongoing conflict between the Godly and Godless.
  • Ephesians 6:11-13 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
    • Through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection the war has already been won. But until all things are reconciled and restored by God, the fight continues.
      • This is God’s call to battle.
      • Servants of God are soldiers for God.

We find out in verses 13-17 that every soldier needs the right armor. The armor of a Christian Soldier is like no other!
  • Ephesians 6:13-17 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
    • Jesus is ‘the power of His might’ and ‘the whole armor of God’!  God’s Power (1 Corinthians 1:18), Truth (John 14:6), Righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), The Gospel of Peace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), Faith (Hebrews 12:2), Salvation (Romans 1:16), and The Word (John 1:14).
      • This is God’s call to Christ.
      • Saints of God suit-up in Christ.

And finally, we come to understand that Servant Soldiers are Saints of God doing Battle on their Knees!
  • Ephesians 6:18-20 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
    • Diligent Prayer – ‘praying always’ – always/at the right time
    • Diverse Prayer – ‘prayer and supplication’ – worshipping/conversing/asking
    • Directed Prayer – ‘in the Spirit’ – aligned with God’s will
    • Defensive Prayer – ‘watchful’ – attentive
    • Determined Prayer – ‘perseverance’ - persistent
    • Detailed Prayer –
      • supplication for the saints’ – for all Christians
      • and for me’ – for Paul’s mission
      • that utterance may be given to me’ – for Paul’s words
      • that I may open my mouth boldly’ – for Paul’s frankness
      • to make know the mystery of the gospel’ – for Paul’s message
      • for which I am an ambassador in chains’ – for Paul’s ‘cross’
      • that I may speak boldly’ – for Paul’s confidence
      • as I ought to speak’ – for Paul’s obedience
        • This is God’s call to prayer.
        • Slaves of God make supplications to God.

A Call to Prayer is a Call to Victory!


Holy Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and privilege of prayer. Please guide the prayer of Your saints to be within Your Will. Equip Your prayer warriors with the armor and information they need to battle for Your glory. May all Christians answer Your call to live like Jesus, engage in the spiritual battle, done the armor of God and pray faithfully. I ask these things in the name of my loving and faithful Savior Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dangerous Times and Dangerous People

Dangerous Times and Dangerous People

Realizing that the end of his life was near (2 Timothy 4:6-7), from a Roman prison the Apostle Paul writes his final inspired letter, Second Timothy. Paul takes this opportunity to instruct, inform, encourage, remind and warn Timothy about various aspects of Christian service, responsibilities and doctrine, faithful and faithless people, worldly ways and dangers, and much more.

In the middle of this letter there are five verses in which Paul warns Timothy about Dangerous Times and Dangerous People. These ‘last days’ are the church age (the time between Christ’s ascension and His second coming). Paul is detailing for Timothy some of the challenges and influences that the church will have to deal with to not only survive, but to thrive.
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

And in the middle of these five verses, in the midst of this description of worldly ways (read what Jesus had to say in Mark 7:17-23), are four words that really caught my attention.

  • Ephesians 5:20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  • James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.
    • To be ungrateful is to deny the giving, generous and gracious nature of God.

  • Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
  • 1 Peter 1:15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
    • To be wicked is to live in direct opposition to God and disregard His call to become more and more like Him.

  • Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
  • 1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
  • Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you
    • To be hard-hearted is to reject God’s love and His clear commands to love others.

  • Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.
  • Colossians 1:19-20 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
    • To be irreconcilable is to mock God’s mercy and resist His plan to reconcile all things.

Amid the itemizing of human depravity in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the four words above shook me.

To embrace and exhibit these four characteristics
is to shake your fists in the face of God!

If not for the grace of God and the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit,
I would even more regularly yield to the rebellious nature common to every human.

But in my weakness,
His grace is sufficient.

We live in Dangerous Times and throughout our daily lives we regularly interact with Dangerous People; people who hate and/or deny Jesus Christ.


I pray that God will give me and all followers of Jesus compassion for the lost and wisdom about how to guard against the evil influences of the world; all without being critical, condemning or confrontational. I also pray that Christians will lay aside their pride, admit, confess and turn away from their own sins, and work diligently and humbly to let their lights shine before men in such a way that God is glorified.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the name above all names.  Amen

Sunday, January 1, 2017



What is going to keep you from getting closer to Christ in 2017?
  • Mark 8:36-37 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Will it be:

  • John 12:25-26 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.
    • What do you love so much about your life that you are willing to dishonor the one Who humbled Himself for You?

  • John 12:42-43 Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
    • Who is it that you are trying to impress?

  • Luke 18:22-23 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
    • Why are ‘things’ more important to you than your relationship with Jesus?

  • Galatians 3:27-28 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
    • Who have you prejudged based on race, ethnicity, gender, social status, etc.?

  • Romans 13:13-14 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
    • How does your life not reflect your love for Christ?

  • Colossians 1:17-18 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
    • Where does Christ rank in your life?

If you have been spiritually reborn into God’s family through faith in Jesus Christ, walk with Him daily in 2017. Be thankful for your salvation. You should always seek to be closer to Him.

Don’t take Jesus for granted.
  • Colossians 2:6-7 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.


Loving Father and Faithful Friend, draw Your children closer to You through Your Son, Your Spirit, Your Word, Your Church, Your Providential Care and Your Sovereign Plans. Help us to always recognize that we can be closer, more obedient and more faithful servants. Empower us to live lives that honor You. Use us to draw others to salvation in Jesus Christ by the lives we live, the love we show and the good news we share. As always, I pray in the precious name of my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.