God’s Merciful Grace!

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

One day we received an e-mail from a woman wanting to know what our thoughts were regarding two religious denominations. I wrote her back and explained that as a Christian, I always endeavor to look at believers from God’s point of view, as God always looks at the heart, and He always loves us (John 3:16). I try to see the best in people and I am very happy to know that people love God, rather than worrying about where someone may fellowship around God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Romans 12:9 encourages us to “Let love be without dissimulation {or without discrimination}.” The next day she e-mailed back and stated that I was perfectly correct, then for about three pages she explained the evils of those two denominations, and warned me about how devilish and sinful they were (in her opinion). We have not been given the privilege from God to be dispensing condemnation or His wrath (Romans 12:19). She became a judge over other people and wanted to hold onto her anger about other churches and people simply because they did not go to her church or believe and practice her denominational doctrines.

We should be so blessed that God called us individually to His gracious Word, and be happy for all of God’s children. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” It is futile to worry about what other people may think or believe; as someone once said, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” In other words, it is next to impossible to change someone’s mind when they believe in a certain way ― right or wrong.

We would be much better off being concerned and content that we ourselves walk with God and that He has mercy and grace on our souls rather than worrying and being negative about what other people may or may not believe. We Christians could be much kinder, happier, and gentler, Christ-like people if we were more concerned about ourselves rather than worrying about what our Christian neighbors might practice or think (Galatians 6:10). Besides, what other people practice and think is honestly between them and God, and we really do not know for certain what people think in the heart of their hearts as stated in I Corinthians 2:11.

I Corinthians 2:11:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save {except} the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Only God knows for sure what is in the heart of man “for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee” (I Chronicles 28:9).

Romans 2:1 reads, “THEREFORE thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” This verse is quite expressive in reflecting that one’s judgments will always and ultimately return back to those who assume to sit as judges over other people (not in the laws of the land, but in spiritual issues of the heart).

Matthew 12:36-37:
-36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
-37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

God’s merciful grace can be discovered and enjoyed anywhere by anyone because wherever you are, so is God, and where other Christians are, so is God because He dwells in believers without discrimination. Recognizing this is acknowledging the immensity of God’s merciful grace upon our own lives because we have not always walked perfectly with God and followed His will completely. Yet God still loves us and He has loved and forgiven us for our faults just as His loving grace and forgiveness is upon others who love and walk with Him to the best of their abilities.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 “JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.” This is the instruction from our Savior, and he always spoke for God: “For I {Jesus} have given unto them the words which thou {God} gavest me; and they have received them” (John 17:8). So the question is: Have we received the words of God, have we believed them, are we judged or are we not judged? If we judge not, then the promise of God is that we are not judged. Let us follow Jesus’ teaching of God’s words about judgment in Matthew.

Matthew 7:1-5:
-1: JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
-2: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete {measure out}, it shall be measured to you again {“for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”― Galatians 6:7}.
-3: And why beholdest thou the mote {a tiny splinter of wood} that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
-4: Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
-5: Thou {would be a} hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The beam and the mote are literally the same things with this one huge exception: the beam is like having a figurative “telephone pole” stuck in one’s eye causing one to not have good vision (nor comprehension in terms of judging others), as opposed to a fragment, a small mote that may be in someone else’s eye.

Just to judge for judgment sake and being critical of others is as Jesus said, hypocritical, and the same judgments will always return back to the giver. Jesus is teaching us that it is quite easy to find fault with others, especially when other’s faults are the same as our own (Romans 2:21-22). One of the great lessons in this teaching by Jesus is that as we get healed in our lives from our own faults when we are not judgmental, then we become truly able to, first forgive, and then help another walk with God without judging each other.

Proverbs 26:20:
Where no wood is {such as the beam or the mote}, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer (to murmur, whisper, backbite, slander), the strife ceaseth.

In the context of Jesus’ teaching, the lesson shows us that judging others is having a beam in our own eyes, but when one stops judging, then he or she will become healed from that temptation to judge. Ultimately, then one can begin to help others out of this same temptation of nitpicking away at people they may love or acquaintances or even others they may not even know personally, whether they are living in or out of their spheres of influence. Judging is always detrimental, for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Psalms 15:1-3:
-1: LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
-2: He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in {or from out of} his heart.
-3: He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

As we become conquerors over our own shortcomings, such as being judgmental, then with God’s help we may show fellow believers the true graces that God has bestowed upon us can also become theirs. This is when we “clearly see” God’s merciful grace upon our own lives when our focus is to bless and help our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 12:18, and 14:19:
-18: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
-14: Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify {build up} another.

God sees the motive behind thoughts and actions and He looks at His children with unconditional love and not on the underlying doctrines of establishments to judge one group more chosen or special or holier than He would another. No one group can stake claim to having a corner on all the truth; I do not know it all and neither does anyone else. It is when people think they know it all that they end up shutting all the doors of true outreach and forgiveness, for they will begin to imagine that everybody else is wrong except for themselves. The same thing happened to the Apostles back in the Gospels: “And John answered and said {to Jesus}, Master, we {the Apostles} saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us” (Luke 9:49).

The Apostles shunned someone who was not following their religious practices, so Jesus further instructs them to “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:50). Sure, not every place teaches everything accurately and more than likely, some will teach things that you or I do not agree with. If someone loves God and is fellowshipping with other likeminded Christian believers, then praise the LORD, because He is blessed and so are they.

I have no doubt that most Christian people are motivated and inspired by God’s Word, love, and grace, and to think evil or less of others is a waste of time. If they are teaching God’s Word and the people are blessed to receive it; then praise God for their efforts (Philippians 1:15-18); Paul wrote, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (II Corinthians 13:8). In other words, “the Word of God is not bound” (II Timothy 2:9) because God’s Word is always liberating and will always build up the believers with grace when it is planted in the fertile ground of the human heart.

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). God is all love and His Word encourages us to be followers of Him with and in His love, and not allow the temptation in our minds of judging others who also love God and who are, according to Jesus, “for us.”

Ephesians 5:1-2:
-1: BE ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
-2: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

If we are blessed in our place of worship, then praise God for our ministers, teachers, and fellow believers. However, if we are being beaten down over and again with condemnation and hell fire, and if they are teaching us to dislike other believers from other places, then perhaps we should look for a better place to fellowship.

I do believe that there are wonderful ministers, teachers, and preachers living in almost every community who would love nothing better than to teach you the Scriptures, who are inspired by God to encourage, strengthen, and build up their congregation in love. If we need to move on for spiritual nourishment, we can be thankful that our former place of worship helped to propel us into searching for a better way, especially when we find it and our lives become ever more blessed for God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

Philippians 1:15-18:
-15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
-16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: {Paul was in jail for preaching ― no freedom of speech for a man of God back then!}
-17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.
-18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

I enjoy reading verse 18 above, from the Amplified Bible:

Philippians 1:18 (The Amplified Bible**):
But what does it matter, so long as either way, whether in pretense [for personal ends] or in all honesty [for the furtherance of the Truth], Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I [now] rejoice, yes, and I shall rejoice [hereafter] also.”

Paul’s teaching is that regardless of who preaches Christ there is cause to rejoice, yea to rejoice repeatedly, for he will rejoice as we also can rejoice. When Christ is preached, then people receive the Word of God, and the Word can make people free. God’s graceful Word will bless and strengthen people regardless of people’s motivations for preaching (though most preachers and teachers have only godly intentions). God’s Word will always profit (II Timothy 3:16) and give blessings to the recipient, for this is how God designed His gracious Word!

Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word {God’s Word} be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void {useless}, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God’s gracious Word encourages us to always look to Jesus rather than to look on man because the more we look at people, the more we will see error, the sin nature, and imperfection. However, the more we look to Jesus, the more perfect we will become and as we gain his perspective and incentive, we can learn to love believers to a much greater dimension. I Peter 4:8 encourages, “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Hebrews 12:2a (The Amplified Bible**):
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection] . . .

An honest concern and question for some people is: Which Church, or which group of people are truly the ones that God blesses? For some people the answer is obviously clear, the one they belong to! This is true; however, all believers have received an unconditional and eternal salvation in the sense that God Himself always looks at the heart rather than at the denomination or group we might belong to, “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).

God is love (I John 4:8, 16), and according to His Word anyone who is saved belongs to Him for eternity because God is no respecter of persons or groups. Anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstance can become saved and become a member of His household. We are members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27), and we may fellowship around God’s healing Word with whomever we desire.

God is our Father and He is blessed when we are blessed; He is never upset simply because we go somewhere to learn more about Him Who counsels and comforts us in our deepest spiritual thoughts. God loves us unconditionally right where we are, and He never thinks ill of us for fellowshipping with His children and wanting to know more about Him: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). When believers are receiving spiritual nourishment at their place of worship, then who am I to say that they are wrong, devilish, or whatever? Nobody, that’s who!

I John 2:9-11:
-9: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth {disdains, dislikes} his brother {in Christ}, is in darkness even until now.
-10: He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
-11: But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

God has given to His children tremendous light and understanding through knowing His gracious Word and the only thing that will turn the light off (spiritually speaking) is to dislike fellow believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we will spend eternity. The Bible records that we are to, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), and Jesus always loved people, he is all love, and he is our daily example.

Acts 2:47:
{The believers were} Praising God, and having favour with all the people {How many? All the people!}, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Who adds to the Church of God? God! God brings people to Himself; He draws us to Him through Christ who is the mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5). God is the searcher of all hearts (I Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 139:1; and Romans 8:27), and God never makes mistakes; His calling us to Himself is by His grace, and this alone should humble our hearts just to know that we were allowed into His household (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Romans 11:29:
For the gifts {of God’s graces} and calling of God are without repentance.

The gifts we receive from God are always by His grace (including our eternal life, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8) and our calling by God is without repentance, meaning that He never takes it back. Our God will never be sorry for calling you nor confess or even imagine for one second that He has made a mistake in calling you because He is perfect and His calling to you is by, with, and through His grace and mercy.

John 10:28-29:
-28: And I {Jesus} give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
-29: My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

We have a wonderful section of Scripture from the Gospel of Luke expressing a vivid mind picture of how to look on others, showing us Jesus’ perspective for perceiving other people who walk with God.

Luke 18:9-14:
-9: And he {Jesus} spake this parable unto certain {people} which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
-10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican {a tax collector}.
-11: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
-12: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
-13: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven {a custom to show humility and reverence for God}, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
-14: I {Jesus} tell you, this man {the publican} went down to his house justified rather than the other {the Pharisee}: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee practiced “good works” of tithing, giving, and fasting ― believing that by his own works he was saved, that his works made him a great believer; however, let us notice what he did not do. He refused to humble himself before God; he believed that his way of religion made him a better man than the humble tax collector. He literally separated himself out from the entire human race, believing in his heart that he was better than other men. He never recognized that he himself was a sinner, unlike the publican who knew it was only by God’s grace and mercy that he could be justified.

The word merciful in the publican’s prayer in Luke 18:13 in the Greek Text is the word for “reconciliation” as in Hebrews 2:17. The tax collector was earnestly praying to be reconciled back to God (he obviously knew that he was a sinner and that he needed God in his life), while the Pharisee believed in himself that he was already reconciled above and more than other men.

The Pharisee was more concerned about the condition of others than of his true condition; he was convinced that he was saving himself by all of his works, yet Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” However, only the publican went home justified, and the word justified literally means, “just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” By being humble before our God, our God-given justification can be thankfully received and enjoyed within our hearts. Jesus, in the verses from Luke above, sums up a wonderful Proverb for us:

Proverbs 28:14 (The Amplified Bible*):
Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who reverently and worshipfully fears {respects} [the Lord] at all times [regardless of circumstances], but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

The publican fits into the first category of a blessed man, while the Pharisee will inevitably run into trouble for hardening his heart against other people. Sure, there will be times in life when we are down, when we do not walk in the light, when we have fear and condemnation because of the sin nature. Yet when we do come back to God, back to the throne of God’s wonderful grace like the publican did, then we can enjoy blessed verses of healing Scripture demonstrating God’s loving comfort to us that will always build us back up and strengthen our lives so that we may continue walking for God.

Psalms 34:18 (The Amplified Bible*):
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent {sorry}.

James 4:10:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Our loving heavenly Father always sees our heart, and when our heart condemns us because we are out of fellowship, and we then realize it and become thoroughly penitent, God will forgive ― ALWAYS! The greatest blessings in life come to the believer when he can control his thoughts and actions (see James chapter 3) to be a blessing to his fellow man ― especially those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10 (The Amplified Bible**):
So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers].

Enjoy your message because today is The Season for God’s Merciful Grace.

I John 1:5-9:
-5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
-6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
-7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
-8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
-9: If we confess our sins {to God}, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Who Am I to Say – Who Is All in with Me? Nobody, That’s Who!

“God is love (I John 4:8, 16), and according to His Word, anyone who is saved belongs to Him for eternity because God is no respecter of persons or groups. Anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstance can become saved and become a member of His household. We are members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27), and we may fellowship around God’s healing Word with whomever we desire. God is our Father and He is blessed when we are blessed; He is never upset simply because we go somewhere to learn more about Him Who counsels and comforts us in our deepest spiritual thoughts. God loves us unconditionally right where we are, and He never thinks ill of us for fellowshipping with His children and wanting to know more about Him: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end– Jeremiah 29:11. When believers are receiving spiritual nourishment at their place of worship, then who am I to say that they are wrong, devilish, or whatever? Nobody, that’s who!” ~LMJ~

The New Man

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

When we believe in the inherent truth of God’s healing Word, the Word itself will begin making known to our minds the spiritual realities of having Christ within, whom the Bible defines as the New Man. Christ from within our hearts will then make known to our minds the Creator, our Father ― God. Then as we begin recognizing God as our Father ― He makes known to us the spiritual completeness of the new man (since we have the mind of Christ) that was created in us (Ephesians 1:16–23, 4:22–24). Additionally, God begins revealing to us the spiritual reality of the one body of Christ, of which body Christ is the head, and we are all members in that one body, and this one body of Christ is nurtured and grows in the love of God with the light of His Word.

Romans 12:5: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

I Corinthians 12:27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

The Bible refers to those who walk with the knowledge of the one body as being spiritual (I Corinthians 2:15), for they have the inward man (Romans 8:6, and II Corinthians 4:16), who resides in their hearts ― this inward man is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27). Having Christ within means that we have the hidden man of the heart {Christ}, in that which is not corruptible (I Peter 3:4), for believers have the incorruptible seed of Christ (I Peter 1:23). But though our outward man perish {or gets older}, yet the inward man {the Christ within} is renewed day by day (II Corinthians 4:16), renewed by placing God’s Word in our minds day by day, as Paul wrote, For I delight in the law of God {in His Word} after the inward man (Romans 7:22). For the inward man builds up the believer from within as he or she accepts the renewed mind that the Word of God illustrates and allows this new man or woman to shine with effervescence as he or she reaches out to build up the one body of Christ in love.

Ephesians 4:15–16:
-15: But speaking the truth {God’s Word} in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ {for Christ is the head of the body — Ephesians 1:22–23}.
-16: From whom {Christ} the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part {this is us, see Romans 12:5, and I Corinthians 12:27 above}, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

The most effectual working part of this new body is the head, who is Jesus Christ himself, and we are encouraged to follow his lead by walking in love, and in so doing we will be assisting in the building up of the body, and in this process we will also be discovering the new man! As we learn the Scriptures and allow our renewed mind to reveal what the Word itself teaches us, we will begin supplying (or giving) to the body of Christ and further be edifying (building up) the body in love. Believing the Scriptures is how we bring the Word of God into reality, off the pages of the Bible and into our daily lives. God’s Word can give men and women a true spiritual revival that grows within the heart and supplies the mind with impressions of tangible truths contained in God’s Word. This is what gives men and women a true godly renaissance, and fuels an enjoyment in our rediscovery of eternal light and love.

 Ephesians 4:22–24:
-22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation {lifestyle, behavior} the old man {biblically the old man means ourselves before salvation}, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts {which is latent within everybody, Romans 5:14}.
-23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
-24: And that ye put on the new man {i.e., the Christ in you}, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

One of the most wonderful things about the church Epistles is that the Word of God never demands that we change our minds without something else to replace old thoughts and actions. Rather His Word always shows us how to replace old thoughts, emotions, and actions with new concepts that come to life by putting on the mind of Christ. We are encouraged to put off the old man and to put on the new man; this must be possible because the Bible tells us so, and God’s Word instructs us about how to do this successfully. Romans 6:6 says that the old man, which is the old nature in man, the nature of sin, “is crucified” with Christ, and this means we can set our old nature aside and put on a heavenly nature to walk in newness with Christ who has been resurrected and spiritually dwells within us.

Often propounded today are the “thou shalt not” sermons imbued with hellfire, brimstone, and condemnation only serving to scare people away from the truth that the new man is available to each and every one of us. In all honesty, God’s Word is always teaching us to have rather than to have not (Matthew 7:7–8, and I Thessalonians 4:12). It is the old man nature that denies the gifts of God and the new life in Christ we have been given. Jesus Christ freed believers from the course of this world (Ephesians 2:1–10), so that they (WE ― you and me) could enjoy our lives as we anticipate Jesus’ return to gather the believers up to our heavenly Father (I Thessalonians 4:14–18). Jesus had borne our sins in his own body and took them to the cross nearly two thousand years ago (I Peter 2:24), so why in the world would anyone want to resurrect and still carry them around and live in condemnation any longer? No ― not us, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). The new man is in Christ Jesus and in him we may thoroughly enjoy our spiritual freedom (Romans 6:22, and Galatians 5:1).

In Ephesians above, the Word is specifically dealing with the renewed mind, expressing what is in our renewed minds, and that specifically is the new man which is after God, and is created in us and revealed to us throughout the Epistles.

Colossians 3:9–10:
-9: Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
-10: And {you and I} have put on the new man, which is {being} renewed in knowledge after the image of him {God} that created him {him is our created spirit, called the new man}:

The old man is as old as you are, but the new man is only as old as the day you became saved, and at that moment in time you became born again and received Christ in you and this is what God’s Word encourages you and me to enjoy in our day to day lives. By doing so, we will have tapped into a whole new realm of enlightenment and find a spiritual power base to become “more than conquerors” as Romans 8:37 boldly proclaims that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” It is this inseparable love and belief of God’s Word that allows mortal men and women to become more than conquerors over the daily pressures of life.

Colossians 3:12–17:
-12: Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
-13: Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
-14: And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
-15: And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
-16: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
-17: And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

By putting God’s Word in your believing heart, you will have more than a fighting chance to overcome the obstacles that life throws before you, because you will have the Word of God to stand on and believe. You have the hallowed opportunity to know and understand the new man, and fulfill a heavenly calling, a destiny ordained by God. Did you know that you already are a child of God, a child dearly loved by Him and by Jesus, and you have the heavenly calling to enjoy the new man, the new you, your new life in Christ ― today? Jesus came to give you a more than abundant life (John 10:10b). You have been called to this life by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and this life is realized through the new man. The abundant life is yours because Jesus paid the ultimate price, and he paved the way for you to follow because he loved you then and he still loves you ― now. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).

Being a Christian should be the most enjoyable experience in this whole world! You are loved by God! Yes, God loves everybody, but not everyone reciprocates by returning God’s love. This makes you a very, very special somebody ― to God you are precious (I Peter 2:7). You are your heavenly Father’s child, and you are a special individual before His Majesty, and when you believe His Word you have clout with unfathomable power to back it up (Ephesians 3:20)! The world often tries to extract the joy out of the believers’ hearts as though having a life without God and Jesus is practical. Thankfully, the new man, the Christ in you can fend off these unfounded ideas and subtle notions that belittle the believer or cause him to stray.

For you ― Jesus died! For you ― Christ was raised! For you ― Christ intercedes at the right hand of God in heaven until you personally arrive! For you ― God sent His only begotten Son! Oh, yes ― indeed God did this ― for you! Just how valuable are you to God and Christ the Lord? If it was only you in this whole wide world that was going to believe, Jesus would still have offered himself, for that was the will of God, so that you could enjoy the new man in your life with His ever-renewing love, now and for all eternity!

God created within us the means to walk in newness of life, a life that is being renewed in the knowledge of God (Romans 6:4). To walk in the new man is not a command but a request from a loving Father to His beloved children so we could be “partakers of the benefit” (I Timothy 6:2). The benefit is an invitation to have a meaningful relationship with Him Who created life, for His Word shows us how to enjoy life by bringing the Christ within us ― up and out to the forefront of our lives.

II Corinthians 6:2 (The Amplified Bible):**  For He says, In the time of favor (of an assured welcome) I have listened to and heeded your call, and I have helped you on the day of deliverance (the day of salvation). Behold, now is truly the time for a gracious welcome and acceptance [of you from God]; behold, now is the day of salvation!

 Ephesians 4:14–16 (The Amplified Bible)**
-14: So then, we may no longer be children, tossed [like ships] to and fro between chance gusts of teaching and wavering with every changing wind of doctrine, [the prey of] the cunning and cleverness of unscrupulous men, [gamblers engaged] in every shifting form of trickery in inventing errors to mislead.
-15: Rather, let our lives lovingly express truth [in all things, speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly]. Enfolded in love, let us grow up in every way and in all things into Him Who is the Head, [even] Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
-16: For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

Joel – Revealing Our Heavenly Standing

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Scriptures refer to the children of Israel who believe as the meek, and the meek will inherit the earth, “the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalms 37:11). On the other hand, in the New Testament Epistles we learn that we inherit heaven itself and we will have free rights to visit and enjoy the earth.

The children of Israel hoped for and anticipated the kingdom of Christ to be restored and be given back to them. However, we, the children of God, are members of His Church (we are called to be members of the body of Christ), and have received in the present-tense our heavenly standing with God in Christ because God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6).

The Book of Joel reveals to Israel that their glorious future is centered in and around mount Zion, and they will dwell there in eternal safety (Zion is a Hebrew word, while Sion is the Greek equivalent). Zion was the place where God desired to place His name, and was the place of the children of Israel’s spiritual homeland, and is the place where their future hope will finally rest.

Joel 2:32 – And it shall come to pass {still a future time for Israel}, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant {those who believed} whom the LORD shall call.

Israel anticipated this day of deliverance that “shall come to pass”; however, when Jesus Christ came to deliver them they rejected him and crucified him. Oh, I know that the Roman soldiers did the dirty work, but they did it for Israel as all four Gospels plainly teach us.  Peter, addressing Israel in the temple said, “ye {Israel} have taken {Jesus Christ}, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:23)!

So the man who said “every Christian living today had a part in the death and crucifixion of Jesus” obviously did not read his Bible. “Then answered all the people {Israelites}, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children” (Matthew 25:25). You and I had nothing whatsoever to do with the crucifixion and humiliating, torturous death of Jesus; it is totally ludicrous to take the blame for Israel who insanely rejected their longed-for Savior and Redeemer and put him to death.  However, we have everything to gain by believing in his resurrection, because he now resides within our searching hearts.

Joel 3:17 – So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then {still future} shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers {unbelievers} pass through her any more.

This is obviously a future prophecy to and for Israel, and we know this because Zion in Jerusalem has three major factions fighting over it, as well as several minor groups all staking claims to that place. However, we in the Church of God have received a heavenly calling and standing.

II Corinthians 5:20 reads, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,” and an ambassador can only fulfil his mission in a foreign land. We are ambassadors here on earth today because heaven is our home, and in heaven is where we have Our Heavenly Standing!

We are physically here on earth as ambassadors for Christ, and we are spiritually seated at the right hand of God.  When Christ returns to earth, then, and not until then, will the prophecies of Zion be fulfilled for Israel, (including the future prophecies recorded in Daniel and Revelation).

However, today in grace our spiritual homeland is in heaven. Jesus said in Luke 13:35, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” He was teaching them that their temple was empty in Jerusalem because God was going to begin dwelling within the hearts of believers wherever they may be (John 4:19-24, Acts 7:48, 17:24;,I Corinthians 3:16), who today believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10).

Today, God’s blessings do not emanate out from the earthly temple at Jerusalem, but come out from the actual home of heaven’s throne and from God Himself. Hebrews 3:1 tells us in the Church of God that we are “partakers of the heavenly calling,” while Israel would be partakers of the earthly calling. And today, Israel’s calling is held off until our gathering together up to Christ; then and only then will the calling to Israel again commence.

Hebrews 12:22-24:
-22: But ye are come unto mount Sion {our spiritual homeland up in the heavenlies}, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
-23: {and we have come} To the general assembly and church of the firstborn {Jesus Christ}, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
-24: And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant {New Testament}, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel {who offered sacrifices for his sins, for Christ offered himself for our sins}.

Today in God’s grace we are members of His Church, which is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:17-23, I Corinthians 12:27). We currently are already members of God’s family, being partakers of the heavenly Sion (Zion), with heavenly citizenship from above.

Galatians 4:26 reads “but Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.” Jerusalem is our mother because we are born from above, from God’s heavenly home, and we are citizens, as opposed to the earthly “Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children” (Galatians 4:25).

When the calling of Zion in Jerusalem is again restored we read that “no strangers would pass through her any more,” and today it certainly is filled with strangers, believers, and unbelievers; this is why Romans 9:6 records, “For they are not all Israel, which are of {in} Israel.”

Christ Jesus will establish his Kingdom and restore the children of Israel in Zion at Jerusalem on God’s timetable, and this is still a future event (Acts 1:6-7).

Today, while that future prophecy still awaits Israel, anyone who will believe, Jew or Gentile (Galatians 3:26-29, Colossians 3:11) may partake of Our Heavenly Standing with God in Christ (Ephesians 2:6, 18-22), as we together in the body of Christ enjoy the more abundant life.

Faces in the Crowd – Unite in One

“Consider how great the power of God can be as we together believe in unison.

I Corinthians 12:14, 27:
-14: For the body is not one member, but many.
-27: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

We are not simply faces in the crowd, or a no-account nobody, but rather we are individual members in the body of Christ, members in particular called by God into His family to stand with one another right in the communities where we live.” ~LMJ~