J. F. MINISTRIES ASSOCIATION INC.

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My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 19, 2017 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises... And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (2 Peter 1:4; Philippians 4:19)

 

 We have looked at two differing categories of promises: "exceedingly great and precious promises" and "unpopular" promises. Both play a vital role in God's plan. The first category of promises brings encouragement, comfort, and hope. The second category warns, convicts, and awakens. Both types are equally certain of fulfillment. Both types are to be heeded and embraced. For awhile now, let's alternately consider promises from these two categories.

Our present verses contain a promise of the first type. "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." The context of this promise concerns material provisions. "Now you Philippians know...no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities" (Philippians 4:15-16). The saints at the church in Philippi regularly gave of their financial resources that the Apostle Paul might concentrate on ministering the gospel. "Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God" (Philippians 4:18). Their recent gifts left Paul abundantly supplied. This generosity was also a pleasing spiritual sacrifice in the eyes of the Lord.

As He did with Paul, the Lord promises to meet the physical needs of all of His children. We can rely on His promised care for us. We do not need to worry or fret. "Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things" (Matthew 6:31-32). Our faithful and loving Father is fully aware of our material needs, and He has committed Himself to supplying them. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). Our heavenly Father wants us to give our attention to seeking after Him, not after our needs. He wants us to be on a quest to know Him. He desires that we seek after His holy rule and His righteous ways. He will be faithful to "supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." He may typically use a paycheck to fulfill His promise, but He will supply our needs. Even if we are flat on our backs and unable to work, God is our faithful source.

My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 17, 2017 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

 

Generally speaking, God's promises are "popular" with many people. When most of the Lord's promises are read or taught, people are delighted. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed...Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (John 8:36; Matthew 11:28; and Matthew 4:19). Promises like these are so often received with favor, because they are so encouraging. They are embraced with approval, because they are so comforting. On the other hand, some of God's promises are definitely "unpopular" with certain segments of humanity. This type of promise is scorned or rejected, because of its convicting or sobering character. Nevertheless, these promises that are not always well-received have great importance in God's plan.

One such promise is given two-fold in our present verse. "You will die in your sins...you will die in your sins." In a tolerant world that wants to deny the reality of sin and its consequences, this is an unpopular promise. Yet, the promise is true nonetheless. Sin brings spiritual death. From the beginning, this has been the case. "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die' " (Genesis 2:16-17). This truth was restated by the prophets of Israel. "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). It was also repeated by the apostles in the early church. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Since everyone has sinned, this warning by promise that Jesus gave applies to us all. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

To escape the inevitable consequences of sin, one must trust in Jesus as the promised, divine Savior. "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." This statement ("I am He") hints of Jesus' deity. Shortly thereafter, He openly declares that he is God, the Son. "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). Here, Jesus applies to Himself the same name that God revealed to Moses. "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you' " (Exodus 3:14). Thus, this important promise by Jesus warns that only faith in Him as the divine Savior will deliver a person from the certain consequences of sin.

My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 17, 2017 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

 

Generally speaking, God's promises are "popular" with many people. When most of the Lord's promises are read or taught, people are delighted. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed...Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest...Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (John 8:36; Matthew 11:28; and Matthew 4:19). Promises like these are so often received with favor, because they are so encouraging. They are embraced with approval, because they are so comforting. On the other hand, some of God's promises are definitely "unpopular" with certain segments of humanity. This type of promise is scorned or rejected, because of its convicting or sobering character. Nevertheless, these promises that are not always well-received have great importance in God's plan.

One such promise is given two-fold in our present verse. "You will die in your sins...you will die in your sins." In a tolerant world that wants to deny the reality of sin and its consequences, this is an unpopular promise. Yet, the promise is true nonetheless. Sin brings spiritual death. From the beginning, this has been the case. "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die' " (Genesis 2:16-17). This truth was restated by the prophets of Israel. "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). It was also repeated by the apostles in the early church. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Since everyone has sinned, this warning by promise that Jesus gave applies to us all. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

To escape the inevitable consequences of sin, one must trust in Jesus as the promised, divine Savior. "If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." This statement ("I am He") hints of Jesus' deity. Shortly thereafter, He openly declares that he is God, the Son. "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). Here, Jesus applies to Himself the same name that God revealed to Moses. "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you' " (Exodus 3:14). Thus, this important promise by Jesus warns that only faith in Him as the divine Savior will deliver a person from the certain consequences of sin.

My Daily Blog August 15th

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 15, 2017 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)

 

Coming to Jesus habitually for the grace that we need daily is at the heart of growing in grace. These closing verses of our previous meditation provide a profound example of this relational emphasis in the Christian life. The spiritual impact in view here is edification: "being built up." As we saw earlier, God's grace is the edifying resource for our lives. "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up" (Acts 20:32). Now, we will look at the relational path that God has designed for accessing that edifying grace.

Jesus is likened here to "a living stone." He is solid and reliable, like a rock. Yet, a rock is lifeless, insensitive, unresponsive. Jesus is a "living stone." He is alive, tender, lovingly responsive. The Lord wants to build us up to be like Him (solid and stable, yet loving and caring). The Lord's way to build us up "as living stones" is to call us to an ongoing process of coming to Himself: "Coming to Him as to a living stone...you also, as living stones, are being built up." In order to practically grow "as living stones," we must be coming to the one who already is innately what He wants us to become. He alone can provide what is needed in our lives.

How do we come to Jesus in this manner? Well, again, it is a matter of relating to Him. When we get into the word of God, we are not merely looking for more biblical information. Jesus is the one we are to be seeking. When we are praying, we are not merely "saying our prayers." Jesus is the one in whose name we are praying and whose will and work we are seeking. When we are worshiping, we are not merely singing songs, we are singing to the Lord Himself. When we are going forth in ministry, we are not merely carrying out a valid task. We are looking to the Lord for enablement, while desiring to please and honor Him.

The more we come to Jesus in this way, to that extent His edifying grace will be building us up "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

My Daily Blog August 14th

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 14, 2017 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)

 

Coming to Jesus habitually for the grace that we need daily is at the heart of growing in grace. These closing verses of our previous meditation provide a profound example of this relational emphasis in the Christian life. The spiritual impact in view here is edification: "being built up." As we saw earlier, God's grace is the edifying resource for our lives. "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up" (Acts 20:32). Now, we will look at the relational path that God has designed for accessing that edifying grace.

Jesus is likened here to "a living stone." He is solid and reliable, like a rock. Yet, a rock is lifeless, insensitive, unresponsive. Jesus is a "living stone." He is alive, tender, lovingly responsive. The Lord wants to build us up to be like Him (solid and stable, yet loving and caring). The Lord's way to build us up "as living stones" is to call us to an ongoing process of coming to Himself: "Coming to Him as to a living stone...you also, as living stones, are being built up." In order to practically grow "as living stones," we must be coming to the one who already is innately what He wants us to become. He alone can provide what is needed in our lives.

How do we come to Jesus in this manner? Well, again, it is a matter of relating to Him. When we get into the word of God, we are not merely looking for more biblical information. Jesus is the one we are to be seeking. When we are praying, we are not merely "saying our prayers." Jesus is the one in whose name we are praying and whose will and work we are seeking. When we are worshiping, we are not merely singing songs, we are singing to the Lord Himself. When we are going forth in ministry, we are not merely carrying out a valid task. We are looking to the Lord for enablement, while desiring to please and honor Him.

The more we come to Jesus in this way, to that extent His edifying grace will be building us up "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

My Daily Blog August 12th

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 13, 2017 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

 

Two of the Lord's "exceedingly great and precious promises" (2 Peter 1:4) are found in our present verses: "I will give you rest" and "you will find rest for your souls." These promises supplement well our earlier studies on God's promises and God's rest. The first promise pertains to justification and spiritual birth. The second pertains to sanctification and spiritual growth.

The first promise is addressed to those who are struggling under the burden of guilt and condemnation related to sin: "all you who labor and are heavy laden." This is where everyone begins their earthly trek. David testified of this common starting point for humanity." Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5).

In order to enjoy the benefits of this initial promise of rest, a person must bring their sin and guilt to Jesus. "Come to Me." The Lord Jesus can remove this load of guilt, because he carried that burden of sin for us on the cross. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). For all who come to Jesus in humble repentance, forgiveness is granted. The promise is fulfilled: "I will give you rest."

The second promise is addressed to those who have found the initial rest of forgiveness, but their soul is restless. They are struggling under the burden of trying to produce a godly life by their own fleshly resources. "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:3). They yearn for rescue from the crushing load of walking according to the flesh. "Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24).

In order to enjoy the benefits of this additional promise of rest, a person must yoke up with Jesus (walk with Him in daily intimacy). "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me." This yoke is not for the purpose of pulling half of the load (like the yoke placed upon two oxen). "My yoke is easy and My burden is light." This is yoke of relationship and communion. "Learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart." Those who walk this path of growing communion with the Lord have this second promise fulfilled. "You will find rest for your souls."

My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 11, 2017 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises... And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (2 Peter 1:4; Matthew 4:19)

 

Faith is the proper response to the promises of God. Let us now return to individual consideration of God's wonderful promises. They are so wonderful that the scriptures describe them as "exceedingly great and precious." The promises of God (which are deserving of our trust) are "exceedingly great." They are far beyond magnificent. The root of this word gives us our English prefix, "mega"(as in "mega-bomb" or "mega-celebrity"). The promises of God are also "precious." They are priceless. They are beyond what any human or temporal treasure could ever secure.

One of God's "exceedingly great and precious promises" is linked to Jesus' call to discipleship. This call was an invitation to come and pursue after Him. "And He said to them, 'Follow Me' ." The Lord Jesus wants people to develop a life with Him. He wants us to build a relationship with Him. For all who will humbly focus their days on earth in a quest after Him, Jesus makes this magnificent promise. "I will make you." As we follow after Him, we can count on His fulfilling the promise to remake us. These men He addressed were "fishers of fish." Jesus promised to make them "fishers of men." "From now on you will catch men" (Luke 5:10).

The critical point is that Jesus would be the one changing these men. In this situation, He speaks of changing them from those who caught fish (for a temporal fishing business) to those who would catch men (for the eternal kingdom of God). Yet, in every situation, He is the one to rely upon for a changed life. It is amazing what people (even believers in Jesus Christ) will do to try to change their lives. They will sign up for every new program that comes through town (or is offered over national television). They will commit themselves to years of humanistic, speculative therapy. They will follow gurus to every continent on earth. They will even make endless lists of promises to God to do better or try harder. Yet, all of this is to no avail. God's plan for transformation of life is to believe in His promise. "I will make you." God wants to be the cause that produces the effect of a transformed life. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:10).

Yes, by the grace of God, transformation of life is available by faith in the promises of God. If we are willing to humbly pursue after a developing relationship with the Lord of life, He promises to make us into what He wants us to be.

My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 11, 2017 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Romans 4:20-21)

 

Faith is the proper response to the promises of God. Also, our faith in God's promises can increase day by day, year by year. These present words offer helpful insight into being strengthened in faith regarding God's promises.

It is so often the case that the circumstances we are in tend to cast doubt upon the promises God has made. This was certainly what happened to Abraham concerning the promised son, Isaac. It was obvious in God's first set of promises to Abraham that a son would be provided some day. "I will make you a great nation" (Genesis 12:2). Soon thereafter, the Lord promised that the land He had for Abraham would go to his seed. "Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, 'To your descendants I will give this land' " (Genesis 12:7). The years rolled by, and no son had arrived. Eventually, a son was specifically included in God's promises. "And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 'This one (Eliezer, his servant) shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir' " (Genesis 15:4). Still, the years passed by without the arrival of the son.

Now, as Abraham approaches one hundred years of age, God repeats promises that necessitate a son. "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am Almighty God...I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly… And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you' " (Genesis 17:1-2, 7). More time passes. Once again, the Lord restates His promise of a son. "Sarah your wife shall have a son" (Genesis 18:10). At this point, the scriptures record the natural impossibility of this promise being fulfilled. "Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well-advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing" (Genesis 18:11).

Nevertheless, "He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith." How did he grow in faith? His circumstances gave reason to doubt: "his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb" (Romans 4:19). He focused upon the ability of the God who had promised a son, and he was assured: "being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."

My Daily Blog August 8th

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 8, 2017 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11)

 

Before we proceed in our consideration of God's promises, let's look at some examples of those who responded properly to His promises. This will assist us in the path of living daily by the grace of God. Remember, living by God's grace and depending upon His promises are two perspectives on the same reality. Both speak of God working in and through the lives of His people.

Sarah responded properly to God's promises. It is true that she tried to fulfill God's promise of a son by her own ingenuity. "So Sarai said to Abram, 'See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her'" (Genesis 16:2). It is true that she later laughed with incredulity, when the promise was repeated. "And He said, 'I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.' And Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him...Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also'?" (Genesis 18:10, 12). Nevertheless, she eventually related appropriately to what God had promised to do. "By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed." The proper response to God's promises is to believe them. All who trust in the Lord to do what He has promised experience God at work in their lives. Sarah trusted God's promise of a son, and she was enabled by God to conceive and birth that son. "By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age."

Isaac was born in spite of the fact that Sarah did not have the natural capacity to accomplish such any longer. Isaac was born by means of Sarah exercising faith in the promises of God. Note, however, that Sarah's faith was not merely some act of the human will (like "mind over matter" or "power of positive thinking"). Her faith was based upon the faithfulness of God. "She judged Him faithful who had promised." She considered what God had revealed to her about Himself and concluded that He was reliable, so she relied upon Him.

My Daily Blog August 7th

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 7, 2017 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience... And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises... And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 4:11; 6:11-12, 15)

 

Once again, God's promises and God's rest are in view. In these intriguing verses, two insightful terms are linked with the promises and the rest of God: diligence and patience. Although they sound contradictory, they are actually complimentary.

For those who believe in the Lord Jesus, spiritual rest is promised. This rest begins with a divine rescue from the crushing burden of sin and guilt. Then, it is intended to develop into heavenly relief from the unbearable load of self-generated Christian living. Entering into this daily spiritual rest is neither an optional nor a casual matter. "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest." The Lord wants to stir and maintain in us an eagerness for this daily rest in Him. He wants us to earnestly and attentively seek Him for the rest that He alone can give. Our God wants to bring us along into a maturing assurance (a comprehensively developing confidence in His promises). "And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end." If we are unwilling to cry out to the Lord for such diligence in seeking His rest daily, we will eventually become spiritually lethargic: "that you do not become sluggish." God's rest is designed to produce spiritual fervency, not laziness: "not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Romans 12:11).

Along with diligence in seeking God for the rest He promises, the Lord also wants to develop in us a patience regarding His promises. "Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises...And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." God does not want our spiritual diligence to deteriorate into anxiety and impatience. Still, how can we grow in diligence and patience at the same time? How is it that the two are not mutually exclusive? Well, diligence concerns what God promises to do. We are to earnestly seek such. Patience concerns when God may desire to fulfill His promises. We are to patiently trust Him for His prefect timing.


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