The Father’s Love

Have you ever thought about the Father’s love for us? I hope all fathers had a wonderful Father’s Day. Father’s Day is the time to celebrate and appreciate fathers. I am grateful for a mother’s love but when fathers express their love for their children it is something very special to behold. The same is true about our Heavenly Father. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, an amazing thing happened:

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. (Matthew 3:16 NLT)

The Heavenly Father expressed His love for His Son by opening the heavens and anointing His Son with His Spirit. It was similar to a father opening his treasure chest and giving his son the most valuable treasure that He had. However, God did not stop there. God ensured that there was no misunderstanding concerning what John the Baptist witnessed. God followed up His actions with a declaration:

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” (Matthew 3:17 NLT)

It was as though God was saying:

I have given My Son the best. I have given My Son of Myself. This is how much I love my Son. This is how much I am pleased with my Son.

When God fills us with His Holy Spirit, He is expressing His great love for us through His Son Jesus Christ. When God speaks about us in His Word He is declaring His great love for us:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Let us always remember the Father’s love for us!

The Keys to Biblical Understanding

Any door can be unlocked if you have the right key. We need the right keys to unlock the door to Biblical Understanding. The right keys are those which are given by God. God inspired men to write the words contained in the Bible. The Apostle Peter said:

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God. (2 Peter 1:20-21 NLT)

Many people who study the Bible build their own door and create their own keys to biblical understanding. They then call people to follow them through that door they have created and they teach people to use those keys they have created. God wants us to go through His door to Biblical Understanding. God wants us to use His keys to unlock His door.

I believe we are living in a time when all believers must strive to be “One”. We must be one in faith, love and hope. We must be one in doctrine. Jesus wanted His disciples to follow Him. Jesus did not mean to only physically follow Him. If that is what Jesus meant then the Apostles would be justified in following their own interests after Jesus died. One day Peter and some of the other disciples went fishing. However, the resurrected Jesus found them, helped them and called them to follow Him. Jesus told Peter:

“Feed my Sheep”

Jesus fed Peter and the other disciples with fish and bread. Now Jesus commanded Peter to feed His disciples. In the same way Jesus provided the fish and bread, Jesus provided the food for Peter to feed His disciples:

…go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. (Matthew 28:19-20 NLT)

“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. (John 16:12-13 NLT)

Peter fed the believers with “all the commands” of Jesus through the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit showed Peter what to preach and teach and Peter obeyed. The Apostles did the same. When 3000 souls were added to the Church on the day of Pentecost the Bible records that the believers:

…devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching… (Acts 2:42 NLT)

The believers devoted themselves to doing what the Apostles taught. They followed the Apostle’s understanding of the Scriptures. They went through the same door to Biblical Understanding that the Apostles went through. They used the same keys to Biblical Understanding that the Apostles used. We must do the same. God wants us to understand the Bible but we must go through His door and use His keys.

…This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him— speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.

I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

        (2 Peter 3:15-18 NLT)

Help! I don’t Understand the Bible

The Bible is the most read book in the world. However, for many people it is the most difficult to understood book in the world. The truth is there are many things in the Bible which are not easily understood. A failure to understand the Bible is not limited to those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. There are many Christians who still struggle with understanding the Bible. If you are one of those persons please do not despair. You are not alone. I see the inability to understand the Bible as an obstacle. It is an obstacle which prevents persons from knowing God. It is an obstacle that prevents Christians from growing “in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

A map shows us the way. If we do not understand the map we will be lost. The Bible is a map designed by God. We cannot move forward in our Christian life if we do not understand God’s map. Maybe there is a scripture verse or a chapter that you don’t understand. Maybe there is an entire Book in the Bible you do not understand. The purpose of the Overcoming Life is to help everyone; especially believers in Jesus Christ overcome the difficulties and obstacles we all face in life. Therefore, the purpose of this blog is to help you overcome the inability to understand the Bible.

I have experienced confusion after reading a verse of scripture but I have also experienced the joy of understanding that same verse of scripture. I believe God wants everyone to understand the Bible. I would like us to go on a journey of understanding the Bible. Will you join me?

Day 30: The Secret to Living an Overcoming Life

The secret to living an overcoming life is found throughout the entire Bible. Enoch learned this secret. Noah learned this secret. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob learned this secret. David learned this secret. All of the great men and women of the Bible learnt to do this one thing:

FOLLOW GOD

  • After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. (Genesis 5:22 NLT)
  • This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. (Genesis 6:9 NLT)
  • When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. (Genesis 17:1 NIV)
  • But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 3:22 NLT)

Jesus knew this secret and He practiced it on earth:

So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. (John 5:19 NLT)

The first instruction Jesus gave when He called His disciples was:

FOLLOW ME

The disciples of Jesus Christ walked in close fellowship with Jesus. They followed Jesus and:

They received the power and authority to do what Jesus did. (Matthew 10:1)

They received a commission to teach what Jesus taught. (Matthew 28:19-20)

They received the same Spirit that Jesus had. (John 20:22)

The disciples of Jesus Christ had these experiences because they followed Jesus wholeheartedly. They wanted to go where Jesus went. They wanted to do what Jesus did. They wanted to be Who Jesus is. Following Jesus allowed the disciples to overcome sin, doubt, weakness and fear. Following Jesus allowed them to endure persecution, imprisonment, and other bad experiences. Following Jesus will allow us to do the same in every area of our lives. When we follow Jesus we will receive the power and authority to live an overcoming life.

The Overcoming Life is within the reach of every believer in Jesus Christ. The Overcoming Life is within the reach of every person who hears the good news about Jesus Christ. God has revealed the secret to us:

FOLLOW HIM

Day 29: God’s Grace is an Inexhaustible Resource

We cannot live on this earth without the necessary resources. We need water to drink and wash. We need land to plant fruits and vegetables and to build houses. We need sunlight for warmth and vitamin D. We need money to buy or obtain the benefit of other resources. There are resources which can be found in nature and are easily replaced by nature.  These resources are renewable. This means that there is an inexhaustible supply of these resources. Our Heavenly Father, in His divine wisdom provided these inexhaustible resources for us so life on earth can be sustained. Do you know that He has also provided inexhaustible resources for believers in Jesus Christ?

Christianity is a new life. It is a new way of living. Jesus revealed to Nicodemus that “unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NLT). The Apostle Paul revealed to the Church at Corinth that:

…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

In the same way God has provided natural resources to sustain our life on earth, God has provided spiritual resources to sustain our life in Christ. One of these spiritual resources is grace. It is through the grace of God that we receive this new life in Christ and it is through the grace of God that we receive the strength and motivation to live this new life in Christ. One man who knows the power of God’s grace is the Apostle Paul. Before he was the Apostle Paul this is what he did:

  1. Paul (also known as Saul) “agreed completely with the killing of Stephen” (Acts 8:1 NLT)
  2. Paul uttered “threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers” (Acts 9:1 NLT)
  3. Paul “blasphemed the name of Christ” and “persecuted his people” (1 Timothy 1:13 NLT)

Paul did those evil things but one day he had an extraordinary experience with the grace of God. He met Jesus and received a new life. Paul knew he did not deserve to be called an Apostle but this did not prevent him from living a fruitful life in Christ. Paul overcame the knowledge of his past sins through grace (God’s inexhaustible resource):

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:9-10 KJV)

Sometimes we carry guilt from our past sins. Sometimes we remember our past sins and start to believe we are not good enough to work for God in a particular capacity. In these moments we must remember God’s inexhaustible resource. The grace of God allowed us to receive forgiveness for our past sins. The grace of God allows us to work for God. The grace of God allows us to live for God. There is only one thing left for us to do:

Live in God’s Grace