One Precious Assurance…

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Acts 1:1-8 (KJV)

1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The Bible is a book of promises, each of which is guaranteed by the Lord’s unchanging nature (2 Cor. 1:20).

One precious assurance is that those who trust Jesus as Savior will never be alone.

Our Father has promised to send His Holy Spirit to take up residence within each believer. Scripture teaches that the Spirit is a member of the Trinity, along with God the Father and God the Son.

The triune nature of God is clear in a number of Bible passages. Genesis 1:1-2, for instance, identifies both the Father and the Spirit as active participants in creation.

The New Testament later reveals that Jesus Christ was likewise present when the world was being made (Col. 1:16).

We find another example in John’s gospel. The night before His crucifixion, Jesus told the disciples that He was going away but would ask the Father to send “another Comforter” (14:16). The resurrected Christ later commissioned His followers to make disciples and baptize them in the name of all three members of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19).

On the basis of biblical truth, we can know for sure that the Spirit is fully God, just like the Father and the Son.

Scripture teaches that we can intimately know the Father and Jesus, and the same holds true for the third person of the Trinity. Because of the Spirit’s importance, Jesus spent much time talking about Him with the disciples.

Do you know the Holy Spirit as well as you do the Father and Son?

If not, spend time studying Scripture to gain understanding of His place in your life.

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Your Life Preserver…

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John 3:16-18 (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Picture a muddy river, swollen with rain and rushing over rocks.

You’ve fallen into that dirty water and cannot fight the current for long. Your head goes under once, then twice, and both times you come up sputtering after swallowing some of the filth. A third dunking might kill you. Suddenly, from the shore, someone throws a life preserver, which floats past your chest.

Will you grab it?

The answer seems obvious—of course you would!

But too often people drowning in the world’s fast-moving current refuse to grab onto the spiritual life preserver: Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for all of humanity, but individuals have a responsibility in salvation.

A person must recognize his or her own helplessness and acknowledge the need for Christ.

That means the new Christian accepts Jesus’ sacrifice as true and personal, believing that there is no other way to be rescued. It isn’t necessary to understand everything about faith and the Bible in order to be saved—God will ensure that His children learn whatever they need from the Holy Spirit.

However, it is critical to realize that we cannot save ourselves.

Can you point to a time in your life when you received Jesus Christ as your Savior? God is calling, longing for you to recognize your need for Him and to pray for rescue from sin. He is faithful to answer by saving you and making you blameless before Him.

God is offering you a life preserver and waiting to pull you to eternal safety.

The choice is yours. Will you choose Christ and live?

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As Complex As It Is…

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Matthew 16:24-28 (KJV)

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

When Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”    they replied…

“Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” But Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:13-16).

What set Jesus apart as the Messiah?

His birth: He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born, as prophesied, in Bethlehem to a virgin. Though angels announced His arrival and He reigns over all creation, Jesus entered our world in a lowly manner so He could be identified with the meek and the poor.

His wisdom: At age 12, He spent three days with rabbis, asking questions that showed his uncommon understanding.

His baptism: Though He didn’t need cleansing, Jesus asked John to baptize Him so He could identify with sinners and demonstrate His love to them.

His temptation: Satan tempted Him relentlessly for 40 days, yet He did not sin.

His ministry: He challenged man-made religious traditions. And by healing people—regardless of nationality—raising the dead, and forgiving sins, He revealed that God wants to be involved personally in our lives. Leading Pharisees wanted Him dead, but the Father protected His life until the crucifixion.

Many people deny Christ’s deity, calling Him simply a “prophet” or “good teacher.” But Jesus was never merely human.

As complex as it is for us to comprehend, He was fully God and fully man.

This is the unique way in which our heavenly Father chose to demonstrate His eternal love for us.

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They Dropped Everything And Followed Him…

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Matthew 4:18-22

18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

When Jesus called His disciples, they immediately dropped everything and followed Him.

We might think, The Christian life must have been simpler for them than for us.

When Jesus started walking, they fell in line behind Him. As He taught, they heard His voice.

By watching His interactions with people, they learned from His example. But how are we to follow Jesus, since He’s no longer on earth?

We can’t touch, see, or hear Him the way they could.

When Christ was about to leave this earth, He promised His disciples that He would send them a Helper who would never leave them. In fact, this Helper would actually live within them (John 14:16-17).

Today we follow Jesus by hearing and heeding His indwelling Holy Spirit—that’s the closest guidance we can ever have.

The Spirit does for us all the things Christ did for His disciples. He guides us each step of the way and teaches us the truths of God. But His work actually goes beyond that. The Holy Spirit transforms us from the inside out and enables us to serve and obey the Lord. He helps us discover God’s will for our lives and then give us the desire and strength to follow the path He’s planned for us.

All we have to do is follow.

An essential requirement for following Jesus is sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s voice. The more yielded you are to His guidance as He speaks to you through God’s Word and during prayer, the greater your spiritual hearing will become.

Hearing Him is the only way you’ll ever progress in your Christian life.

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Strength To Face Turmoil And Difficulty…

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Philippians 2:9-11

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

When Christ has first place in our lives, we will experience many blessings. These include a . . .

Quiet spirit.
As we turn our attention to the Lord and meditate on His Word, He “leads us beside quiet waters,” where we find rest for our soul (Ps. 23:2). TheHoly Spirit will help us shut out the “noise” of worldly distractions so He can provide assurance of our Father’s love and support. With a quieted heart and mind, we will be able to discern what God is saying to us.

Stronger faith.
Studying the Scriptures will enlarge our view of God and give us insight and direction. Reading how the Lord has helped others, we will gain confidence that He is at our side, enabling us to meet life’s demands. Our faith will grow as we follow His direction and watch how He works on our behalf.

Purified heart.
Like a mirror, the Bible reflects back to us who we truly are and reveals where we need to change. When we confess our sin, God promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Prepared mind.
We don’t know what’s in our tomorrows, but God does. He wants to prepare us for the future—both the joyous times and the hard ones. Through the Holy Spirit’s ministry, we will be equipped for whatever life brings (2 Peter 1:3).

Paul’s life demonstrates what it means to give Jesus first place.

Because the apostle made Christ the Lord of his life (Gal. 2:20), he knew joy amidst trials and received the strength to face turmoil and difficulty.

These blessings will also be ours when we make our relationship with Jesus our highest goal.

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