HOLY HELP IS ON THE WAY 

GodProvides


“Do not be afraid . . . do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer . . . (Isaiah 41:14)


I don’t know where this message finds you today and what need may be knocking at your door, but I do know the promise given to us from the prophet Isaiah: holy help is on the way! Now, beloved, it is one thing to hear from a friend who is willing to lend a helping hand or a colleague who stands ready to assist you. As welcome as their offers of aid are, it is another thing altogether to hear the omnipotent Creator God say to you, “I myself will help you.”

And, oh, how small a thing it is for our God to help us! Consider all that He has already done for us:

  • He stepped down from His throne in heaven.
  • He took on human flesh.
  • He lived a sinless life.
  • He died a sacrificial death.
  • He was supernaturally raised from the grave.
  • He ascended into heaven.
  • He defeated sin, Satan, and death.

Even now, as our Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father, He bears the marks of the cross on His body, making it perfectly clear just how willing and able He is to meet us in our deepest place of need. Know this, Christian: Jesus had you in His mind and on His heart even before the creation of the world, for He says, “Before the world began I chose you!” (Ephesians 1:4). If that is not enough to comfort you for the rest of your days, go over it again and again until you can rest in its truth.

Are you in need of strength? Omnipotence will meet you in your deepest place of need. Are you in need of wisdom? Jesus is the power and wisdom of God. Are you in need of comfort? Your Lord is ready to bring you cosmic comfort. Are you in need of direction? All you need to do is trust in Jesus and He will make your paths straight. Are you in need of peace? Jesus is ready to shower you with the peace that passes all understanding.

Regardless of the need, do not fear. Cast your cares before the Lord, and go forth this day in the confident assurance that holy help is on the way.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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RIGHT REJOICING 

JOY


Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. (Psalm 149:2)


To be joyful in spirit, happy in heart, and delighted in disposition is a good thing, as long as our rejoicing is rightly rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is every reason for elation when it is rooted in our Maker. The psalmist knew this truth. Do we?

Here are two things to remember about your God to stimulate right rejoicing.

His Immutability

Immutable simply means incapable of change. God changes not. He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. How we should rejoice in this unchanging truth when we consider just how much we change moment by moment! Because God never changes, you can take Him at His Word. What was true yesterday is true today, and it will be true for all eternity. For “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29). Immutability is a right reason for rejoicing.

His Eternality

Think about it for a moment: there was never a time when God was not. God is eternal. He is from everlasting to everlasting, and, oh, how that should comfort us, we who wither as the grass—who are here today and gone tomorrow. Let us rejoice in knowing that the Eternal One has placed eternity in our hearts and called us into a relationship with Him that will never diminish or die. For “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Where does this message find you today? What has your rejoicing been rooted in? If it has been located in anything smaller than God, it is far too small to sustain you. Rejoicing in the temporal is a fleeting joy that cannot satisfy. But when our rejoicing is rooted in our Redeemer, it creates a deep well within, springing up to overflowing.

The immutability and eternality of our God are to be perpetual themes of our rejoicing. But there is still more reason for right rejoicing. Beloved, look upon Calvary’s hill, and rejoice not only in your Maker, but in He who is your Re-Maker, who is, even now, making all things new—including you! May we, the Israel of God—all those who, by grace through faith, have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation—rejoice in their immutable, eternal, redeeming Lord!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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EVERY CHRISTIAN’S CALLING 

Salvation


I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. (1 Corinthians 9:22)


Paul, having been saved by grace through faith on the road to Damascus, had one great aim in life: to be an instrument of salvation in God’s mighty right hand. When Paul said that “I might save some,” he was not speaking boastfully about his strength. Rather, he was speaking about the supernatural strength of His Savior, who had called him into the ministry of reconciliation between God and man (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). Paul knew that God had saved him to be used to save others. Do we know the same truth?

Make no mistake, Paul was a great teacher. He was trained in the best of schools and was considered a Pharisee of Pharisees. But his great aim in life was not merely to instruct individuals in morals and ethics. Paul had no goal of assisting others in behavior modification. His goal . . . his aim . . . his one mission in life was to be used by God as an instrument of salvation, one who would stop at nothing short of true heart transformation. Paul wanted to see men forgiven, adopted, sanctified, and set apart for the Gospel ministry.

The question we must ask ourselves is this: Is our great aim in life any different than Paul’s? Remember, the goal for Paul is the goal for all who have been granted faith to believe in the Gospel of Christ: We are all saved to be instruments of salvation until God calls us home.

So . . . how are you doing in your calling today? The salvation of souls consumed Paul, and it should be our great obsession too. Paul was willing to do anything in areas that were not prohibited by Scripture, such as participating in Jewish ceremonies or rituals, in order to point people to Christ. He did everything within his power to prevent prejudice by laying aside every one of his preferences. His only concern was for the salvation of souls. If God would be so pleased to use Paul to save a soul, he cared not about the way in which God chose to do it. Paul knew it was all about Jesus, and he served in such a way as to make this truth clear to all those he came in contact with. “To live is Christ” was the cry of this servant of God. And this cry must be the cry of our hearts as well.

Take a moment to prayerfully consider whom God might be calling you to share the glorious good news of the Gospel with. Remember, our Lord Jesus died for sinners that we might live for them and be used by God for their salvation. Press on, beloved Christian, and fulfill your calling for the glory of Christ by all possible means that you, like Paul, might save some.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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POSSESSING YOUR POSSESSIONS 

Possessing Your Possessions


When Joshua had grown old, the Lord said to him, “You are now very old, and there are still very large areas of land to be taken over.” (Joshua 13:1)


Oh, what a word of encouragement we have before us today! Because God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), I must ask you this: Are you possessing all of your possessions?

Take another look at our verse for today, and you will see that the Israelites were not possessing all the possessions God had given to them. There were still vast areas of the Promised Land that remained to be occupied. The land was conquered and the land was theirs, but they still had to claim it as their own. Pockets of resistance still needed to be overcome, which would require a disciplined effort on the part of the Israelites to get it done.

Beloved, it is no different when it comes to our spiritual blessings in Jesus! All of them have been won for us and paid for in full by our precious Redeemer. But just like portions of the Promised Land that remained unpossessed, many of our spiritual blessings remain unpossessed. We live out only a fraction of the blessings that have been given to us, and we wonder why deep satisfaction eludes us.

Satan knows we have been given every spiritual blessing. He knows we are in possession of our Promised Land because of the cross work of Christ. He cannot take any of it away. But what he can and does do is distract us and derail us from possessing all of our possessions, causing us to grow only into a fraction of the person God is calling us to be.

But this is not for you! Take a moment to meditate on and marinate in these words . . .

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

You have the authority to claim each blessing. You have received the divine power to remove whatever pockets of resistance that are still trying to keep you from being all God is calling you to be. And never forget this amazing truth: Unlike the Israelites, who were given the power and authority to simply conquer their Promised Land, you have been given the power and authority to be more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).

I hope you will prayerfully consider all that you have been given by the One who purchased you with His blood and let nothing keep you back from possessing all of your possessions.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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RECOGNIZING OUR REDEEMER 

looking-close


They were kept from recognizing him.  (Luke 24:16)


Two downcast disciples walked and talked with Jesus on the road to Emmaus, but they did not recognize Him. Surely they ought to have known who they were in the presence of, but we read that they did not recognize Him. This is the case for all of us; we experience times when we are kept from recognizing Him.

Beloved, does that statement resonate with you today? We all experience seasons where it is difficult to recognize our Redeemer. Whether it is because we have a divided heart that leads us to chase after smaller gods, or we are distracted by the cares of this world, or sin has separated us from our abiding sense of His presence, recognizing our Redeemer sometimes seems as far as the east is from the west. Even when we are attending to our religious devotions and duties, we can find it hard to recognize our Redeemer. In the sanctuary during corporate worship, we recognize Him not. In our quiet time, alone in our prayer closet, we recognize Him not. In our Bible study, we read on without recognizing our Redeemer. We hear His call and we know His voice, yet we sound much like Job, crying out, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him!” (Job 23:1).

This is the experience of every disciple of Jesus. We are still sinners in need of a Savior after we have been saved. As I’ve often said here, sin no longer reigns, but it certainly does remain; and in our sinful wandering, there are those times when we find it hard to recognize our Redeemer.

Our unbelief blinds us, just as it did the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They never expected to see Jesus alive again. They had witnessed the crucifixion when He breathed His last. The saw the Roman soldier thrust the spear through His side. They had lost all hope because they forgot the promise. Jesus told them all, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me” (John 16:16). He predicted His third-day resurrection on more than one occasion. And, true to His Word, Jesus walked out of the tomb on that first Easter morning.

So if Jesus has walked out of the tomb and into your heart, pause and pray: “Lord, open my spiritual eyes that I might see you in all things.” Remember, because Jesus promised never to leave nor forsake us, we are to recognize our Redeemer when the sky is blue and the clouds are fleecy . . . as well as when dark, forbidding clouds obscure the light and the storm winds blow. Fix your gaze upon the Author and Perfecter of your faith, knowing that one day soon you will have an unobstructed view of your Lord. You will recognize Him and know Him as He is!

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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SIMON-LIKE SAINTS . . . WITH ONE DIFFERENCE 

taking-up-your-cross


As the soldiers led Jesus away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)


In the account of our Lord’s crucifixion, we read of Simon, who had our Lord’s cross thrust upon him by the Roman soldiers that he might carry it to the hill Golgotha for the crucifixion of Jesus. Oh, how we ought to see in this story a clear picture of the work of every disciple of our Lord Jesus in every age! We have been called to live a life of cross-bearing without complaint, regardless of the cost or circumstance.

Here are two basic truths that will encourage you today. First, Jesus did not suffer so that we might live a life of ease and comfort in Zion. No, Jesus suffered during His earthly ministry, and so shall all those who call upon His name. There shall be no crown upon the head of any saint without a cross first being laid upon his or her shoulder. Our Lord’s plan is not to save us from suffering; rather, He has promised that He will sanctify and refine us through suffering.

We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (2 Timothy 3:12)

Second, some scholars have suggested that Simon carried one end of the cross while our Lord still carried the other. Regardless, Jesus went with the cross every step of the way. You and I must remember today whose footsteps in which we walk when you carry our own cross. Make no mistake, your path of cross-bearing is marked by the footprints of your faithful Savior. Mark the blood-stained footprints along the path and be strengthened by the fact that His blood was spilled for you. Mark also the blood-stained prints from His hands and knees along the path, where our Lord was driven into the ground under the weight of the cruel cross. Every drop of His precious blood is there to cheer us on as we make our way to the Celestial City.

In closing, let me comment on the one difference between Simon and each one of us. Simon was forced to carry the cross; we are not. Jesus said cross-bearing is to be the mark of every disciple who would come after Him. But we are to take up the cross, not have it thrust upon us.

Is your walk with Jesus marked by intentional, voluntary cross-bearing? Oh, beloved, “Simon-like” saint, shrink not back from the cross you have been called to bear for your Savior! For soon and very soon, you will exchange it for your crown.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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THANKS-LIVING, Part Two 

gratitude


I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)


I trust you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with friends and family, or perhaps you were simply alone with your God. Did you take the time to write down your top ten blessings of the year? If not, I hope you will do this and make it a habit each year. I can tell you from personal experience, it has returned multiple rewards to our family over the past twenty years.

On Wednesday we saw how we are “curved inward” by nature. And because of this condition, even after we have been saved, we must be incredibly intentional about living a life marked by Thanks-Living. Writing out our blessings and keeping them before us is one way to do this. Today I want to share the key that unlocks the door leading to Thanks-Living every day of your life, which is living in the tension between an attitude of gratitude and an attitude of groaning.

Let me explain. An attitude of gratitude is the disposition of the disciple of Christ who understands His words from the cross: “It is finished!” Jesus rescued you from bondage to sin, Satan, and death. You have, by grace through faith, been washed clean by His precious blood and brought into His family of faith. Jesus finished every aspect of God’s unfolding plan of redemption—living a sinless life and then paying the penalty for all our sin by drinking the cup of God’s wrath. And, because of the resurrection on the third day, we know that God accepted the perfect, atoning sacrifice of His life and death. God’s stamp of approval is the empty tomb on that first Easter morning. A dead Jesus was placed in that tomb, but He walked out of it alive and walked right into your heart. An attitude of gratitude is the only reasonable response to our rescue, and it is the foundation upon which to build of life of Thanks-Living. But that’s not all!

An attitude of groaning is the disposition of the disciple of Christ who understands this world is not all there is. As creation itself groans (Romans 8:22), we groan because of the brokenness of everything around us. We too groan because the world cannot fulfill its promises to us. We groan because we have tasted the pleasures of this temporal world and realize that they never fully satisfy. We groan because we know we are not yet the person God has created and called us to be. We groan because no matter how good things might be, they are never good enough and deep down inside our souls we know it. Finally, we groan because we know we are decaying and will one day die. We know this is not the way the world began, but, because of sin, it is the way it is today. So we live in the tension between an attitude of gratitude and an attitude of groaning.

But one day soon, we will cross the Jordan and we will finally and fully experience every promise we have been given, because all God’s promises are “YES” and “AMEN” in our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20). Groaning reminds us that the best is yet to come, and gratitude reminds us that God is progressively freeing us from the bondage to the unfilled promises of everything this world has to offer us.

So regardless of where this message finds you today, live your life within the tension of deep gratitude and daily groaning, and you will find yourself living a life of Thanks-Living. I assure you, there is no better place to live on your way to glory.

This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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