The Poor in Spirit

poor_in_spirit.pngBlessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3.  “Poor in spirit” translated here literally means “to crouch or cower as one helpless.”  In Galatians 4:9 it is translated “beggarly.”  It is a humble spirit that all believers should have where they understand that only through God’s grace can they be saved and their lives have any meaning.  This verse calls on Christians to recognize that there is no room for pride in their lives or any faith in themselves to be good or otherwise worthy without God.

John McArthur has described poor in spirit as “The opposite of self-sufficiency.  This speaks of the deep humility of recognizing Read More »

Ensure the Lampstand Remains

menorahchurches“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his Read More »

The Valley of the Shadow of Death

george-inness-the-valley-of-the-shadow-of-death“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4.

As I grow older, approaching my 60’s, my thoughts turn more and more to my mortality. It is comforting to note that, if one is a Believer, God has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  In Psalm 23 this extends even to when we die as the Lord leads us through the “shadow of death” while comforting us with his rod and staff. The rod and staff were used by a shepherd as Read More »

The Parable of the Laborers

matthew.20.1-16We see in Matthew 20:1-16 the Parable of the Laborers. A landowner went out to hire workers for his vineyard. He first went out early in the morning, and then again at several different times during the day, including one hour before quitting time, and hired more laborers. At the end of the day he paid the last hired the same as the first hired even though the first hired worked longer and during the heat of the day. Matthew 20:13-16 describes the landowner’s Read More »

Of Kings and Obscure Men

daniel-interprets-dream-82607-print.jpgGod calls us to be industrious in all we do in life. Romans 12:11 commands Christians to be “Not Slothful in business…”.  Colossians 3:23 states “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”.  Proverbs 14:23 states “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”   In addition, Proverbs 22:29 tells us that “Do you see a man skilled in his work?  He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men”.

The phrase “skilled in his work” is better translated “prompt in his business” or in other words someone who is diligent/industrious.  The Proverbs promise Read More »

The Scriptures – Our Firm Foundation

kniga009_b“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing Read More »

Be Merciful

be56dc820fbbf195360744bf72aeda4f“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” Lamentations 3:22.

“For thou, Lord, [art] good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” Psalm 86:5.

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:36.

God is merciful to us even though we do not deserve it including in providing a means for our salvation from our sins (Titus 3:4-5).  The Hebrew word for mercy is a comprehensive term that encompasses Read More »

Choose To Be Content

philippians4-11“But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I Timothy 6:6-8.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5.

“Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.” Proverbs 30:8.

Contentment is a choice for a Christian.  God has promised to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19) so only our wants Read More »

Pursue Holiness

15195-ephesians-2-10“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14.  “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” I Corinthians 6:9.  “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48.

Salvation and good works go hand in hand. Once we are saved by grace through belief in Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, we will Read More »

Love God And Evidence Salvation By Keeping His Commandments

1-John-2-3-By-This-We-Know-That-We-Have-Come-To-Know-Him-green-copy“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26.

These verses are written in the context of Jesus telling his disciples that he was going back to Heaven to prepare a place for him.  However, to believers, he has left behind the Holy Spirit Read More »

The Gifts of the Word of Knowledge and Wisdom

A Bible study“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit….”  I Corinthians 12:8.

These are two related Gifts of the Spirit that are not directly defined in scripture but are clearly speaking gifts from the use of “word”. The Greek word for knowledge used here means simply knowledge and understanding. The Greek word for wisdom means the application of knowledge and understanding.  Therefore, knowledge focuses on a gift of understanding the deep-truths of Scripture Read More »

The Gift Of Administration

discovering-your-spiritual-gifts-46-728“And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”                     I Corinthians 12:28.

The Greek word for the spiritual gift of administration or governments is a unique term that refers to a shipmaster or captain, one who steers a ship.  It is a gift of being able to guide people toward a common goal or destination.  The Holy Spirit enables those with this gift to organize and lead others in various ministries Read More »

Observations on Evolution

weighingcreation“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”  Hebrews 11:3.

In the essay “Is Theology Poetry” C. S. Lewis discusses his view of the universal evolution theory  – “By universal evolutionism I mean the belief that the very formula of universal process is from imperfect to perfect, from small beginnings to great endings, from the rudimentary to the elaborate, the belief which makes people Read More »

The Gift of Discerning of Spirits

wpid-damsel-intro“For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” I Corinthians 12:8-10.

The Gift of Discernment of Spirits is the capacity to distinguish the source of a spiritual manifestation – whether it emanates from a good or evil spirit.  All Christians have the responsibility to “test the spirits” to see if a message being delivered conforms to the Word of God – “Beloved, do not believe Read More »

The Gift of Faith

george_muller“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit…” I Corinthians 12:7-9.

The gift of faith mentioned here as one of the Gifts of the Spirit is not specifically defined in Scripture.  This gift is to be distinguished from saving faith given to all believers and is apparently a gift whereby the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary assurance that God will answer their prayers and allows them to take heroic stands for God’s work in the church.  It is a supernatural capacity for believing God.  Hebrews Chapter 11 lists many examples of Read More »

Known of God

hqdefault“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Farther in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out devils, and by thy name do many mighty works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'” Matthew 7:21-23.

Professions of faith, by themselves, will not identify true Christians.  Christians are the Read More »

God Alone Should Be Feared

3e48c348ef50f138f8b08f1eb0879742“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.” Matthew 10:28. We are not to fear persons who can only kill our temporal body but Christ who has the power over both eternal life and eternal death.  The Greek word for Hell here is Gehenna, an eternal place of torment where the fires are not quenched (Mark 9:43, II These 1:9).

Even the power some persons may have to persecute us in this life is only given Read More »

Christ Living In Us

jesus-calls-twelve-apostles-to-preach-and-bless-others-2013-04-15In instructing the twelve Apostles before sending them out Christ said “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” Matthew 10:40.  We, as followers of Christ, in a real sense, carry Christ with us. Bonhoeffer puts it this way when commenting on this verse – “They are now Christ’s fellow-workers, and will be like him in all things. Thus they are to meet those to whom they are sent as if they were Christ himself. When they are welcomed into a house, Christ enters with them.  They are bearers Read More »

The Sovereignty of God Over Salvation

twelve-jesus-sent-forth-instructing_1157264_inl“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, ‘Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ ” (Matt. 10:5-6).

In “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer the author points out that all activities of disciples of the Lord are subject to the clear precepts of God.  Disciples are, therefore, free from the tyranny of their own ideas and calculations.   Further,  if Christ will not let us preach the gospel in any particular place, we must Read More »

Living Life As It Comes

look-at-the-birds-of-the-air-matt-6-26In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus said “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  So why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet Read More »

The Still Small Voice of God

39In I Kings 19:11-12 God passed by Elijah – “Then He said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.” 

It is interesting Read More »

The Gift Of Miracles

jesus-walking-on-water-benjamin-mcpherson1pp_w450_h343I was once asked by a friend what gift of the Spirit I had.  Trying to be amusing I said “the gift of miracles” attempting to think of the most dramatic gift possible.  I Corinthians 12 lists “miracles” as one of the gifts of the Spirit. However, there is much disagreement in the Church today of whether this gift is still in force.  There is an argument made by many Christians that this was a sign gift for Apostolic times which has now ceased.  While I understand and respect the arguments these Christians use who hold this belief I do not see in the scriptures conclusive evidence Read More »

The Gift of Helps


b072215-157_t670I Corinthians 12:28 introduces the gift of Helps – “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”  First, it is clear that God assigns the gifts in the Church per his sovereignty. Second, he assigns them to “some” so no gift is given to everyone as there are diversities of gifts in the Church Body. I Corinthians 12:4.  

The Greek wordtranslated “helps” is found only here in the New Testament; therefore, the exact meaning of the gift of helpsRead More »

The Fallen Mystique of Baseball

mickey-mantle-roger-maris-signed-photo-bb32eI was recently watching a baseball related movie called “61” about the home run race between Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961.  They both had a chance to break Babe Ruth’s all time home run record of 60. When Roger Maris hit his 61st homerun on the last day of the season only a small crowd was present in his home stadium and there was little fanfare, including leading up the game. The movie then reverted to when Mark McGwire hit his 62nd homerun in 1998 to break Maris’ record.  There was much hype leading up to the event and the game was delayed for a long time for congratulation and ceremony.

I could not help reflecting Read More »