“The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings,” Malachi 4:2. This verse in the last chapter of the Old Testament look forward to a day that we would be able to say, "By your stripes, Holy Son, our Sun, we are healed."
As we mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day, let us reflect on how we may bring wholeness to a lost and dying world. Dr. King told a nation founded on the freedom of Christ that it was still bound by hatreds, prejudice and resentments, but he then provided a way it could be liberated.
We, too, can give people hope by our stories of biblical truth and how God has showed it in our lives. Pray the Lord of the harvest send out laborers into it as he sent MLK two generations ago.
“My ways are higher than your ways,” God tells us in Isaiah 55:9.
The Lord is knowable through his Scripture and Spirit. The Bible educates us on God's commandments, wisdom and perspective, and the Holy Ghost leads and guides us through this life by applying the Word to our circumstances and situations.
Still, God is a spirit, not a human, and he exists in all places at all times, so his mind, reach and work transcend our finite view. Sometimes we endure difficulties we can't explain, but that's what faith is about: We trust the Lord while waiting for his illumination, knowing he is good and his mercies endure forever.
The Lord of all loves us more than we can ever comprehend. That should inspire us to stay in his rest at all times, though we may have to "be diligent" to do so (Hebrews 4:11).
Jesus is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:17), the title coming from the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. So what can we learn from the opening and closing verses of the Bible?
Genesis 1:1 reads, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," while Revelation 22:21 is, "The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen."
The word for "God" in the former is "elohim," a plural, showing Jesus is involved in both verses. Creation and grace tie together, as we owe our existence to the Lord and are only sustained by him.
If you find yourself harried today, remember Christ is the beginning and end of all. He loves you and has a perfect plan for you. He has promised to overcome the world (John 16:33). You can make it!
Happy 90th birthday on Tuesday, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.! If ever there were a time when our nation and world needed a person like him to rise up, this would be it.
King emphasized that every color – black, white, brown, yellow and all others – had to work together as unto the Lord. He was no reverse racist, but no Uncle Tom, either. He was powerful, straightforward and right. "I want to be the white man's brother, not his brother-in-law," he said.
The famous Baptist preacher's speeches indicate he possessed a deep understanding of Scripture and people that he applied in new, interesting ways. I celebrate King's birthday as heartily as I can. He is someone every American can admire, no matter race, age or era.
Here’s the hidden secret to emerging from darkness to God’s marvelous light: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,” as Acts 3:19 states.
We talk about accepting Christ, but not so much on turning from our wayward lives. Repentance is crucial to the new birth spiritually.
We aren't doing fine, then adding Jesus. We're lost, then we're found. The old man passes away and the new comes to life. Then, after salvation, we have to respond to the Holy Spirit's conviction of our wrong, ask God's forgiveness for it, and move forward in confidence that he will empower us to overcome it.
Being born again is a 180-degree turn from the world and toward God. If we move back a few degrees, the Lord will restore us through his Spirit and strength as we repent.
The Lord is kind and gracious. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,” says Titus 2:11.
This grace has come in the person of Jesus, though the Lord had shown his forgiveness and mercy many times in the Old Testament (for example, Israel in the wilderness, Hezekiah's demise and Rahab's rescue). The Word of God clearly lays out how to access Christ and this limitless gift, one we continually underestimate in our arrogance.
We must acknowledge that without the Almighty, we can do nothing. Only he is able – we are not, no matter our talents or intellect.
All of us will be without excuse on Judgment Day, and then it will be revealed whether we tried to make it on our own or let God into our lives and ministries.
A beautiful African-American senior citizen was pictured praying for President Trump, and he held her hand while he gave his remarks. This fits so well my theme for this year: "God is Love" (1 John 4:8).
The Lord can bring us together despite any difference we may have; he is so grieved at our hatred one for another. This is so beautiful, I cry when I see it, for the picture shows what we must do instead: forgive, be gracious, give mercy, and bless instead of curse.
I do not mean to feature the president as a political figure. I do mean to try to be a conduit of God's will and Word. We are so very divided in our nation and world, often due to the enemy's sowing of discord. Most of the acrimony in the USA today is not based on fact but falsehood. Satan is the father of lies, but God is Truth defined, father of Jesus Christ, and with his son the giver of the Holy Ghost. Choose the Trinity and its fruit, selecting life, not death.
Splattered across news headlines today is a report that a freshwoman in the U.S. House called the president a "motherf----er." The chief executive responded the representative "dishonored herself ... and her family."
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers," says Ephesians 4:29-31. "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
Regardless of party, background, etc., why can we not speak of each other with respect and dignity? Criticizing policy honestly and factually is always fine, but using expletives to refer to people made in God's image is appalling. The disgraceful way individuals now address one another is building up wrath between and among us as well as God.
To begin our new year, a short but simple passage: "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 John 4:8).
Love is not necessarily an emotion or feeling. It's a decision to help others whether you like them or not and whether or not they like what you do.
"Love suffers long and is kind," begins 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. "Love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
In other words, love seeks truth and reconciliation, not revenge; listens to instead of talks over others; speaks in genuine concern what is difficult but necessary; avoids celebrating when opponents are brought down, praying for their coming to the knowledge of what is right; believes God can touch and change anyone, anything, anywhere. This love had Jesus correct sinners yet go to the cross to make a way for them to be reconciled to his Father and live with him in eternity.
"What the world needs now is love, sweet love," went a popular song from the 1970s. So very true, because God is love.
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