Comfort

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this: 9 ‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy by those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’

Revelation 2:8-11

Jesus’ second message in Revelation 2-3 is a word of comfort to the church in Smyrna. This local body of believers was suffering intense persecution, pain, and heartache. It is commonly believed among Bible scholars that Christians in this city were being persecuted awfully for their faith in Christ. Some were being beaten, others were being thrust into poverty, and some were even dying for their beliefs. Jesus wanted them to know that He saw them and that He would be with them. 

The Savior gives this church one command—be faithful to the death. The church at Smyrna was instructed to continue in faithfulness to Christ. A crown of life was promised to those who refused to give up and give in to the trouble.

Jesus teaches us that trouble will be a part of this life. (John 14:27) Nevertheless, Christians remain faithful to the truth of God’s Word and the promises of His Word. The way may be difficult but the abiding presence of the Savior will always comfort and keeps us. Christian, be faithful until the end!

Tony French

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Awesome Faith

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.   Hebrews 11:6

Without faith it is impossible to please God. This is one of the most profound statements in all of Scripture. The absolute nature of this decree is stunning. The writer doesn’t say without faith it is difficult to please God. He tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God.

In order to be in relationship with God, we must believe that God exists. This may seem simplistic but it is vital. We believe that God exists by faith. Though we cannot see Him or hear Him with our senses, we believe and trust in Him nonetheless. He is alive forevermore and He is the “I AM” eternally.

God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Human beings who realize God’s authority over them and realize their guilt before God understand that there is nothing they can do to earn God’s favor. However, God revealed Himself through His Son who lived for our righteousness, died for our forgiveness, and was resurrected for our justification. Those who trust in Him, by faith, are forgiven of their sins and reconciled to God. They are given a new purpose for living, a new desire for good, and are promised a home in Heaven. God reveals himself to those who seek Him sincerely.   

Everyone places faith in something or someone. Some people’s faith resides in money, fame, or even ourselves. All of these sources will eventually let you down and leave you separated from God. Trust in Jesus! Place your faith in Him. Know that He cares for you and desires that you be saved. He simply calls on us to trust Him even though we can’t see and understand everything.  Trust Him today, by faith!

Tony French

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The Story

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.   John 1:14

What a beautiful thought. The Word became flesh for us. The Son of God comes to earth and takes upon Himself human flesh. Somehow, someway, deity meets humanity in the mystery of the incarnation. What a glorious, glorious thought.

What an awesome truth. They saw Him. No, they really saw Jesus in the flesh. He dwelt with them, taught them, and equipped them to change the world. No more reaching for the stars and hoping to find God. God has come to us as “Immanuel”; God with us in the very flesh of humanity. What a glorious truth.

What an awesome balance. This one who was sent displayed the perfect symmetry of grace and truth. Jesus offered grace and fulfilled the truth by enduring the Father’s justice for us. He gave His life for us so that truth and justice could produce grace and mercy. He bore our sin and shame to offer us the gift of salvation. The truth is that we are sinners. But, Jesus gave His life for us so that we might receive grace and forgiveness. What a glorious dichotomy we see in Jesus.

Trust in Jesus today, my friend. He came to this earth for you, lived for you, died for you, and rose from the dead for you! Believe in Him!

Tell Me The Story of Jesus

By Fanny J Crosby

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him
Writhing in anguish and pain
Tell of the grave where they laid Him
Tell how He liveth again
Love in that story so tender
Clearer than ever I see
Stay let me weep while you whisper
Love paid the ransom for me

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every word
Tell me the story most precious
Sweetest that ever was heard

Tony French

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First Love

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.

Revelation 2:1-5

Jesus’ letter to the church Ephesus in this passage is comforting and, at the same time, confronting. The Savior begins by encouraging this church for being faithful to doctrine and right teaching. Yet, Christ also chides the believers in Ephesus for leaving their first love. He calls them to repent and return to Christ in love and promises that failure to do so would mean losing their light and influence.

This message teaches us the importance of love for Jesus. Christians can believe the right doctrines and teach the right things and still be off base when that teaching is not born out of a heart of love for Jesus. The first commandment is to love God with all we have. (Matthew 22:27-40) Our love for others will never be what it should be without the love of God being supreme in our lives. Love must proceed ministry so that ministry will be effective and fruitful.

Let us commit to loving Christ firstly, dear Christian. Love makes all the difference. I leave you with this blessing from the Apostle Paul—“grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.” (Ephesians 6:24)

Tony French

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Christ Has Come

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Christ has come. In the form of a human, a baby no less, perfect humanity is revealed in the flesh. Christ identifies with us in our earthly condition. Why? Because He has been here. He endured it all without a hint of sin or rebellion. Jesus has come for us.

Christ has come. The Son of God comes to earth to save us, redeem us, and reveal the Father to us. A Son is given on our behalf. His name us Jesus, the Savior of the world.

Christ has come. He rules and reigns upon the earth. It may not always seem as if that is the case. It is true nonetheless. The government is upon His shoulders and His kingdom is eternal.

Christ has come. The Wonderful Counselor was sent to us. The Mighty God who is eternal wrapped Himself in flesh to reveal Himself to men. In His love, the eternal Son of God came to us that we may believe and be saved. He is the Prince of Peace and He gives peace that no one can take away. He has come indeed!

Will you trust in Him? He came to save and redeem you. We are accountable to Him and we stand before Him guilty in our sinfulness. But, Jesus endured our punishment, our pain, and our shame by dying on the cross for us. Those who believe in Him shall never perish but shall have everlasting life. (John 3:16-17) Believe in Him through faith today. He is your only hope.

Tony French

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Forgiven

“Come now, and let us reason together,”Says the Lord,”Though your sins are as scarlet,They will be as white as snow;Though they are red like crimson,They will be like wool.”   Isaiah 1:18

Our sins are forgiven. We are cleansed through the blood of Jesus! Though we were guilty and our sins were dark and ugly, they have been made white like wool. Our sin which defiled us has been made erased and made white as snow. In the words of  Horatio Spafford who penned “It Is Well With My Soul”…

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul.

Let us give thanks  today for God’s forgiveness, His Mercy, and His grace.

Tony French

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Correction

18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. 19 A servant will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands, he will not respond. 20 Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 29:18-20

God will correct His children. The author of these proverbs uses negative examples to amplify what will take place in the lives of those who will not heed Godly correction. In short, those who ignore God’s directives are described as slow of understanding, hasty, and foolish. Those who refuse to be corrected are without hope and their ways will end badly.

Believers should accept God’s discipline realizing that the Lord’s correction is working a greater purpose in us (Hebrews 12:5-10)  The Lord admonishes His own and He chastens those He loves (Revelation 3:19).  God never disciplines us to destroy us. He uses it to shape our lives and make us more like Jesus. The Almighty chastens us for our good, not our worse.

No correction is enjoyable in the moment. (Hebrews 11:5-11) Yet, God’s discipline is part of the process of sanctification in the life of a Christian. Dear Christian, learn from correction and be willing to change. You won’t regret it.

Tony French

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Sanctification

As Christians, we seem to be living in a foreign land. Our values and beliefs are considered out of step with post-modern society. What was once considered right and good is now thought of as hateful and bigoted. We live in an upside down world. What the Bible teaches as “right” is wrong, and what the Scriptures consider “wrong” is right in our world. (Isaiah 5:20) How are we to respond to all of this?

The book of Daniel tells the account of someone who lived under similar circumstances. Daniel lived in a decadent, pagan world. Yet, he stood strong and was able to live a holy life despite his circumstances. He provides a model for us as we face an unknown future in a society that is growing increasingly hostile to the truth of God’s Word.

Holy living is still possible at this point in history. It is not only possible, it is commanded by Scripture. The way will not be easy and the cost will be high at times. But, the Bible does not change because of God’s immutable nature.

Daniel was empowered by God to obey and we are as well through the power of the Holy Spirit. I pray that God will richly bless us in our study of God’s Word. Thank you for reading this post.

Tony French

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Right Living

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.  Daniel 1:8

…We should resolve to live righteously.

The first principle that we see from Daniel’s life is simple yet profound. He purposes in his heart to live a holy, righteous life. Such a resolution should seem to be self-evident. But, often-times we fail to take this vital step as believers.

Daniel has been forcibly taken to foreign land. His name has been changed and he will now spend his life serving pagan kings in their administrations. Daniel is an older teenager at most and yet he faces a difficult decision.

Daniel is being asked to defile himself with the offered food. More than likely, the food being served did not conform to the standards of the Torah and it probably was not prepared correctly to meet kosher standards. It is at this point that Daniel has a choice to make. Either compromise and eat the food or take a stand for holiness. Daniel chooses to take a stand.

He ask that he and his friends only be served vegetables and water. The steward in charge reluctantly agrees and Daniel and the others fare well and perform brilliantly when tested. Daniel consumes this diet from this point forward and is found worthy to serve at the highest levels of government.

Daniel made a decision to do what is right before he was tempted. We must determine beforehand to live righteously as well. We cannot wait until temptation is upon us and then try to decide. We must begin every day resolving to live righteously before a lost world. We will be tested each day and we must purpose in our heart to fight against the evil that surrounds us and would consume us.

As Believers, the Holy Spirit lives in us and is with us. (1 Corinthians 3:16) We can be holy and we do not have to go it alone. Holy Spirit will empower us to follow God and be obedient. It is not easy all the time, but, we must make a decision to see God work in us and live holy lives. Daniel was able to be used mightily by God because He sought to live a God-fearing life. We can be used in the same way if we will face our temptations head on through the power of Christ.

Being obedient doesn’t always work out well as it did for Daniel in this situation. Even if it doesn’t, you won’t regret living for Christ. Resolve to be holy, righteous, and Christ-like each day. Do it and see what God will do in you and through you!

Tony French

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Promises, Promises

Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.

Joshua 21:45

Our Lord is a promise-keeping God. Nothing that God decreed concerning Israel was left unfulfilled. The Almighty keeps His Word.

The Lord makes promises to His people. In our day, Christ has promised salvation to all who believe. (Romans 10:9-13) The Savior has promised His presence forever. (Matthew 28:19-20) And He has guaranteed to bring us safely to Heaven in His time. (John 14:13) Awesome and mighty are His promises.

The Lord keeps His promises and always does what He says He will do. God’s power enables Him to keep His Word forever. No Word of the Lord will fail. All will come to pass.

Christian, are you trusting in the Word of God day by day? Every promise He makes will take place. Trust in the Lord!

Tony French

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