THEREFORE … You need to know what it is there for!

Regarding the Word of God, the Bible, I’ve heard it said a few times over the years, that “whenever you see a ‘therefore’ in the Bible, you have to see what it is ‘there for”!!  I agree so totally with that. The word “therefore” indicates the transition from what is being said or what has been said and the results or consequences thereof.

Recently, a friend of ours in South Africa, Don Liebenberg, shared an outline of his study in the book of Romans, and more specifically, the use of the word “therefore”.   I have his permission to use his outline and notes with some personal editing along the way.      Be blessed!

Don writes:  The apostle Paul often uses the word “Therefore” in his letter to the Romans.

The significance thereof is that the word is strongly used to convince the reader of the importance of a particular spiritual truth and thence to urge the reader to apply in practice what he has so taught.    The recognition of the importance of this word and an unhurried meditation on that Scripture portion, brings a fresh appreciation of the greatness of the glory of the Gospel in all its aspects.

Romans 1:24 – Therefore … God gave them up
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Romans 2:1 – Therefore … you have no excuse
“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, …”
(It is important to have read chapter one of Romans and to read through to Romans 2:11 to get the verse in context and to really be blessed by the reading of God’s precious Word).

Romans 4:22 – Therefore … it was credited to him as righteousness
“He (Abraham) did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.””
(Read the full account of Abraham and Faith in Romans 4)

Romans 5:1 – Therefore … being justified by faith, we have peace
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:9 – Therefore … we have now been justified by his blood
Romans 5:12 – Therefore … Just as through one man

Romans 5:18 – Therefore … as one trespass led to condemnation for all men
“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned….    Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men
, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5 6-19)

There are many more verses to share, but I will not write them all out as above…


Here are the other verses that Don provided.  Work through in your quiet time with the LORD.   Spend time reading, meditating and praying through these verses.   It will be such a blessing.

Romans …
6:4          We have been buried with Him through baptism into death …
6:12        Do not let sin reign in your mortal body …
6:21        What benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed?

7:4          You also were made to die to the law through the body of Christ
7:13        Did that which is good become a cause of death in me? …

8:1          There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus …

12:1        I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God

13:2        Whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God
13:12     Let us lay aside the deeds of darkness
13:5        It is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath …

14:13     Let us not judge one another
14:16     Do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil

15:7        Accept one another just as Christ has accepted us …


Thessalonians … The Model Church


(1 Thes 1:1-10)

The first letter to the Thessalonians was probably one of the earliest of Paul’s many inspiring writings. He wrote it from Corinth very shortly after he departed from Thessalonica.  Tremendous persecution had broken out there and he was sent away for his personal safety.

Subsequent to leaving Thessalonica, Paul had sent Timothy from Athens to visit the church. Following Timothy’s great feedback about them, Paul wrote this letter in which he commends them for their steadfastness and reminds them of the various truths he taught them while he ministered to them for just under a month.

The theme of 1 Thessalonians can be divided into 4 sections:

  • To help and confirm the new converts in the foundational truths he’d already taught them
  • To exhort or encourage them to live a life of personal holiness, pleasing to the Lord
  • To comfort them concerning those who had died
  • To instruct them with regard to their own hope of the Lord’s return

An interesting feature of both first and second Thessalonians is that teaching on the coming of the Lord is very prominent throughout both letters, and forms part of basic doctrinal teaching which is sadly lacking in the church today!

It is also very interesting that even though the time spent in Thessalonica was relatively short (just less than a month), many great doctrines of the Christian faith are referred to in his first letter to them. This would indicate that they would have had more substantive teaching on these doctrines whilst Paul was with them.   Here are the doctrines he alluded to:

  • The Trinity (1:1, 5 & 6)
  • The Holy Spirit (1:5-6; 4:8 & 5:19)
  • Christ’s second Advent (1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:14-17 & 5:23)
  • The Day of the Lord (5:1-3)
  • Assurance (1:5)
  • Conversion (1:9)
  • Resurrection (4:14-18)
  • Sanctification (4:3 & 5:23)
  • Christian Behaviour (2:12 & 4:1)

The commentator’s (Scofield) sub-heading for verses 5-10 is “The Model Church”.  Paul said about them “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers” (v2)

In our next study, if the Lord tarries, we will look at the three “tenses” of the Christian life

Now a prayer

Precious Father.  We come to You in the Name of our Risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We thank You for Your Word which is alive and active and that speaks to us.   Thank you that Your Word is Truth and is our Guidebook for living.   Thank you that by Your Blessed Holy Spirit You help us to live a life that is pleasing to You.   We know too that if we do sin, “we have an Advocate Who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the One who is truly righteous”.  Help us to live each day for You and to Your glory.  Help us to watch for Your appearing.   Help us to tell others about You while we still have time.  We ask this all in the matchless Name of Jesus. Amen.

“… looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment” (1 Thes 1:10).



You need to persevere, so that after you have done God’s will, you will receive what He has promised. For, “In just a very while little, He who is coming will come and will not delay””  (Hebrews 10:37)

Just recently I shared a post about the return of the Lord Jesus and it was interesting to note how a number of folk shared that they do not hear this message preached in their churches anymore.   I ask the question again … “How long has it been since you last heard a sermon or message in your church or on TV and Radio about the Lord’s return and the Rapture or catching away of the Church?”

The Word of God, the Bible, is very clear about the events of both His first coming and His return.  If the first coming of Christ was fulfilled to the letter, why should His second coming not be fulfilled to the finest detail?  It will.

For those who have never come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, time is running out.  We do not know the day or the hour, but we do know that His coming is imminent!

The Bible tells us very clearly:

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father… Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. … So, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matthew 24:36,42 & 44)

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. … Therefore, keep watch … What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:32,33 & 37)

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36)

To illustrate the difference between “watching” and simply “waiting”, I will share two examples I heard recently.  They get their point across very well:

The story is told of sailors returning to harbour following active service during the war.   There were crowds of people on the dock cheering and watching to see the first glimpse of their loved one.  There was one sailor, however, that had no one there to greet him.   He returned home and found his wife at home busy in the kitchen.  When he walked into the kitchen she turned around and said, “I’ve been waiting for you”.     Waiting but not watching.    Expecting his return some time, but not actively watching to see if he would be aboard that particular vessel that returned that day.

The other true story was an example given by Charles H Spurgeon during one of his sermons about the return of the Lord.   He stated that even whilst he was busy preaching to his congregation, his dogs would be eagerly watching for his return home from church.   They knew he would be coming back and they were actively watching and listening!   As soon as they heard the sound of his carriage coming along the road, they would rush to the front door and be ready to greet him.

Are you eagerly watching and waiting for your Saviour’s return?

Did you know that there is a crown of righteousness awaiting those who are longing for His appearing?

 “In the future there is reserved for me the [victor’s] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that [great] day—and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and longed for and welcomed His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 – Amplified version).   Another version puts it like this… “to all who crave His appearing

Are you eagerly watching and longing for His appearing?

He could come today!

Are you ready?

Understanding that Amazing Grace …

Amazing Grace …

Just recently a few friends were gathered and the hymn, Amazing Grace, was discussed.   Various thoughts were expressed about it.  This got me thinking about John Newton’s well-known hymn and what a magnificent testimony it is to God working in the lives of His children.

Sometimes hymns or tunes can become a bit “worn” and we stop thinking of the profoundness of the words of the hymn or Christian song.   Also, in the case of “Amazing Grace”, it has incorrectly been associated with the slave trade.  Yes, John Newton was very outspoken against slave trading and the abolishment thereof.   However, John Newton NEVER connected the writing and construction of Amazing Grace with anti-slavery sentiments.  The hymn was his personal  testimony of salvation!

The words of Amazing grace were penned to convey the wonderful work of grace God had performed in his life.

Let’s have a closer look at the words, and realize that they are as relevant to each one of us as individuals today as they were for John Newton.  Let’s find out why.

There is an acronym which spells it out – God’s riches at Christ’s Expense.   God’s undeserved favour.
Put yet another way, “Grace” means that God moved heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves.   That includes you and me!

To be perfectly honest, and this is something people do not like to hear or admit … we ALL have sinned, every single one of us and fall short of God’s standard.  No one is righteous – not even one” (Romans 3:10).   “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.  For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood.” (Romans 3:25a).   He became our substitute.

Ephesians 2:8-9 paints such a clear picture: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”.

So, if one is basing one’s salvation and achieving a place in heaven on “living a good life”, “doing good works”, “being seen at church”, “paying the church”, this will all fail.  There is only ONE way, and that is coming to the foot of the Cross where Jesus died for you and me, confessing that we are sinners, repenting of our sin, acknowledging that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, and asking Him to save us.

As that beautiful hymn by Charlotte Elliott (which one seldom, if ever, hears today) says:
“Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

Just as I am …

It is only once we’ve come to the Cross of Calvary and accepted Jesus as our Saviour, that works count (and then only simply to prove that we belong to Jesus – for all we do should be in the Name of Jesus, the Name above all Names)


Let us take a closer look at JOHN NEWTON’S hymn of testimony

If one has been saved from certain destruction or death when we definitely did not deserve it, or completely lost and then gloriously found… what would your reaction be?   If you’re a normal being you would be eternally thankful to the one who has helped and / or found you …

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me!

Wretched?  We’ve already taken a good look at what that means in terms of how God sees us BUT … the good news is that … He made a way for us to be put in a right standing with Himself.   Remember, God’s Word tells us that ALL our good works (in order to try and save ourselves) are as filthy rags.   Isaiah 64:6 tells us “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.  Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind”.   “(God) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton realized how lost and wretched he was and what an amazing grace it was that God had mercy on Him.  He had lived a life far from God and had been opposed to Him.   His life was radically changed when he realized how blind and lost he was.   We may not all have such a dramatic conversion, but nonetheless we are lost without Jesus as our Saviour.   I certainly can identify with this hymn … I too was lost once and knew that I would go to a lost eternity, BUT, praise His Name, Jesus found me and saved me from my sin and gave me a new life in Him.  (see 2 Corinthians 5:17).

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed

Grace” is mentioned three times in this verse, and it culminates in Newton’s most personal story of his conversion and underscores the use of his personal testimony that he shared with his parishioners.

When we first come to know the Lord as our personal Saviour, peace which passes understanding should be flooding our soul and knowing Jesus should be something so precious.  The hour I first believed”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)   Having come to know Jesus as our Saviour, we can look forward to an eternity in the presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the One who saved us by His grace.  With John Newton we should also be able to sing from the depths of our souls …

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun”.

So, until that day when the trumpet sounds and those who’ve trusted Christ as their Saviour, are caught up to meet Him in the air, we must be about our Father’s business.

  • Share the good news of the Gospel with others,   
  • Read His Word daily and grow spiritually,
  • Pray and
  • Fellowship with other believers.

The challenge this hymn brings to us is this:

  • Have you come to the point in your life where you’ve realized that you are a sinner and that there is nothing you can do to save yourself … that you need a Saviour?
  • If you have taken advantage of that amazing grace, are you living for Jesus?


Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

O Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.

Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His Holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.

Thomas O. Chisholm, 1917



2017 has been a tumultuous year.   2018 could be as bumpy a ride or worse (I believe in being realistic!).

So, if you and I need to find peace within the storms of life, we need the peace of God.

A few days ago, I found a few steps to focus on in the book of Philippians, chapter four.  If we follow these steps 4 steps, God’s Word promises us His peace.   Let’s take a look …

  • Stand fast in the Lord or in other words, “stay true to the Lord
  • Be “full of joy in the Lord”– rejoice in the Lord
  • Be “considerate in all you do” or put differently, “let your gentleness be known to all …
  • Be anxious for nothing. That is, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything


  1. Standing fast in the Lord or “staying true” to the Lord.
    The only way we can stay true to the Lord is by getting to know Him better, more intimately. And the main way we do this is through reading and studying God’s Word for ourselves.  Get to know the Author.   Reading and studying His Word will help us to avoid the massive deception that is in the world around AND sadly, within many, many churches too.  It will help us to stand firm and avoid compromise in a world that wants everyone to be squeezed into its ungodly mould.
  2. Be full of the joy of the Lord or rejoice in the Lord
    The key phrase here is “in the Lord”. Being full of the joy of the Lord or rejoicing in the Lord is not related to current circumstances around us – family, community or global circumstances.  Rather, it is knowing that despite all the personal and other difficulties around us, the believer’s joy is related to an unassailable, secure and unchanging relationship with the Sovereign Lord.  God does not change and His Word is true and addresses all situations.   It is knowing that we are secure in Him (having surrendered our lives to Him) that we can be filled with a deep inner joy.
  3. Let your gentleness be known to all.
    We live in a very hard and an inconsiderate world. This is where we as true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can shine for Him.  This “gentleness” refers to contentment and being generous towards others, showing consideration for others.   Being compassionate and caring and sensitive towards others.   This reflects the Christlike spirit to a needy world.
  4. Be anxious for nothing
    We all feel anxious at times and no more so when the world around us is falling apart. These are rather perilous times we are living in.  Personal circumstances can make us very anxious too.  However, when we worry and fret, this could indicate that we lack trust in the wisdom of God and His sovereignty and power.   So, what could be an antidote to anxiety?  The answer lies within that same verse when it says: Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done”. Meditating on HIS WORD (not meditation as the world understands it or contemplative prayer which has its roots in Eastern mysticism).   Feeding on HIS Word.   Delighting in the LORD.  Thanking Him for His eternal security for those who have put their trust in Him as their Saviour.



If we stay true to the Lord, are filled with the joy of the Lord, are considerate in all we do and don’t fret and worry about things but take it to the Lord in prayer, “THEN we will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard (our) hearts and minds as (we) live in Christ Jesus”.  And as the New King James Version puts it, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

Scripture references from Philippians 4:1 & 4-7 New Living Translation & the New King James Version of the Bible.

Do you need to slow down?

Although this is a somewhat different post to my usual, I thought the poem by David L Weatherford had quite an effective message.

Life is incredibly fast-paced and stressful.   So many people are becoming over-stressed, burnt out, despairing, trapped.   Believe it or not, the Bible gives plenty of advice re priorities AND a balance in one’s life.   One example of where it spells out clearly the need to set aside time to rest a while, is found in Mark 6:31 where it puts it like this:  “Jesus said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while’—for there were many [people who were continually] coming and going, and they could not even find time to eat” (Amplified version)

We do need to take time out, slow down and rest a while.

David Weatherford, a child psychologist and poet, wrote:

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to rain slapping the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun fading into the night?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a friendship die,
’cause you never had time to call and say hi?

You better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life isn’t a race, so take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

Poem Used with permission.  If you’d like to see any more of David’s poems, you can visit his site at

Are you limited by your own capacity and strength?

In a recent quiet time I had with the Lord, I was blessed by reading Psalm 1 and Ephesians 2, especially verse 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”

Good Works … cannot produce salvation (i.o.w. our good works cannot save us) but good works follow on, are subsequent to salvation and form part of the evidence of the God-empowered fruits of salvation.  As with our our salvation, so our good works (following on from salvation) were ordained before time began.   An amazing thought.  He had you and me in mind all the time!

If we think a tall tree covered in foliage.   If one of the branches is cut off it will wither and die.   The only branches that thrive are those connected to the main and flourishing tree.

When we are walking with Christ and connected to Him, many opportunities and blessings we couldn’t begin to imagine become available to us.   So, rather than being limited by our own capacity and strength, we can draw on Christ’s strength and power that He has made available to us.     If we are called by God, He also equips us with what we need for the task – our walk with Him.   We can rely on Him in the same way that Joshua and Moses did.

We need to let go of our own limited expectations and so-called self-sufficiency.

We need to cling to the old rugged cross and draw on all that the Lord has made available to us.   The wonderful thing is that He promises to be with us and IS with us through every season and moment of our lives.

Remember “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13)

Billy Graham once said: “The greatest barrier to knowing God’s will is simply that we want to run our own lives.  Our problem is that a battle is going on in our hearts – a battle between our wills and God’s will”

Stop trying to do things your way.  Surrender to the Lord Jesus, walk in the light as He is in the light and remember the “joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers…. but … delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.  They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do”. (Psalm 1)



“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25)

This tribute was written by a very dear friend of mine …


Today’s Scripture verse was the favourite of a dear friend who went to be with the Lord some years ago.  This reading is a tribute to her as she lived her life according to God’s Word.  She trusted Him and advised others never to run away from things but to believe that the Lord would provide.

In other ways too, Zena’s faith in God was clearly visible.  I was always amazed at her hospitality.  If someone needed a bed for the night or needed to stay for a longer period, they were made to feel welcome, even if they were comparative strangers to her.  Most Sundays you would not only find the immediate family at the dining room table, guests were invited to share the meal.

When my own dear mother became too frail to stay alone at home whilst I was at work, she too was welcomed into this Godly home.  I would take her there in the morning and fetch her at the end of the working day.  It was from there that we had to take her to a care home where she lived for just over three months before the Lord called her home.    In spite of working fulltime, Zena found the time to visit her regularly at the care home.

Zena’s goal in life was to share the Lord Jesus Christ with people.  She led Bible studies for her church, and some saw her as their spiritual mother.  An excellent teacher, respected by all in her primary school classes, she was able also to explain God’s Word simply and clearly, so that people could grasp its truth and meaning.

Music was another love in Zena’s life.  She mastered the art of piano playing early in life and later used this gift in the Lord’s service as organist for morning and evening services at the church.

Today would have been Zena’s birthday and I thank God for the memory of her and the way she lived her life to the glory of her Saviour.

A Godly woman “opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26)

[This reading is taken from the book “Amber’s Story – Walking back into the Light” by Lorraine Lorenz]


Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christlike] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on [e]so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own (Philippians 3:12)

I am sure you have seen the phrase: “Be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet”.   Very true indeed.

In my quiet time with the Lord this morning, I read that well-known passage in Philippians 3 (Paul writing to Timothy) which says:

“12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Apart from the overall message of this passage, which illustrates the importance of finishing the race rather than necessarily winning the race, never entertaining the possibility of slacking off because of infirmity or old age and committing oneself to finishing strong with whatever strength and abilities one has – until our final breath or when we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air and we get our first sight of the Lord Jesus …,  there were some other very encouraging and helpful thoughts I gleaned from this passage.  Let me share them with you now.

Is it possible for anyone to be perfect in this imperfect world we live in?

The thought of being “perfect” can be troubling and challenging when we think of all our imperfections as Christians.   We are still a work in progress, after all…

The word “perfected” or “perfect” as used in the Bible to describe various people, does NOT mean “sinless perfection”.  Only Jesus is perfect and sinless!   In the Old Testament, we read about various Bible characters that were described as “perfect”, “blameless” or “loyal” – they were by no means sinless. For example – Noah, Asa, Hezekiah, Job and David (see footnote below for Bible references to these people).   It is important to be aware that several Greek and Hebrew words are translated as “perfect”, but the thought behind them is either “completeness in all details” or “to reach a goal or achieve a purpose”

I discovered that there are three stages of perfection (as set out in the Scofield Reference Bible):

  1. Positional Perfection
    This is something we have as soon as we put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Take a quick look at this verse in Hebrews 10:14:
    For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.”  (NLT)
    For by the one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity].” (Amplified Bible)
  2. Relative Perfection
    This refers to spiritual maturity I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should embrace this point of view. And if you think differently about some issue, God will reveal this to you as well. Nevertheless, we must live up to what we have already attained.… (Philippians 3:15)
    Spiritual maturity is particularly important in relation to
    The will of God Epaphras … prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God (Colossians 4:12)
    Love And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…. (1 John 4:17)
    Holiness Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.(2 Corinthians 7:1)
    PatienceAnd let endurance [patience/perseverance/endurance] have itsperfect work, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)
    Every good work Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with every good thing to do His will. And may He accomplish in us what is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21)Maturity does not come overnight, but is progressive as we saw in 2 Corinthians 7:1 above.   Ephesians 4:12 summarizes this process so beautifully … And it was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.…”.  Hence one can see the importance of regular Bible study and Bible reading as well as attending a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church (regrettably many, many churches are no longer Bible believers and are following and teaching a post-modern, emergent church, liberal Gospel … that is, preaching another Jesus, not the Jesus in the Bible).
  3. Ultimate Perfection
    In other words, perfection of soul, spirit, and body. This will only be realized at the time of resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3) or if the Rapture of the Church occurs prior to our dying” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) “… For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” “we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.”

As the footnote in the Schofield Bible states: “For the Christian nothing short of the moral perfection of God is always the absolute standard of conduct, BUT … Scripture recognizes that Christians do not attain to sinless perfection in this life.

So be encouraged as you meditate on these verses.   We are a work in progressLet us strive to draw ever closer to our Saviour and reflect His beauty in all we do, say and think!

Genesis 6:9, 1 Kings 15:14, 2 Kings 20:3, 1 Chronicles 12:38, Job1:1&8, Psalm 37:37)

Share His Word while you still can …

Speaking just a word for Jesus is so important in these days as we see the day of Christ’s return getting very close!

Sometimes one thinks that what one says is not effective or weak.  BUT …. if you share a word or two or three from HIS Word, the Bible, the Lord will assuredly use it to His glory!

As Dr David Jeremiah shared in his devotional reading a few days ago, “Whenever we read the Bible, quote it, teach it, preach it, publish it, or spread it abroad, it speaks loud and clear.  God’s Word NEVER returns void but accomplishes what He pleases (Isaiah 55:11).   Any old mouthpiece will do – even ours!  You can be confident of HIS POWER whenever you share HIS precepts”  (Turning Point September 2017)

Isaiah 55 verses 10 & 11 state …
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens

    and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
    producing seed for the farmer
    and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
    I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
    and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Be faithful in sharing His Word:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthinans 15:58 KJV) “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose] (1 Cor. 15:58 Amplified Bible)