2013/10/15:

Unshakable confidence in the God we serve.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35

When God places a promise in your heart, you have to come to the place where you believe it’s going to happen so strongly that nothing can talk you out of it. It may seem impossible. All the circumstances may tell you that it’s not going to happen, but deep down you have to have this confidence, this knowing, that God is still on the throne. He is bigger than any obstacle. He already has a way, and at the exact time, what He promised will come to pass. You have this unshakeable confidence. You know that God is fighting your battles, arranging things in your favor, making a way even when you don’t see a way.

Instead of being discouraged, you get up in the morning thanking God that the answer is on the way. Instead of talking about how big the problem is, you go through the day talking about how big your God is. Your mind is set in one direction: victory, favor, healing, restoration. It may be taking a long time, but God didn’t bring you this far to leave you. You’ve seen Him do it in the past, and you know He will do it again in the future. You are fully persuaded because when you know your God, you have unshakeable confidence!

Father, today I profess that my hope and confidence is in You! I choose to believe Your Word which says You are faithful and Your Word is forever settled in heaven. Show me Your love as I keep my heart and mind stayed on You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

What “Living Water” Did Jesus Offer?

The story of the Lord’s encounter with a Samaritan woman is a wonderful example of His loving response to hurting individuals (John 4:1–42). Jesus is always reaching out in love, even when we do not recognize His extended hand.

Although this meeting may have appeared accidental, it was really a providential appointment with the Messiah. As the woman reached the well, Jesus initiated conversation by asking for a drink of water. His direct approach surprised her and opened the door for a dialogue that would change her life forever.

Throughout the exchange, Jesus’ goal was to help the woman recognize her greatest need so He could supply her with the only gift that would meet that need: salvation and the forgiveness of her sins. She had spent her life trying to find love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Christ offered her the living water of the Holy Spirit—the only thing that would quench her spiritual and emotional thirst.

Like the Samaritan woman, we can at times be so intent on getting our immediate needs met that we fail to see God’s hand reaching out to us in love, offering what will truly satisfy. Only Christ can fill our empty souls for eternity and provide for our essential emotional needs now.

This world is filled with wells that promise to provide love, acceptance, and self-worth but never fully satisfy. When your soul is empty and the well runs dry, look for Jesus. He has a divine appointment scheduled with you, and He will quench your thirst with His Spirit—if you let Him.

 Who Can Really Be Pure in Heart?


A happy person will be a holy person, because Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8). But who could ever be pure in heart? You can. I can. We must understand what this statement means. By pure in heart, Jesus is not saying that we can never have an impurity in our hearts and never be inconsistent. Otherwise, we all would be disqualified, because the Bible clearly teaches "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9).

So here is how it works: we come to God, poor in spirit. We see ourselves as we really are. We mourn over our condition. And like the psalmist, we pray, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10).

In our culture, we often refer to the heart as the center of emotion, and we refer to the mind as the center of intellect. But in the Hebrew culture, the heart referred to everything. The heart was the very center of personality. It was the center of the emotions as well as the mind. And it included the thinking process. Proverbs 23:7 says, "As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he."

The heart is the center of who you are. This means that with all of your being, you should be pure. But being pure does not mean being flawless. A good translation of the word pure would be "single" or "focused." So to be pure in heart means to have a single-minded devotion to Jesus.

To be pure in heart is to seek to live a holy life, because that is the secret to happiness. If you want to be happy, then seek to be holy. Don't chase after happiness. Chase after holiness.

Is The Gospel in a Single Word?

"It is finished." The ancient Greeks boasted of being able to say much in little - "to give a sea of matter in a drop of language" was regarded as the perfection of oratory. What they sought is here found. "It is finished" is but one word in the original, yet in that word is wrapped up the gospel of God; in that word is contained the ground of the believer’s assurance; in that word is discovered the sum of all joy, and the very spirit of all divine consolation.

"It is finished." This was not the despairing cry of a helpless martyr; it was not an expression of satisfaction that the termination of His sufferings was now reached; it was not the last gasp of a worn-out life. No, rather was it the declaration on the part of the divine Redeemer that all for which He came from heaven to earth to do, was now done; that all that was needed to reveal the full character of God had now been accomplished; that all that was required by law before sinners could be saved had now been performed: that the flail price of our redemption was now paid.

"It is finished." The great purpose of God in the history of man was now accomplished. From the beginning, God’s purpose has always been one and indivisible. It has been declared to men in various ways: in symbol and type, by mysterious hints and by plain intimations, through Messianic prediction and through didactic declaration. That purpose of God may be summarized thus: to display His grace and to magnify his Son in the creating of children in His own image and glory. And at the cross the foundation was laid which was to make this possible and actual.

Should Christians Attend Church?

I have often said that walking into a church doesn't make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. Attending church does not save us, nor does anything else we do. We are saved by grace, through faith, on account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone. This truth encapsulates how we are justified before God--in other words, how we are forgiven of all sin and declared righteous in the sight of our holy and merciful Creator. It follows then that a genuine believer will not lose his or her salvation by failing to go to church.

However, the Scriptures also teach that the Christian life should be lived within the context of the family of God (Ephesians 3:4-15Acts 2) and not in isolation. Hebrews 10 clearly tells us "not to neglect the gathering of ourselves together as is the custom of some" (Hebrews 10:25). Indeed, I cannot conceive of a true Christian not wanting to gather together regularly with fellow believers to worship the Lord through the sacraments and receive His Word through preaching.

Of course, our discussion presupposes the importance of being vitally connected not just to any group that claims the name of Christ, but to a healthy, well-balanced church that honors the historical and biblical Jesus. Such a church, first of all, worships God through prayer, praise, and the proclamation of the Word in the context of the essential teachings of the historic Christian faith.

These essentials include the final authority of Scripture, the Trinity, the full deity and humanity of Christ, the substitutionary atoning death of Christ, the bodily resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace alone through faith, and so forth. As well, a true church soundly administers the sacraments. Furthermore, fellowship should be an integral part of a faithful church's construct, where people come not only to give but also to use their time, talent, and treasure for the edification of the body. Finally, a healthy, well-balanced church equips and encourages people to go out and impact the world for Christ.

 Paul Had Feet of Clay?


The great apostle Paul was just like you and me . . . he had a love for God blended with feet of clay. Great passion . . . and great weakness.

The longer I thought about this concept, the more evidence emerged from Scripture to support it. Read Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. (1 Corinthians 2:1-3)

“Aw, the guy is just being modest,” you answer. No, not when you compare these words with the popular opinion of him in his day:

His letters are weighty and strong, but his personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible. (2 Corinthians 10:10)

That’s quite a shock. The man didn’t have it all together—he wasn’t perfect—and (best of all) he didn’t attempt to hide it! He admitted to his friends in Corinth that he was weak, fearful, and even trembling when he stood before them. I admire such transparency. Everybody does . . . if it’s the truth.

... Without hiding a bit of his humanity (see Romans 7 if you still struggle believing he was a cut above human), Paul openly declared his true condition. He had needs and admitted them.

He didn't have everything in life wired perfectly . . . and he didn’t hide it. Servants are like that. Immediately, you can begin to see some of the comforting aspects of having a servant's heart.