Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Core Message of the Bible, 3

~ 4 Psalms ~   

A previous ALN blog entitled “The Core Message of the Bible” based on Isaiah 53:5-6 (posted June 1, 2010) has proven to be a very popular post (the 10 most popular posts are listed at the bottom of this page).  The Psalms also provide a clear view of the Bible’s core message. The content has to do with the Fruitful and Forsaken Man and what He did for Fallen mankind and the Forgiveness He provides to mankind. Consider how four Psalms provide a great summary of the Core Message of the Bible.

The Fruitful Man  ~  Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers…  For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish (Psalm 1:1-3, 6). (Only Jesus Christ has lived this kind of life perfectly.)

The Fallen Man  ~  The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good…  All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Will evildoers never learn—those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the Lord? (Psalm 14:1, 3-4). 

The Forsaken Man  ~  My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from saving Me, so far from the words of My groaning? … They divide My garments among them and cast lots for My clothing. But You, O Lord, be not far off; O My Strength, come quickly to help Me. Deliver My life from the sword (Psalm 22:1, 18-20). (A prophetic psalm about Calvary.)

The Forgiven Man  ~  Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”—and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah… Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach Him. You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.  Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him. Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart! (Psalm 32:1-2, 5-7, 10-11)

“The Fruitful Man of Psalm 1 became
The Forsaken Man of Psalm 22 in order that I
The Fallen Man of Psalm 14 might become
The Forgiven Man of Psalm 32.” 

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Safety, Security, & Salvation

~ Are You Protected by Christ? ~   

There is so much written in the Scriptures about the Christian’s safety, security, and salvation.   Consider some aspects we find in chapter 8 of the book of Romans.

There is no judgment for sin (8:1) ~ “There is no longer any condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.” The two critical phrases are “no longer” and “those who belong to Christ Jesus”! The judgment and the penalty for all the sins of those who have put their faith in Christ have already been made by the holy God through His Son Jesus Christ at the Cross of Calvary.

There is no separation from God (8:38-39) ~ “For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't, and life can't. The angels won't, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God's love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.” The key word is “separate”—nothing can come between us and our heavenly Father because we have been adopted into His family. And don’t forget, your new dad is stronger and more loving than any other dad!

However, everything in this chapter is based on the phrase “those who belong to Christ Jesus.” If you have not personally accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the good things in this chapter do not apply to you.

Now that we have the opening and the close of the chapter we need to look at the body of the chapter!

The past basis of our safety (8:2-3) ~ “For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren't saved from sin's grasp by knowing the commandments of God. We can't and don't keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent His own Son in a human body like ours (and He lived a sinless life) and destroyed sin's control over us by giving Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.” It is the death of God’s Son Jesus Christ in the past for our sin that is the basis of our safety, security, and salvation. 

The present basis of our safety (8:13b-14, 26-27) ~ “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” ~ “And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don't even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as He pleads for us in harmony with God's own will.” The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit and His work in us as well as His external work on our behalf are keys to our safety, security, and salvation.

The future basis of our safety (8:18-23, 28-31) ~ “Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will give us later. For all creation is waiting patiently and hopefully for that future day when God will resurrect His children. For on that day thorns and thistles, sin, death, and decay—the things that overcame the world against its will at God's command—will all disappear, and the world around us will share in the glorious freedom from sin which God's children enjoy. For we know that even the things of nature, like animals and plants, suffer in sickness and death as they await this great event. And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us—bodies that will never be sick again and will never die.” ~ “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” It is the future work of the Father on our behalf that is the foundation of our safety, security, and salvation. 
Summary of our status (8:35-39) ~ “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ [Psalm 44:22] Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We see explicitly stated both the “love of God” and the “love of Christ” toward us as the eternal basis of our safety, security, and salvation.   
If you are a believer, you belong to a wonderful and gracious triune God who provides your safety, security, and salvation. Jesus Christ provided for you in the past. The Spirit is providing for you in the present. The Father will continue to provide for you in the future.

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Saturday, May 21, 2011

EXTRA: 100 ALN Postings

~ Thanks to All & An Announcement ~   

God has been wonderfully gracious to this little effort. What a great God we serve!!
This is the 101st posting at Abundant Life Now. From the 100 prior posts I have learned a lot and many of you have provided feedback.

Response ~ There have been 154 comments posted (at various posting locations on the internet). Your comments have been wonderful and are always appreciated. It is a continual amazement to me how God brings readers with a wide breadth of background, locations, and interests to this site.

God at Work ~ One aspect which continually amazes me is that the particular blog entries which I personally think will generate multiple comments rarely do. On the other hand, some of the blogs which I did not expect a comment generated multiple comments! It is evidence that we are only channels and it is the Holy Spirit that causes the stirrings of the human heart.

Location of Readers ~ Abundant Life Now has been read in over 100 countries plus some unidentified ones (a listing is on the right side bar). It has been translated into at least 25 languages. Within in the United States it has been read in all of the states as well as the District of Columbia.

Reproduction ~ ALN is happy and appreciative to have others think highly enough of any posting to desire to copy the material. But it is not good to be surprised by discovering copies of ALN material on other sites with no reference to ALN. At the (c) tab at the top of the page is the stated policy about using ALN material—please observe and follow. 

Satisfaction ~ There have been a number of occasions which show that God has been pleased to use my simple words to bless others and cause spiritual growth in their lives.

Structure ~ From the start my intention was to write a weekly blog. I would like to blog more often but I wanted to be predictable and not be under the pressure of a more frequent blog. My first blog “Introduction to Abundant Life Now” was on Wednesday, October 21, 2009. When I feel compelled to insert additional blogs, I insert a prefix of “EXTRA” in the title (like this entry). It is a habit to try and make it very clear when anything posted is not my original work. 

Announcement ~ Beginning with the second half of this year, ALN will introduce a special series of serial postings which will occur on Saturdays. These serial posts will be in addition to the regular Tuesday postings and occasional “Extra” postings. Be sure to keep watching for this exciting new addition to ALN. 

If Abundant Life Now has been a blessing to you, please pass the information along to your friends and acquaintances so that more individuals might be blessed by the simple concepts and truths presented here.

May God bless all of you as you seek His face and we seek to minister for Him together in these last days.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:  During the short life of this blog the second book of the “Christian Concepts Series” was published. “ONE PRECIOUS PEARL: God’s Design for His Church” has been positively reviewed many times. It was the “2011 Runner-up” in the International Book Awards in the “Religion: Christianity” category and was proclaimed the “2011 Book of the Year” by Readers Views Literary Awards in the “Religion: Eastern/Western” category. The truly exciting part of this award is that in the prior history of that award no conservative Christian book had ever been a finalist—let alone won the category! Again, praise to our gracious and great God!

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

7 More Fellowships

~ We Possess Together ~   

The meaning of the word fellowship can be understood by imagining “fellows” together in a small “ship” for an extended period of time. Fellowship includes the concept of sharing something in common. We read in Scripture that some of the Christians in the New Testament had everything in common (Acts 2:44, 4:32).

Consider some Scripture passages which describe different aspects of our Christian fellowship.

We are fellow participants with the same calling and future (Ephesians 3:6) ~ You and your fellow Christians have been called to be God’s ambassadors on earth and you will share an eternity together!
We are fellow workers together serving one Master (Philippians 4:3) ~ On earth Christians are to be workers together for the kingdom of God and His righteousness. 

We are fellow members of one body (Ephesians 3:6) ~ All true Christians are members of the one true universal Church of which Jesus Christ is pictured as the head in a metaphor of a human body.  Individual components of the body are to be controlled by and take commands from the head! 

We are fellow soldiers of one warfare (Philippians 2:25) ~ We are always fighting invisible, and sometimes visible, forces of evil. Fortunately we have been given all the armor we need (Ephesians 6:10-20).
We are fellow citizens of one homeland (Ephesians 2:19) ~ As Christians we have become citizens of heaven and are pilgrims—not tourists—passing through life on earth. We should long for our true homeland!

We are fellow sufferers—sometimes even fellow prisoners (Romans 16:7) ~ The task we have as Christians is not always easy—trials, tribulations, and persecution can be the result of fulfilling our responsibilities.
We are fellow heirs of the same destination with one inheritance (Ephesians 3:6) ~ As a Christian you are truly rich—wealthy! We are joint-heirs of everything with Christ and our fellow Christians.

The bottom line is that our lives should first be devoted to our Savior and then to our fellow pilgrims (2 Corinthians 8:5). The sequence is critical—first a commitment to God, then to our fellow believers.

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:  It should also be noted that our basis of fellowship with one another is based on our relationship and fellowship with all three members of the Trinity! (1 John 1:3; Philippians 3:10, 2:1; 2 Corinthians 13:14.)   

~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW

Friday, May 13, 2011

EXTRA: International Book Awards

~ One Precious Pearl — Second Award ~ 

LOS ANGELES  –  JPX Media Group announced the winners and finalists of THE 2011 INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS (IBA) on May 11, 2011.  Over 300 winners and finalists were announced in over 140 categories covering print and audio books.  Jeffrey Keen, President and CEO, said “The 2011 results represent a phenomenal mix of books from a wide array of publishers throughout the world.”  Winners and finalists came from 11 different countries.

2011 Runner-up” in the “Religion: Christian” category was awarded to One Precious Pearl: God’s Design for His Church by Robert Lloyd Russell (paperback, 978-0-7414-6232-9).  This thought-provoking book provides fascinating parallels between the universal church and a pearl.  Devout Christian scholars and casual Christian readers have found the book enlightening, enriching, practical, and most importantly memorable.  

Earlier this year, Reader Views Literary Awards named One Precious Pearl as their 2011 Book of the Year in their “Religion: Eastern/Western” category.   

Since its release One Precious Pearl has received many excellent reviews.
For example, the prestigious Midwest Book Review awarded 5.0 stars (out of 5.0 possible) to this book. Part of their review stated that One Precious Pearl is, “a thoughtful and highly recommended pick.”  

For more information about One Precious Pearl click on the OPP tab at the top of this blog or see the author’s website (link at top right of the Abundant Life Now blog). You may order directly from Amazon.