VIDEO I Am Not Alone

Jesus hold me
Dec 1, 2014

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:27

I often wish I could dress myself. I can’t pull on a sweater, button a jacket, or hike up a pair of slacks. This frustrating predicament has driven me at times to God for help. And isn’t it like the Lord to give not only grace, but insight. I was reading today’s verse and decided to hunt down other references to clothes. Isaiah 61:10 says “I delight greatly in the Lord…for he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” There’s a similar reference in Revelation 19:8. Even back at the Garden of Eden, it was God who provided skins to clothe Adam and Eve after the Fall.

Why does the Bible say that God clothes us when it speaks of our righteousness? Then it hit me. Garments of salvation and robes of righteousness are things we cannot provide for ourselves. God provides the salvation and the righteousness. Yes, we can clothe ourselves with Christ as it says in today’s reading, but it’s His righteousness, not ours. Righteousness is something that God does to us and for us. In fact, when we try to impress God by our own acts of righteousness, the Bible doesn’t call them clothes, but “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Can you imagine putting on a garment which you sewed out of smelly, soiled rags? I now have a whole new perspective on my “robe of righteousness” whenever someone dresses me!

The Lord Jesus Christ is our garment of praise, our robe of righteousness, our garment of salvation. Put Him on today and delight in all that He sacrificed to clothe you in something so precious, so priceless…His righteousness.

Lord God, I want to head into this day clothed in Your righteousness, not righteous acts performed through my fleshly effort. I put You on today. Help me to put off sin and self-centeredness and anything that detracts from Your glory. You are my robe of salvation, and I couldn’t be dressed in a finer garment!


Joni and Friends

Iceland Anyone?

He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. Acts 17:31a

The Institute for Economics and Peace released its 2016 Global Peace Index, ranking the nations in terms of safety. Iceland is the most peaceful nation on earth, but 79 countries in the world are less peaceful now than a year ago, with Syria being the most dangerous. Overall, said the report, global levels of peace continue to deteriorate. Deaths from terrorism increased by 80 percent from last year. “Terrorism is also at an all-time high, battle deaths from conflict are at a 25-year high and the number of refugees and displaced people are at a level not seen in sixty years.”1

The course of events is moving toward the Rapture of the church, the Great Tribulation, and the return of Jesus, who will come on His appointed day to judge the world in righteousness. Things will grow worse, but then things will get better. As Hebrews 2:8-9 says: “We do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus….”

Evil purposes cannot overpower God’s goodness, and evil forces cannot escape His judgment. Let’s be strong and await His return.

For the past there is forgiveness; for the present there is divine companionship; for the future there is absolute assurance. L. Nelson Bell

Being Alone With God

Mark 1:35-39

Where does prayer fit in your daily schedule? I’m not talking about the times you pray on the way to work or while eating breakfast, but the occasions when you are alone with God and it’s just the two of you. Although prayer at any time is good, we also need to have a set time and place where we meet with the Lord each day—preferably in the morning.

Even though Jesus was the Son of God, He knew the importance of solitary prayer time. He didn’t do anything on His own initiative but instead lived in dependence upon the Father, acting only on the instructions God communicated to Him. In today’s reading, we don’t know exactly what Jesus prayed, but when the disciples interrupted His morning prayer time, He had obviously received His Father’s direction for that day—to “go somewhere else” so that He could preach.

Jesus was the perfect example of a Spirit-led life, and prayer played a vital role. Since we are to follow in His footsteps, wouldn’t it make sense for us to meet with God early each morning in preparation for the day? This is the time to lay our concerns at His feet, seek guidance for whatever the day holds, trust Him for provision and protection, and intercede for others.

Although many things demand our time and attention, we can’t afford to neglect prayer. The fruit of prayerlessness is spiritual weakness, unmet needs, anxiety, and ingratitude. But when we make prayer a priority, we’ll have a firm foundation for the day ahead, no matter what it brings. And in the evening, we can look back with a heart of gratitude for answered prayer.

The Fatherhood of God

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28)

“The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man” was a religious cliché promoted for many years, especially by religious liberals in the period between the two world wars. However, continuing hostilities between and inside most nations now make the idea of universal brotherhood in this present world almost farcical.

The fact is, however, that God truly is the Father of all men, in the sense that He created them all. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10). That was the rhetorical question posed to Israel in the last book of the Old Testament. In the New Testament the apostle Paul confirmed the same great truth to the pagan Gentiles. “[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth,” and “we are the offspring of God” (Acts 17:26, 29).

The sad fact is, however, that most men and women have actually become “children of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38) because of sin. We can only become spiritual children of the heavenly Father by being born again through faith in Christ. But we then truly “become the sons of God,” as assured to all those who “believe on his name” (John 1:12).

Now we believers can all rejoice in the wonderful truth that we have the same heavenly Father. We have been “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, . . . but Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:10-11).

May God help those of us who are (or will someday become) fathers on Earth to truly be children of our Father in heaven and thereby be genuine models of the heavenly Father to our human children here on Earth. HMM

Purified by Fire

And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this I am touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. —Isaiah 6:7

We like Isaiah’s vision and awareness. But we do not like to think of the live coal out of the fire being placed on the prophet’s lips.

Purification by blood and by fire. Isaiah’s lips, symbolic of all his nature, were purified by fire. God could then say to him, “Thine iniquity is taken away” (Isaiah 6:7).

That is how the amazed and pained Isaiah could genuinely come to a sense of restored moral innocence. That is how he instantly found that he was ready for worship and that he was also ready and anxious for service in the will of God.

With each of us, if we are to have that assurance of forgiveness and restored moral innocence, the fire of God’s grace must touch us. It is only through the depths of the forgiving love of God that men and women can be so restored and made ready to serve Him.

Thank You, Father, that the fire of Your grace includes all the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. Cleanse me, purge me, purify me by His blood. Amen.

Libel Against God

He that believeth not God hath made him a liar. (1 John 5:10)

Human sin began with loss of faith in God! When our mother Eve listened to Satan’s sly innuendoes against the character of God, she began to entertain a doubt of His integrity—and right there the doors were opened to the incoming of every possible evil, and darkness settled upon the world.

Relationship between moral beings is by confidence, and confidence rests upon character which is a guarantee of conduct. God is a being of supreme moral excellence, possessing in infinite perfection all the qualities that constitute holy character. He deserves and invites the unreserved confidence of every moral creature, including man. Any proper relation to Him must be by confidence, that is, faith.

Idolatry is the supreme sin and unbelief is the child of idolatry. Both are libels on the Most High and Most Holy. John wrote: “He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar.” A God who would lie is a God without character.

Repentance is a man’s sincere apology for distrusting God for so long, and faith is throwing oneself upon Christ in complete confidence. Thus by faith reconciliation is achieved between God and man!

God is for us

God is for me.” He was “for us” or he would not have given his well beloved Son. And because he is “for us,” the voice of prayer will always insure his help. “When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies be turned back.” This is no uncertain hope, but a well-grounded assurance—”this I know.” I will direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up for the answer, assured that it will come, “for God is for me.” O believer, how happy art thou with the King of kings on thy side. How safe with such a Protector! How sure thy cause, pleaded by such an Advocate! If God be for thee, who can be against thee?