Nuggets – Defense of the Gospel

“Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” (Philippians 1:7)

Writing from prison in Rome some 10 years after he helped found the church in Philippi, Paul still felt such a bond with those believers that he insisted they “partake” with him in his “defence and confirmation” of the gospel ministry.

The key words here are “defense” (Greek apologia) and “confirmation” (Greek bebaiosis). Both words are not common in the New Testament text. Together, they describe a mission attitude that should anchor our approach to ministry.

Apologia, in its various forms, is most often translated “answer.” Peter used this term in a passage that urged Christians to be “ready always to give an answer [as in, an answer that is logically sufficient] to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Paul used apologia twice to the Philippian church; both times stressed the “defence of the gospel” (Philippians 1:17).

Bebaiosis and its associated terms convey the meaning of firmness or having been established. Paul encouraged the Colossian church to be “rooted and built up in [Christ], and stablished in the faith” (Colossians 2:7). Peter tells us to “make [our] calling and election sure [same word, bebaiosis]” (2 Peter 1:10).

Thus, our witness and declaration of “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16) must be “with logic” (apologia) to defend the precious truth and with an eye to “establish” (bebaiosis) that truth in the mind and heart of those newly converted. The gospel tells who Christ is (the Creator, the incarnate Word, and coming King) as well as what He did on Calvary. HMM III

From Days of Praise

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Big Tech–Counterfeit Comforter

Immortality Road

Big Brother is watching you and me. It is an old concept, but never more true. He knows our thoughts and desires, and he is well aware of our political, religious, educational, and economic inclinations.

Of course, we speak of Big Tech, who sprawls over the entire earth, digitally scratching the itch that humans have. That itch is to feel important and needed and appreciated, and to know that they belong.

But mankind does not know that Big Tech’s fingers scratch with silent talons, talons that tear into the subconscious minds of the vulnerable.  Through quiet machinations of the human psyche, Big Tech has become the provider of comfort.

It has almost entirely replaced the Hebrew God as mankind’s go-to savior. Feeling lonely? Turn on your electronic device. Go where you want to go. Listen to whom you want to hear. Bored? Same thing. In fact, Big Tech provides your…

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Nuhggets – Promised Performance

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

Our Lord gave this powerful promise to perform the good work that He began at and with the church at Philippi (the “you” is plural in the Greek text).

It is an earthly, temporal promise; that is, the promise is to “perfect” the good work “until the day of Jesus Christ.” The church at Philippi closed its earthly doors centuries ago. Something much more than mere continuation is pledged.

Surely our Lord has in mind His assurance that “the gates of hell” would not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18), but there were some churches to whom Christ spoke who were in danger of losing their “candlestick” or church-hood (Revelation 2:4; 3:16). What, then, can we be assured of by this marvelous promise?

Perhaps the basic “good work” that our Lord refers to is seen in the list of commendations given to the seven churches in the letters dictated to John at the beginning of Revelation. All except Laodicea had some strengths. Even troubled Sardis had a “few names” not yet sullied and “things which remain” that were still good and worth preserving (Revelation 3:1-4). Our Lord knows all His works “from the beginning” (Acts 15:18) and sees the eternal fruit of our ministry that ripples long beyond our short earthly life (Revelation 14:13).

There is also the mystery of our being “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22)—a “spiritual house” that produces “spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5). All of this, perhaps, is what our Lord had in mind when He promised to perform the good work He had started in Philippi. HMM III

From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 124

How long has it been?

How long has it been since you prayed? for self? for someone? You can be the block to someone going to hell.

If you have the gospel and have not shared with someone, their blood can be upon your hands.

It is a command of the Lord Mark 16:15 ESV And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Psalm 96:3 ESV Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

Are you ashamed of the gospel of Christ? Romans 1:16 ESV For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,

Have you started then stopped? Galatians 6:9 ESV And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Get the power of the Holy Spirit Acts 1:8 ESV But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Do it 1 Peter 3:15 ESV But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

How will they hear? Romans 10:13-14 ESV For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Do not be judged for being silent John 12:48 ESV The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.

It is sesrious that we be obedient to His command . 1 John 2:4 ESV Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

Let us be inoocent of the blood of the lost by obedience to the command of the Lord.

Acts 20:26-27 ESV Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Lord, please open my mouth and fill it with Your loving words and life. Amen.

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Nuggets – The Limited Knowledge of Jesus

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32)

This verse has always been difficult to understand. If Jesus was God, how could He be ignorant of the time of His second coming? Indeed He was, and is, God, but He also was, and is, man. This is a part of the mystery of the divine/human nature of Christ. In the gospel record, we see frequent evidences of His humanity (He grew weary, for example, and suffered pain), but also many evidences of deity (His virgin birth, His resurrection and ascension, as well as His perfect words and deeds).

He had been in glory with the Father from eternity (John 17:24), but when He became man, “in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren” (Hebrews 2:17), except for sin. As a child, He “increased in wisdom and stature” like any other human (Luke 2:52). Through diligent study (as a man), He acquired great wisdom in the Scriptures and the plan of God. After His baptism and the acknowledgment from heaven of His divine Sonship (e.g., Matthew 3:16-17), He increasingly manifested various aspects of His deity, but He still remained fully human.

With respect to the time of the end, this depends in some degree on human activity. For example, He said that “the gospel must first be published among all nations” (Mark 13:10), and only God the Father could foresee just when men will have accomplished this. Although the glorified Son presumably now shares this knowledge, in His self-imposed human limitations He did not.

In no way does this compromise His deity. In our own finite humanity, we cannot comprehend fully the mystery of the divine/human nature of Christ, but He has given us more than sufficient reason to believe His Word! HMM

From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 123

Pride

Pride is self awareness and discernment, knowing who you are and acting on that knowledge responsibily or irresponsibly.

Do you have the ultimate pride? Psalm 10:4 ESV In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.

Are you a discerning person? Romans 12:16 ESV Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Worldly pride will not last .1 John 2:16 ESV For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Pride is evident in your eyes and heart . Proverbs 21:4 ESV Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.

Pride is in your mouth too. Psalm 59:12 ESV For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips, let them be trapped in their pride. For the cursing and lies that they utter,

Listen to what the Lord says .Jeremiah 9:23 ESV Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches,

He has a special word for the young. 1 Peter 5:5 ESV Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Enjoy the grace of God with humility!

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Nuggets – Thy Power to Save

“O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.” (Psalm 98:1)

Throughout Scripture God accomplished glorious things, and His people responded in song. The final verse of “There Is a Fountain” reminds us that our song will last for eternity.

Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.

There will come a time when redeemed individuals will amass around the throne of God and His Son, our Redeemer, and sing a mighty song of praise to Him for salvation: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9). The Creator had bought creation back with His own blood.

The just and holy Creator was rejected by His creation and rightly pronounced the penalty of death. Yet, He entered the created world to live a sinless life so that He could die as a proper substitute for all, and then rose from the grave in final victory over sin, offering us eternal life.

Our inability in this life to fully understand all that has transpired or even phrase a proper testimony will be replaced with an accurate assessment. We will gather there with all the saints to sing His praise: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). The great Creator became our Redeemer and our everlasting King! JDM

From Days of Praise

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Nuggets – Thy Precious Blood

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:…And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:14, 20)

John introduced Jesus to the world at His baptism by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was known prophetically as a lamb even before then. “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). He fulfilled the lamb role in His sacrificial death for the sins of mankind: “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19). The third verse of “There Is a Fountain” continues that picture.

Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.

The precious Christology passage of Colossians 1:13-20 identifies Christ as Creator, Redeemer, and King. As Creator, His redemptive work included the ransom of His creation, lost and shackled in sin. There will come the time when all of redeemed mankind will gather around His throne “saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).

They will be joined by all in creation to sing His praises. “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation 15:3). JDM

From Days of Praise

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FILIPINO EXPAT ENCOURAGEMENT 122

Friendship

In a lonely unfriendly post-COVID world how do we learn to be more friendly to encourage one another? How can we positively affect the lives of others? We may differ in upbrining, but with same objectives and still we can be friends. Can we talk about common things, conflicts and compromises together? Let us be encouraged to purposefully have friends in love, as the Bible says we should. Love of God will bind, cover and forgive friends. We can expand our friendship network beyond the believers and win some. Amen. Be intentional and reach out in kindness to start a friendship. It begins with you and me especially as we move and travel around today. There is no barrier the Lord cannot bring down.

Ecclesiastes 4:9  Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.

Proverbs 18:24  One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 27:9  Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice.

Psalm 133:1  How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

Romans 12:10  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

1 Peter 4:8-10 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Here is the advantage of friendship

Proverbs 27:17, ” As iron sharpens iron,so one person sharpens another.” is almost universally seen as positive. Some view this maxim as an example of “tough love,” others as a rewording of a verse earlier in this passage, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (27:6).

Go develop some friendships they can only be good if God is in it.

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Nuggets – The Dying Thief

“And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

One of the most remarkable scriptural passages is that of the “deathbed” conversion of the sinful thief crucified with Jesus. Christ recognized his repentance, forgave his sin, and offered him eternal life as he died. As reflected in the hymn “There Is a Fountain,” salvation comes to sinners who repent, turn from their sin, and believe on Him, without any works involved or strings attached.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

The “fountain” of blood flowing from the cross produces great rejoicing in those who have acknowledged His lasting work. “With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19), we can be forgiven and born into His family. We receive the ability for and privilege of living victorious, holy lives. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

All have chosen sin; all deserve judgment. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). But because of Him, we can be “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24). “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). JDM

                From Days of Praise

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