Promise

His promise still remains
He will never change
He’ll see us through the pain
And peace he will arrange.
Why now does he promise
To give us life anew
We do not deserve this
But someone does love you.
There are deep red bloodstains
Those who believe are few
But the fact it still remains
Jesus died for you.

~Stephen Beagles

Spiritual Warfare: By the Blood of the Lamb

When it comes to spiritual warfare, most people either ignore the devil or focus on him. The only way to fight the devil is to focus on the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Evil spirits exist and their main objective is to destroy our faith in Jesus. They don’t worry much about the people who are already under their control, but they do worry about the influence that the Spirit of God has over people who are searching for truth.

While fallen angels cannot possess a Christian, they can oppress and torment representatives of Jesus Christ. We cannot fight them in our own wisdom and strength, and the only way to overcome these battles is to pray, praise, and to saturate our minds with the truth of God’s word. Lucifer is the father of lies, and he flees from the king of Truth–Jesus Christ.

One of the biggest traps that Christians can fall into is extremes. Evil spirits are happiest when they can turn a Christian into a “double agent” and work havoc from within a christian home, church, or community. Jesus warned us about false Christs and false prophets. Don’t forget that it was the temple priests who called for the crucifixion of Jesus.

It is possible for a person to become earthly minded and be of no heavenly good, but it is more likely for a christian to become overly concerned with spiritual extremes to be of no earthly good. God wants us to be practical and balanced in using our mental, physical, and spiritual gifts. Yes, we must hate sin–but we must love the sinner and do everything in our power to let them know of God’s love for all his created beings.

The gospel is the power of God, and Jesus said that the cross would be the magnet to draw people into a love relationship with himself. The cross is the central focus of God’s message to the world. This is the message of truth that God has given us to proclaim. This is the message that makes the devil flee, and gives us the strength to break the spiritual bonds of evil.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.

Revelation 12:10-12, NIV

~Stephen Beagles

Salvation: The Gift of Eternal Life

I have learned over the years that most Christians use the same words to explain biblical doctrines: Salvation, Grace, Faith, Obedience, etc. The problem is that many have attached different meanings to the words they use to describe Christian beliefs.

Different word definitions often leads to confusion for new believers who are interested in learning more of what the Bible teaches. Defining the terms that we use to describe our beliefs is often necessary for the sake of clarity and correct understanding of the Bible.

What does it mean when Christians use the term Salvation? What does it mean to be saved by the blood of Jesus? The word Salvation means that believers are saved from the punishment of sin. Once we acknowledge our disobedience before God and ask His forgiveness, we are given the promise of eternal life in heaven.

Salvation may also have other meanings depending on the context in which it is being used, but primarily it describes our being saved from eternal death. Christians have the promise of eternal life.

Those who trust that Jesus died for their sins have the assurance of life after death. Jesus paid the penalty for sin, and heaven is offered as a free gift to those who receive Christ as their substitute. This is the good news of salvation. This is the message of Christ to the world. We should never worry about being good enough for heaven–we are not! What matters most is Christ was good enough to be the perfect sacrifice for sin.

Do you have the assurance of Salvation?

–Stephen Beagles

Prayer: The Secret to Spiritual Power

One of my favorite authors, Ellen G. White, wrote a single sentence that encapsulates most everything there is to know about the act of praying to the God of heaven. She wrote:

“Prayer is the secret of spiritual power.”

She also wrote in Steps to Christ, a 126 page book that ranks in the top twenty best-selling books of all time, the following paragraph that describes the type of relationship that God desires to have with each one of us:

“Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. ‘The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.’ James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for him to bear, for He holds up the worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity to difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.”

Joseph Scriven wrote a poem in 1855 that would become one of the best known hymns of all time. The timeless poem tells us of the wonderful friendship that we may find in Jesus Christ: “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. ”

The longest book in the Old and New Testament is the book of Psalms which is a book of prayer and praise to the God of the Universe. The middle chapter of the Bible, also the shortest chapter in Holy Scripture, is Psalms 117—that serves as a reminder that prayer should always be the center of our relationship to God.

Jesus said many things about prayer during his earthly ministry. One of the first things that He taught about praying was that God is aware of our needs and is willing to provide good things for those who ask Him (Matthew 6:32; 7:7-11). He also tells us of our need for prayer as protection against evil (Matthew 17:21).

The only time in scripture it is recorded that Jesus ever got  violent is when He threw over the tables and chairs of the merchants selling doves in the Temple of God while he screamed, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13). This is a warning to all who see church as a place of business instead of a place where even the poorest may feel welcome to worship God.

Jesus also gave an example of how we should pray. By following the example of the Lord’s prayer we ought to pray that God’s will be done in our lives, that He will provide for our daily needs, that He will forgive us our sins, and that He will deliver us from evil.

Jesus taught that God already knows what we need and there is no mystical value in chanting the same prayer numerous times to win favor with the Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:7-8). However, He was adamant that we should continue praying even during times when it seems like God isn’t going to provide us what we are asking. There may be many reasons that God might delay an answer to a specific request. Our prayers may be what God needs to make us ready to receive a special blessing: “And he spake unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not faint” (Luke 18:1).

Jesus himself spent entire nights in prayer to the Heavenly Father (Luke 6:12), and if He needed prayer to maintain His spiritual strength then how much more prayer do we need to maintain our spiritual life?

It is important to remember that God hears our prayers because of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross of Calvary. When we pray “in Jesus name” it is a reminder that God sent His beloved Son to die for our sins and to restore the fellowship that was lost because of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. Jesus commanded his disciples to pray in His name so they might receive the full blessings of prayer: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive that your joy may be full”  ~John 16:24

~Stephen Beagles

 

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." ~ 1 Cor 2:2