The New Allegiance (pt 1 of 5)

We are reading the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus. Currently, we are looking at the nature of the church. A non-believer from the first century referred to the early Christians as “the third race.” It makes perfect sense because most nationalities tend to divide the world into two parts — “us” and “them.” Continue reading

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What Is Sin?

For years, and I do mean years, I heard teachers say that “sin” merely means, “missing the mark.” I had heard that from several of the top preachers of the day and presumed they knew what they were talking about. But I began considering this concept, and it troubled me. For sure, there is nothing new under the sun. Continue reading

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Whoa! Hold Back and Relax

I love it when the Spirit of God interrupts plans that we made. I say that because He is a whole bunch smarter than I am and knows what you need to hear. Better explain what happened this morning. I fully intended to return to Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, but I had a strong sense that I needed to address something else. Continue reading

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Rest Easy, Be At Peace

Because of God’s “preventing” promise [that’s a King Jim’s word indicating a “pre-knowledge of something]. “[T]o anticipate, to precede, to foresee and fulfill in advance, to pay a debt before it is due.”]. In other words, we are able to claim victory and dominion even before the battle begins. David sang,

The king finds joy in your strength, O Yahweh.
    What great joy he has in your victory!
You gave him his heart’s desire.
    You did not refuse the prayer from his lips. Selah (Pause and think about that!)” (Psalm 21:1-2).

You may be thinking, “How could David rejoice?” He faced the most intense attack he had ever known. How could he have joy when he might have been wounded or killed? Well all know these stories in the Bible are there to encourage us. Because David answers: “You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.” (21:3).

What David is saying here is life-changing:

“I face a powerful enemy who is bent on destroying me. But my soul is at peace. Why? The Lord has foreseen (‘prevented’) my struggle. And he has showered me with assurances of his love. My enemy may cause me to stumble or fall, and at some point it might seem I’m finished. But God has told me that if I will just get up, I will receive his strength and win the battle.”

David then made this statement of faith just before going to war: “You placed a crown of pure gold on (my) head” (21:3). The crown of gold is a symbol of victory and dominion. David was saying, “I’m going to war riding on God’s promise to me. He said I would walk out of the battle wearing the crown of victory.”

If nothing else, this should sum up the doctrine of God’s “preventing goodness”: He has anticipated all our struggles — all our battles with sin, flesh and the devil. All our battles with the economy and personal relationships — and in his mercy and goodness, he has paid our debt before it even comes due. Our victory is a done deal.

God’s preventing goodness applies especially to those who love Jesus and are surprised by sin. The Lord assures us that even if we are temporarily cast down, we will emerge from the battle standing upright, all because Jesus has paid our debt.

Take a look at the situations in your life right now — is your son rebelling? Is your job in jeopardy? Is your business stumbling? Whatever your situation, our Lord was aware of it before you began to call to him for help. Be at peace because you will emerge victorious. He will provide the insight and wisdom you need. He will provide the finances you are asking for — he has been arranging for that before you even realized you had the need. As I promised you earlier, we are able to claim victory and dominion even before the battle begins!

Father, you are the victor, you are Almighty God, the Great I am, Immovable rock, omnipotent, powerful, awesome Lord, Victorious Warrior, Commanding King of Kings and Mighty Conqueror! I stand this morning in awe of you. You are my Savior, my Redeemer, my Brother and my Lord. I do have the victory in hand! Your plans will not fail. I stand strong and mighty against any enemy that may come against me, for you are my Shield and my Protector. Bring the Victory Lord! I await the abundance of joy and celebrate the victory now!

(As a tribute to my friends who are alum of UofM, their fight song, “The Victors,” is rather unique in the sense that the lyrics are unusual for a fight song. The typical fight song exhorts its team to play well and win, whereas The Victors is sung in celebration of a win after the fact).

Now for my apologies . . . I am going to do a slight rewrite of the song, and make it your song of victory:

Hail! to the victor valiant
Hail! to the conqu’ring hero
Hail! Hail! to Yeshua.
The Victor and Best!

Hail! to the victor valiant
Hail! to the conqu’ring hero
Hail! Hail! to Yeshua,
The Redeemer of the world!

Now for a cheer He is here, triumphant!
Here He comes with banners flying,
In stalwart step He’s nighing,
With shouts of vict’ry crying,
We hurrah, hurrah, we greet Him now, Hail!

Far we His praises sing
For the glory and fame He’s bro’t us
Loud let the bells them ring
For here He comes with banners flying
Far we His praises tell
For the glory and fame He’s bro’t us
Loud let the bells them ring
For here He comes with banners flying
Here He comes, Hurrah!

We cheer Him again
We cheer and cheer again
For Yeshua, we cheer for Yshua
We cheer with might and main
We cheer, cheer, cheer
With might and main we cheer!

Nickolas
Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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Run Straight Toward the Goal

Today, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord! Hallelujah! There isn’t anything greater or more important in the history of mankind. As Paul wrote:

The things that I once considered valuable, I now consider worthless for Christ. It’s far more than that! I consider everything else worthless because I am much better off knowing Christ Yeshua my Lord. It is because of him that I think of everything as worthless. I threw it all away in order to gain Christ and to have a relationship with him. This means that I didn’t receive God’s approval by obeying his laws. No, no! The opposite is true! I have God’s approval through faith in Christ. This is the approval that comes from God and is based on faith that knows Christ. Faith knows the power that His Resurrection gives and what it means to share his suffering. In this way, I am becoming like him in his death, with the confidence that I will receive Resurrection from the dead!

It’s not that I have already reached the goal or have already completed the course. I would be foolish to think that. But I run to win that which Yeshua Christ has already won for me. Brothers and sisters, I can’t consider myself a winner yet. I wish I could, but I can’t. But this is what I do: I don’t look back, I lengthen my stride, and I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that God’s heavenly call offers in Christ Yeshua.

Whoever has a mature faith should think this way. And if you think differently, God will show you how to think. However, we should be guided by what we have learned so far (Philippians 3:1-16)

Nickolas
Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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Jesus’ Words

Think about Jesus’ mother. She had been told thirty years before by the prophet Simeon that “a sword will pierce your own soul” (Luke 2:35). When her son was dying on the cross, you would think that would have been the sword piercing her, but Jesus’ words must have given the sword a twist. He said, “Dear woman, here is your son!” and then to John standing by, “Here is your mother!” (John 19:26-27). He was actually making the final break in the physical relationship between Mary and himself! Continue reading

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Preparation For Our Lord’s Resurrection

Sadly, the Church seems to lack any spiritual authority in our society. I’m serious. Have you ever wondered why so much of the press appears so condescending to Christians? Why has The Church lost any meaning and purpose in the eyes of many non-believers? Why have so many written off Christianity as being totally irrelevant to their lives? Seriously, why? Sure, I hear some claim to know the reason, but what can we do to change those claims? Continue reading

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