J. F. MINISTRIES ASSOCIATION INC.

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My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 31, 2017 at 1:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb... and Joshua... for they have wholly followed the LORD. (Numbers 32:11-12)

 

Those who live by humble faith enter into the fullness of God's provisions of grace. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble...we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (James 4:6 and Romans 5:2). Joshua and Caleb illustrated this truth by entering the Promised Land.

As we have seen, God's great salvation is both "from" and "unto." "We have passed from death to life" (1 John 3:14). Also, this life we have been given is to be experienced in abundance. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Israel's calling by the Lord from bondage in Egypt to fullness in the land pictures this truth. "So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8).

Joshua and Caleb were the only adult Israelites in that first generation who went "into the fullness" of God's calling. They alone went into the land. "Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land...because they have not wholly followed Me, except Caleb...and Joshua." Joshua would not only enter the land, he would lead Israel into God's victory. "Then Moses called Joshua and said to him...you must go with this people to the land...and you shall cause them to inherit it" (Deuteronomy 31:7). Caleb would not only enter the land, he would still be strengthened by faith even in his old age. "Here I am this day, eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war" (Joshua 14:11).

Unlike Joshua and Caleb, the other Israelites followed the Lord's calling out from Egypt, but they did not follow Him into the land. Many Christians repeat this same error today. They have followed the Lord as He led them out of the spiritual death of sin and guilt. They are "out of Egypt." They are forgiven of their sins. They have new life in Christ. However, they do not follow the Lord on "into the land." They do not follow by faith into abundance of life. They do not follow the Lord in humble dependence for transformation, for fruitfulness, for a life of spiritual victory.

My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 27, 2017 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

 

This promise guarantees persecution for serious believers in Jesus Christ. In a church world where many treasure comfort and popularity, this promise is not well-received.

This promise is given to those who want to live a life of godliness: "who desire to live godly." Godliness is the will of the Lord for His people. "But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (1 Timothy 6:11). Our Lord Himself declared that there is great blessing in having a passion for righteous living. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matthew 5:6a). The blessing is God's pledge to satisfy that heart which yearns for righteousness. "For they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6b).

Yet, we have seen that fullness of righteousness is not all that is promised to those who want to walk in godliness. Persecution is also promised. "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Notice the comprehensive, inescapable dimension of this promise. "All who desire to live godly...will suffer persecution." There are no exceptions. There are no exemptions.

All who sincerely desire to follow the Lord Jesus Christ will experience the consequences that He met, as He walked in righteousness. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). Jesus was not universally hailed for His righteous path. He was opposed, mocked, conspired against, and betrayed. We need not be startled when measures of similar persecutions befall us.

Of course, this promise of persecution is not given to discourage us from pressing on down the path of godliness. Rather, it is offered to prepare us for the difficulties that are guaranteed as we seek to grow in Christlikeness. The Lord even adds gracious encouragements to righteousness, so we will be strengthened to pursue His holy will in this matter. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:10). Persecutions can remind us that we are headed for heaven. Persecutions can bring us heavenly measures of sustaining grace along the way.

My Daily Blog

Posted by Rev. Jeff Ferguson on August 21, 2017 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

 

 Here we have a priceless one concerning God's commitment to complete the wonderful work of salvation that He began at our new birth.

If our faith is in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God has started a tremendous saving work on our behalf: "He who has begun a good work in you."

He has made us new creatures in His Son. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). He has supplied us with immeasurable heavenly resources. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). What a grand work has been started in us. Yet, God's saving work is "so great a salvation" (Hebrews 2:3). Thus, whatever He has already been accomplished with us is only a part of the whole. Wherever we are in this glorious process, there is some completing work that God desires to do. He wants to bring into our understanding, our character, and our daily experience more of that which is fully ours in Christ.

Furthermore, our God wants us to be confident concerning this matter: "Being confident of this very thing." As noted in our previous meditation, God does not want people living in self-confidence. That misplaced trust is just another form of pride. This does not mean that we Christians are to be without confidence in our lives. It does mean that all of our confidence is to be placed in the Lord. "And we have such trust [confidence] through Christ toward God" (2 Corinthians 3:4). Our Lord wants us to have strong assurance in Him that He will complete this work in us.

Also remember, this saving work of God is done within our lives: "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it." The Lord has established an eternal position for us with Him in heavenly places: "and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). Yet, He wants to effect a godly walk for us here on earth. "Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called" (Ephesians 4:1). This walk is not based upon human theories of behavior modification. Our Lord Himself develops this in and through our hearts. "Now may the God of peace...make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight" (Hebrews 13:20-21).

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.


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