universal love

Universal Love of God

A guest post by Nic Bryson

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

universal loveI’ve wondered how the world can be so prejudiced. We as humans look on the outside but God looks on the inside.

We look at the color of a person’s skin, their disabilities, or the way they are dressed. At the same time God is looking at the person that is on the inside and how caring and compassionate they are.

I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). In this scripture, again, God is saying that no one is less equal or inferior but that we are all the same.

Another good reference is, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him” (Romans 10:12). Here again He is saying that He cares not about race.

Back in the Bible times there was prejudice also, it’s not just a recent thing in the past few centuries. The Jews and the Gentiles are just one example of it.

The Jews were the “superior” race (because they were God’s chosen people), and the Gentiles were “inferior.” Although when Christ came and preached the word to everyone, like these scriptures say, He did not look on the outside of the people He was preaching to, but on the person.

We think that no one is prejudice anymore, but just the other night my family and I sat down to watch a video that my father brought home.

It was about two men, who worked together side by side everyday, who were taken by a news crew from 20/20 to test the different responses of people depending on the color of skin.

They took them to the same places and each of them did the same things as the other. Yet, they still received different responses, all of them favoring the man whose skin was lighter.

In the same way, it happens everyday around us  and we say that people are not like that anymore, but they are. I just hope that one day we will be able to say it does not happen and that statement be completely true.

finish line

Fighting the Good Fight

A guest post by Randy Teller

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:7-8).

finish line

Living the Christian life is the best fight we will be in.

Paul uses metaphors throughout his letters to Timothy, talking about athletes, training, winning, and awards. I’m sure this was a common subject in New Testament times because of Olympic games, just as it is common today.

Our life is a battle against sin and Satan. Everyday we must arm ourselves with the tools of battle (Ephesians 6:13-18). Just as an athlete must train regularly to compete for their gold medal, we, too, must train regularly to compete for our gold medal, Heaven.

As it is with all types of training, you must constantly push yourself to do better than the day before. When we become complacent with our spiritual lives we are no longer growing closer to God.

Do you pray?

Can you pray a little more?

Do you give?

Can you give a little more?

Do you serve others?

Can you serve a little more?

Physical training is important for physical well being and spiritual training is important for spiritual well being (I Timothy 4:8).

As we train and develop our bodies for this contest, it is also normal to train longer and harder than the actual race or contest. A wrestling match is only 6 minutes long. A wrestler will train for hours every day to prepare for those few minutes.

He does it for one reason: to go the distance.

It does no good to be ahead, only to stop short of the finish line. There is little respect for the athlete who is ahead the entire race only to quit just before the end of the race.

We are in that type of event. It is of no value to lead a spiritual life only to fall away just before reaching the finish line…Heaven.

The Christian’s race is different because it doesn’t matter when you start; just make sure you finish the race. There are many runners in a long distance race and while winning it is a special privilege, finishing the race is the mark of true character (Philippians 3:13-14).

Yes, physical and spiritual training are both vitally important. However, as with all contests, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. This ensures that all contestants will be judged fairly.

Personally, I cannot tell the difference between a double toe loop and a double axel. To the judge it is as obvious as night and day.

As Christians, we, too, have a judge, but we have two advantages.

First, our judge is honest and righteous at all times.

Second, if we don’t get it right the first time, we can ask for and receive a second chance; God does give us rules to live by each day (II Timothy 2:5).

The apostle Paul was a spiritual champion. It is not to say he had a perfect, easy life (II Corinthians 11:23-27). He did, however, have a most precious goal in sight: the crown of righteousness, the gift of eternal life in Heaven.

In his last days he was at peace because of three things: he had fought the fight, finished the race, and had kept the faith.

May God bless you with the desire and ability to say the same.

one of a kind

The Humanity of Christ (Part Two)

“Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three,

One lived and died for self; one died for you and me.

The Greek died on the throne; the Jew died on a cross

One’s life a triumph seemed; the other but a loss.

One led vast armies forth; the other walked alone;

One shed a whole wold’s blood; the other gave His own.

One won the world in life and lost it all in death.

The other lost His life to win the whole world’s faith.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three,

One died in Babylon; and one on Calvary.

One gained all for self; and one Himself He gave.

One conquered every throne; the other every grave.

The one made himself God; the God made Himself less;

The one lived but to blast, the other but to bless.

When died the Greek, forever fell his throne of swords;

But Jesus died to live forever Lord of lords.

Jesus and Alexander died at thirty-three.

The Greek made all men slaves; the Jew made all men free.

One built a throne on blood; the other on love,

The one was born of earth; the other from above.

One won all this earth, to lose all earth and heaven.

The other gave up all, that all to Him be given.

The Greek forever died; the Jew forever lives.

He loses all who gets, and wins all things who gives.”

(Charles Ross Weede, “The Perfect Example”)

one of a kind

The Humanity of Christ (Part One)

“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, and that a despised one.

He worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30, and for three years, He was an itinerant preacher.

He never held an office.

He never owned a house.

He never wrote a book.

He never went to college.

He never put His foot inside a big city.

He never traveled 200 miles from the place where He was born.

He had no credentials but Himself.

While He was a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against Him.

His friends ran away. One of them betrayed Him.

He was turned over to His enemies.

He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

While He was dying, His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth, and that was His seamless robe.

When He was dead, He was laid in a private grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone, and today He is the masterpiece of the human race and the leader of all progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as that One Solitary Life.”

(Writer Unknown)

Believe in God

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I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Psalms 20:2-3).

Faithful Christians believe in God as creator, redeemer, and sanctifier.

As a Christian, you cannot love God too much. He is in all the universe and He knows everything about every one who has ever lived and who will ever live. Despite the fact that He knows all, the amazing truth is that HE loves everyone.

God created man and He sustains man throughout life on this earth. Without His loving care, no one in the world could live for even an instant.

And above all else that He has given man, He has given Himself in the Lord Jesus Christ to save all men. This is the best gift of all.

Thank God for all He has done for you and pray that your heart will be so grateful to Him that you will love and serve Him every day of your life.

Thank God that He is God and that He has created you; that He loves and cares for you, providing all your needs. Ask Him for help to be stronger in your faith and that He will help make you a better servant in everything you do.

“…The churches of Christ greet you…” (Romans 16:16).

Our Main Objective in Life

A guest post written by Danni C. DeVera (Philippines)

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Paul illustrated his main objective in life by the athletic contests of the day. The runner had only one thing in mind – to win the race, and receive the crown.

Maybe, Paul liked sports and that is why he uses the runner as an example. Paul must have been concerned with his physical health and wanted to be physically fit in order to do the work of the Lord.

Christians must have this kind of objective in life. We are to set our mind on what is our priority in life (Matthew 8:33).

Paul had an attitude to do one thing at a time, and this one thing was the only one he had in mind to do (Philippians 3:13).

Paul reaches forth with strong exertions like a runner in the race. He was running in this world in order to reach heaven for eternal life. In reaching forth, he forgot what was behind, reaching out to what was ahead.

All opportunities lie before us, and we must go onward no matter what, to obtain our objective in life – eternal life. We all need to go forward because God wants us to (II Peter 3:18).

Our main objective must be to press toward the mark. We should not run outside the line, nor stay off the course that we may not be disqualified.

Our run must not be hindered by any obstacles (trials, suffering, persecutions, etc). In running for our goal, we need to lay aside all excess weight – sins. We must always abide in the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ (II John 9). in order to receive the crown of life.

If we fail to observe the rules of the race we will not reach the finish line. Like Paul, we must always keep our eyes on our objective, which is our Lord Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).

If we do not keep the goal in view, we will not know the direction we are running. We must, like Paul, keep our main objective in life.

Faith

A guest post written by Anita Bontjes

For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7, NKJV).

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3).

“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, and was not found, because God had taken him, for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was gong. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:5-10).

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:22).