Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Always and Never



I have often said that as followers of Jesus we should eliminate these   2 words from our vocabulary. I have often heard "you always say that", or perhaps "you never do what I tell you to do". I'm sure I am not the only person who is used to hearing these words spoken in this negative sort of way. But I recently read a devotional thought in ODB on Aug 6, 2012, which put a very positive spin on the words "always" and "never". We only have to think of the promises given to us by Jesus in (Matt 28:20) where He declared "I will be with you always". And then in (Heb 13:5-6) where He declares "I will never leave you nor forsake you! So we can boldly say: the Lord is my helper, I will not fear". These are only 2 of many similar passages that we can depend on because they are direct promises made by Jesus who is TRUTH. (John 14:6). So as long as we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and have been "born again" by the Spirit of God and adopted by Father into His Forever Family, we are assured of eternal life with Him when we die.


Many people are trusting in other things to get them to heaven when they die because there are many false religions that have been spreading through church circles in the past several decades. Some of these originated in the Far East many years ago and have come to NA as part of what has been called "New Age Philosophy". This basically promotes the idea that there are many roads that can lead us to heaven when we die. They are all lies started by Satan, the enemy of God, who started out as Lucifer who was one of the three arch angels in heaven. You can read about him in the OT books of (Is 14:12-21) and (Ezek 28:12-19). Lucifer was one of the highest created beings to share the leadership of God's Kingdom until his beauty and wisdom caused pride and rebellion to enter his heart and he introduced "sin" into the perfect environment of God's heaven. The result of this rebellion was God casting him out of heaven, and he chose earth as his abode because it was the only planet in our universe that was created to sustain life. The rest is history, as they say, and is accurately recorded in the Bible. Thank God He has provided His "Written Word" to guide us on our journey through life. And of course we have His Son Jesus Christ who is called the "Living Word" of God, who paid the price of our redemption from sin and then returned to heaven to be seated at Father's throne. (Ps 110:1). They then sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of followers of Jesus today!!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                                                                  

Friday, December 16, 2016

A Wedding Garment



This term is mentioned in (Matt 22:11-12), and was part of a parable that Jesus told about a certain king who had prepared celebrations for the marriage of his son. If we read from verse 1-14 for the whole parable, we see that it was told partly for the benefit of the Pharisees, who represented the religious crowd of the day. They were meant to be the man without the proper "wedding garment" in the story, and the last 2 verses explain his end result of being in hell. Bob Mumford gives a good illustration in his teaching series called the Agape Road. He uses this term "wedding garment" to explain the truth brought out by Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth. In the fifth chapter (2 Cor 5:17-21) he tells about how God brought us lost sinners back to Himself, by allowing His Son Jesus, who was "sinless", to become sin for us and die on the cross to redeem us by paying the price for our sins, for the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and only a perfectly "sinless" man could pay the price of this sin, and satisfy the demands of a Holy God. Jesus was the only man who qualified to be our one and only Savior!!


Bob uses a pure white piece of cloth to represent God's righteousness, which he refers to as the "wedding garment". He lays it over his left hand that is made into a fist, and calls that God "imputing" His righteousness to us as a "gift", and he takes his finger and forces this cloth down into the space between the fingers made into the fist, and calls that Jesus "imparting" this righteousness to us. In other words it is definitely a "gift" that we do not earn by good works, given to us at salvation when He "adopts" us into His Forever Family, and seals this transaction by leaving His Holy Spirit, as a "down payment", so to speak, until we collect our final purchase at our resurrection! (Eph 1:3-14). When we read scriptures like these ones written by Paul, the "Apostle to the Gentiles", to whom God revealed the "mystery" of the Church that Jesus said He would build (Matt 16:18), we know that we can depend on this truth. This is an easy way to pass on this truth to others, who may not yet know Jesus as Lord and Savior, and are depending on their religious activities to gain acceptance with God. This is part of the lie that the devil, who Jesus said is the father of lies, has spread in many churches!!

We need to be alert to this lie that many sincere "Christians" have been taught as if it was true.

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer                                                                                  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Life of Holiness



I read an article in Our Daily Bread (ODB) yesterday, Sept 15, 2013 about a basketball coach John Wooden at UCLA. His team won a lot of National Championship titles under his direction, and he was well loved by the players. The article quoted him as saying "I always tried to make it clear that basketball was not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior. Until that is done, we are on an aimless course that runs in circles and goes nowhere". Coach John Wooden honored God in all he did and challenges us to do the same. Jesus said in (Matt 5:16) "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven". The article ended with "Let your light shine—whether you are a candle in a corner or a lighthouse on a hill".


This sounds like the Apostle Paul in (Phil 2:12-18), where he is encouraging his hearers to Shine Brightly for Christ. Just read these verses in a modern translation like NLT which has a heading before verse 12 "Shine Brightly for Christ"? Here are a few verses from Paul "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him". "Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out as a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes you should rejoice, and I will share your joy". I believe that these few verses express the heart of a true servant of God that the Apostle Paul certainly proved to be. And this is the type of life that our Savior is looking for from all of His committed followers. And Father has given each of us His Holy Spirit to abide with us for ever the moment He adopts us into His family, when we receive His Son as our Lord and Savior. This is undoubtedly the most important choice that any person must make in their lifetime here on earth. Have you made that choice? If not yet, please don't put off that decision until it's too late; time is running out for all of us!!

Sincerely submitted

Dave Jamer                                                                           

A Life o f Holiness



There has been much teaching and preaching about "holiness" in the church over the years. Some of this teaching has been confusing because it is based on a false understanding of scriptural holiness. When God chose the Nation of Israel to be His chosen people, to show the rest of the Gentile Nations how they should live, He gave them certain instructions and laws to govern their lives. In (Lev 20:26) we read "And you shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine". This standard of holiness is repeated over and over, both in the OT and in the new. The Hebrew word for holy is [qadosh], Strong's # 6918, which means among other things—set apart, dedicated to sacred purposes, clean, morally or ceremonially pure.


Several "distorted appearances" of holiness have developed in Christian circles. The first, and probably the most blatant, would be what Jack Hayford calls "dehumanized holiness". By this he means a mechanical, artificial, or abstract practice of holiness. Those who practice this type of distorted holiness, see themselves as superior to others in their knowledge, and think they have nothing more to learn. The implication is that holiness comes from "what" you know, not "who" you know. This type of distorted holiness is imposed from the outside rather than coming from a changed heart. It had its beginning in early "Gnosticism" teaching, which the Pharisees of Jesus' day practiced. There are still Pharisees in the church today in some circles! Next we have what we could call "legalized holiness", or the belief that how well we keep the letter of the law, determines how holy we are. This type of holiness teaching rules out completely any guidance by the Holy Spirit, and opens the door for control by unclean "religious spirits" A third type of distorted holiness teaching is sometimes referred to as "Antinomian holiness", or "false grace". This is the false belief that grace releases us from the obligations of moral law and the development of right character. We often see this today in some charismatic circles, where there has been very little emphasis on the word of God, and more on subjective things like feelings, visions, or prophesy. This is only a very brief look at this problem of distorted views of this important subject. It should be developed more fully at a later date, but in the meantime this might give you something to think about as you consider this word "holiness" in your scripture reading. Peter quotes ( Lev 11:44) in his first letter (1 Pet 1:16) "be holy, for I am holy". Good advice!!

Sincerely submitted.

Dave Jamer