As believers in Christ, we all desire to be under His blessing. In Matthew 5, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Have you ever wondered what that means and how it applies to you?
In this post, we’ll take a close look at this phrase in the Bible. With the help of notes from the New Testament Recovery Version, we’ll dig into the meaning of being poor in spirit and see how it applies to us today.
Human beings are complicated. Each one of us is unique; we come from various backgrounds and have different personalities.
But with respect to how God created us, we’re actually all the same. The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that we were all created with three parts—a spirit, a soul, and a body:
“And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this post we’ll read an extremely helpful note on this verse in the New Testament Recovery Version to help us understand these three parts.
In Matthew 6:6, the Lord Jesus said:
“But you, when you pray, enter into your private room, and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
These words aren’t hard to understand, but we may find they’re much harder for us to put into practice.
The Lord Jesus said in Mark 12:30:
“And you shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart and from your whole soul and from your whole mind and from your whole strength.”
What does it mean to love the Lord from our whole heart, our whole soul, our whole mind, and our whole strength? Do we even have the ability to love Him with our whole being like this?
In this post, we’ll briefly discuss what it means to love God with our entire being using verses and notes from the New Testament Recovery Version.
We may have heard the phrase “witness for Christ.” But what does it mean? Witnessing simply means telling others what we’ve personally experienced of the Lord Jesus.
For instance, when we received Jesus as our Savior, maybe we told our friends or family about our salvation experience and how wonderful it was. That was our witnessing to them.
Numerous verses in the New Testament tell us we should witness for our Lord and Savior so sinners can be brought to salvation. Let’s get into some of the reasons why we must witness.
The terms born again and regenerated are fairly familiar to many people and are usually associated with becoming a Christian.
But what does it mean to be born again? Does it mean to have a fresh start to live a moral life? If that’s the case, does a person who is already good, upright, and ethical even need to be born again?
In this post, we’ll look at what the Bible says about being born again.
Because the Lord Jesus died for our sins, when we believed in Him, we were forgiven and washed of all traces of our sins. We shouldn’t feel troubled by what we did or who we were before we were saved. We must be very clear about this.
But when we were saved, we also became a new person in the Lord with a new life. We were born again with the life of God. From that point on, we have a new life, and we should also have a new living.
If we continue to live the way we did before we were saved, the things of our past life will hold us back. To progress in our Christian walk, we need to put an end to our old way of life so we’re no longer under its influence.
So how do we do this?
When we consider how Jesus Christ loved us and gave Himself on the cross for us, we can’t help but love Him. We often want to do something for Him in return.
So we might ask the Lord questions like: “What do You want me to do for You?” and “How can I be useful to You?”
The problem with questions like these is that they suggest God created us primarily to do something for Him. But is that really why He created us? He already had a multitude of angels to serve Him. Why did God need to create mankind, if it was for the same purpose?
The name Jesus is a special name. It’s actually the most special name in the universe! Philippians 2:9 tells us that God highly exalted Jesus and bestowed on Him “the name which is above every name.”
In addition to Jesus, in the New Testament we can find many other names for our Lord that are rich in meaning and communicate a particular aspect of what He is to us.
In this post, we’ll cover five names for the Lord mentioned in the books of Matthew and John, using notes from the New Testament Recovery Version that explain their meaning. Taking a closer look at these names will increase our appreciation for this wonderful Person and help us know Him in a deeper way.
In a previous post, we discussed the meaning of consecration and how giving ourselves to God makes a tremendous difference in our Christian life and relationship with the Lord.
But knowing that we should hand ourselves over to the Lord may not be sufficient. We have to realize the underlying basis for our consecration to the Lord and the motivation for us to do so willingly. If we see these two things, our consecration will not be something we do reluctantly or half-heartedly merely because it’s good for us. Instead, it will be a sweet experience that will deepen our relationship with the Lord Jesus.
When we were saved, we were born again with the life of God. What a truly wonderful and joyous experience! But regeneration is only the beginning of our spiritual journey.
After we’re regenerated, the next step is to consecrate, or give ourselves to the Lord. In this post, we’ll look at the meaning of consecration, and why it’s a crucial step in our life-long journey with the Lord.
People all over the world have heard the story of Jesus’ birth. But have you ever wondered whether there’s more to the familiar story? Since the Bible records the birth of Jesus in detail, is there a deeper meaning to that event?
In this post, we’ll use verses and notes from the New Testament Recovery Version to see something of the significance of Jesus’ birth. Catching even a glimpse of its real meaning will increase our love for Jesus and uplift our worship of Him.
A troubling question many Christians have is whether they can lose their salvation. Perhaps when you first believed in the Lord, you were sure that you were saved. But after a while—maybe because you sinned, or failed in some way—you aren’t so sure anymore, and feel like your salvation might be in jeopardy.
However, the Bible tells us that once we believe in Christ, we can never lose our salvation. In this post, we’ll look at seven proofs from the unchanging Word of God that show our salvation in Christ is irreversible and eternally secure.
Our Christian life is a life of faith, and the Bible says that as believers, we walk by faith, not by sight. But in our experience, especially when we encounter difficult circumstances, we often become discouraged and find it hard to put our trust in God. We try to believe, but sometimes it feels like we simply don’t have enough faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us faith substantiates things we hope for and convinces us of things we can’t see. We all certainly want to experience this in our daily Christian walk, but how do we have this faith? How can we be strengthened in our faith, especially in the face of difficulty?
To answer these questions, let’s take a look at some key verses about faith.
What exactly is faith? Is it positive thinking, or determining to believe something even in the face of difficulties? Do some people just have an innate ability to have more faith than others?
There are two aspects of our Christian life: the seen and the unseen. It’s often easy to focus on the things that are seen—our behavior, church activities, service to God, and care for people. But if we focus exclusively on what is seen, we may neglect the unseen: our hidden relationship with the Lord.
In a previous post, we saw that the best time of day to spend with the Lord Jesus is in the morning, before we get caught up in the busyness of our day. Now, we’ll look at some principles and practical tips that will help us build up this habit.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “The word of God is living and operative.” As such, the Word of God is very active. It functions to do many things, both for God and for us. In this post, we’ll look at some verses that show six of the primary functions of the living and operative Word of God.
Did you know the Bible speaks of something called transformation? It’s found in these two New Testament verses:
2 Corinthians 3:18: But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.
Romans 12:2: And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect.
So what does it mean for us as believers to be transformed? How can we experience transformation in our Christian life?
Every morning when we wake up, we have a choice of how we begin our day. Let’s look at two possibilities:
Scenario 1: The alarm goes off. You roll out of bed and start to get ready, already anxious about the day ahead. During a hurried breakfast, you catch up on the news, texts, and emails. Eventually, you rush out the door, preoccupied with your to-do list for the day.
Scenario 2: You hear the alarm go off and immediately say, “Lord Jesus, I love You.” You get out of bed and spend time talking with the Lord in prayer and reading His Word. Refreshed and nourished by His Word, you feel strengthened and supplied for the day’s challenges.
We’d probably all prefer the second scenario. Our spiritual life would benefit greatly, and perhaps even change dramatically, if we started every day by spending time with the Lord Jesus. But building up a habit takes more than fleeting inspiration; it helps to see why it’s worthwhile. In this post, we’ll look at three reasons why it’s critical to spend time with the Lord, and the best time of day to do it.
The fear and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming. Worries about our health, the economy, the well-being of the people we’re close to—as well as those all over the world—threaten to engulf us. It’s easy to get swept away by the constant stream of alarming news reports and commentary on social media. At the same time, many things we’ve relied on to comfort or entertain us are rapidly disappearing, and it seems impossible to find lasting peace.
In a previous post, we saw that the first step in understanding the Bible is to read it for ourselves, cover to cover. This is how we begin to acquire the building blocks of Scripture that are the foundation for our understanding of God’s Word. But how do we get started? What can we do to develop this healthy and necessary habit of regularly reading the Bible?
In this post, we’ll go over seven practical tips that will help you build up a daily habit of reading the Bible.
The Bible is an incredible book filled with wisdom, poetry, history, and teachings. It contains mysterious prophecies, symbols, and figures, along with lengthy genealogies and detailed laws. Above all, it reveals who Christ is and God’s eternal purpose for mankind.
As Christians, we may know that we should read the Bible, but we might feel apprehensive about it. Maybe our previous attempts to understand the Bible discourage us, or maybe we think it’s a daunting task to read and digest such an important, complex book. But the Bible is God’s Word written for us. Surely He wants us to read and understand this gift He’s given to us. Today, we’ll take a look at the first important step in understanding the Bible.
We’ve probably asked God at some point, “What’s Your will for my life?” Maybe we wanted to know God’s will regarding what we should study in school, the kind of job we should have, or who we should marry.
It’s human nature to be intensely focused on our own affairs and not on God’s. After all, since God is all-powerful and divine, what could He want or need?
Our God is exceedingly great.
You only have to look up at the stars at night to see how wondrous He is as the Creator. When we view the physical universe, we’re awed by His greatness and wisdom. Yet though His magnificence fills us with wonder, God sometimes seems far away from our personal universe.
As believers, we know God is real, but as we go about our daily lives, it can seem like He’s quite distant from us, way up in the heavens. Sometimes even when we pray, God feels out of our reach. At times we might even find ourselves asking, “God, where are You?”
We need to eat food to sustain our physical life and to keep ourselves healthy. But just because we have to eat doesn’t mean it’s a tedious chore. In fact, eating is enjoyable to us, especially when the food is tasty.
Similarly, the Bible tells us that God’s Word sustains us and keeps us spiritually healthy. But how do we feel about reading it? Is our time in God’s Word a dry, tedious duty we feel like we have to fulfill? Or is it a time of enjoyment and nourishment? God desires that our time in His Word would not be a duty, but a delight.
When we first repented to God and received Jesus Christ as our Savior, we were forgiven of all our sins, and peace flooded our hearts. Moreover, God’s Word assures us that our salvation is for all eternity and can never be undone.
But although we’re saved, we know from our personal experience that doesn’t mean we’re immune to sin. We still sin after experiencing salvation, despite our best efforts. So what should we do when we sin after being saved? The Word of God tells us that we should confess our sins to the Lord.
Confessing to God the sins we commit after we’re saved is absolutely critical for our life as a Christian. In this post, we’ll cover why we need to confess our sins, what it means to confess, how to confess, and the results of confessing.
You’re not alone if you’ve ever asked yourself this question. Many of us didn’t know what came next after we received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.
We surely appreciate the tremendous steps God took to redeem us and impart His eternal life into us so that we could be born again. But believing in Jesus Christ is just the beginning of our Christian life. So much more lies ahead! Let’s look at some things that should occur after we first believe in the Lord.
When the love of the Lord Jesus first touched us and we repented and confessed His name, a deep joy we’d never known before filled our hearts. What a joy it was to be forgiven and born again! God wants all His children to continue to rejoice in His wonderful salvation for their whole lives. This should be the normal experience of every believer, as we see in 1 Peter 1:8: “You exult with joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.”
We’ve experienced such a wonderful salvation, and now we have access to all the riches of Christ. We should be overflowing with unspeakable joy. But while we can never lose our eternal salvation, we can sometimes lose the joy of our salvation. How does this happen? Let’s look at two possible causes.
The day we get saved is a wonderful, momentous day. However, after experiencing the initial joy of salvation, it’s not unusual to wonder how to continue experiencing the Lord Jesus. You may have questions like How can I know Jesus personally? How can I experience Jesus in my life? Is being forgiven and saved from God’s judgment all there is to the Christian life?
Some may try different ways to experience Jesus like they did on the day they were saved. Perhaps they study the Bible, but though they learn something new, the Lord Himself may still seem far away. It’s like trying to enter a locked room with the wrong key; you need the right key to unlock the door. In the same way, we need to use the “right key” to experience Jesus. So what’s the key for us to know Jesus personally in our daily life?
Previously, we discussed how as believers in Jesus Christ, we can be fully assured that we’re really saved and can never lose our salvation—it’s eternally secure.
Since we can’t lose our salvation, some might wonder if this means it doesn’t matter how we live after we’re saved. Are we free to do whatever we want? After all, nothing can change our salvation.
It’s important to know that being saved eternally doesn’t give us license to disobey God or sin freely. In fact, when a believer commits a sin, it results in three huge problems that involve three parties: God, ourselves, and Satan. Let’s look at these problems and the unique solution to each one: the blood of Jesus.
In a previous post, we discussed one of the biggest questions we may have as Christians: Can we lose our salvation? We saw the clear and definite assurance the Bible gives us that once we believe in Christ and receive Him as our Savior, we’re saved eternally. We can’t lose our salvation.
But here’s another question: Does it make any difference whether we know we can’t lose our salvation?
The answer is yes, and in this post we’ll discuss why this is so important.
Have you ever wondered if you can lose your salvation? Or if you can be “unsaved” if you do something wrong or sin?
It’s extremely important for us believers to be clear about several fundamental matters. One of these is having the assurance that we’re saved once we believe in Christ. Another fundamental matter we must be clear about is the security of our salvation. Just how secure is our salvation? What safeguards it? Does its security depend on us? Can we lose our salvation?
Let’s get into five points that address the security of our salvation.
As Christians, although we’ve believed in the Lord Jesus and received Him as our Savior, at times we may wonder, “How do I know I’m saved?” Sometimes we feel we’re definitely saved; at other times, we’re not so sure. When we’re tossed back and forth between certainty and uncertainty, it’s difficult for us to progress in our Christian life.
But we don’t have to be unsure. God provides three clear ways for us to have the full assurance of salvation, which we’ll discuss in this post.
When we repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior, some wonderful things happen to us. We are forgiven of all our sins and delivered from God’s condemnation and eternal punishment. As a result, for the first time in our lives we have untold happiness and peace. We can’t help but love the Lord Jesus who died for us on the cross.
Forgiven, delivered, and born again
Being forgiven by God and delivered from eternal punishment are truly wonderful, yet there’s even more. Perhaps the most amazing thing that happens to us when we believe in the Lord Jesus is that we’re born again, or regenerated.
What do the words born again mean?
We previously discussed how man was created by God for His own purpose but became fallen, sinful, and unable to live in a way that fulfills God’s plan. The consequences of the fall of mankind are tragic, and we see their effect in our own lives and everywhere we look today.
But God can never be defeated! And, though frustrated for a time, God’s plan can’t be derailed. In His wisdom, God took three tremendous steps to carry out His original plan of imparting His eternal life into us so we could share His life and express Him.
In a previous post, we saw that God warned Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in order to protect them. That tree represented Satan, the enemy of God and the source of death. Sadly, Adam and Eve disobeyed God. This disobedience was serious enough, but by eating the fruit of that tree they were also corrupted with Satan’s evil nature.
In this post, we’ll see the consequences of their action, as well as what God did and is still doing today to recover humanity, which He created for His purpose.
Most of us are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The disobedience of Adam and Eve is usually what gets our attention in this story, and this makes sense. Disobeying God is a serious matter.
But have you ever wondered what was so bad about eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? How could doing that lead to the fall of all mankind? And when God told Adam and Eve not to eat of that tree, was He testing them, just to see whether they would obey Him?
In a previous post, we were calibrated in how we approach the Bible by discovering its essence. In another post, our trust in God’s Word was fortified by seeing its source. Now we’ll look at the contents of the Bible and its focus.
The Bible consists of two sections, the Old Testament and New Testament; sixty-six books; and many chapters. With so much material, what should we focus on when we read the Bible?
Where did the Bible come from? Are its words simply religious lore, written down by people over the centuries? Are they the product of the thoughts and imaginations of men? Or is the Bible the inspired Word of God? Did God write the Bible? Or did men?
Since our faith is based on this book, it’s crucial for us as Christians to know the source of the Bible.
As one who has believed in Christ, have you ever wondered, “How can I get to know the Lord Jesus more? How can I know Him in my daily life?”
In a previous post, we discussed how important it is to know that the essence of the Bible is the Spirit. Since only the Spirit can give life, for us to get life from reading the Bible we need to contact the Spirit in the Word. By receiving life, we’ll be spiritually nourished, and by that nourishment, we’ll grow in Christ. So being able to receive life from the Bible is crucial to our Christian life.
We may not often think of the word essence in relation to the Bible, but the Word of God does have a particular essence. If we want to grow in Christ, it’s critical for us to know what that essence is.
In this post we’ll discuss a practice by God’s people seen throughout the entire Bible: the practice of calling on the name of the Lord. Let’s see what it is to call on the name of the Lord and how this practice can benefit us.
In a previous post we saw that when the apostle Paul said, “Jesus Christ is in you,” he was not speaking metaphorically. He was speaking of the wonderful fact that Christ as the life-giving Spirit actually comes into those who believe in Him. We looked at eight verses that confirm and enrich our understanding of this wonderful reality.
Of course, our knowing Christ is in us isn’t for a mere doctrinal understanding. Christ lives in us to be our life. So in this post, we’ll discuss how we can experience Christ living in us in a practical way.
People, even Christians, have many concepts about what the church is. But what is the church exactly? Is the church a building Christians go to on Sundays to worship? Is the church an organisation of people who believe in Jesus Christ? To discover what God’s thought is concerning the church, we must come to the Bible.
While we can’t cover this enormous matter in a single blog post, we’ll begin to look at what the church is according to God’s Word.
The church is people
What is the church according to the Bible? A good principle in reading the Bible is to pay special attention to the first mention of a matter. This sets the stage for understanding that matter in the rest of the Bible. The first mention of the word church in the entire Bible is in Matthew 16.
When we’re little children, many times we play with our toys in a random way, exploring as we learn. But we have no grand scheme or purpose to our play. We simply make it up as we go.
But can you imagine God doing something like that? Would the God who is wise, loving, and eternal create the universe without a purpose? Could He create human beings without a purpose?
The terms soul and spirit have been discussed at length throughout philosophy, literature, and religion. Even scientists have ventured remarks about the soul. Often, though, soul and spirit are interpreted to mean the same thing and end up being used interchangeably.
This can lead to the question: ‘Is there a difference between the soul and the spirit, and does it really matter if there is?’
Regardless of what philosophy, literature, religion, or some scientists say, we have to ask, ‘What does the Bible say?’ The Bible clearly makes many references to both. So what does God’s Word say about our soul and our spirit? And why can knowing this be a crucial factor in our spiritual progress and relationship with God?
Are they the same thing?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 says: ‘And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.’
This verse clearly tells us that human beings are made up of three parts—the spirit, soul, and body. In the original Greek language, the conjunction ‘and’ in ‘spirit and soul and body’ indicates the three are different from one another. So just as the body is separate and distinct from the soul, the soul is also separate and distinct from the spirit, as illustrated in the diagram below:
In Philippians 4:6, we’re given a seemingly impossible command:
‘In nothing be anxious.’
Each of us has a long list of anxiety-inducing circumstances — relationship issues, financial woes, naughty children, pressure at work, no work, and so on. And in addition to our personal life, the world today seems to manufacture large-scale anxiety-inducing events — economic uncertainty, war, social upheaval — delivered to us on a conveyor belt of 24-hour news coverage. Is God’s command outdated or unreasonable, given so many difficulties?