When the Odds Are Against You

The story of Gideon offers scriptural guidance for times when the odds are overwhelming and defeat seems imminent. No matter what your challenges are, the Lord is able to demonstrate His awesome power and deliver you.

The Lord knows the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.

God uses difficulty to build faith. Gideon was willing to believe God and go up against an army four times larger than his own. Trusting the Lord is a process that must be learned through experience. At times God takes the people He plans to use and places them in impossible situations—in that way, they discover He is faithful. We may prefer to acquire faith by reading a book, but the Lord knows the best classroom is a place of utter helplessness.

God may require us to do what seems unreasonable. The Israelites were already outnumbered, but the Lord instructed Gideon to reduce the army to a mere 300 men. That made the odds 450 to one! Although God’s ways may seem illogical to us, His wisdom and power are far greater than ours, and His plan can be trusted.

God leads us to do that which brings Him glory. Gideon’s army was so small that its men could in no way take credit for the victory. The Lord delights in demonstrating His awesome power and glory through our weakness and inadequacy.

Think of life’s challenges as opportunities for the Lord to build your faith and prepare you for ministry. He uses those who are willing to obey Him even when the task seems illogical or impossible. And He takes pleasure in showing His faithfulness to those who trust in Him regardless of the situation.

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Saving Faith Isn’t Easily Satisfied

If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. (Hebrews 11:15-16)

Faith sees the promised future God offers and “desires” it. Dwell on that for a moment.

There are many people who water down what saving faith is by making it a mere decision with no change of what one desires and seeks. But the point of this text is that living and dying by faith means having new desires, making changes, and seeking new satisfactions.

Verse 14 says that the saints of old (who are being commended for their faith here in Hebrews 11) were seeking a different kind of country than this world offered. And verse 16 above says they were desiring something better than what a present earthly existence could offer.

They had been so gripped by God that nothing short of heaven would satisfy. Are you being gripped by God and what He offers?

True saving faith is this: seeing the promises of God from afar and experiencing a change of values and heart so that you desire and seek after the promises above instead of what the world has to offer.

God’s Message To Us


Signs on the highway show us many different sorts of things. Speed limits. Animal crossings. How to find a rest stop or avoid a construction site. Similarly, all of creation is a sign communicating God’s message to us. He speaks to us through a full moon, waves crashing against rocks, or a vividly colored aspen tree. As we look upon the wonders of nature, something inside us resonates with the glory, power, love, and beauty of the Creator.

The Lord expresses His message in still another way that may initially be hard for us to comprehend as love: through the fall of man. You might wonder, If God loves us, then why would He let the first couple sin, spoiling the perfection they enjoyed in the garden and breaking the fellowship they had with Him?

The connection between God’s love and man’s sin is freedom. In giving Adam and Eve the option to obey or disobey, God demonstrated that He has not created us as robots, incapable of making choices. His love does not restrict our freedom to do right or wrong—even if that involves our saying “no” to the God who created us. However, having the freedom to choose means we will make mistakes and disobey the God who loves us.

But the wonderful news is that God expresses His love toward those who have rebelled against Him, through His gracious offer of salvation and forgiveness. Jesus Christ, who paid our sin debt on the cross, is the ultimate expression of divine love.

Can a Christian Lose Their Salvation?

Answer: First, the term Christian must be defined. A “Christian” is not a person who has said a prayer or walked down an aisle or been raised in a Christian family. While each of these things can be a part of the Christian experience, they are not what makes a Christian. A Christian is a person who has fully trusted in Jesus Christ as the only Savior and therefore possesses the Holy Spirit (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8–9).

So, with this definition in mind, can a Christian lose salvation? It’s a crucially important question. Perhaps the best way to answer it is to examine what the Bible says occurs at salvation and to study what losing salvation would entail:

A Christian is a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). A Christian is not simply an “improved” version of a person; a Christian is an entirely new creature. He is “in Christ.” For a Christian to lose salvation, the new creation would have to be destroyed.

A Christian is redeemed. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:18–19). The word redeemed refers to a purchase being made, a price being paid. We were purchased at the cost of Christ’s death. For a Christian to lose salvation, God Himself would have to revoke His purchase of the individual for whom He paid with the precious blood of Christ.

A Christian is justified. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). To justify is to declare righteous. All those who receive Jesus as Savior are “declared righteous” by God. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to go back on His Word and “un-declare” what He had previously declared. Those absolved of guilt would have to be tried again and found guilty. God would have to reverse the sentence handed down from the divine bench.

A Christian is promised eternal life. “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). Eternal life is the promise of spending forever in heaven with God. God promises, “Believe and you will have eternal life.” For a Christian to lose salvation, eternal life would have to be redefined. The Christian is promised to live forever. Does eternal not mean “eternal”?

A Christian is marked by God and sealed by the Spirit. “You also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13–14). At the moment of faith, the new Christian is marked and sealed with the Spirit, who was promised to act as a deposit to guarantee the heavenly inheritance. The end result is that God’s glory is praised. For a Christian to lose salvation, God would have to erase the mark, withdraw the Spirit, cancel the deposit, break His promise, revoke the guarantee, keep the inheritance, fore go the praise, and lessen His glory.

A Christian is guaranteed glorification. “Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:30). According to Romans 5:1, justification is ours at the moment of faith. According to Romans 8:30, glorification comes with justification. All those whom God justifies are promised to be glorified. This promise will be fulfilled when Christians receive their perfect resurrection bodies in heaven. If a Christian can lose salvation, then Romans 8:30 is in error, because God could not guarantee glorification for all those whom He predestines, calls, and justifies.

A Christian cannot lose salvation. Most, if not all, of what the Bible says happens to us when we receive Christ would be invalidated if salvation could be lost. Salvation is the gift of God, and God’s gifts are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). A Christian cannot be un-newly created. The redeemed cannot be unpurchased. Eternal life cannot be temporary. God cannot renege on His Word. Scripture says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2).

Two common objections to the belief that a Christian cannot lose salvation concern these experiential issues: 1) What about Christians who live in a sinful, unrepentant lifestyle? 2) What about Christians who reject the faith and deny Christ? The problem with these objections is the assumption that everyone who calls himself a “Christian” has actually been born again. The Bible declares that a true Christian will not live a state of continual, unrepentant sin (1 John 3:6). The Bible also says that anyone who departs the faith is demonstrating that he was never truly a Christian (1 John 2:19). He may have been religious, he may have put on a good show, but he was never born again by the power of God. “By their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16). The redeemed of God belong “to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).

Nothing can separate a child of God from the Father’s love (Romans 8:38–39). Nothing can remove a Christian from God’s hand (John 10:28–29). God guarantees eternal life and maintains the salvation He has given us. The Good Shepherd searches for the lost sheep, and, “when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home” (Luke 15:5–6). The lamb is found, and the Shepherd gladly bears the burden; our Lord takes full responsibility for bringing the lost one safely home.

Jude 24–25 further emphasizes the goodness and faithfulness of our Savior: “To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.”

(article reblogged from “Got Questions.com”)

Success Wherever You Go

I don’t know about you, but I am constantly receiving solicitation emails from various companies telling me how they can make me successful. You’ve probably seen the headlines like, “Five Things An Individual Must Do To Be Successful” or “Give Us 5 Minutes And We’ll Make You A CEO.” If you’re like me you probably scan the article and then realize everything they are saying is the same old recipe but in a different flavor.

Is being successful really that important to you? What kind of success are you searching for? The kind that puts you at the top of the ladder or where you make tons of money? It goes without saying that pursuit of this type success is what the world considers important. It’s not necessarily everything God wants for you.

You’re probably wondering at this point just exactly what does God want for you? He wants you to have success but offers a different approach. Meditating on God’s word daily and incorporating its life principles in your life paves the way for your success. Of course God’s version of success will differ from the world’s point of view but it’s the kind that will provide you everlasting peace and happiness. You will find instructions to achieving this type prosperity in Joshua 1:6-8.

As for me and my house, I will honor the Lord with daily study and meditation on His word. I believe this approach will be seen by others as my love for the Lord and cause them to desire what I have; eternal peace and happiness in all that I do, better known as “success.”

Responding to Closed Doors


As believers, we want to follow God’s will for our life, but sometimes we don’t know which way to go. Perhaps we’re standing at a crossroads, wondering which pathway is the Lord’s. Or maybe after making good progress, we suddenly encounter a closed door. What are we to do when the path we want to travel is blocked?

The costs of disobedience are always higher than the benefits

Imagine yourself standing at one of these doors. First, you try the knob, but it won’t budge. So you pull out your keys and look for one that fits. When that fails, you call your friends to ask if they know how to open it. Finally, in frustration, you grab a crowbar and pry the door open. The problem with all these methods is that they won’t get you where the heavenly Father wants you to go.

King Saul found this out when he pried open a door the Lord had closed. He should have waited for Samuel, as only the priests were allowed to offer sacrifices. But Saul looked around at the circumstances, became frightened, and took matters into his own hands. Instead of standing at the door, trusting in the Lord, and waiting for Him to open it at the right time, Saul forced his way in, and as a result, lost his kingdom.

The costs of disobedience are always higher than the benefits of pushing through a closed door. If the Lord has sealed off an entry, it’s for your protection. The right response is to wait patiently and be faithful in your present situation. In time, He’ll either open the door or redirect you to the path that leads to His will.

New Testament Authors and the 12 Disciples

Recently I was reading an article on a popular wordpress blog written by an individual I know to be a biblical scholar. In the article he mentions that Luke was not one of the 12 disciples. When I read that it threw me as I thought I had a handle on the written history of the bible and who the 12 disciples were. So, let me ask you a question. How confident are you that you know the authors and disciples within the New Testament?

I did some research on both topics and found the following. I present this information for your edification in hopes it will help you increase in your knowledge of God’s Word the bible.

The twelve apostles/disciples in no certain order were.

Andrew
Simon Peter
James Zebedee
John Zebedee
Philip
Nathaniel
Matthew Levi
Thomas Didymus
James and Judas Alpheus
Simon the Zealot
Judas Iscariot

After reading this list you will discover like I did that not all of the apostles mentioned above were responsible for writing the books of the New Testament. To help expand your knowledge in this area, the following is a list of the new testament books and their authors.

Matthew – Matthew the tax collector

Mark – Mark the evangelist and companion of Peter

Luke & Acts – Luke the evangelist (not an apostle)

John – John the son of Zebedee

Romans, First & Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon – all of these books are works by Paul.

Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians – there is some support among biblical scholars that the author was Paul.

First & Second Timothy and Titus – some historians think the author was Paul but there are some who think otherwise.

Hebrews – author is unknown

James – author is James

First & Second Peter – written by the apostle Peter

First, Second, & Third John – written by John the apostle when he was advanced in age.

Jude – written by Jude, who was a brother of James & also James the just.

Revelation – written by John, the apostle of Jesus

Any serious student of the bible probably already knew all of this information but as I said in the beginning I thought I knew this information but didn’t. Why do I think this is important? I believe having this knowledge is one more way of showing God how much we love Him and want to know Him through His word, its authors and the well-known disciples.

May I suggest you take some time to commit this information to memory as it will help you two ways. You will have a closer walk with the Lord and you will be prepared as an evangelist in telling others about God’s word, Jesus and the road to salvation.

May God richly bless you as you reach out to others in the name of Jesus Christ.