Dual Citizenship

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.
Ephesians 2:19 
People from all over the world seek to become Americans for one overriding reason: citizenship and its correlating rights. The Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights detail the rights and protections of citizens, and the Fourteenth Amendment specifies two ways to become an American citizen: birthright or naturalization. Those born in America are automatically citizens.
Christians automatically are granted citizenship in another “country” by virtue of birthright: the kingdom of heaven. When we are “born again” (John 3:3) by the Spirit of God through faith in Christ, we are made citizens of heaven. While our citizenship in our home country on earth will one day end, our citizenship in heaven will never end. And while on earth, our citizenship in heaven has benefits and privileges like access to the throne of God (Hebrews 4:16), protection from enemies (Ephesians 6:10-18), and the transforming work of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Do you have dual citizenship—on earth and in heaven? If not, apply today! All it takes is true faith in Christ (Romans 10:9).

Christians have a dual citizenship…and our citizenship in heaven ought to make us better people here on earth. Warren Wiersbe

  • David Jeremiah

Owner’s Manual

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
2 Timothy 3:16 
Owner’s manuals have gone through phases. In the days when tools and appliances had a little more than an ON/OFF switch, the owner’s manual consisted of verbal instructions from a salesperson. Then, in the digital age, when computers and software became exponentially more complicated, thick instruction manuals were delivered with products. Then, the Internet came along, and printed manuals gave way to online digital manuals and downloadable files. However instructions are delivered, they are still needed.
The same is true for the Christian life—instructions and guidance are needed once the “OFF” switch is moved to “ON.” And the Bible is our manual. It contains what believers need to know to follow Christ, glorify God, and live fruitful lives. Second Timothy 3:16 summarizes how the Scripture helps us: (1) doctrine: what is true and what isn’t; (2) reproof: telling us in no uncertain terms when we have missed the mark; (3) correction: guidance and direction; and (4) instruction in righteousness: how to live in a way that glorifies God.

Owner’s manuals must be read to be profitable. Make sure you are fine-tuning your life by consulting God’s Manual daily.

Never mind the scribes—what saith the Scripture?
Martin Luther



How Do You Know?

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Why do some people believe in God while others do not? Today, R.C. Sproul takes a critical look at the biases and prejudices that atheists must embrace in order to deny the existence of God.

Priorities of Life

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Colossians 1:19-20

Leading up to these verses Paul gave a list of attributes that he attributed to Christ, and here, as a way of summing up he goes the next step and puts all of the fullness of Jesus Christ into perspective.  Notice that God was “pleased” to have His own fullness residing in Jesus, and to have Jesus reconcile all to Himself. If you think about it, if there was reconciliation, there must first be a conflict…

We know that there was indeed a conflict, a conflict that engulfed all Creation the moment that Adam entered into sin way back in Genesis 3. It’s a funny thing, but for most of us, we don’t really think of sin the way we should, for we tend to think of it as a violation of some sort of rule or ordinance. Yet sin is much more than a simple violation; it’s rebellion, rebellion against God. So here we are, God was pleased indeed to place all of His fullness in the Person of Jesus and to have Jesus establish reconciliation on the cross, for in doing so He paid the entire cost of the rebellion: There is now peace between Man and God.

Why should He do that?

Find out at: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2022/03/29/priorities-of-life/

Colossians 4:5-6

“Christians are to be the good news before they share the good news,” opined Jospeh Aldrich in his book Lifestyle Evangelism.

Aldrich’s observation reminds me of a quote credited to Francis of Assisi who said, “Always preach the Gospel, and when necessary, use words.”

Both ideas suggest that evangelism is more than just a Monday night event. More than joining an outreach group. More than giving away free Bibles at Starbucks. More than going door to door to find prospects.

Effective evangelism involves living a committed, consecrated, Christian life 24/7.

Our text today speaks of this kind of evangelistic outreach.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Col. 4:5-6).

Paul provides three important points for us to consider in our interaction with non-Christians.

#1 Walk in wisdom.

Wisdom allows us to use in the best possible way the knowledge we possess. We should not act with an air of superiority, or self-righteousness. We must remember that we’re not perfect, but we are pardoned. Our friends, neighbors, and relatives need to see someone who’s real. Transparent. And living a life of integrity.

One translation renders this “behave yourselves.” This involves being honest. Paying your bills. Keeping your promises. Obeying the law. Working hard. Treating people kindly. Showing compassion. And practicing what you profess.

#2 Be alert to opportunities.

Various versions translate this as “redeeming the time.” Or “make the best use of your time.” Or “make the most of every opportunity.”

Not everyone is interested in hearing the gospel or talking to you about Jesus. Realize it can be a waste of time to push the issue. Jesus even warned about “casting your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6). Furthermore, people are completed turned off from the gospel because of a Christian who’s pushy, brash, and obnoxious. Timing is everything. And not everyone’s time is now.

On the other hand, be aware of signs that signal someone is open to a spiritual discussion. Maybe they’re wearing a cross or a T-shirt with a religious slogan. They may mention something about God, Jesus or the Bible. Or they may express interest in your faith or religious affiliation. See these as opportunities. And make the most of them.

There is more: https://thepreachersword.com/2022/03/09/colossians-45-6/

7 Bible Stories/Passages that Help Me when My Faith Struggles

By Chuck Lawless

We live in a messed-up world that seems to get even crazier every day. I wish I could say that I never struggle with trusting God, but sometimes I have to work harder at it than other times. In those more difficult times, these stories and passages help me:

  1. When I just don’t know what to do, I turn to 2 Chronicles 20, where King Jehoshaphat and his armies are facing three forces allied against them. The king cries out to God, confessing his powerlessness and his cluelessness in the situation. BUT, he concludes his prayer with, “Nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chron 20:12). Those words have been incredibly helpful to me—just keep my eyes on God!
  2. When life feels out of control and God seems distant, I run to Mark 4:35-41. The text is about a literal storm, so I don’t want to push the application too far—but, we do learn that Jesus was fully in control of what alarmed and frightened the disciples. He can rule over storms because He made the wind and the waves.
  3. When I’m caught in worry, Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-34 are my solace. I could focus on all the details of the passage, but three times Jesus said exactly what I need to hear: “Don’t worry” (v. 25), “So don’t worry” (v. 31), and “Therefore, don’t worry” (v. 34). When the Son of God speaks those words, I need to listen—especially when He repeats them because He knows we’re prone to not listening.
  4. When my heart is breaking for a non-believer, I return to one of the first verses I memorized as a young believer: John 3:16. Back then, the text taught me just how much He loves me. Today, I add to that truth just how much He loves the ones for whom I’m interceding. My responsibility is to tell the gospel, keep praying, and trust God to make Himself known to my family and friends who don’t believe yet.

Read more at: https://chucklawless.com/2022/03/7-bible-stories-passages-that-help-me-when-my-faith-struggles/

Intimacy With Our Heavenly Father

Because God wants us to know what He’s like, He sent His Son—His exact representation—to live among men.

John 1:12-13 12 He gave the right and the power to become children of God to those who received Him. He gave this to those who put their trust in His name. 13 These children of God were not born of blood and of flesh and of man’s desires, but they were born of God.

Our Creator never intended to be distant from mankind. Instead, He has always wanted an intimate, loving relationship with us. We know this because …

He sent His Son. Christ came to earth so we could know God the Father. Jesus is His exact representation; His words and works were the same as God’s (Then Jesus said to them, “For sure, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does also. John 5:19; I know that His Word is life that lasts forever. I speak the things the Father has told Me to speak.” John 12:50). Therefore, when we look at the Son, we are seeing the character of our Father in heaven.

He adopted us as His children. Through salvation, God invites us to join His family (John 1:12 above). This close relationship with our heavenly Father lasts for eternity, providing us with support, encouragement, and love.

He is our friend forever. By calling His disciples “friends” (I do not call you servants that I own anymore. A servant does not know what his owner is doing. I call you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from My Father. John 15:15), Jesus revealed a special aspect of His relationship with His followers. Christ is a friend who will never desert or turn away from us (Keep your lives free from the love of money. Be happy with what you have. God has said, “I will never leave you or let you be alone.” Heb. 13:5).

His spirit indwells us. From the moment of salvation, we have the presence of the Holy Spirit within our being. He is closer to us than any earthly kin can be.

God desires intimacy with us, and our highest calling is to live for Him all of our days (Whatever work you do, do it with all your heart. Do it for the Lord and not for men. Col. 3:23). As we do, the Spirit will transform us to resemble the Lord more and more over the course of our life.

New Hope

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

In Jim Cymbala’s book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, there is the story of a woman named Roberta Langella. A story she tells in her own words. At the age of 16, she left a broken home to move to New York City where she began living with a man twice her age. A man that got her into IV drug abuse through heroin and cocaine. One night after shooting up, her boyfriend thought she had died. He took off, leaving her on a rooftop where someone discovered her and called 911. The paramedics revived her.

Her feelings of worthlessness led her to one destructive, physically abusive, and drug-centered live-in relationship after another. She began going to underground clubs where she would shoot up and share needles with 20-30 people at a time. Eventually she and her latest boyfriend were out of money, out of food, the utilities had been turned off, and they were selling their furniture to finance their drug habit.

Faced with this impossible situation, she called her mother back in Florida, who let her move down, and got her into Narcotics Anonymous where she kicked the drug habit and soared with newfound confidence.

But then – everything came crashing down. A visit to the doctor unveiled a horrible fact. She was HIV positive.

After 2 years of being clean, she returned to cocaine with a vengeance. Wanting the drugs like never before. After a week-long cocaine binge, she was truly at the end. Faced with an impossible situation. HIV positive. No money. No love relationship.

Years prior, she had happened to meet a woman in her apartment building who attended Brooklyn Tabernacle. And for some reason, that Tuesday night with nowhere else to turn, she showed up at that church and went to the altar shedding tears she couldn’t stop. “God, I need you in my life. Help me please!”

That night her life was changed. God gave hope when there seemed to be no way out.

Even though she was sick, she led a ministry at Brooklyn Tabernacle called, “New Beginnings,” a weekly outreach to drug abusers. God used her life and her mistakes for good–bringing hope to others who have none.2

I am sure that, like us, Roberta’s life was a mixture of ups and downs. No one is perfect, and as mentioned before, we all have those sins with which we struggle. However, one thing to remember is that, just like God changes the seasons, he is ready to change us and help us begin a new season in our lives. A season of hope, transformation, and a personal relationship with Him that will bring the growth we long to see in ourselves.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, time and time again, both in my life and in the lives of others, I have seen your great grace abound. We falter, make mistakes, and stray, yet you love us and welcome us back into your arms every time. Change my heart and allow this season of my life to be where I choose to submit to your will. Use my mistakes as a testimony to others of how you use broken and ordinary people to be part of your perfect plan. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  1.  Jim Cymbala’s book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire.

From Daily Encounter blog

Ephesians 6:10-20

Ah yes, the famous passage on the armor of God, a passage many know by heart, a favorite sermon passage and a favorite devotional passage rich with metaphor and meaning; a wonderful passage. I thought that I’d approach it a little differently this time. Accordingly, I’ll not really comment on the metaphoric aspect, but focus on the underlying strategic circumstances that all of us face every day.

The whole armor metaphor is a way of communicating an important issue that for most of us is not easy to understand, the issue of spiritual warfare. Over the centuries, people have understood this in various ways and many legends and ballads have been the result, both in literature and other art forms. There have been times when people in superstitious cultures have gone to bizarre lengths, burning witches, so called heretics and almost anyone who incurred disfavor in high councils; history is full of such insanity. I can’t help but wonder how otherwise good people couldn’t see where the evil one was really operating, but then maybe they forgot to put on their armor!

In our day, the idea of spiritual warfare is often limited to the oddball fringe, “nuters” as our British friends might say; you might hear a lot on the subject on radio talk shows that air in the wee hours, along with spacemen and such. Oh my, how clever our adversary can be!

The truth, as Paul points out, is that we are very much involved in a spiritual war; in a sense we are on the front lines. Yet as physical beings, we can’t always see the action, even though we might discern the result. Putting on the armor of God is a series of metaphors that are telling us that we need to be centered on our relationship with Christ, who is the source of truth. In a close and vibrant relationship with Him, we are not likely to be fooled or sucked into things we have no business getting into, as well as being protected from spiritual attack. This requires maturity to understand… and maturity is attained through relationship with Him, so we must not neglect that relationship.

Spiritual discernment is something that all of us should have, but not so many actually attain. Spiritual discernment is not a matter of seeing spooks in the dark, but rather the comprehension of the source of certain things. There is also a spiritual gift of discernment which some have; a person with the spiritual gift of discernment can discern the source of a teaching or the source of a person’s personal issues. Yet, we don’t need the spiritual gift of discernment to be discerning, the gifted person may understand more and more easily, but any of us can be discerning enough to stay out of trouble.

Look at the world situation today; consider cultural trends, trends in families, homes and personal habits of people. Include values, morality and motivations. Also consider items in the news, and our various institutions…

God is at work in our midst, and so is the other guy. Ask yourself where God is working, and where the Adversary is working; can you see the difference? I’ll offer a hint, one that I mention quite often here:

Nothing in this world is quite what it appears to be at first.

This is Paul’s message in our passage, and is the reason that he concludes it with an appeal for us to be in prayer. Verses 18-20 deal with this: Pray for each other, pray for Paul, and others who spread the gospel, pray for the gospel, for many to receive it, for others to grow in their relationships, for God’s Kingdom and will to be done: Grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ.

That dear reader is the summation of the armor of God, that we grow in our relationships with Him and remain in His presence, and that is also the summation of the entire letter to the Ephesians:

Have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Comment at the source for this study, Don Merritt’s blog:

: https://lifeprojectblog.com/2022/03/27/sunday-sermon-notes-march27-2022/

The Beatitudes

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

What responsibilities do Christians have toward the poor? Today, R.C. Sproul examines Jesus’ Beatitudes as they are recorded in the gospel of Luke, beginning with the blessing Christ pronounces on the poor.