El Niño | Born in Bethlehem |Micah 5:2 | Christmas 2020

El Niño: A Christmas Message

Daily Reading: (Micah 5:2):

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

El Niño as you might know is a tropical Pacific Ocean condition where surface water along the Equator warms up to temperatures above normal, the change in weather pattern affects the entire world, just as the birth of Christ did as well. The name came from locals along the coasts of Peru and Chile. El Niño if you noticed is always capitalized. In Spanish, El Niño means “The Boy.” It’s not just any boy. They were talking about Jesus Christ. During an El Niño cycle the wind along the coastline switches from blowing from the east to blowing from the west. With an easterly wind there is a dry wind in a normally very dry area- a desert. The westerly wind during an El Niño is a wetter wind. Rain increases and one nice benefit in some parts of Peru and Chile is the ability to grow food in a desert. This change in wind direction normally shows up around Christmas.  So, El Niño is known to represent a “Christmas rain gift from the Christ Child, Jesus Christ.

I absolutely love this because the Chileans and the Peruvians celebrate the abnormal weather pattern as a good gift from God. They said let’s name it after the One who is the bread of life, and provides us food in the desert so every time it happens, all glory to God through Jesus the Son. El Niño!

Jesus’ birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Christ has had enormous impact throughout the world and in a lot of ways it has made the seemingly impossible possible (like growing food in a desert) those who were dead in sin, have been given new life. Jesus as our bread of life.

So just as a meteorologist would give the announcement that El Nino is coming, we had an announcement of Jesus’ coming birth and where it would take place.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).

Micah is writing at the same time as his contemporary Isaiah in the 8th century before Christ when Assyria captured the northern kingdom and took the ten tribes into captivity. So, the question of Israel’s future was heavy in his mind. What now God? Maybe you have been contemplating your future with the same question, “what’s next?”

Bethlehem was such a strange choice to announce the future birthplace of the Messiah. It was small and humble, yet God chooses to bring his magnificent Messiah out of this town. Why? God chooses the lowly so we can’t boast in merits.

So What do we know about Bethlehem?

Bethlehem was in the district of Ephratah. Bethlehem Ephrathah is an old name for Bethlehem meaning “fruitful”. “It was at Bethlehem that Ruth went forth to glean in the fields of Boaz. In the streets of Bethlehem did Boaz and Ruth receive a marriage blessing which made them fruitful (Ephratah).

In Genesis 35:19 Bethlehem became a place of sorrow as it was the burial of Rachel the wife of Jacob who died giving birth to Benjamin. Before she died, Rachel named her son Ben Oni (“son of my mourning”). Jacob changed his name to Ben Yamin (Benjamin). “son of the right or south” since Benjamin was the only one of Jacob’s sons born in Canaan, which is to the south of Paddan Aram. “Benjamin was a more appropriate name”. Do you want your child to remember by their name that their mother died giving birth to them? Benjamin’s birth in Bethlehem was a foreshadowing of the birth of Jesus to come. The name change from Ben Oni (son of sorrow) to Ben Yamin (son of the south) was appropriate because the baby born in a manger was to become the real “Man of Sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3).

We already discovered that Ephratah means fruitful but Bethlehem itself means “house of bread” as Jesus came to be the Bread of Life and offer Himself as the provision for the needs of men. We are as Christ followers supposed to feed on Him daily, not just during the Advent season. Because of the Bread of Life nourishes our soul as we fill our hearts and minds with His Word.

The deepest meaning of the littleness of Bethlehem is that Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem is an announcement that God does not bestow the blessings of the Messiah (the blessings of salvation) on the basis of our greatness or our merit or our achievement. So, let us say with the angels, “Glory to God in the highest!” Not glory to us. We get the joy. God gets the glory look at what He has done. In the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Christ living in us, the Bread of Life, will make us to be Ephratah (fruitful).

Promise of Protection

The Promise of Protection

Daily Reading: (Psalm 91:4-6):

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.”

The Psalmist refers to God with two different names. He calls God both Most High (El Elyon) and Almighty (El Shaddai). The Hebrew name for God Most High means the extremely-exalted, sovereign, High God. He that dwells in the secret place of the Extremely-Exalted, Sovereign, Almighty is the One absolute in power (Psalm 91:1). If you are a believer, the place you dwell and find your rest is in the protection of the one who has absolute power. When we know this truth about our positioning in Christ, protecting by the One with absolute power, what is there to fear? Wisdom tells us not to jump off a cliff without a parachute. The wise thing would to not gather in large crowds during a pandemic. As you go through your life guided by God’s leading, dangers will be present no matter what you do, but His protection is there for you.

This word rest or abide means to stay permanently. Our permanent dwelling place in Christ is with the extremely exalted Sovereign High God (El Elyon) under the shadow of the One in Absolute Power (El Shaddai), which means we have the protection of the Lord. 

Let’s follow the Psalmist in his writing: “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him” (Psalm 91:2). Do you trust the Most High? Do you trust that He loves you and that He has and will continue to take care of you? Do you trust him with your life?

 “For he will rescue you from every trap.” When you set a trap, it is to ensnare the unexpecting, otherwise, traps wouldn’t work. God’s protection protects us from dangers we can’t even see (Psalm 91:3).

“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Psalm 91:5-6).

When we receive His love for us the fear is cast out. David says in Psalm 91 that we don’t need to fear, we only need to trust. We were created, our bodies were not designed for fear. Our bodies were designed for faith and trust in our Creator (Psalm 91:2).

Psalm 91:15-16: “He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

This means that trouble will most certainly come. The doctor could give troubling news but the report from the Lord is “I will deliver him”. Deliver him and honor him. As the troubles and the terrors come all around us may we remember that Jesus, Our High Priest prayed on our behalf, that God the Father would protect us from the evil in this world. “Father I pray not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil in the world” (John 17:15). His prayer was not to be delivered out of trouble, but to be protected in the midst of it.

The Psalm concludes in verse 16. “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” There is another name of God mentioned in Psalm 91 (Yeshua). So we started off with two names for God listed: El Elyon (Extremely-Exalted, Sovereign, High God) and (El Shaddia) absolute in power, and then finally Yeshua.“Show him my Salvation/Yeshua.” The final word of Psalm 91 is the name of Jesus.We have been shown our salvation is Yeshua/ Jesus.When trouble comes you will find salvation in the name of Jesus.

The Promise of Peace

The Promise of Peace

Daily Reading: (John 14:1-2, 27):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Peace is an interesting emotion as it is one of two Kingdom emotions that God wants your life to have right now, the other being joy. Peace and joy. These are the two emotions the devil works the hardest to try and remove from your life because they are Kingdom emotions. This is what you will experience for all of eternity in heaven, perpetual inner peace and great joy.  And what that means is every time you seek Christ’s kingdom and His righteousness, the righteousness that He has given to you, the emotions of both peace and joy will be present. You can find joy even in what would seem to be joyless moments and so I believe one of the main reasons the devil works so hard to try and rob us of peace and joy is those are the most attractive emotions that give us an opportunity to bring forth the very Light of the World to the lost and hurting people of the world.

If you make a choice to seek or pursue something outside the Kingdom or that might bring glory to God, peace and joy will not be present. So what this means is that your peace and joy are not linked to what happens to you, or what comes on you, it is linked directly to what you have in Christ (access to the Kingdom).

When bad things happen, use them as reminders to seek the Kingdom and the promise is you will have the Kingdom emotions flowing out of you of peace and joy. When bad things that come by way of the enemy will cause you to seek the kingdom first that will completely dismantle the enemy’s strategy. The devil is only able to rob from you, peace and joy by getting your mind on your situation instead of your Savior.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

Trouble is coming on the disciples and Jesus wants His disciples (which includes all believers) to be ready, to not be moved to trouble but to be brought and kept by peace. To start the chapter off in John 14, Jesus says:  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Did you notice what just happened? Jesus modeled for us what we are to do to not let our hearts be troubled, seek or reflect on the kingdom (John 14:1-2). In verse two, Jesus starts talking about the kingdom. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?”

Now moving ahead in the text Thomas at this point is troubled because he wants the GPS coordinates of how to get to the kingdom. “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way” (John 14:5)?  There are two questions for me to answer here. The first question is for a non-believers? How do I get to heaven? How do I get to spend eternity on streets of gold with unending joy and peace where I am in the very presence of God forever? It is the grandest question of all time. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Anyone who believes in Jesus as the Messiah, the One who paid the penalty for their sins on the cross- John‘s Gospel tells us they will not perish but have everlasting life. If you place your trust in Christ today as your means of salvation- you have just found the way (Jesus Christ) to the Kingdom. 

Now the second question is for anyone who already is a believer. How do I have peace in the middle of my life’s storm?Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” But Pastor Matt, Jesus is talking about the way to the kingdom. And what does the kingdom bring? “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). Jesus showed us the way to the kingdom through Himself, so that we might have the kingdom emotion of peace right now. There is a promise of peace which takes us back to our main verse today.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Jesus has permanently given you His peace (John 14:27). It is available to you whenever you put your mind on the Kingdom.

The Promise of Wisdom

The Promise of Wisdom

Daily Reading: (James 1:5-7):

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Only a foolish person would say I don’t need anymore wisdom in my life. In today’s world our brains are wired that when we don’t know the answer to something what do we generally do? We google it. But there are some answers we seek that Google can’t help us with.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask… Alexa. You should ask Siri, or Google, or just ask Jeeves. No!“If any of you lacks wisdom…” that is all of us and it is all the time. I want us to get out of the mindset that it is only life changing decisions where we need wisdom. We always need it and God is ready to give it.

So what exactly is wisdom?Wisdom in the Greek is the word sophia. There are generally two kinds of wisdom. The first is the wisdom of man. It simply means wisdom, broad and full of intelligence. We all know wise people. But even the wisest people you meet will have limitations in their wisdom.

This takes us to second definition of wisdom: supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God. If you try to discover wisdom apart from God you are seeking it from a limited intelligence source but if you want supreme intelligence, just ask God (James 1:5). This actually means something very specific and it is found in the last half of the verse which we will get to in a minute.

So we know the text says and life tells us if or even when we lack wisdom we should ask God for it and now the promise comes. “who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” What does finding fault have to do with asking for wisdom? How are we able to stand before God where He does not find any fault in us? How have we gained access to come boldly before the throne of grace that we might obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need? It has to do with Jesus. Because of Jesus who is our wisdom, we are able to come before God for whatever it is that we need and we will find or be given grace (in this instance wisdom) to help us in our time of need.

God desires that we pursue wisdom as we are told in the Old Testament (Proverbs 4:7). However, we learn in the New Testament that Jesus is our wisdom.

“God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Whatever your situation, make it your ambition to know the Lord. Know Jesus, and you will know wisdom. Pursue Jesus and you will experience wisdom in every area of your life. Because in Christ, God does not find fault and gives you generously what you need.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7).

If we lack wisdom ask God and ask Him in faith so that you might receive and you will receive wisdom generously. God who gives“generously” is the Greek adverb haplos and it reveals that God gives you wisdom led solely by His desire to bless you. Our part is simply to ask and believe God for it (James 1:6).

The Promise of Forgiveness

The Promise of Forgiveness

Daily Reading: (1 John 1,7,9, 2:12):

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from allsin.”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

“I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.”

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This does not sound like good news to me at all because it sounds conditional. It sounds like there are some things we must do in order to receive forgiveness.

I don’t think confess means what you think it means.” If confession (meaning our ability to list off all of our sins) was needed for forgiveness this would mean that salvation is upheld by us and our sin confessing abilities, but confess means something entirely different (1 John 1:9).

“The problem with a confess your sins in order that you might be forgiven theology is it makes us sin-conscious. Did I confess enough? Life transformation happens as you change from being sin-conscious to focused on our righteousness that Christ gave us, that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:21). The way you relate to God because of the cross will change. God remembers my sins no more and that’s a fact, jack.

Confession is not a bringing to our mind and reciting to God our wrong doings. Why would we try to remind God of the very things God says He remembers no more?

“If we confess our sins,

“Confess”/Homologeō: to say the same thing as another, to agree with (God).

So we are to agree with God about our sins and if we do forgiveness is ours. So, what exactly are we to agree with God about our sins on?  Did you know John already told us the answer two verses earlier- that is why you got to read it in it’s context. Context is king.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

In 1 John 1:9 the word confess (homologeō)- in the Greek remember it means agreeing with (what God has said). Confess does not mean review your sins. The condition for forgiveness is faith in Jesus’ death on a cross to atone for it. Forgiveness is based on Jesus’ work, not ours. If you agree that the blood of Jesus purifies you from all sin than the conclusion of 1 John 1:9 is yours, “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

If you are struggling with how good God’s grace is to you, in the very same letter in the next chapter you’ve got to see this: John will write– 1 John 2:12 – “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name” (1 John 2:12). Did you notice something is missing? There is no mention of confessing needed. For believers in Jesus, our sins have been, not might be or could be, but it is a done deal. We are forgiven because of one thing, on account of Jesus.

When you go back to 1 John 1:9 armed with the correct definition of the word confess means everything else makes sense. When we agree with what God says (that your sins have been forgiven on account of his name—[1 John 2:12] He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. The condition for forgiveness is satisfied with Jesus.

You might have noticed a footnote in your Bible inserted for 1 John 1:9 Which says Psalm 32:5 because John is referencing the Old Testament which says:

“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” and you “forgave the guilt of my sins.” John quotes this Old Testament verse (Psalm 32:5) to show us that we will not receive the blessing of forgiveness except through faith in the Son of God.

The Promise of Abundant Life

The Promise of Abundant Life

Daily Reading: (John 10:10):

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

There are seasons we all go through where it doesn’t feel like a time of abundance. It feels lean, and the Apostle Paul even acknowledges lean times when he writes from prison the following: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 4:12). What this tells us is the abundant life, using the example of Paul’s life, the abundant life is not a life that is never in need. The abundant life is a life that when one has needs, receives all that is theirs in Christ (Philippians 4:11b-12).

So what exactly is the abundant life that I have in Christ and what does that look like lived out in the life of a believer? Those are the questions we should seek an answer to. When you go back to the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, we are given a clear picture of Satan’s motive. Satan used to be an angel in heaven (Isaiah 14:12-15), the one who led a rebellion against God and Scripture tells us that he took one-third of the angels with him (Revelation 12:4). Jesus says his purpose is to try and steal, kill, and destroy from mankind. He thought he was victorious as Adam and Eve sinned, but God had a plan. God would send His only Son, whose purpose is to give us who were dead in our sins, life.  he gave us a new life, His life, life to the full.

We have the abundant life in Christ, however, our enemy is still out there trying to steal from us what is ours. 1 Peter 5:8 says:“Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). His motive has not changed.

Isn’t it interesting the devil has to seek out those whom he may devour? This means that he can’t devour everyone. You can be at a place where the devil will be unable to devour you. The secret is found in the preceding verse, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). The secret is to be carefree and not be bogged down by anxieties and worries! Your greatest responsibility is to rejoice in the Lord always. We are not to not worry about past failures, present circumstances, or even future challenges. Release every oppressive thought, worry, and care to Jesus.

Did you also notice that 1 Peter 5:8 says the devil roams about like, or as, “a roaring lion”? In Proverbs 19:12, it says, “The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion (Proverbs 19:12). The devil is an imposter who goes about as a roaring lion because he is imitating the King of kings, the real lion of Judah, Jesus Christ. He wants people to think that our King is full of wrath, anger, and rage against us. He comes at us roaring with the voice of condemnation, accusation, and shame and he does it to try and rob from you the truth of who God is and what His disposition toward you is. When you run away from God, you are running straight into the devil’s snare and that is where he can devour you.

“The thief (speaking of Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

“May have” is the Greek word (echo) it means tht we might have and hold, it means you and I possess life (zōē): real and genuine life, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed.

What do you believe about your life? What do you believe about yourself? Do you believe that you are blessed, that you are abundantly blessed? You see the enemy is scared that you might actually believe and live as if your life is a blessed one. The enemy is afraid that you would live knowing that the things you put your hands to, the endeavors you set out for in this life will prosper. The people you encounter will be better as a result of knowing you.

You have and hold the blessed life and you have it to full (perissos): over and above, more than is necessary, superadded

David who found the Lord as His shepherd, the one who watched over him and protects him and loves him said in Psalm 23:5- “my cup runneth over.” “My cup runneth over” means “I have more than enough for my needs”.In desert cultures in the Middle East in times of antiquity, a person is required by laws of hospitality to provide a drink to strangers. The amount that was provided was indicative of how welcomed the guest was, and to pour a full glass or a glass that “ran over” would be reserved only for the most welcomed guest. This is what we have in Christ, super-abounding grace. Our cups overflow. We are the most welcomed guests in God’s presence because He has adopted us as His children. Our life cup runneth over, we are blessed- super-abundantly blessed.

The Way Over Temptation

The Way Over Temptation

Daily Reading: (1 Corinthians 10:13):

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

There is nothing that can come into your life that you have to give into. God always provides the Way out

There was a list put together of the 5 most common quotes that people think are in the Bible.[1]

The number one quote people think is in the Bible is: “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” In fact, just the opposite is found. The world is filled with people who are dealt more than they can handle. And, surprisingly, the Bible is also filled with people who were given more than they could handle.

The apostle Paul wrote:

“For we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

There will be times when you will be given something far beyond your ability to endure and the reason for it is so that you won’t rely on yourself but on God. God wants us to hand our great burdens over to Him. He doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. He wants us to rely solely on His strength which is far superior than what we could muster up ourselves.

There is a point in why God might allow the more than I can handle moments of life. We humans have a tendency to think that we can do everything on our own, don’t we? Our pride has a way of dragging us down:

“Pride goes before destruction, an arrogant spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). To keep us grounded in the reality of our need for a Savior, God graciously allows us to see just how much we can’t handle.

So, while the Bible doesn’t say God won’t give you more than you can handle- the Bible does say He has provided the way for us in every temptation.

“But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).  In the Greek it doesn’t read “a way” out.  If it was a way to escape, we would not know what that way would be. That is a problem. That is a problem for someone battling depression who doesn’t see a way out. The Greek doesn’t say “a way out” the Greek says “the way out”.  “The” points to something very definite, it points us to the Way, it points us to Jesus Christ (John 14:6). 

The word “bear” or endure depending on which translation you are using is hupophero. What is hupophero? It is actually two Greek words placed together and gives us a great word picture. Hupo means under. Phero is to be born along on a river. When you place the two words together you get: “An under-current of a river carrying someone away, carried safely away from danger”.

God makes the way of escape that you may be born, carried safely, away from danger (hupophero) and He does this through the Way (Jesus). The context for how God does this is in verse 16, communion.

What does communion have to do with the way of escape, the way out of my trial or temptation?

“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:16)? There’s a condemnation in this world that was released, a divine sentence ever since Adam sinned, and the divine sentence includes sickness. Communion is the way out.

Why was Jesus scourged and beaten before being crucified? God arranged everything, why didn’t God just send Jesus straight to the cross? Because by his stripes, we are healed. God loves you and wants you well.Today, healing is your right because Jesus has paid the price for your healing. Disease has no right in your body. I am healed in Jesus’ name!” Every curse of sickness that was supposed to fall on you fell on Jesus instead. He bore every one of those stripes, so that you can walk in divine health all the days of your life. You have been given the way over what comes over you and His name is Jesus.


The Promise of Union Life

The Promise of Union Life With Jesus

Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 2:13):

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

What this is saying right off the bat is that even if we sin or when we sin, Christ isn’t going to disown you, how could He? Because Christ lives in us, He is always with us and He cannot disown Himself. This verse is indirectly speaking of union life with Christ. Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5, asks the Corinthian believers a question: “Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” Maybe a better starting point is to realize Christ lives in you. He is always with you, He will never leave you or forsake you and since He remains faithful, even when we mess up, Christ will never disown you for He cannot disown Himself.

The book of 2 Timothy has a lot of great verses in it. There is a website called topverses.com that has ranked verses by how popular they are. 2 Timothy 3:16 ranks 9th on the list, 2 Timothy 2:15 ranks 45th. Already two verses in the top 50 in the book of 2 Timothy alone. One of my favorites, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” checks in at number 429. There are many verses in 2 Timothy that are ranked as some of people’s most favorite verses. Where does our 2 Timothy 2:13 verse rank on people’s all-time favorite Scripture verse list? 2 Timothy 2:13 is the 16,811 most popular verse. What that tells me is people don’t understand what is being said here. If we knew what this verse meant it might become your favorite verse from 2 Timothy. There is a verse, 2 Timothy 4:12 that says: “I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.” That’s all it said and that is ranked 9,552. It ranked over 7,000 spots ahead of our verse. People don’t like the verse I quoted because it is attached to a portion that absolutely frightens people because they have been misled in what is being said. Today, that all changes.

I believe one reason why 2 Timothy 2:13 is often overlooked is because it completely dismantles a works-based system of my own faithfulness. The spotlight is entirely where it should be and that is on Jesus Christ and His accomplished work for us that whatever the promise God has made, Promises of God series part 2, He is faithful to deliver on it through Jesus.

In the Gospel in Twenty Questions Paul Ellis breaks down our 2 Timothy 2:13 verse and he does it masterfully as he connects it to the entire statement.

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:11–13).

The “if we endure” is satisfied with the faithful one (Jesus). Jesus who did endure, lives in us and will cause us to endure and reign now.”

Why is this verse the 16,811 most popular verse? Because people don’t understand it? This new life we have in Christ is a new kind of life characterized by supernatural endurance and reigning in all things (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

“If we disown him, he will also disown us.” Paul is not talking about Christians at all, but those who reject Christ and will one day reap the consequences of their choice (2 Timothy 2:12). There’s no grace for the faithless because the faithless will not receive it.

Do you see? There are two camps in the world. There are individuals who confess Christ as Lord and those who deny Him.

If you have denied him, you may yet confess him. This provides hope for the lost and unsaved people.

If you have confessed him, you cannot deny him. This simply means we who have died with Christ cannot un-die. We who have been born again cannot be unborn. If you were to deny him, as Peter did three times, Jesus won’t disown you, for He cannot disown himself. If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) “Keep reminding them of these things…” (2 Timothy 2:14a)

To recap, Paul says if we die with Christ, we will live, endure, and reign with him. Each follows the other and this is a trustworthy saying.Thank you, Paul Ellis, for the amazing clarity you have brought to this passage of Scripture, making it one of my favorites and hopefully one of yours as well.

The Promise of Salvation

The Promise of Salvation

Daily Reading: (Romans 10:9):

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Today’s promise of salvation is one that we are tempted to move past as believing it is a past event that we will experience in our future and miss the salvation God has promised to give you today.

It is a huge victory to know that you have salvation and to put your trust in Christ alone. If you haven’t yet come to that place to receive everlasting life from God, the Bible says, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved(Acts 16:31). Believe that Jesus died to give you His life. “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).  

Salvation is so much bigger than just eternal life. Receiving the fullness of salvation can only happen after you are eternally saved (Romans 10:9). How are you going to believe that when trouble comes that God will rescue you or deliver you if you don’t even believe in the most important provision, He has made for you, everlasting life? This verse is used as a verse to help lead non-believers to receive salvation and today it is going to be used to help believers receive daily salvation over the things that come against them.

The very word used in Romans 10:9 for saved is “sozo”. Sozo’s primary definition is to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction. And also to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment. In all things we can find rescue from danger and destruction (sozo). Salvation is a gift from God, and it comes through believing in Jesus alone (Romans 10:9).

How is this possible?  back to our text:

The Greek word for “confession” is homologeo, and it means “to agree with” or “say the same thing God says about you and/or your circumstances.”

You are to take your problem to God and then agree (homologeo)- with what God’s Word says about your problem that Jesus is Lord.

You are saying Jesus is “kyrios” (he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord). I belong to Jesus and Jesus has already defeated the enemy of sin and the effects of sin that I am experiencing now. I agree fully with God’s Word Jesus is my Lord and I believe (pisteuō) to trust in Jesus as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith.

When I experience trouble, I will speak God’s promise to me. I trust in Jesus the one who is able to offer me His salvation. The promise is not that you might be or you could be saved. The promise is you will be saved.

The Promise to Meet Our Every Need

The Promise to Meet Our Every Need

Daily Reading: (Philippians 4:19):

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

This is a grand promise that I believe has confused a lot of people because there are things, we think we need that we don’t, and aren’t considered needs. When it comes to a verse like Philippians 4:19 and the promise of God to meet our every need, I think one of the issues we might have has to do with our understanding of what should fall under the needs category and what should fall under the wants one. I remember around Christmas time receiving various toy catalogues in the mail. I would circle 80 percent of the toys in the catalogue. What do you want for Christmas? I want it all! A follow-up question might be “I know there is a lot of things you want but what do you really need this year?

There are needs and there are wants and that is a big difference. Let’s look at the Greek definition for needs used in Philippians 4:19.

(Chreia) “needs”- such things as we need for sustenance and the journey.

There will be good things that we think we really need to sustain us moving forward in the journey ahead but if that thing that we are praying for is not part of God’s ordained steps for you ahead then there is no purpose in giving it to you. Now to be clear, the things that we need, God always gives to us. Every single one of His promises is ours. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20). I love that our part is simply believing God for those promises and we do that as we speak out by faith “Amen”.

Do you know that Amen is a declaration of our faith? Amen was spoken at the end of something that had been shared and by doing so made the substance of what was uttered their own. It was saying “so be it” or “it may be fulfilled”.

If God supplies you what you need, (“meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”) then there is nothing you can’t do that He has called you forward in. We find contentment in our life as we believe in this promise. This is only possible as you grow in your relationship of knowing God as your loving Father. Paul says, “my God”, it is personal. His confidence flows because Paul has come to know God as a Good Father who provides for him and never fails to meet his need. From Paul’s experience in God’s faithfulness to him, he trusts that God will meet your needs.

They were a very poor church that gave what they could to support Paul. Their gift was used to meet Paul’s need. God will meet your needs in a variety of ways and sometimes He meets our needs through each other. “I have received full payment and have more than enough” (Philippians 4:18). What I learned from this verse is how rich we all are in Christ. According to this verse, you already are rich. You are not trying to become rich. It does not matter how much you are earning or how much you have in your bank account. You are rich. How does that one work out? You are rich because as your need arises, God’s supply will be there for you (Philippians 4:18).  Being under grace means being constantly under His supply. It means being conscious not of the need but of His supply to you. Because of the cross, God’s grace is always supplying healing, protection, wisdom, and every provision that you need. The more you are conscious of it, the more you will walk in it!