Zephaniah – Revealing Our Eternal Rest

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the Book of Zephaniah, we can see God’s love and deliverance, and we can learn some tremendous truths regarding the will of God that believers can partake of in God’s loving grace. Jesus Christ is he who reveals to us our eternal rest in God’s love that we currently have.

When we discover God’s eternal love for us and begin experiencing that His love is within, then love begins dispelling fears about God (I John 4:6-21).

Zephaniah 3:15-17:
-15: The LORD hath taken away thy judgments {of condemnation}, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.
-16: In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack {let not your hands hang down, i.e., as a defeated city}.
-17: The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty {God is always mighty to deliver, not only in the present tense but always}; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love {for you}, he will joy over thee with singing.

Verses 15 and 16 refer to the future for Israel, while verse 17 is in the continuously present tense, because God is always mighty, He always will save, He always rejoices, He always loves, and He always sings a joyful song for His children.

When I look back over my life and remember just a fraction of how much I feared God or even hearing His name, and was so terrified of His wrath that I assumed was due to me, I realize the healing and comforting miracle that has taken place so that I may enjoy teaching His healing Word. We can become so thankful to our heavenly Father the more we begin to see and realize in our hearts that He (in love) has sent His only begotten Son so that we may live with the understanding that God loves us so very deeply.

God has loved us from before the foundation of the world, and He will always love us, regardless of how much we reciprocate or recognize Him or His messenger of divine love – Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, even if the children of Israel never accepted all of God’s care and protection, He continued loving them, and in their future He would restore them back in Zion and prove to them His love beyond all of their comprehensions.

Today, however, in grace, we do not need to wait for our arrival into heaven to begin enjoying God’s love because Christ the Lord made God’s love available for us to enjoy.

Let us look at the will of God from verse 17 above: “He will save!” “He will rejoice over thee with joy!” “He will rest in his love!” and “He will joy over thee with singing!”

Ask yourself this question: “Is the will of God one of fear and despair for us, or is the will of God one that would give us more than we ever realized, especially before knowing the love of our wonderful heavenly Father?” Obviously the will of God is marvelous to behold, and without knowing Christ who is the way to the Father we could never really believe to receive God’s loving will, or enjoy the more abundant life that Jesus Christ came to give us (John 10:10)!

I Timothy 2:4-6:
-4: Who {God} will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
-5: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
-6: Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time {and that time is now}.

John 13:34-35:
-34: A new commandment I {Jesus} give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
-35: By this {new commandment of love, which is our God-given spiritual love} shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

In Romans 5:8 we read, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The word “commendeth” means to introduce into our hearts, and what we are introduced into is the love of God with all the spiritual intensity that God has been loving us with since the beginning of time.

With His love and with the examples of the life of Jesus Christ and the new commandment, we can learn how to love in the same exact ways he did, and thus we will begin increasingly to enjoy Our Eternal Rest in God’s love that we have been introduced to through Jesus Christ’s loving example.

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

In the church Epistles, Romans through Thessalonians, there are many wonderful aspects for the Christian believer to experience ― the renewed mind, gifts, and manifestations of the spirit. We can also discover principles of financial abundance, leadership, and discipline that can enhance our walks with the Father. To walk in the renewed mind is to learn how to walk in and with all that God has given us in Christ. The renewed mind is enjoying our new nature which is given to us by God Himself, as His Word reveals to us (II Peter 1:4). This is a divine treasure hunt as we search the Scriptures.

There are two major ways to approach the renewed mind process. One way is to try and renew the mind based on fear, based on having the wrongful fear of God’s wrath for not doing so, and the undue fear of not being pleasing to other believers. However, whenever fear is our motivator for renewing our minds, at best, we will only be able to put on a pseudo-type mind of pretense, and this effort will always be apart from God’s desired will for His children. The other way, the correct way is to begin enjoying the truth that we have the renewed mind with His love in our lives, knowing that God loves us regardless of our actions, and that He in the Epistles encourages us to enjoy and experience our renewed minds because we are already pleasing to and loved by God (Ephesians 1:3-6). When we know this, and really believe it in our hearts, then we can begin to effortlessly walk into the fullness of God because we own it – we have the always‑guiding, never-failing love of God (I Corinthians 13:8).

II Corinthians 3:18: But we all, with open face {without shame} beholding as in a glass {or a mirror} the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

God is Spirit (John 4:24), and everything that He has given to us is spiritual. As we look into the Word, the Word itself begins reflecting back into our lives what God has spiritually given us through Christ. God’s Word contains the true treasures that are already ours. As we look into the Epistles, we will find what the Bible calls the “new man” (Ephesians 4:24, and Colossians 3:10), our true spiritual abilities (Philippians 4:13, Colossians 3:4, and John 14:12), and the love of God (Romans 5:5, and Ephesians 5:2). As we read and study our Bibles we literally will become changed into what God’s Word reflects, and this is the image that we behold, from the glory contained in the Scriptures reflecting back to us the glory of the Lord that our God has placed in our own hearts.

As we come to realize we have been given a renewed mind according to the healing Word of God, He will continue to show us the great and wonderful ability (spiritual ability) that He has given to us of His own divine grace and love. Already having a renewed mind according to what the Scripture reveals will inspire us to enjoy the serenity of our relationship with our heavenly Father that the spirit of Christ within reflects in our hearts. The more we realize that we have the glory of the Lord within, the greater our own spiritual revival begins to grow in the true light of the Epistles.

II Corinthians 4:7: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of {or rather ― from} God, and not of us.

The treasure is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), and the power of Christ in you is from God. We learn the truths about God’s wonderful power via learning and then reflecting His powerful Word in daily living. His healing Word always gives us access to His power, and as we recognize where the power originates from (from God, Ephesians 6:10), and we put our trust in the Word of God, then we will effortlessly begin using unlimited spiritual power and live the life that is more than abundant.

I Thessalonians 2:12–13:
-12: That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
-13: For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

No one on earth can absolutely prove God real to anyone else because God is Spirit, but anyone can see and read His Word, and believe what he or she has read, and then the Word of God itself will effectually worketh also in you that believe. This is how God reveals Himself to the individual; this is how the believer receives an understanding of His truths, His power, and the glory of the Lord (Christ within). When anybody believes what the Scriptures reveal, he or she can then prove that God’s Word is exceptionally “good,” wholly “acceptable,” and soundly “perfect” in every detail, for the believer will begin walking with the glory of the Lord, and share in the love of God to love’s fullness.

Romans 12:1–2:
-1: I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
-2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

God’s Word encourages us to allow the renewed mind itself to transform us from within with the purpose of knowing the reality of God’s will, the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. The benefits are immense for we will experience in our hearts the heavenly treasures God has placed in our earthen vessels! If we can absorb one idea from this study and practice something that can prove to our heart’s content the reality of God, then I would like to highlight the love of God that we have received. Let us reach out and love another person with God’s love. God has given us His love, the Bible tells us so, and when we love with His love, we will be applying something very spiritual and rewarding, something good, and acceptable, and perfect. When we give, we also receive. Whenever we love someone with God’s love we do not empty out, rather God continues to supply us in return for He is a fountain of unlimited supply.

Galatians 5:13–14:
-13: For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh {to be lazy or stingy with God’s love}, but by love serve one another.
-14: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

For all of the law is completely fulfilled in one word, that one word is love! God’s divinely‑given love has completely fulfilled all of the requirements that the Law had ever commanded (Matthew 22:37-40). Let us consider the last phrase of verse 14; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. We are loved completely by our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ without any strings attached because they are love in its fullness, and we are loved in their fullness. The essence of the phrase, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself is “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself is loved by God in Christ in you.” How God loves us is how we can love one another, and we learn about the tremendous love God has for us in the Scriptures, and this same love that the Bible speaks of is in our earthen vessels.

Romans 13:10: Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

God’s love always works in positive ways, and never works to bring hurt (ill) to a neighbor (John 4:20-21). God placed in our very hearts this love and made it available for us to manifest His love to others as God keeps on supplying ― more. Let us be honest for a minute and recall how many times we have heard the phrase, “love your neighbor as yourself” and many of us have perhaps thought, “Them, Oh my God you must be kidding. I don’t know if I have the strength to love those people over there in the same way as I love myself.” But with God’s love that has been freely given to us, being loving is so easy (I Thessalonians 3:12-13); it is almost like spending someone else’s money. We did not earn God’s love by our works; rather, we were given God’s love because of the generous work of Jesus Christ. This is a treasure in earthen vessels.

John 13:34–35:
-34: A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
-35: By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

If we were to love others solely contingent upon how much love that we have for ourselves, then I assure you that someone would be getting the shorter end of the stick because some people love themselves more, and some much less than others. However, God has given us a constant standard ― Christ’s love. God has made it available for each of us to love equally proportionately to the same love that Jesus Christ loves us with, and thank God for giving us this wonderful understanding about the genuine spiritual service of love that is so uplifting to all those this spiritual love touches. I John 3:18 encourages, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth,” With this new spiritual love of Christ we have been enabled to love the unlovable with the same intensity that we could love the most deserving and lovable souls.

The love of God that He has placed in our earthen vessels is a divine treasure chest and is stocked complete with pure heavenly love. God’s love applied reaches all the way into the heart of man, beyond the appearance or facade that people portray on the outside, “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).

The love of God is the true spiritual strength of the Christian family, and the spiritual foundation for true believing unity within the church, and the true spiritual uplifting in the individual believer’s heart, and is the believer’s lifeline into the tremendous blessings contained in God’s revealed Word.

Romans 5:5: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost {holy spirit} which is given unto us.

The hope is the return of Christ and our anticipation of that glorious day to be with him, clothed in a new spiritual body (Philippians 3:20-21). As we come to an understanding of the hope, we will know with inner believing conviction that there is no shame to ever be given us in our future, but rather glory immersed in the favorable, loving graces of our heavenly Father. The blessing that can cause the hope to become so alive in our hearts, in the continuous and present tense, is that we have the love of God ― now. The Word teaches us that we have and can utilize this love, and then we can equally share God’s love for and with one another which is the manifestation of the renewed mind. This is one of the divine treasures that God in His love has placed in our earthen vessels, so that we may even now enjoy His presence and presents.

Ephesians 3:17–20:
-17: That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
-18: May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
-19: And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
-20: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

Ephesians 6:10:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

The New Commandment

A new commandment I {Jesus} give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another– John 13:34.  Here in the Gospel of John, Jesus had just given his disciples and Apostles a new commandment. This commandment was so new that they really did not fully comprehend it until after Christ Jesus was resurrected and ascended up into heaven and they began living within their new commandment. The new commandment was to live in love. This love was greater than any love known to man before Christ had shown them. Jesus then explains the benefits of living this new commandment of love. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another– John 13:35. When and where we apply this new commandment, Jesus had said that all men would know whose disciple we would be. Love is one of the greatest things that God in Christ has ever given to humanity. Walking in love not only will identify us as Christ’s disciples, but living today in love is the way that Jesus taught us how to walk with him.” ~LMJ~

The Love of Christ Is (Ephesians 3:18)

“The love of Christ is the love of God in full bloom that Christ utilized in his daily life while he was here blessing people (John 13:34-35, 15:13). This love of Christ does not end at the crucifixion, but currently lives in our hearts just as Christ does. With the love of Christ, we can spiritually perceive the fullness of love, its width, length, depth, and height.

Breadth (width) indicates his love extending worldwide — to all.

Length illustrates his love extending throughout all the ages — without end.

Height shows his love extending up into the heavenlies — beyond the reach of negatives.

Depth communicates his love extending into our very hearts — profound spiritual wisdom regarding how to apply the love of Christ.” ~LMJ~

Peter – Revealing Our Stewardship of Grace

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

The Apostle Peter, who had walked on water with his Lord and Savior, wrote I and II Peter. Peter was a great man of God, contrary to what some believe and write about. It is true that he emphatically denied that he knew who Jesus was (without being in Peter’s shoes ourselves and facing what he had to face, it would be impossible to imply that anyone could have done any better).

It is true that he continually made mistakes. Peter rebuked Jesus once (at least Peter was man enough to speak his mind), and another time he swore that he would stand with Jesus no matter what the situation or consequence, and then he told Jesus that he was quitting the ministry and going back to his fishing profession.  Peter was an eyewitness of the actual sufferings of Jesus Christ. As we know from the Gospels and the Book of Acts, Peter continued getting back up, leaving us today with his example of a steward of the grace of God.

Peter was one of the greatest believers in the first century. The Word of God is so wonderful to show us the heart and life of Peter who typifies what could be any believer today who continues endeavoring to walk with God. Because we are not perfect, thankfully God only asks us to try and walk in His love, while His grace and love covers for our mistakes.

We will all blow it from time to time, but knowing that we have God’s divine grace in our lives, we may continue rising above those circumstances that caused us to screw up in the first place.

The Epistles of Peter express many wonderful truths; one that we will highlight today is our stewardship of grace given to each believer with the love of God, so that we may continue to rise up and walk with God while helping others along our way.

Peter experienced the grace of God upon his life, and so it is fitting that Peter wrote about God’s grace and our stewardship that came with Jesus Christ because Peter thoroughly understood and was thankful for the grace he enjoyed.

I Peter 4:8-10:
-8: And above all things have fervent charity {intensely given love} among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
-9: Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
-10: As every man {every believer} hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

One of the wonderful things that set the Christian apart is having spiritual love which God has given to us. Spiritual love covers when we sin, for our shortcomings, and when we are weak in our believing, and these combined are the multitude of sins that God’s love covers.

No one is perfect, yet God’s love is; thus the Word of God encourages us to extend love with spiritual intensity to each other, and as Jesus taught, this love proves first to ourselves that we are his disciples, then shows others that we are his disciples (John 13:34-35).

This is why Peter stated “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned {without discrimination} love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently” (I Peter 1:22). Love not only covers a multitude of sins, but also purifies the soul of the lover, causing him to be pure before his Maker!

We have received the gift of God’s love, which was manifested in the life of Christ, and has been given to us in and by grace. God’s love encourages us to minister the same love to each other. This is our stewardship of grace.

“Manifold” means that the grace of God is multifaceted, like the life of Jesus himself, or like the morning sky changing into hundreds of pastel colors ever so slightly with every moment and with every blink of our eyes. God’s divine grace is always forgiving, and is always given to us with love, and this we can minister one to another, proving God’s grace and love to be genuinely true and gentle as God continues holding us in His loving arms.

I Peter 4:11 – If any man speak {about the manifold grace of God}, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth {we can speak authoritatively because God has given to us His grace}: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion {strength} for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ is who made grace available, “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus, being the true subject of Scripture, continues revealing to us how to enjoy and walk within our divine gift from the Father.

When we speak the “oracles of God” i.e., the declaration of God’s grace, then we reciprocate back to our God – glory, and we discover the praise and strength of him who brought to us God’s grace – Jesus Christ.

God has given every believer a great ministry, Our Stewardship of Grace to enjoy and share with one another. What a marvelous standing we have in God’s family, and with him who gave his all for us, Christ the Lord.