Posts Tagged ‘relationship’

Sin Causes Suffering

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:6

Sin Caused the Savior to Suffer

Isaiah’s Man of Sorrows in Isaiah 53 best depicts the suffering of the Savior due to sin.

  • Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow (v. 4, ESV)
  • But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities (v. 5, ESV)
  • He was oppressed, and he was afflicted (v. 7, ESV)
  • . . .cut off from the land of the living (v. 8, ESV)
  • . . . numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors (v. 12, ESV)

That is what sin caused Jesus to suffer. An entire chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah shows us what he had to undergo for us to overcome sin through Him.

The Savior’s Suffering Saved the Sinner

His suffering saved us.

John the Baptist pronounced Him as the Lamb of God who “takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:24, ESV). His final days were filled with confirmation of His mission to die for the sins of the world. John 3:16 famously shares how God’s love is the catalyst for Jesus making the sacrifice for the sake of the world to receive God’s gift of salvation.

Because He suffered we’re saved.

For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past
— Romans 3:25 (NLT)

His sacrifice included Him enduring suffering for our sake as sinners. His suffering allowed us to receive salvation. His sacrifice made it possible for us to receive salvation.

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify6 for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
— Hebrews 9:13-14 (ESV)

When we accept Him as Savior, we accept him as “the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 2:2; 4:10). We accept Him as the atonement for our sins, making us “bought with a price.” Therefore, our blood-stained kinship with the Apostle Paul lies in our self-proclaimed status for each saved sinner identified as a “bondservant of Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:1).

We’re saved because of His sacrifice.

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Salvation is Designed for Sinners

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

Christians start out as sinners. Psalm 51:5 teaches us that we’ve been “brought forth in iniquity.” Iniquity is defined as “immoral or grossly unfair behavior.” In other words, the Christian translation for iniquity is sin. Thus, we’ve all came into being through sin.

You might say that such a totally depraved condition isn’t that person’s fault because he or she was born into it. The Bible goes further in the Old Testament and even the New Testament to address that.

  • Psalm 14:3 says: All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
  • Psalm 53:3 similarly says: Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
  • Romans 3:23 says: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

From www.unashamedofjesus.org: “It’s only by God’s grace that we are saved, period. None of us deserve to be saved” The post goes on to say: “. . . in fact all of us deserve the punishment of eternal Hell.” Douloschristos spells it out like this: “All people have sinned and are not good enough for God’s glory. People are made right with God by his grace, which is a free gift.”

Gifted Grace

God saw fit to show us grace. He offered us salvation through His grace which makes it a gift to us. Ephesians 2:9 informs us that salivation is the “gift of God.” In fact, further on in Ephesians 3:7, Paul goes on to use the phrase “the gift of the grace of God.”

The formula works pretty much in a linear flow. We were born sinful. We were at odds with God. While we were still enemies of God, He offered His Son as a sacrifice for our sinfulness to save us.

Let that sink in for you.

We were “enemies of God,” and in the meantime, God decided to grant us salvation by making a sacrifice on our behalf.

We got the gift due to His grace, not because we deserved it or did anything to earn it.

The gift of grace is the perfect fit for our trespasses, our iniquities, our transgressions, and plain and simple, our sins.

I felt the need to share this post after creating a YouTube video on the same subject. I pray that this post and the video as well as the sources below help you to see and understand how much of a gift God’s grace is to us in this life.

Post Sources

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I don’t market myself as a financial guru or anything like that. Let’s be clear on that. That’s not me.

Yet, I am clear on my calling to preach and teach the Word of God.

And God’s Word is clear on where He stands on the debate about debt.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7

Proverbs 22:7

God Stated His Intent

God stated that He would bless Israel “as he promised” in Deuteronomy 15:6.

God did not stutter. He did not beat around the bush.

He was straightforward and straight up, straight out telling the people how He intended to keep His promise and bless them.

He positioned them, stating that they would “lend to many nations. . . rule over many nations. . .” in Deuteronomy 15:6.

He warned them against debt. He said: “you shall not borrow” in the same verse.

He went so far as to say that other nations “shall not rule over you” in that verse, too.

How Did Things Go Wrong?

The Israelites had strayed from God’s plan for them. They had increased their debts among each other to the point of enslavement of one another. We see it in Jeremiah chapter 34 as God is seeking to fulfill his prophecy among His people. We see it when Nehemiah is seeking to rebuild the destroyed walls. Even the widow from among the “sons of the prophet” pleaded with Elisha to help her for her two sons not be taken away by the creditors. We see how debt, even among one’s own people, caused conflict and corruption among those with the upper hand.

God Wants Better For Us

Rich will rule over the poor. The borrower will serve as slave to the lender. These are the predictable outcomes of indebtedness.

The same God who promised to bless His people also warned His people as He sought to prevent them from the effects of debt. The outcome of debt is enslavement.

Look at how Jesus Ethics posts explore the topic. Consider what God had already said to His people.

Read what Solomon says in Proverbs about becoming a “slave to lender.”

Get Out of Debt

There’s a lot of talk about what Biden has introduced on student loan debt forgiveness. Then, there is plenty to understand about why Christians should not be involved in such matters due to their stewardship.

Don’t get to judging others so quickly.

The words of Paul to the believers in Rome are pretty clear that we all have fallen short and missed the mark of righteousness and holiness.

Get out of the trap of scarcity and see His ability to supply our needs.

Watch the YouTube video I have linked here and use the resources available to you to get out of debt and to be free to enjoy the abundance of God’s blessings.

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In Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, the magical phrase “Open sesame!” opens the secret hidden cave known as the den of thieves. The phrase has been mimicked and mocked throughout literature and theatre for centuries. It has been used by magicians on stage and children at play. Though many have used that phrase, few doors have been opened due to its usage.

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The Lord Models Opening Doors for Us

“I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. . ."
- Revelation 3:8 

The work of the Lord seems magical to us. Although His power is supernatural, it only seems magical. It isn’t magical. It is miraculous.

Read chapter 3 of Revelation. Look at what God says about doors and them being opened by Him for you and for Him to enter hearts. What God does for us by opening doors for us is beyond magical. Like I said, it’s miraculous.

That God looks upon us with enough care and compassion to grant us what no man can take away from us isn’t magical. That’s part of His supernatural power that has the capacity for causing miracles to occur in our lives.

Prayer in Faith is Key to Opening Doors

19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
- Matthew 17:19-21 (NIV)

Lack of faith and unbelief subside to the power of God actively working in our lives and before our eyes.

Jesus was doing two different things in this teachable moment with His own disciples.

  • He was rebuking them for their “so little faith”
  • He was revealing to them how much power He had actually given over to them if they would just have enough faith, even “faith as small as a mustard seed”

When we pray with faith, we exercise our own God-given power. When we do so, we lean all in upon the Holy Spirit to grant us the strength to accomplish great things. We are endowed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that makes us powerful, powerful enough to overcome our own unbelief and lack of faith to begin with indeed.

Having the Holy Spirit alive within us, we can open doors through the power of faith. We can cause things to change in the lives of others as well as in our own lives. We have the power to make the seemingly impossible seem unreal as it unravels before the eyes of the unbeliever and a few believers, too.

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains” (Colossians 4:3, NIV). Paul submitted this prayer request to the believers at Colosse, seeking further opportunities to share the message of Jesus Christ with others. StopAndPrayTV added a video element to explain such open doors. Another blogger on WordPress put it this way: “The purpose of an open door is thus to preach the gospel of Christ and to speak the mystery of Christ.” PK Adams challenges us to rethink our outlook as Christians and see that much of this world needs the Word for more conversion to the faith rather than just a generalized labeling by our spiritual stamp of approval. Let’s keep praying for more opportunities to do the work God has called us all to do by sharing the Good News.

Prayer Challenge Reflections

This September allowed for us to engage in a 30-Day Prayer Challenge again. There were quite a few lessons learned as we worked throughout the month to remain prayerful. Personally, I found myself more vigilant about staying the course for 30 days since last year’s prayer challenge found me fighting off the spiritual attack that comes with endeavoring to do more by faith.

  • Prayer isn’t light work.
    • We need to consecrate
    • We need to concentrate
  • Problems will arise one way or another and in one form or another.
    • Prepare for problems (as much as you can)
    • Pray about problems (as much as you can)
  • Your prayer time is about the connection between both God and you.
    • Release from you to God (requests/ supplications/ petitions)
    • Response to you from God (receive/ accept)

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Jacob had a problem.

He had stolen his brother’s birthright.

Jacob was a habitual trickster and swindler.

He had gotten it naturally from his own mother and her brother Laban. It was part of his nature and his upbringing and experiences, especially with family. Blogger Sandy Kirby Quandt equates the relationship between Jacob and Laban to shifting goalposts.

He wanted to protect his family from danger.

But, aside from Jacob being human with frailties just like us all, he was a special kind of believer.

Jacob had a problem and he prayed to God about it.

Not only did he pray but he prayed for God’s protection.

Elohim Shomri or Jehovah Nissi

Elohim shomri = “God is my protector”

JEHOVAH-NISSI – Our Banner, a Banner of Love and Protection

I know that I need His protection.

I stand in the need of the protection only He can provide.

I need God to be My Protector.

I need Him to be that in my personal walk with Him, in my personal relationship with Him.

Prayer for Your Own Needs

SPOILER ALERT: God already knows what we need before we even ask for it.


God knows your needs.

He’s omniscient. He’s all-knowing.

God knows best.

He doesn’t need you to share what you need.

After all, Jesus shared how God knows how to meet our needs better than anyone else. He supplies all that we need.

Even if we have done wrong and stand in need of His protection, God can help us.

He just desires to hear from us. He just desires that we spoke openly with Him about our need for Him as our Father. The Father desires to hear His children say it and get it off their hearts.

Look at how He helped Nehemiah with the destroyed walls.

Pray for God’s protection today.

Pray that He guides you safely to and fro.

Pray that He watches over you throughout your comings and goings.

I haven’t just been twiddling my thumbs while praying about my ministry and business. I have been actively engaging and embarking on taking further steps with both.

I recently had a chat with Allan G from Motherland located in San Diego, California, and we discussed some things about business and building community through collaboration. Check out the video via YouTube or listen to the podcast below. Share comments or thoughts on either platform to let me know how we’re doing.

Coffee and Chat with Rev Bruce S4E1 Guest Allan G from Motherland Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce

Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce returns with a conversation with Motherland on hosting its upcoming local community event in San Diego.   MOTHERLAND MARKET September 25th @marketon8thst from 10-4pm  https://www.instagram.com/motherland.us/  The video of this interview is available via the Coffee & Chat playlist on YouTube. — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/bruce-jackson3/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/bruce-jackson3/support
  1. Coffee and Chat with Rev Bruce S4E1 Guest Allan G from Motherland
  2. Season 2, Episode 00, Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Season 2 Trailer
  3. Season 2, Episode 01, Sharif Booker (Art as a Coping Mechanism)
  4. Season 2, Episode 00, Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Back Again
  5. Coffee & Chat Episode 8 Aldo Chavez Part 3

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Jehovah Jireh is the Old Testament name that speaks of God as the Provider.

Jehovah Jireh means “God will provide.”

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Abraham said, “God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they both went together. – Genesis 22:8

God as the Provider (Jehovah Jireh) appears first in Genesis. It stems from the part of Genesis where Abraham had to show his faith in God when called to sacrifice his chosen son Isaac. According to Wikipedia: “In the Book of Genesis, Jehovah-jireh or Yahweh Yireh was the location of the binding of Isaac, where Yahweh told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham named the place after God provided a ram to sacrifice in place of Isaac.”

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You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. – Psalm 145:16

As believers, we must continually ask for and accept what God provides us in our lives.

He doesn’t have to give us anything. Yet, He continuously gives us what we don’t deserve, blessing us beyond our own belief.

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. – Psalm 37:25 (KJV)

Pray earnestly for God’s provision. Pray that He continues to supplies your daily needs and necessities. Pray that God’s provision allows you to prosper and grow closer to God as you use His provision to bless others. Pray that God stands out in your life as your provider, as your Jehovah Jireh. Pray for Him to provide for you and your needs, but also pray that He provides you with the stewardship to handle His provision as one trusted with such a blessing.

God truly will provide.

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The Gospels in the New Testament give us some insights into the prayer life of Jesus. Other than the model of prayer Jesus taught to His disciples and the prayer time Jesus had with His disciples the night that He was betrayed, we have multiple accounts of Jesus in prayer within the Gospels. In particular, the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) give us some key verses and passages on Jesus spending time alone with God in prayer.

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, – Matthew 14:23 (ESV)

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray. – Mark 1:35 (NIV)

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray. – Luke 5:16 (NASB)

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Private Time with God

Jesus showed us by example that there is value in spending private time with God. He showed us by example that there is an importance to doing it. He showed us that private time with God can strengthen us in our spiritual walk with God along the journey of life.

The Bible says it in simple terms:

  • a solitary place to pray
  • by Himself to pray
  • to the wilderness to pray

He got away from it all to go to God in prayer.

He got away from everybody else to go to God in prayer.

Consider His example and how that might look in your daily life.

Is it a secluded part of your home, away from family and pets for a moment with God? Is it a private space at a park or on a mountainside?

Find your place for private time with God in prayer.

Personal Time with God

Your private time with God is your personal time with God.

Take a moment and think about what Jesus could have been praying about while alone with God. Think about what He might have been sharing with God after healing and feeding many people, teaching about the kingdom of God to the multitudes, and sharing lessons with His own disciples as He was tested by Pharisees and others.

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Use your private time with God to get in touch with God. Get deep and personal with God. Allow yourself to get vulnerable with God. Speak openly with God. Ask what you have to ask of God. Confess what you need to confess to God.

Confess to Him.

Call upon Him.

Cry out to Him.

Commune with Him.

It is your personal time with God and make the most of it.

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". . . we must earnestly, sacrificially, and prayerfully strive to be empowered with that same power that came upon them."
- A.W. Tozer, Life in the Spirit

Earnest, Sacrificial, and Always Prayerful

Tozer spoke of the need for constant prayer from the teachers and members of the “redeemed Body of which Christ is the Head” in an earlier passage. He was adamant about such prayer in practice in order for “any church to be a church of Christ.” He said that such a pursuit in practice must be earnest, sacrificial, and constant with prayer.


In layman’s terms, earnest means sincere and intense conviction. According to the Bible, for one to be considered earnest means to be ardent in pursuit of an object or goal. In other words, to be earnest is to be zealous.

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“And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 217, KJV). The zeal of the faithful believer is consuming. His or her heart is filled with an intense level of conviction for God’s agenda. Such an individual desires to see the kingdom of God come about. This type of earnest individual is driven by a deep internal conviction to work towards the kingdom of God coming to fruition.

We need to be more earnest in our lives as we serve the Lord daily.


What types of sacrifices have you made for the sake of the Lord?

He sacrificed for your salvation. He paid the penalty for our sins with His own life. As Isaiah reminded us through his prophecy recorded ages before the Messiah’s advent, His sacrifice healed us.

God desires you to make sacrifices. He has shown us the way.

God desires to see you make sacrifices in your life for His namesake.

Always Prayerful

I used to always wonder how in the world could Paul really expect anybody to “pray without ceasing” (1 Th. 5:17). It always baffled me how that three-word sentence just sat right there in the middle of this spiritual to-do list for believers. I just didn’t see how that could be a reasonable expectation for believers, especially for those who were just coming into the faith and a personal understanding of what it meant to be a Christian.

Then life happened.

Through the trials and tests of personal experience, I became more accustomed to having to remain in constant prayer. While under spiritual attack, you have to pray constantly.

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)

It is not as difficult as I once thought. It is a simple practice.

It is not too much to ask. It is a personal commitment.

It isn’t a burdensome thing. It provides us communion with God.

It is a simple three-word command.

It provides us a personal connection with God.

“Pray without ceasing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV)

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Get it Off Your Chest

When you go to pray, just let it all out.

Empty yourself of all that is plaguing you and bothering you. Pour out the burdens weighing down your soul. Open your mouth and unleash the very things that have you holding back tears and stuck in an emotional valley of sadness and worry.

Just get it all off your chest.

Tell God the things that you won’t tell your loved ones. Tell Him what is deeply rooted within your heart. Tell Him how much you fear what’s coming up. Share with God how much you dread the feeling of the aftermath of anything that has transpired lately.

Open your mouth and get it off your chest.

Get it Off Your Mind

Once you get it off your chest, get it off your mind.

Don’t drag that dread into the rest of the day.

You did one of the best things that you could do with such situations. You’ve taken it to God and told it to God. Now, what you truly need to do is trust it to God. Trust God to handle it like He knows best. He knows better than us how to handle any situation.

You’ve gotten it off your chest.

Now do your very best to get it off your mind.

Give it Over to God

Don’t try to hold onto what God can handle better than you.

It’s off your chest.

It should be off your mind.

It is in God’s hands.

Truly He knows how to handle it the best. He knows how to deal with it the best.

You gave it over to God in prayer.

Now totally give it over to God in faith.

Believe that He will deal with it as He sees fit.

Give it totally over to God.

God’s help is available.

Prayer is a means for tapping into God’s power as well as a mechanism for telling God what’s on your heart and mind.

What we need to see is that there are resources out there among the people of faith. These resources are provided to help us. These resources are here to help us get better at getting closer to God.


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Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Ephesians 6:10 (KJV)

Paul was in prison. It was around AD 62 while he was in prison in Rome when he wrote to the believers in Ephesus. It is one of his Pauline Epistles. It is one of his Prison Letters. It was around the same time that he wrote to believers in Colosse (Colossians) and to an individual believer (Philemon).

He was in prison, but he was writing to these folks in Ephesus in order to encourage them.

I know. I know. It seems backwards. It’s like they should have been rallying the congregation to launch Paul’s Pen Pals as a prison outreach ministry or stirring up the community with the hashtag #FreePaulNow or something like that.

But that wasn’t the case.

Paul sought to offer these believers encouragement in their time of spiritual need.

Hindsight and Headlights

Having the Scriptures at hand offers us hindsight. It is said that hindsight is 20/20, and it is especially so with God’s people when we look back upon the figures of the Bible. People say that Aaron should’ve known better than to make that golden calf at the behest of the people. People see the acts of Judas in the Gospels and say how much they would never do such a thing if they were in the presence of the Lord in the flesh. [Oh, Really? But we all can join like a choir when we talk about how ALL have sinned and fallen short according to Romans 3:23. I just can’t with our holy hindsight at times. It makes us sound so self righteous.]

That holy hindsight has us looking down on folks in the Hall of Faith. That holy hindsight has us speculating on the saints of God of the past. That holy hindsight does not allow us to look deeper within and see where we, too, are not worthy enough to drink of the cup. It doesn’t make us keep a realistic perspective on our own status.

Headlights help us to see what’s up ahead. Hindsight is like the rearview mirror. Ot helps you see the past. Headlights help you to see what’s ahead as their light penetrates the darkness and provides a view of the upcoming pathway.

But we have these headlights shining upon the pathway ahead while we’re looking in the rearview. They shed light on our way so that we can walk. But we’ve got our necks cocked to the side, still pointing out that moment in the past where Joseph’s brothers made a mistake or even Solomon had a mishap. We can’t go too fast on the journey through the darkness if we try to look back too long or if we try to look beyond the headlights.

Help from Prison

Paul was writing to these believers in Ephesus on how to use their headlights. He wanted them to tap into “the strength of the Lord and the power of his might.” He understood that they would need those two for where they were headed.

Spiritual warfare requires spiritual weaponry.

He told the Ephesians that we are not up against flesh and blood. He warned them that the devil has his own weapons of warfare in use. He offered them some armor for their protection and to prevent them from being overtaken by what we call satanic attack.

Ten Days In (One-Third Through)

On this 10th day of our 30-Day Prayer Challenge for 2022, I realize how much the demonic forces want to prevent and prohibit us from experiencing God’s power. Don’t fall prey to the satanic attack or the demonic devices.

We’re one-third of the way through with this prayer challenge and this leg of a long journey with the Lord if we do not grow faint. And that makes us targets for such an attack.

Stand firm “in the strength of the Lord and the power of his might.”

Do not allow yourself to be defeated by these demonic devices.

Do not allow yourself to these satanic schemes.

Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

Stand firm.

Tap into His power through continued prayer and stand firm against all attacks coming your way.

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