Hymn: Great is Thy Faithfulness

A friend recently sent me a Christian song that I never heard before. It was good. An old hymn was next on the list, Great is Thy Faithfulness. That particular day I needed to hear the words of that song. The author wrote it from the words of Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations; “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”(Lam. 3:22, 23)

The Jewish nation had been taken captive by the Babylonians. They no longer had control over their land nor their lives. Yet these words were spoken among such a devastating time when there seemed like there was no hope for them. But there was. In fact, Jeremiah acknowledges in the next verse; The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!(Lam. 3:24)

There is also hope for us. IT’S IN THE LORD AND HIS FAITHFULNESS. God is faithful even in the difficult moments and circumstances of life. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Heb. 13:5) Here are the words of the hymn written by Thomas O. Chisholm in 1923:

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father; 
there is no shadow of turning with thee; 
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not; 
as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.


Refrain: 
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Great is thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
all I have needed thy hand hath provided–
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!


2 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness 
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. [Refrain]


3 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, 
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide, 
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside! [refrain]

Be encouraged: Watch video of Great is Thy Faithfulness/Medley of This is Amazing Grace

YOUR MERCY O Lord, is in the heavens;
YOUR FAITHFULNESS reaches to the clouds.
 YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS is like the great mountains;
YOUR JUDGMENTS are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast. Psalm 36:5, 6

You are invited to follow with me as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace!

Danger on the High Seas

After my brother and I moved out of the house, my dad bought a boat.  My brother used it for water skiing and I used it for fishing.

On one of the fishing trips my two boys, their two friends, and a friend of mine were fishing a fairly large lake. The kids were young; seven to ten years old. My mother and wife were with us as observers. We were catching fish. At dusk as it got colder and began to drizzle, we decided it was time to go. There was only one other boat on the lake within sight. I hit the ignition and the boat wouldn’t start. The battery had died.

That’s the closest I ever came to being shipwrecked. When that boat wouldn’t start, my adrenaline started to flow. Frustrated, my mind began to spin. How are we going to get out of this? We weren’t about to perish, but for the captain of the boat (me) it became stressful. Kids were cold. The women were getting wet! Thankfully, by the grace of God, the only other boat that we could see helped us get back to the dock.

Danger on the high seas

What we experienced was nothing like what the apostle Paul experienced on his way to Rome. We had a dead battery. He was on a ship that was about to be torn apart by a hurricane. The crew undergirded it with cables (Acts 27:17). That action became known as frapping. They wrapped the ship with cables to help hold the timbers together so it wouldn’t be broken apart by the wind and the waves. It was a scary time for even seasoned sailors.

Do you have cables for the storm?

The Greek word for ‘cable’ is the same word used in Hebrews (4:16) for ‘help’. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace; that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help (cable) in time of need” (Heb. 4:15, 16). God’s grace and mercy will help us like those cables on a sinking ship.

Storms always come

When they began to sail the sea was calm. But not long afterward a tempestuous wind began to blow. Trouble came. And it lasted for quite some time – weeks! It’s the same way with us. God doesn’t remove the storms of life. He allows them for the purpose of growing us spiritually.

Getting through the Storm

We usually try to figure a way out of the storm immediately. We generally don’t like storms. We want smooth sailing. But God has not promised us smooth sailing. He promises us that He will be with us through the storm (John 16:33).

Who do you seek in the Storm?

When your ship is falling apart, when troubles are coming your way, do you go boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and grace to help in time of need?  King David did. He said, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps. 34:4).

He will do the same for you and me, if we’re willing to trust Him; if we are willing to come to Him to find mercy and grace to help in the time of need. If we do, His cables will hold our ship together through the storm.

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul” (Ps. 138:3).

How to know you have a relationship with God click here.

The Greatest Cold Case of All

I believe it was C.S. Lewis that suggested the following three possiblilities about Jesus: “He either was Lord, a liar, or a lunatic”.  Jesus claimed to be the Lord God. He said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”. (John 14:9).  He claimed to be “I AM’, a reference to God in Exodus (3:14). The Jews picked up stones to stone him for that reason; “because You being a Man, make yourself God (John 10:33).

Could Jesus have been simply a good man? A good man does not lie about who he is. If He was only a good man as some suggest, He could not claim to be God if he wasn’t. He would be a liar.

Some suggest that maybe He thought He was God, but wasn’t. In that case, He was a lunatic. But that is a most unjustied conclusion. No person in his ‘right’ mind would even suggest that about Jesus.

Well if he wasn’t simply a ‘good’ man, and he wasn’t a lunatic, then there is only one other conclusion. He is who He says He is. He is Lord. That’s the first reason I believe Jesus rose from the dead. He is Lord and can be trusted. He said He would rise and He did (Matt. 16:21). He has power over death.

Secondly, the world is full of complexities. Did it all happen by chance or was it designed by an intelligience beyond our comprehension? For example, could the images of the four presidents on Mt. Rushmore have formed over millions of years by chance? Obviously not. It required intelligence to create. If the making of their image required intelligience, wouldn’t the real four presidents require an intelligent Designer? So if you can believe the first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”, then bringing someone back to life is no problem for Him.

Thirdly, Jesus taught His disciples truth. He certainly taught them to be men of integrity and honesty. Why then would they continue to teach that He rose, if they knew it wasn’t true? And why would many of them die for this truth, if they knew that it was false?

Fourthly, there are many prophetic passages, hundreds of years prior to the birth of Jesus, identifying Him as the Messiah. Included in these prophetic scriptures are references to His resurrection (Is. 53:10; Ps. 16:10; Dan. 12:2; Job 19:25, 26). If prophecies accurately identified the Christ, then why couldn’t those concerning his resurrection be trusted also?

Fifthly, the tomb was empty. Even the religious leaders knew the tomb was empty, because they promoted the lie that the disciples stole it (Matt. 28:13). All they needed was a body and this whole movement called the church would have never got off the ground. Find the body and the case is closed.

The angel at the tomb told the women, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” (Matt. 28:6) In the end there is no cold case because there is no dead body to find! He’s alive and coming again. Are you ready?

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Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for anyone who has believed the gospel.

No Resurrection; No Hope

“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day(Matthew 16:21). The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His bodily resurrection is the event that separates the Christian faith from all other faiths. Most people can accept the fact that Jesus was a real person and that He died a horrific death on a Roman cross.  However, not everyone willing accepts the truth of His resurrection.

But without the bodily resurrection of Christ, there would be no Christianity.  The apostle Paul made this very clear in his letter to the Corinthian church. He wrote to them to refute false teaching that there is no resurrection from the dead. He told them:

1. If Christ has not been raised, you are still dead in your sins. (15:17)

2. Those who have died in Christ have perished. (15:18) They are lost and forever separated from God. 

3. The apostles are false witnesses of God because they taught a lie. (15:15)  And all who have taught that Jesus rose from the grave are false witnesses as well.

4. Everyone who has hoped in Christ is to be pitied because they have believed in vain and have no hope for the future. (15:14,19)

However, there is hope. “Christ is risen from the dead” (15:20). Jesus was seen by Mary Magdeline and Mary. He was seen also by Peter, by the twelve, by 500 brethern at one time, by James, and last of all by the apostle Paul. (15:4-8)

In addition, while defending himself, Paul confronted Festus in front of King Agrippa with the truth of Christ’s sufferings and His resurrection. “For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner.” (Acts 26:23, 26)

The prophets foretold the resurrection of Christ. (Ps 16:10; Is 53:10; Dan. 7:13, 14)  It was necessary to fulfill the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45, 46)  It was proof that God accepted the sacrifice of His Son. (Rom 4:25)  He told His disciples, “Because I live you will live also” (John 14:19).

Those who seen Him were willing to die for this truth. Because He rose, every believer has this hope of bodily resurrection. “The body is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power”.  ” …The first Adam became a living being. The last Adam (Jesus) became a life- giving spirit” (I Cor 15:42-45) .

He is risen indeed!

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Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for anyone who has believed the gospel.

The Release of a Murderer

Following is adapted from an article written by C.I. Scofield

Barabbas sat in prison. He was notorious for rebellion and murder in the city of Jerusalem (Luke 23:25). He waited for the day of his crucifixion for his crimes. His sentence was just. The day had come. He would be nailed to a cross in the middle of two other crosses; prepared for two other law breakers.

It was the custom of the Roman authorities to release a prisoner at Passover to appease the Jews (Mark 15:6). Unbeknown to Barabbas, the Jewish leaders would request his freedom so that Jesus could take his place. Barabbas had committed murder and was under the righteous condemnation of the law (Mark 15:7).

Barabbas was guilty. Jesus was not. He had done nothing deserving of condemnation under the law (John 8:46; John 19:4). Jesus was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Jesus was a true substitute for Barabbas. He actually would die in his place. Jesus, as an innocent person, would bear the very penalty which the law had justly pronounced on Barabbas. (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; I Peter 3:18)

Barabbas had done nothing to deserve his reprieve.  It was granted to him simply by grace. (Eph. 2:4-9; Rom. 4:4-5).

He knew that if Jesus would die, he would live. The only question before Pilate was whether Christ should die or Barabbas. When it was decided that Christ should die, Barabbas was set free. His assurance was complete the instant that his Substitute (Jesus) said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 5:19)

The same could be said of you or me. We are the same as Barabbas. Jesus took his place, but He also took our place. Like Barrabas we are condemned sinners helpless to change our situation. But God in His infinite love, mercy, and grace provided a Substitute to take our place. Jesus’ death paid our sin debt. We have no debt to pay He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). His resurrection proved that God was completely satisfied with His payment (Rom. 4:25).

Have you trusted in Him for the forgiveness of all your sins (past, present, and future)? Have you been restored to a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ? If you have trusted Christ, Easter time is a great opportunity to share the good news with others. With all that is going on in the world, people’s mortality has become real to them. You can share the hope that we have in Jesus Christ by sharing the following link:

Not a Christian; not sure? Click here for Good News!

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!

Pray

Many of the people I know are praying. One person’s prayer can have great impact. But it must be done in faith. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:15). This does not mean that everyone will get healed. For all prayer is answered according to the will of God (I John 5:14, 15). But this doesn’t diminish the importance of prayer, which is an expression of our dependence on God.

The book of James gives an example of one who prayed and had great results, Elijah. He was a man just like us. “He prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit (James 5:17, 18). This is the example of how an “effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).

In verse 16 one Greek word translates the two English words, effective and fervent. Simply stated, the prayer of a righteous person is effective. Becasue of the circumstance, it led Elijah to pray earnestly (v. 17). Literally, ‘he prayed with prayer’. It was a Hebrew idiom to express intensity. He had no abilty to make this prayer happen. He couldn’t stop it from raining. He couldn’t make it rain. He was completely reliant on God for the outcome.

A righteous man is not a perfect man. But he is first of all in a right relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. As a result, he is one who is in a right relationship with others. Specifically, he is walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh (Gal. 5:17). That’s why there is an instruction for the elders to pray for the sick person. Not that all elders walk in the Spirit, but they should be walking in close fellowship with God or else they shouldn’t be elders.

Elijah’s prayer was not only God dependent, but it was also in the will of God (I John 5:15; I Kings 17:1, 18:1). The northern kingdom of Israel had severely departed from worshiping the Lord. Ahab was king. He had married Jezebel, a wicked servant of the false god, Baal. She influenced her husband and the whole nation to worship Baal rather than almighty God.

God would use the lack of rain as judgment on the nation for their evil. A lack of rain caused famine. Famine was one of God’s four severe judgments (Ez. 5:17; 14:21). The judgments were for the purpose of turning the nation back to God.

So Elijah prayed again according to God’s will and God eventually sent rain on the land (I Kings 18:1, 41, 45). That’s the result of one righteous man’s prayer, when prayed according to God’s will.

It’s not about how many people are praying. It’s really about the Lord’s will and the godly energized prayers of righteous men and women; those who are walking in a close relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Christians who love as brothers, are humble, and do not retaliate or revile; but rather bless, have the ear of God (I Peter 3:8, 9). For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” I Peter 3:12

Be a Christian who God hears for the welfare of others and for His glory!

Not a Christian? Not sure? Click here for assurance.

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!

What do You do When the Way is Difficult?

First of all, thank you to all who have signed up to follow this blog. It’s my hope that it will encourage you in your walk with the Lord as we travel this road of faith together.

So how have you been doing with the quarantines, the shortages, and the shutdown of businesses?  It is a scary time. I was in 7th grade when the teacher walked into the room and told us that President Kennedy had been shot. We didn’t believe him at first. Fear came upon me when I realized he was serious.

Most of you experienced the frightening moments of 9/11. My youngest son was in the middle of Marine Corp boot camp. That time was worrisome for us as it was for everyone.  What would happen next? Fear freezes us in place. We can’t function properly when we’re fearful. So what do we do?

The way I see it, when things are out of our control. we have only one option. Trust in the Lord. We can do that through prayer, meditating on His word, and seeking His strength. He gives us many words of encouragement. Here are some of my favorite ones in times of high anxieties:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Prov. 3:5, 6)

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Pet. 5:6, 7)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is my strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.” (Ps. 27:1)

Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer, from the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I”. (Ps. 61:1, 2)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1)

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (Ps. 145:17)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6, 7)

This time would be a good time to reach out to some one that may need an encouraging word by phone, email, facetime, etc. It may be an opportune time to share the gospel. God is still God. He is still in control. Hopefully this time of difficulty will convince many to seek Him. I am praying that God will protect you from the virus and that many will come to know Him through this crisis.

Check out the Assurance of Heaven Study Guide. It’s free for downloading and can be copied for group studies.

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com . You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!

Free Download – Assurance of Heaven Study Guide

Assurance of Heaven Study Guide is now available as a companion guide to the book, Assurance of Heaven. It can be downloaded for free at: https://assuranceofheaven.com/free-study-guide/. Copies can be made and distributed to individuals for group studies.

The study guide is good for personal study, for a Sunday school class, or for a home group gathering. It could also be used for one-on-one discipleship. Currently the book is being used at the Mahoning County Prison in Ohio.

It contains 12 chapters that address all 15 chapters of the book. It uses or refers to over 290 Bible verses so that the student should come away with a very good understanding of assurance of salvation. It will help you to think Biblically about salvation by faith alone in Christ alone.

The Study Guide will enhance your understanding of the Assurance of Heaven book. It will help you realize from the Bible that you can know you will go to heaven by believing the gospel. From studying these passages you will discover how amazing God’s grace really is. You can check it out here:https://assuranceofheaven.com/free-study-guide/

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The Assurance of Heaven Book can be purchased at :

Amazon

Thank you visiting assuranceofheaven.com. You are invited to follow as we explore God’s amazing grace and assurance of heaven to anyone who has believed the gospel.

Water is Life!

Recently a friend of mine sent me a devotional. It told of a fellow who worked on a construction crew that built new houses. He connected the water lines to new homes. When they turned on the water, “a once quiet house suddenly seemed alive”. He said, “It amazed me that the house could transform so quickly just by someone turning on a valve”.

Jesus used a similar illustration. He went into Samaria where He met a woman at Jacob’s well. He asked her for a drink. And then He offered her a drink of living water. Living water represented the gift of everlasting life by faith in Him. Like water that promptly brings life to a house, Jesus offers living water (everlasting life) immediately to anyone who believes in Him.

Many fail to have the certainty of salvation because they fail to believe or to understand the simplicity of the gospel. They base their assurance on personal goodness or the lack of it. Often they are taught this. But Jesus guarantees it the moment a person trusts in Him. He likens it to taking a drink of water.

Salvation is a gift. It simply requires faith in the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you believe, you have everlasting life. There’s a number of examples in the Bible where people believed and immediately received the gift of everlasting life. They didn’t have to wait until they died to see if they made it! Following are several examples of those who believed and were immediately saved, receiving the gift of everlasting life:

1. On the Day of Pentecost…“Then those who gladly received the word were baptized and that day about three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 2:41).  

2. Result of the apostles’ preaching… “Many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand” (Acts 4:4).

3. More results of the apostles’ preaching… “And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women” (Acts 5:14).

4. Both the Jews and Gentiles received the Holy Spirit when they believed. “If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” (Acts 11:17)

5. Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved...” He did and his family did. “…He rejoiced, having believed in God with all his family” (Acts 16:31, 34).

6. Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Jesus didn’t say, might have or will have. He said you have it when you believe in Him for salvation.

Being saved from the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God) happens the moment a person believes in Jesus to save them. The Bible calls this justification. A lost person passes from spiritual death to spiritual life at that moment. Everlasting life is everlasting. It cannot be lost or taken away. If it could, it wouldn’t be everlasting. It would be temporary. It’s as simple as taking a drink of water. Have you taken that spiritual drink? Find out more at: https://assuranceofheaven.com/assurance/?frame-nonce=4671e1b181

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com . You are invited to follow as we continue to explore God’s amazing grace and eternal security for all who have believed the gospel!

Bad Apples

Anyone managing people knows that it’s not an easy thing to do well. I had the blessing of managing for 27 years of my life, although I did not always see it as a blessing at times. God taught me much over those years about myself and about others. Most of the people did their job. Typically a small percentage caused the problem. Left unchecked a few bad apples can spoil the whole bushel.

The Lord used Moses to lead the people out of Egypt. They had an eleven day journey to enter the Promised Land. They sent twelve spies to scout out the land. The scouts reported that it had an abundance of food. There was only one problem. Giants lived there (Num. 13:33).  Ten of the scouts convinced over two million people to disobey God and they refused to enter into the land. 

Two Good Apples

Joshua and Caleb tried to convince the people to enter the Promised land. The congregation turned on them and wanted to put them to death. Why? They gave a good report and knew that the Lord was with them (Num. 14:9).  It’s not always easy to follow the Lord faithfully. A few bad apples convinced over two million to act unfaithfully. An eleven day journey turned into 40 years!

The Church is no Different

The Bibles says, “Do not be deceived, evil company corrupts bad habits” (I Cor. 15:33). False teaching had influenced the Corinthian church concerning the resurrection. A bad teacher convinced some of them that there was no resurrection (I Cor. 15:12). False teachers can be very deceptive and influential. They will lead you away from the truth and from obeying the Lord.

how should you protect yourself from such leaders and teaching?

            1. Realize that there will be false teachers in the church. The apostle Paul warned the church at Thessalonica, “…savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). Their motivation is not to glorify God but themselves; “…among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30).

2. They get the gospel wrong. They teach that the performance of good works, the promise of good works, or the evidence of good works must accompany faith in Christ to prove that such faith has resulted in eternal life. For them it is Jesus plus something equals salvation.

            3. Know the word of God. Become a Berean. They searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether the things the apostle Paul taught were correct (Acts 17:11).  

            4. Realize that a college/seminary education doesn’t make one right. Peter and John were uneducated and untrained men, but they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).

            5. Understand that in God’s kingdom the majority opinion doesn’t rule. The word of God sets the standard. Joshua and Caleb acted faithfully. The other ten had the majority vote but it was wrong.   

            6. Truth triumphs over feelings and experience. Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:31, 32).  Feelings and experience are fleeting, but the truth of God’s word endures forever (Is. 40:8).

            7. Last of all learn to know what a good Biblical leader looks like. They teach the Bible in a historical grammatical way. They are examples to the flock in life and in doctrine (I Peter 5:1-3; I Tim 3:1-15).

Thank you for visiting assuranceofheaven.com. I invite you to follow as we explore together God’s amazing grace and assurance of heaven for anyone who has believed the gospel.