One Man’s Death Every Man’s Guarantee

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man

Tags: Death, Easter, Hope, Life, Power, Resurrection
We all keep hoping for peace. World War I was "the war to end all wars." Then we found ourselves in the midst of World War II-again sending out sons, husbands, and fathers who may not return.

The wars kept coming. Korea. Vietnam. Iraq. Each one pouring out death and destruction to an extent the world hadn’t witnessed previously. If only military victory carried a lifetime guarantee of no more death, no more failure, no more fear. Or better yet, an eternal guarantee.

But only one man’s death carries that guarantee.

No human effort to build a better world can guarantee lasting peace in the Persian Gulf, or Somalia, or anywhere else for that matter. The freedom that costs the blood of our precious young men and women isn’t permanent. It lasts only until another aggressive power comes along, unjustly claiming supremacy over others. Then the bloodshed starts all over again.

Hope for a "new world" must rest in God, not man. Death is man’s legacy; life is God’s. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).

Good Friday, when we remember the cruel death of Jesus Christ on the cross, is a day that man made because of sin. But Resurrection Sunday is God’s Day. He made it. Only the power of God could have raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Man’s deepest yearnings for life, power, and hope find fulfillment in the meaning of Easter.

Life
Resurrection speaks of life. Jesus Christ is alive today! Here in the northern hemisphere, Resurrection Sunday comes in the spring. After a long, cold winter, nature comes alive. In the spring, one is prompted to think of resurrection. It’s a new beginning.

Death is our enemy. But life is ours in Jesus Christ. Death brings fear. The Resurrection gives peace. Thoughts about death often lead to depression. The reality of the Resurrection leads to hope. Death speaks of separation, but the Resurrection speaks of a life that is indestructible, in union forever with the risen Jesus Christ.

The Bible says, "When you were dead in your sins…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins" (Colossians 2:13). We are alive to God because the risen life of Christ is our life. All of us who have Jesus Christ in our hearts know that He’s alive. That’s why we love to sing, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart." The Lord affirmed, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). That speaks of His life in us!

When Jesus came out of the grave, having finished the work on the cross, having shed His blood, having taken the punishment for our sins on His own body, He was able to give us life, because He was alive, risen from the dead.

Do you have this life? Have you experienced what it is to come alive in Jesus Christ? Have you experienced what the Bible calls a "new birth"?

To be born again means that Jesus Christ actually comes into your life. Instead of being dead to God, dead to the things of God, not understanding what God is like, you come alive. You become a new person who can understand the things of God.

The Resurrection speaks of life; not only the life of Christ, alive from the tomb, but also an abundant inner life for us, here and now, daily.

Jesus Christ also opened a way into heaven. We no longer have to fear death, because we are united with Christ. A Christian has been resurrected with Jesus Christ. Christ’s victory is our victory both now and in the future. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed him "who holds the power of death-that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14).

Power
Resurrection also speaks of power. Before the Lord was raised from the dead, the apostles were quite a miserable lot. What was wrong? What was it that they lacked? They lacked power!

Until the Lord Jesus was resurrected, was raised up into heaven and the Holy Spirit came down on the Day of Pentecost, the apostles were still afraid and in hiding.

But on the Day of Pentecost, Peter, who had earlier been afraid of the accusations of a servant girl, stood up in front of several thousand people and said, very boldly, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). What brought on this boldness?

Peter now was filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit! He had the risen life of Jesus Christ in him. The power that brought Christ out of the grave is for us now. God’s power is not something that we work up ourselves. It comes only from the indwelling Holy Spirit.

If you lack power in your life, power to overcome temptation, power to witness for Jesus Christ, then you need to allow God’s Spirit to fill you. You need to acknowledge His life in you and let Him live through you.

The life of Christ dwells in every one who by faith receives Him. Your life can be filled with the power of the living Lord Jesus Christ. "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, and love and of self-discipline" (2 Timothy 1:7).

Hope
Hope? Yes, resurrection also speaks of a secure hope. My father’s body is buried in a little cemetery in Argentina. But my father has been with Jesus Christ all these 48 years since his physical death. One day his body is going to be resurrected, just as the body of Jesus was resurrected.

For those who know the Lord Jesus, that fact is very real. The Lord is coming back! The Bible says that one of these days, we shall be changed "in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:52). What a marvelous reality!

When my father died, we sang a hymn at his funeral:

Face to face, O blissful moment.

Face to face, to see and know.

Face to face with my Redeemer,

Jesus Christ who loved me so.

Face to face I shall behold Him,

Far beyond the starry sky.

Face to face in all His glory,

I shall see Him by and by.

This is the hope that the Resurrection gives you. We know we shall see the Lord Jesus face to face in all His glory. Do you have that hope? Do you have that assurance? Do you know for sure that you’ll see Him?

If the resurrected Christ does not live in your heart and you die today, what hope would you have? There is no "reincarnation," no "second chance." But if Christ lives in you, then there is the secure hope of eternal life with the Lord Jesus, forever. "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish," He has said (John 10:28).

A minister’s son, 28 years old, married with two children, had cancer. Each of the several specialists who examined him said the cancer would take his life. I was the guest speaker at the minister’s church on the Sunday that his son died, early that morning. This pastor, who had suffered so much for two years seeing his son slowly dying, was at perfect peace. He described the last few hours he spent with him. His son had said, "Dad, tonight I’m going to be with Jesus."

"Aren’t you lucky to get there before me, David," his father said. "To think that tonight you will actually see Moses in person, and Peter, Paul, and John the Baptist!"

Then his father said, "But son, best of all, you’re going to see the Lord Jesus. And when you see Him, David, will you tell him that your father loves Him very much?"

The reason this man had such tremendous peace when I spoke with him a few hours after his son’s death was because his son was with the Lord Jesus. That’s what knowing Jesus Christ will do for you.

If the Lord Jesus returned today, would He welcome you into His presence? Have you opened your life to Jesus Christ?

You can receive the Lord Jesus by a simple prayer of faith. Believe in Him, invite Him into your heart, and become a child of God. Make sure that you will be part of that resurrection day when the Lord Jesus comes back for His own.

Make this prayer your own, quietly now, as you finish this article:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that because of Easter, You’ve made it possible for me to have a new beginning. Thank You for Your death on the cross, paying the penalty for my sins. Thank You for Your resurrection three days later. You’re alive and now You offer me new life, power and hope here and now and for all eternity. Please forgive my sins and make me part of Your family. I gladly receive You and put my trust in You. Amen.

What is your favorite part of the Easter season? Which Easter truth gives you the most hope and peace? Did you pray the prayer at the end of the article for the first time? If so, talk to a caring Christian about it and be encouraged!

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God is Holy God is Love

Can God be both Holy and loving?

Written by Joy on 17/01/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: GodHolinessLove


Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, ‘I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ The Lord also says, ‘Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.’

2 Corinthians 6:16-18

Many say God’s holiness makes him judgmental, demanding a very high moral standard. Others say if God is loving, then he won’t condemn anyone but all will go to Heaven. Are God’s holiness and love opposite extremes?

God’s Holiness

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5).

Holiness (pictured here as light) is God’s nature. It unifies all his other characteristics. He is perfectly good, perfectly righteous, perfectly merciful, perfectly faithful, etc. All of his actions are determined by this purity that sets him apart from all others. “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” (Leviticus 10:3)

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)

God’s Purity

It is in the presence of God’s pure, holy light that we become aware of our sin. Isaiah said, “I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips…” (Isaiah 6:5) Even our good deeds are filthy compared to the purity of God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6Romans 3:23) God does not judge sin out of cruelty: “…His eyes are too pure to look on evil or tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13) Yet, the holy mercy and love of God provided a way for Isaiah to be purified (Isaiah 6:6-7) and he does the same for us.

God’s Holy Love

“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).

Selfish motives and wrong thinking limit human love. Real love doesn’t tolerate selfish, hurtful behavior. God is pure love! (1John 4:10,161 Corinthians 13:4-7) He desires holiness for his children: He wants us to be completely set apart for Him. What parent does not wish for a “perfect” life for their child? We lack the understanding and power to give that, but God does not. God wants to give us a new life, free from sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

God’s holiness does not limit or oppose his love; it defines it! “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18) Are you experiencing this perfect, holy love?


Pray this week:

God, please help me experience the reality of your Holiness and understand my need for your Perfect Love. Please purify me.


How can I, a constant sinner, be accepted by a Holy, perfect God?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

The Idolatry of People-Pleasing

What if I'm more afraid to displease important people than God?

Written by GodLife on 13/09/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Idolatry, Influence, Relationships, Submission
So now run away to your place. I said I would give you much honor, but the Lord has kept you from honor.

Numbers 24:11
A story in the Bible's book of Numbers shows how dangerous the desire to “please men” can be (Colossians 3:22). This story is mentioned a lot in the Bible. Each mention comes with a warning.

God wants us to take note: what can this story teach us about ourselves?

1. It is Dangerous To Look For God’s Permission And Not His Approval
Fearing Israel, King Balak sent for the prophet Balaam. God told Balaam not to go. King Balak persisted, so Balaam asked God again.

God seemed persuaded: he gave Balaam permission to go. On his journey, the donkey he was riding was blocked by an angel with a drawn sword. The donkey refused to keep going, angering Balaam so much that he beat the animal. Before he could kill her, God allowed the donkey to speak, warning him of the danger. God then opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel standing ready to kill him!

Just as the donkey’s actions went against Balaam’s plan for her, Balaam himself had nearly been killed for resisting God. But Balaam presses again, and finds the permission, (not the approval), of God.

2. There is Danger in Getting Around God’s Purposes
Accompanying the messengers back to Midian, Balaam at first blesses Israel instead of cursing them. God had warned him to do only as he was told. (Numbers 22:20) Balak is furious. Later we’re told (Numbers 31:16) that Balaam taught the Midianite women to seduce the Israelite men into idolatry. (Numbers 25:1-3) Terrified by Balak, Balaam cunningly thought of a way to curse the Israelites without speaking the curse himself, still a violation of God's instructions.

3. The Outcome of the Fear of Man
Balaam’s conduct shows perversion in a believer's walk:

The “way of Balaam” (2 Peter 2:15) — “against” God. (Numbers 22:32) If it was to his advantage, Balaam didn’t fear taking God's mercy for granted. In his heart, he said, “God has said ‘no’ to this–maybe there's a way I can do it anyway.”
The “error of Balaam” (Jude 11) — failing to learn the lesson of the encounter. Balaam was physically stopped and even threatened.
The “doctrine of Balaam” (Revelation 2:14) — passing this attitude along. Balaam was willing to try to spoil the purpose of God.

Presumption leads to the error of trying to get around God’s will. This means we manipulate, teach or become a bad example, leading others down the same corrupt path. Balaam may have said the Lord was his God. But he had idolatry in his life all along: respect of human favor over God’s. How much will God allow if we presume upon His grace? Balaam’s idolatry led him to serve God’s enemies, curse himself (Numbers 23:9) and demonstrate God’s denial of his prayers (Numbers 23:10) in the manner of his death. (Numbers 31:8)

Pray this week:
Father, I surrender myself to you again. I want your way to prevail in my life. Protect me from presumptuous sin.

How can you know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Ways God Meets Your Needs

Jesus promises to meet your needs

Written by Ruth on 11/12/2018

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: NeedFaithContentmentFaithfulness


Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33

Do you trust God to meet your needs and direct your life His way, or demand them your way?

Today, let’s talk about a Bible character named Elizabeth as an example of how God meets our needs. 

Elizabeth's circumstances

Luke 1:5 – In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

Luke 1:7 – But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. 

Elizabeth had a need which had consequences for her marriage as well as for her connection with other people around her – she could not have children. She had probably given up on this dream since she was now old enough that having a child was no longer possible. Yet, her deep need remained in her heart. While the Bible does not tell us this, I am sure she wept with her husband many times over this lack in their family.

When you have a need, what do you do about it? What do you think would happen if you would ask and trust Jesus to know and solve your need His way?

Elizabeth’s Faith

Luke 1:13 – But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 

Luke 1:24 – After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden…

When her husband returned home from his time of serving in the temple, Elizabeth must have been afraid because of the change in him – he could not speak. But he must have written God’s promise to him and her, because we know she knew all about what the angel had said to him.

Then it happened – she was pregnant! She was going to have a baby even when it was impossible because of her age. Did she hide herself because she did not want to be the subject of gossip in her town? How do you hide what Jesus is doing in your life?

Elizabeth’s Happiness

Luke 1:36 – And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 

Luke 1:39-41 – In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 

When Mary, a young woman who was also pregnant by a miracle, came to visit Elizabeth, however, Elizabeth began to rejoice in the miracle God had given her. But an interesting thing to see here is that Elizabeth was not jealous of Mary! Elizabeth did not want the honor Mary had received, she just remained glad of her own miracle.

When something good happens to you, and then you see something better happen to someone else, how do you respond to either God or the other person?

Elizabeth’s Faithfulness

Luke 1:57 – Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 

Luke 1:58-62 – And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but [Elizabeth] answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 

Elizabeth followed God’s plan for her child even though everyone around her urged her to do what tradition expected. Naming the child should have followed their rules, but God had said they should follow His plan instead.


Pray this week:

Lord Jesus, help me to be faithful to Your will for my life, no matter how impossible it seems, or how much others urge me to follow a different path.


When God asks you to do something that does not follow the traditions or plans others around you expect, how do you choose?
 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Living and Teaching

 

A modern proverb states, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." However, for followers of Jesus, a lot of the "doing" is teaching. The Lord has directed His people to share His message of love with the world.

Written by Hope on 15/12/2013
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Evangelism, Living, Teaching
"Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you." Matthew 28:19-20

A modern proverb states, "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach." However, for followers of Jesus, a lot of the "doing" is teaching. The Lord has directed His people to share His message of love with the world.

Right Living
While leading others in their faith, we must keep an eye on our own lives, making sure that we are living what we are teaching. Jesus said, "Why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye" (Matthew 7:3-5). You will harm your disciples if you display a lifestyle of saying one thing while doing another. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did" (I John 2:6).

Bible-based Teaching
The Apostle Paul wrote to his disciple, Timothy, "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right" (II Timothy 3:16). To properly lead another in godly growth, our foundation must be God's Word. "Those who obey God’s Word truly show how completely they love Him" (I John 2:5).

Follow Up Faithfully
When you commit to helping a new believer, don't give up on them. Many of the books of the New Testament exist because God didn't let His Apostles abandon the churches they'd planted throughout the region.

Instead, they wrote to them and visited them to ensure that they learned and obeyed God's Word. St. Paul called his fellow Christians in Philippi "…my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it" (Philippians 1:5). The Apostles' follow-up contributed to the amazing growth of the Early Church, and when you help a new believer, you are walking in the Apostles’ footsteps.

Prayer, Care, and Share Jesus
“Teaching How to Share the Gospel”
Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20

People who have recently become believers are often in the "first love" stage of their relationship with Christ (Rev 2:4). They are in a good position to tell others about the gospel. As their spiritual leaders, we should teach them as soon as possible how to share their faith with others.

We suggest that you start by teaching your disciple some simple methods to share the gospel:

A proven tool for sharing the gospel verbally is the Four Spiritual Laws, which you will find at www.godlife.com/gospel.
To share Christ visually, consider using a simple diagram that explains Jesus as the "bridge" to life: http://www.navigators.org/Tools/Evangelism Resources/Tools/The Bridge to Life
A personal and powerful way for your disciple to share the love of Christ is through their personal testimony. (Rev 12:11) This will be fresh on their hearts, and we encourage you to have your disciple write out their testimony and practice sharing it with you.

A concise testimony that can be shared verbally in 3 to 5 minutes should follow this simple outline:

How was your life before you met Christ?
How did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior? (Give a brief summary of the gospel message)
How has your life changed since you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
Encourage your disciple, after presenting the gospel, to bring the person to a point of decision. Have them ask, “Would you like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior right now?” If they are ready, lead them in a prayer acknowledging that Jesus died and rose from the dead, asking God's forgiveness for their sins, and inviting Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.

Teach your disciple not to lose heart if someone does not respond to the gospel right away. Your disciple should realize that their responsibility is just to share the gospel, and the Holy Spirit who brings understanding that leads to salvation (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

Pray this week:
You will teach Bible-based truths.

What does it mean 'to live for Jesus?' If you're not sure, talk to a Christian and find out.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Powerful Gospel

Have you ever not trusted in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ?

Written by Malcolm Riley


Does the gospel have the power to save anyone?

Have you ever been tempted not to trust in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ? Sometimes, we as Christians apologize for the message of Christ when talking to those who don’t believe. Romans 1:16 should be a life verse for every Christian! Paul says at the beginning of his letter to the Roman Christians, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of others.” The same gospel that has been saving people for thousands of years is still saving people today. This gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, can change any hard heart—if we will tell it! Our job is to pray and tell people about Christ. For as Paul went on to say, “How will they know if someone doesn’t tell them?”

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

We need to tell people about the whole gospel and not leave out the difficult bits like sin, judgment, and Hell, and only talk about the amazing forgiveness that Christ offers at the cross. This means we will really have to trust the Holy Spirit when we tell people of the gospel. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.” The power is not in our “sales pitch” of the gospel; the power is in telling the truth about Jesus.

Bring Them to Jesus

We also want to be the kind of people who, like Billy Graham, “Call people to decision!” A great prayer is that we might be like a crossroad in the lives of those we meet: that meeting us would draw someone in one of two directions—either towards Jesus Christ or further away from Him. We don’t want our lives to leave people ignorant about the gospel or comfortable with being neutral. The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said we should preach “the whole gospel with a call to decision.”

Push Past the Awkwardness

Every time I come to a point when I am going to challenge someone to pray to receive Jesus Christ, it never feels right. It always feels awkward. But so many have come to Christ when I have felt like this and chosen to go past the pain barrier and preach the gospel with a call to decision. We’ve got to challenge people in spite of being nervous or feeling awkward. It’s so important to not just tell people the gospel but to also challenge them to receive the greatest news in the world! Ask them, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Do you wish to follow Him?” If their answer is yes, lead them in confessing their faith in Christ and assure them of their salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit today to make Romans 1:16 your life verse: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation others.”

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member