God So Loved The World

Need to Recharge Your Personal Strength and Power?

The Strength We Need

Coronavirus/Corvid-19 news fills all media. Gloom and doom permeate everywhere. The shelter at home orders is spreading the globe. Current circumstances make us weary and sap our energy. So many today are tired and worn out. What’s a person to do?

Today I want to look at the secret of our power of strength as a Christian. We’ll be looking in the Holy Bible at the book of Ephesians, chapter three, verses fourteen through twenty-one. The passage is a prayer for strength by the Apostle Paul.

I got the idea for this article from a Sunday morning sermon on March 8, 2020, by my pastor, Dr. Jack Graham of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. A part of the article is adapted from my sermon notes, a part is original

Ephesians 3:14-21 (ESV) – A Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

The Work of the Holy Spit Through Us

We will look at the work of the Holy Spirit through us. We will see how we have all of God, that is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit working in and through us if we are Believers.

Because of what Christ has done for us, we as Believers of Jesus Christ, are all wealthy (riches of His glory) and worthy.

I’d Rather Have Jesus

I think of a comforting old hymn written in 1922 by Rhea F. Miller with the music composed by George Beverly Shea, titled “I’d Rather Have Jesus.”

I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; 
I’d rather be His than have riches untold; 
I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands. 
I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand 

Chorus:

Than to be the king of a vast domain 
Or be held in sin’s dread sway. 
I’d rather have Jesus than anything 
This world affords today.

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause; 
I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;
I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame. 
I’d rather be true to His holy name [Chorus]

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom; 
He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb; 
He’s all that my hungering spirit needs. 
I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead [Chorus]

Songwriters: Rhea F. Miller. Since the song was written in 1922, it is published by Public Domain.

Christians Are A Child of God

If you are a Believer in Jesus Christ, you are a child of God. As His child, you have His power and His strength. 

Here are some verses about the strength of God and His power.

 Joshua 1:9 (ESV) – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 33:25 (ESV) – “Your bars shall be iron and bronze, and as your days, so shall your strength be.”

Deuteronomy 33:27 (ESV) – “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’”

2 Chronicles 16:9 (ESV) – “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

Psalm 46:1 (ESV) – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

Isaiah 30:15 (ESV) – “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling,”

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV) – “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Habakkuk 3:19 (ESV) – “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.”

Mark 12:30 (ESV) – “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (ESV) – “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

1 – We Are Strengthen by the Power of the Holy Spirit

A. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Convict a Person, Convince a Person, and Bring a Person to Conversion.

B. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Witness

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.”

My pastor, Dr. Jack Graham, Senior Pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, shared the following statistics on March 9, 2020. He said that 83,000 people a day are accepting Christ as Savior. He added that there are more born again Christians in China than in any other country. Sadly, he pointed out that only 6,000 people a day in the United States of America and Western Europe came to faith in Jesus Christ each day.

C. The Holy Spirit Has the Power to Help Us Live in Joyful Hope.

Acts 1:8a (ESV) – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”

D. The Holy Spirit Give Us the Power to Overcome Our Fears and Anxieties

We need to access and use what God has already given us.

To maintain our strength, we need to access and use what God has already given us. We don’t need something new.

To recharge our strength and power daily, we need to 

    1. Pray
    2. Posture (by that, I mean yielding and surrounding to the Lord every day).

Remember, kneeling is an act of humility before the Lord.

Never forget, God’s Spirit lives in you if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ.

Don’t lose heart. Why? You have God in you!

2 – We Are Strengthened In the Inner Being

2 Corinthians 4:16 (ESV) says, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

You are made in the image of God and remade in the image of Christ.

Ephesians 3: 18 -19 (ESV) says, “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

He strengthens our love.

John 3:16 (ESV) says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

WORLD is symbolic of the width of God’s love.

GAVE HIS SON is a manifestation of the depth of God’s love.

NOT PERISH shows the length of God’s love.

Fall in love? No, you grow in love. The perfect love of God cast out fear.

Ephesians 3:17 (ESV) says, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

This is allowing Christ to be at home in your heart.

3 – He Strengthens Us To Be Filled With His Fulness 

Ephesians 3:19 (ESV) says, “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

We need to realize that it’s all for Jesus.

    1. You need to realize and receive that the Holy Spirit is in you since you acted Jesus as Savior and received salvation.
    2. You need to empty life of self and sin.
    3. You need all the Holy Spirit to control your life.
    4. You need to walk with Christ daily.

How I Became a Christian or How I Was Saved.

Did you know being good doesn’t get you to heaven? Being “saved” does. Here’s my story of “being saved”.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a noteworthy day for me. That day was the watershed event in my life.

July 1977 found me on active duty as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was serving as Battalion Maintenance Officer, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Life was good. I had a beautiful, intelligent wife. I had a new son born in January that same year. I had just gotten a commendable rating during an annual general inspection in maintenance. It was the first commendable rating since the division had returned from Vietnam. Named an Outstanding Junior Officer of the Ninth Infantry Division because of the commendable rating, I received an offer of a regular army commission. My career was going great.

I always tried being the best I could be and doing what was right. I was a detail-oriented perfectionist, high-achieving, and a workaholic. I excelled at most things I did. However, after all of this, I still had an empty, unsatisfied, void, and alone feeling. Beginning in my college years I tried drinking adult beverages, women, materialism, partying, and hanging out with the right crowd to fill this unexplained need I had. I knew something was missing from my life.

I was also attending church. At my church, I noticed a group of men my age that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them. Here I found that God has given us an important manual for life — the Bible. He has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face in that book. 

I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 But no one is perfect! Not even a perfectionist. We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by simply living a good life. Why?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.

I learned that God made provision for me.

The Bible says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this gift of eternal life. Amen.”

What came next?

Since then, my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I have messed up from time to time – too many times – sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 43 years.

How about you?

Have you ever been “saved”? 

You can do like I did. Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why Not Accept Christ Now?

 If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer – Dear Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner, and I am very sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I invite you to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. Amen.


Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

One Great Way to Prepare For The New Year

Two Things Are Critical

As you embark on the journey in the year 2020, two things you do are critical.

  1. The CHOICES you make.
  2. The ACTIONS you take.

One – Choices You Need To Make Everyday

1. Choose to get excited about each new day.

Psalm 118:24 English Standard Version (ESV), “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

      • Each day is a gift from God.
      • Make a daily choice to rejoice.
      • Get yourself fired up for having another day of life and be glad.

2. Choose to be thankful.

Colossians 3:15 (ESV), “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

      • Allow God’s peace both into your heart and to rule your heart.
      • It’s hard, if not impossible, to be thankful and miserable at the same time. Choose to be thankful.
      • Thank God daily for your daily bread.

3. Choose to be positive.

Philippians 4:13 (ESV), “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

      • Don’t say, “Good Lord, it’s morning” but say “Good morning, Lord.”
      • Make sure you get up on the right side of the bed.
      • As the late Zig Ziglar used to say, “Get rid of your ‘stinking thinking.’”

4. Choose victory over defeat.

1 John 5:4 (ESV), “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

      • Remember the words of the old hymn, “Faith is the victory.”
      • Never forget it is the Lord who goes with you to battle the daily enemies and challenges. (see – Deuteronomy 20:4)
      • God gives us the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. (see – 1 Corinthians 15:57)

5. Choose to live above the level of mediocrity.

Colossians 3:23-24, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

      • We are to work heartily.
      • Our work honors God.
      • Remember, in any endeavor of labor, our work honor’s God.

6. Choose to put the other person first.

 Philippians 2:3 (ESV), “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

      • The late Christian motivational speaker, writer, and Bible teacher Zig Ziglar (a Baptist deacon and member of my church) said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

7. Choose to have hope.

Job 13:15a (ESV), “ Though he slay me, I will hope in him (God);”

8. Choose to keep on keeping on.

      • I had an Associate Pastor named John West that frequently admonished all to “keep on keeping on.” He would say, “Keep trying; keep doing what you are doing. Keep doing your best; never give up and keep on keeping on.”
      • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1967, “You don’t get to the Promised Land without going through the Wilderness. You don’t get there without crossing over hills and mountains, but if you keep on keeping on, you can’t help but reach it.”

Two – Choose to take ACTION by accepting Christ as Savior.

The only way we can really have a winning 2020 is to know Christ as Savior. Do you know Him as your personal Savior and Lord? Here is how to be sure.

Man’s Problem: Romans 3:23 (ESV), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

Man’s Penalty: Romans 6:23 (ESV), “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s Provision: John 3:16 (ESV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God’s Promise: Romans 10:9 (ESV), “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

To accept Christ as Savior – A Prayer of Salvation: “Lord Jesus, I confess to you I am a sinner. I believe that you died for my sins and that God raised you from the dead. I ask you to forgive me for my sin right now. Thank you for saving me and for giving me eternal life. In your name, I pray. Amen.”

I originally wrote this last section in 1988 as an article titled “Our Need and God’s Provision” using the KJV as the Bible reference. It was published in “Motivators for Sunday School Leaders” by the Baptist Sunday School Board (now Lifeway Christian Resources).


Photo Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

How to Become a Christian

My Story

Being a good person doesn’t get you to heaven. Being saved or born-again does. Here’s my story of how I accepted Jesus Christ and became a Christian.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a remarkable day for me. Sunday, July 11, 1977, was the watershed event in my life.

While attending First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington, I noticed a group of men that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them.

Here I found that God has given us an essential manual for life. The manual is the Bible. God has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face. I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I Realized I Had a Sin Problem

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 (KJV), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But no one is perfect! We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by just living a good life.

Why not?

The Bible says in Romans 6:23 (KJV), “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I Learned God Gives Us a Promise

The Bible says in John 3:16 (KJV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I Learned That God Made a Provision for Me

The Bible says in Romans 10:9-10, 13 (KJV), “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I Prayed to Accept the Gift of Eternal Life Through Jesus

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this free gift of eternal life. Amen.”

Since then my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I’ve messed up from time to time, sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 40 plus years.

How about you? Have you ever been saved?

You Can Do Like I Did

Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why Not Pray This Simple Prayer and Accept Jesus Christ Today?


Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Kepler please complete the “Email Sign-up”  found in the far left column of the blog.

How to Become a Christian

How to Be Born Again

Being a good person doesn’t get you to heaven. Being saved or born-again does. Here’s my story of how I accepted Jesus Christ and became a Christian.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a remarkable day for me. Sunday, July 11, 1977, was the watershed event in my life.

While attending First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington, I noticed a group of men that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them.

Here I found that God has given us an essential manual for life. The manual is the Bible. God has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face. I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I Realized I Had a Sin Problem

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 (KJV), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But no one is perfect! We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by just living a good life.

Why can’t we save ourself?

I Learned There Was a Penalty to be Paid for My Sin

The Bible says in Romans 6:23 (KJV), “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I Learned God Gives Us a Promise

The Bible says in John 3:16 (KJV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I Learned That God Made a Provision for Me

The Bible says in Romans 10:9-10, 13 (KJV), “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I Prayed to Accept the Gift of Eternal Life Through Jesus

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this free gift of eternal life. Amen.”

Since then my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I’ve messed up from time to time, sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 40 years.

How about you? Have you ever been saved?

You Can Do Like I Did

Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why Not Pray This Simple Prayer and Accept Jesus Christ Today?

If you prayed the prayer you could leave a simple “I prayed the prayer” in the comments section. It will encourage me and others. May God bless you.


Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Hope for the Caregiver: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional Approach.”

God Has Not Forgotten Me

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Even when we have a chronic illness, God still loves us and does not forget us.

Today’s Bible Verse:

Romans 8:35 (KJV), “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

What the Verse Means:

Nothing can separate a Believer in Jesus Christ from His love.

Praying Using the Verse:

Thank you, God, for loving us. John 3:16 (KJV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Thank you, Heavenly Father, that there is nothing, not even a chronic illness, that can ever separate us from Your love.

Help us, Lord, to accept the love You have for us as Believers.

Photo Source: Pixaby