Reconciled

We are Now Ambassadors for Christ

ambassadors' flags

Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we beg you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

2nd Corinthians 5:20

Did you know that if you are a Christian, you are now an ambassador for Christ? It seems that we may have missed the boat to go over to the other side where Christ is. If Christ is Lord overall, then we are with him. If you are a follower of Christ, you are His ambassador. The Strong’s concordances for the Hebrew word for ambassador is [tsiyr], which means “an official envoy or messenger of a country or state. Today, this may be close to a goodwill ambassador that is appointed by a charity or other organizations to publicize its activities or promote a specified cause. An ambassador for Christ is a messenger of Good News, for the ambassador brings healing and health to the souls of those who will listen.

As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to those who send him; for he refreshes the soul of his masters.

Proverbs 25:13

We should enjoy hearing the Good News of the Gospel, because it brings the message of Christ and reconciliation to God. I can remember a time of refreshing when the presence of the Lord came into the churches across America. In Acts chapter 3 in verse 19, Peter spoke these words, “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” We may have missed the meaning of what Peter was saying in Acts 3:19 in that everyone should repent so that the time of refreshing comes upon us all. Having sorrow about our sins is not repentance. Even Christians need to repent from their sins and be reminded that if they have lost their standing with God, they need to confess before God instead of carrying the sorrow of sin within their heart. Repentance means to change your mind. A changed mind regarding sin, self, and God can only bring times of refreshing and the presence of the Lord within our mist. Let us not be fooled in this regard of the true meaning of repentance. It is one who follows Christ in word and in deed because he changed his mind not to be of this world.

We are to be a messenger for Christ and not for ourselves. We must remember that our faith will be tested in where our mind and heart truly is. Jesus said, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God,” see Luke 9:62. We are either for Christ or against Christ. We do not look back to what we were living in, for we came out of darkness since the light has shone upon our hearts. We no longer walk in darkness but in the light of His glory. His light shines on the path in which we now walk daily. Our eyes are now open to the truth and our minds are changed to walking on a new path. The Lord may send you out like the seventy he sent forth in chapter 10 of the Gospel of Luke. We should pray for the laborers who are sent forth into the harvest field. We all are sent out into the field knowing about the ministry of reconciliation as is stated in 2nd Corinthians 5:18. Are we not a new creation in Christ? Is not the old man passed away because of Christ?

Let us examine ourselves to see that we are in the faith of the one who we believe in. This is what the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians in 2nd Corinthians 13:5. What about the seventy that went out that Jesus had appointed in Luke chapter 10? They came back with joy and were amazed saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject unto us through thy name.” Yes, with joy they came back as victors in Christ Jesus, and Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” And oh! You must read the rest of the story of that wonderful chapter. About the things being revealed unto babes, the power of God. These seventy people that Jesus appointed were not elders of a church, they were babes in Christ doing the will of Christ, and Jesus thanked the Father about it and said, “for it seemed good in thy sight.” Will you go forth and share your testimony of what Christ has done for you?

What if you were appointed like one of the seventy people? Does this frighten you? I can remember asking elders of the church to come with me and my husband to the men’s homeless mission in Seattle, Washington. To my surprise some were afraid to go to a Christian based homeless shelter for men. Granted the scene sometimes in and around the shelter was not always pleasant to witness. There were men living in cardboard boxes by the mission. Some were intoxicated, some had mental conditions, and some were just rough around the edges. This was witnessing human degradation due to circumstances that happened in their life. This is where human dignity was gone because of failure of themself or at someone else’s hand. This is where Human dignity was violated. You may think why God would be concerned about those who violated themselves as well as others. Why? Because God so loved the world that he gave us his only son.  Everyone needs the love of God residing in their heart.

Human dignity is lost when there is slavery, torture, poverty, starvation, armed conflict, domestic violence, racism, genocide, rape and human trafficking. The evil power in these practices do not reflect on the goodness of men, but rather the opposite. We may not want to be reminded of such wicked or cruel acts, but they are written down in many history books for a reason. The reason being that we should not fall to such a low estate ourselves. Can we have a change of mind towards repentance of seeking our own success and power? Yes, we can. Just look at Charles Colson and the Watergate scandal under President Richard Nixon. Charles Colson’s life changed because of Jesus Christ, and he had to tell his story in a book titled, “Born Again.” Colson became founder of the non-profit ministry of the Prison Fellowship. He made a promise while in prison to remember prisoners and their families. What a change of mind and profession Colson had, and many thought he was crazy. Would you be crazy for Christ?

Maybe we should ask that question if we would be crazy for Christ. To walk under God’s power is the best way to walk as ambassadors for Christ if we are reconciled to God. We have our minds changed from doing wicked works to doing good works in the love of Christ. This new life gives us human dignity because His love for us is genuine and not faked. We remember who we once were but now we walk in the light of His glory. We go where he sends us even if it is our own back yard because we are now ambassadors for Christ. Do not be afraid of what you might see, share how you changed your mind for Christ and received freedom from the burden of sin. Live in the light of His love, hope, and peace.

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Justification, Love, Righteousness

Perfect Peace

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Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed o thee, because he trusted in thee.

Isaiah 26:3

The world is a dusty dirty place and we as Christians must walk in it every day. There are times when conflict and the daily grime we experience weighs heavy upon our heart to bring us down. It is no wonder that Jesus said to shake off the dust of your feet in Matthew 10:4. We go out to work, play, and buy and it is not always pleasant. We witness anger, arguing, and nasty words not worth mentioning, but see no peace. Visiting someone’s house who may or may not be receptive to what you have to say can be nerve wracking.  Some do not want to hear what you have to say because you’re a Christian. We may want to tell the world what God has given us, but we are hit in the face or told to shut up. Has this happened to you? Has someone walked away from you because you are a Christian? Some may even say, “Oh! you think you are so righteous.” It happened to me.  I just looked upon the person with sadness in my heart, for they were speaking judgement rather than the love of God. This is a reflection upon themselves that they are not what they want to be. In fact, no one is righteous before God.

Only those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the son of God who died, and arose from the dead, have been given the gift of Christ righteousness. The word righteous is a Hebrew word “ tsadiyq,” meaning to be upright or just. This speaks about an upright or just man. The meaning is of a just man because that person is right with God and follows God’s commandments. As a child of God, we carry the peace of God with us everywhere we go. If you are not received, when you depart, shake off the dust of your feet. Why? Shaking off the dust of our feet is a testimony against them [see Luke 9:5]. This speaks to the day of judgement, and your peace should be return to you. We are to be in perfect peace no matter what happens in the world. God’s peace should reign within our hearts. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” [John 14:27]. As Christian we see with different eyes because of Christ.

Because of Christ we are a new creation. We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has given us the ministry of reconciliation. This is the ministry of atonement for our sins, for judgement came upon us all, but through Christ we have the gift of justification toward life [see Romans 5:18-19]. We have been made righteous through Jesus Christ. If our mind is anchored in Christ, we will have perfect peace within our heart and soul. Our trust is in what Jesus has accomplish for us on the cross. Paul states that “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ,” [see Romans 5:1]. In fact, the whole fifth chapter of Romans 5 speaks about our justification. It is about living in the grace of God and having hope. Paul affirms that through tribulation, that we experience, we will learn patience and hope. We are not ashamed because the love of God is in our hearts. Love is the fulfillment of the law [see Roman 13:10]. All things must be done through love, or it means nothing, and what is done is done in vain. That is why the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, verse 13, “now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Love makes the world go round. . .love is what we humans need. Love is what God gave us through his son Jesus. That love gave us perfect peace. As Christians we are restored because we trust in the Lord.  That is what Isaiah was talking about in chapter 26. It is a testimony of the restored and the path of the just.  Jesus Christ is our strength when we are weak. He is our peace, if our mind is firmly anchored in him. We are not to be anxious about anything, but to pray and ask God for help. “Let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus,” [Philippians 4:7]. This is a promise that God gave us that we ourselves would have perfect peace, if our mind and heart is anchored in Christ Jesus. If we do not have peace, we must ask the Lord why? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what has cause the peace to leave. Remember a right relationship with God is an open relationship where nothing is hidden.

I remember singing this worship song titled, “Peace Give I To Thee,” at youth meetings in 1974. I also had the album. Let this song resonate within your heart and share it with others as a reminder of who gives us peace, faith, hope, and love. May God’s perfect peace be with you at all times.

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Righteousness

Have you submitted to God’s Righteousness?

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Romans 10:3

Are we ignorant of God’s righteousness? Have you ever considered your own righteousness being above that of Christ? Do we take it for granted and think that we have attained righteousness because we are decent, honest, and just? That we are righteous because of the good works we do. Some claim they are righteous by the church they have become members of. Righteousness is not a common human trait. Righteousness is what we learn through experience in how we treat each another. We are not born with righteousness. Righteousness is doing what is right and just in all our relationships. Righteousness maintains the peace in every situation. However, a self-righteous attitude does not maintain the peace, it thrives on its own virtue. One might say a self-righteous person has a superiority complex and that has negative results of conflict and irritation, which only creates distance within a relationship.

In Romans chapter ten, the Apostle Paul is talking about the failure of Israel’s claim that they are righteous by the deeds they have done. Their claim is not different than what any church or individual may claim in that they are superior in what they do. They may have a great zeal towards God. A zeal towards God by their actions by doing good works, yet they persecute others for not coming up to their standards has brought disappointment in God’s eye. The apostle Paul said they are ignorant and do not know about God’s righteousness. They have established their own righteousness. An example of this is when a place of worship becomes a place of merchandise thinking that you are doing good deeds by selling items for the glory of God. This brings disapproval in God’s eye [see John 2:16-17]. This is not the true form of righteousness.

To think that we can obtain our own righteousness by the deeds we do is an impossible task since sin reigns within our mind not to do good.  We only do good if it is for our own benefit. We think we are better than the next person, but we are not.  Superiority means nothing in God’s eye. To think that you are better than someone else is a falsified claim. Why? Because we should be all one in unity with God through Christ. There is one body, and one Spirit, and one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all [see Ephesians 4:4-6]. Paul tells us to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace [Ephesians 4:3]. This was the theme for every Christian Church.  I remember a song we sang in church titled, “We are one in the Spirit,” written by Peter Scholtes in the 60’s.  This song reveals the nature of the truth that Paul was talking about in Ephesians chapter 4, but it is also in John 13:34 that we should love one another.

We are one in the Spirit
We are one in the Lord

And we pray that all unity
May one day be restored
And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, By our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians
By our love

Do they know today that we are Christians?  By our love?  We should all pray that all unity may one day be restored. How is it restored? It is restored through the process of reconciliation through the cross of Christ.  We need to be restored back to wholeness as a child of God.  Restoration is done through the Holy Spirit. Through the love of Christ death on the cross is the only way we as human beings can be restored.  Paul stated in Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Wow! In the unity of faith in the knowledge of the Son of God.  In the knowledge of the Son of God and not in the knowledge of anything else. Why? Because “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth,” [see Romans 10:4]. Christ is the living bread of life. Christ said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven,” [John 6:51]. Christ also said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,” [John 6:63]. The words are spirit and life, yet we enter in through the flesh, which does not profit because it is not spirit or life. The flesh speaks to its own self-worth instead of Christ. Our self-worth only comes from the Son of God who is worthy of all praise. Note that the Apostle Paul ascribes righteousness to faith [see Romans 10:6]. Righteousness is of faith, and this is what Paul is preaching about.

The righteousness of God was approved in Christ Jesus. Only Jesus met every requirement of the law. No flesh will glory in God’s presence. Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, [see 1 Corinthians 1:29-31]. This is the full meal package that is based upon the word of faith. This is the word that is near us and in our mouth to speak states Paul. Faith comes by hearing the word of God. Can we believe that Christ is our righteousness and that He fulfilled the law and the commandments? Can we believe that God has raised him from the dead? Look to God, Believe in His Son, and Confess with the mouth that God raised Christ from the dead. This is a heartfelt confession, for the Spirit reveals it to everyone who listens. We can either accept it or reject it. God knows those who have a true confession. Do not think for one moment that you are above anyone when it comes to righteousness. Do not fool yourself into your own self-righteousness. Our virtue comes from Christ alone. Adam brought death because of sin, but Christ gave us the gift of righteousness and life eternal. Let us submit to God’s righteousness through Jesus Christ who paid the price on the cross and arose from the dead to give us the gift of righteousness. We receive it with open arms, and we are thankful for God’s provision. We walk in faith accepting God’s gracious gift and ask for the Holy Spirit to help us to live the life of Christ by working out the conflict we have within our heart knowing that Christ is our righteousness. Through faith we submit ourselves to the righteousness of God.

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Faith, Health

Who is the Health of your Countenance?

Why art thou cast down, O My soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? HOPE IN GOD; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalms 43:5

Are you cast down and distressed? Do you have someone to lift you up from your oppression? Does your current situation have you tied up in knots? We are living in uneasy times since Covid arrived around the world. The way we function has changed due to Covid and robberies are now a common thing within our boundaries. It is unnerving to see vandalism, stealing, and destruction of property. We are witnessing this and hearing about it on a weekly basis. Carjackings is on the rise across the Nation. It’s not just the car they are after, but any items one could sell to make quick cash. Cars were broken into in our own neighborhood including ours. The one thing they took was the multifunctional Cup organizer in the middle of the car. Why? Because it held coins. A couple of weeks ago there was a string of vandalisms on one corner strip where they broke in and took the cash registers of businesses down the row. We are living in uncertain times, and this has brought out the negative side of humanity.

If you find people to be more withdrawn it is because of fear.  Fear causes us to think irrationally. Long term exposer to fear can cause one to be anxious most of the time. We are anxious about what will happen next. If you are in this state, turn off the nightly news cast on your devices. If you feel on edge, refocus your mind on God’s word of peace. Remember that there is another spirit at work in the world that does not belong to God. Hear the words of Jesus;

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Oppression, affliction, and distress are a part of this world’s tribulations. Humanity outward appearance reveals its nature of inward struggles of the heart. Therefore, we should question who the health of our countenance is. We question it because it will reveal where our hope is. King David was a man who lived in distress. He was hemmed in from all sides including from those to whom he thought he could trust. In Psalms 42 and 43, three times David asked himself why his soul was cast down, that He should hope in God, and praise Him, “who is the health of his countenance, and his God.” Our God being the health of our countenance. Can you imagine that? Look at the beginning of Psalms 43. David asked God to judge him and plead his case against an ungodly nation. He then asked God to deliver him from deceitful and unjust men. This should be our prayer as well. Do you think that David knew who his enemy was? Yes, my friend, David knew full well who the enemy was. He questions himself why he was mourning because of the oppression of the enemy [see verse 2 of Psalms 43].

We can learn to wait upon the Lord God who is our hope and our confidence. Just look at Psalms 62 and read it and know where your confidence comes from. We are not to trust in oppression. . .

Trust not in oppression and become not vain in robbery; if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. God hath spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongeth unto God.

Psalms 62:10-11

David is having a conversation with God, and he heard God tell him twice that “power belongs to God.” Wow! Power belongs to God and not man. Think twice about those who are ruling countries today and pray for them. God will judge every man’s work. Not only that, but in Psalms 62, David also exclaims that God is his strength, defense, and refuge. We are to always trust in God and pour our heart out to him. Have you poured out your heart to God? This is refocusing your mind towards God and crying out to him how you feel. Let us be honest about our own fears and anxiety and talk to God about them. Let us sing praises unto Him to whom all power belongs. Let God be always the health of your countenance because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world [see 1 John 4:4]. If you are God’s children, He will hear you loud and clear. There is no doubt when you place your trust in God. David had full trust in God. David did not trust in his bow or his sword to save him. He trusted in God to keep him alive. Can we trust God to keep us alive during these times of uncertainty?

I pray that your answer is yes, amen. Like David we are not to trust in any form of oppression but to take it to God in prayer. Ask God to bring the truth and light upon whatever circumstances you may find yourself in. Remember what Peter said in chapter 5: 7-9. To cast all our cares upon him. To be sober and vigilant because your adversary, the devil, like a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour. Resist steadfast in the faith. Resist fear, anxiety, and oppression in the name of Jesus. Allow his peace to rule your heart and have a clear mind. You are under His care for He cares for you. Always hope in God for He is the health of our countenance, and our God.

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