Who Is The God of This Age?

UnknownThe god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

We are in the midst of an unseen battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. This war is being fought on a spiritual plane over control of the human race. The majority of the population of planet earth has had the cloak of deception placed over them and they cannot see the good news as to what Christ has done in redeeming (buying back) men from the grip of the god of this age. Satan is the god of this age, an evil angel that chose to rebel against God and drew away with him an army of angels and demons after himself. His chief tactic against you and me is a strategy of deception to keep you from seeing that the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible is a compilation of 66 books that tell the story of a God who is the creator of the world and loves you and I so much that He paid the penalty of sin and rebellion against God by dying on a cross as the just payment of our debt of sin.

There are many so-called gods in this world, how does one tell who is the true God? The Bible tells us that there are only two kingdoms, the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Satan has used religion against God. He knows that there is a missing piece that is absent from the jigsaw of your life—a part of your inner nature that cries out for the true God. Satan has served up different religions on earth in the hope that he can satisfy that inner craving for God that you have. That’s why our passage today describes Satan as the god of this age blinding the minds of unbelievers. We can tell who is the true God by the fruit that comes from the tree of the belief system of whatever god you have listened to in the past. Jesus in the passage below tells us to look at the outflow of a person’s life to see if there is evidence of true spiritual life—God’s life:

16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (Matthew 7:16-18).

True Christianity is about receiving the gift of God, eternal life, into the core of your being. The result of receiving this impartation of the gift of God is that your life becomes “a good tree,” and bears “good fruit.” What does good fruit look like? The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Jesus contrasts the two kingdoms that are at war in this world. Satan is pictured as a thief whose plan is to steal what God wants to freely give you—the gift of eternal life in Christ. Satan wants to kill you and destroy you from ever being a threat to his kingdom. On the other side of this war, we see that Jesus Christ came to give you the gift of God’s life, eternal life, and the kind of life that is lived to the full.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

Have you received this free gift of eternal life? There is nothing you can do to earn it. It is not worked for; it is a gift that one receives from the hand of God. Why don’t you ask Him to come into your life? Turn from serving self and Satan to serve the Living God. Receive the gift of eternal life today. Here’s a prayer you can use:

Prayer: Lord of Heaven and Earth, I come to you today acknowledging and believing that you are the true God and have sent Jesus into the world as my substitute for sin. I turn from my sin today. Come into my life and make me new. I receive today your free gift of eternal life in your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for all that you have done for me at the cross. Amen!

If you sincerely prayed that to God—welcome to the family of believers all over the world!

Keith Thomas

The Kindness and Grace of our Savior

woman-with-an-issue-of-blood-howard-lyon27She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched the fringe of his robe. 28For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed.” 29Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed! (Mark 5:27-29).

How wonderful it is that God responds to faith.  This woman’s faith was born out of desperation. Matthew in his gospel (9:20) tells us that she had internal bleeding for 12 years.  What would it have been like to be in her situation?  Her condition was one where it was illegal for her to be in a public place, for fear of contaminating anyone else.  Leviticus 15:25 says, “When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.” She would never have been able to enter the Temple, synagogue, or fellowship with others. Her condition excluded her from the social structure of the day. Mark further tells us that she had spent her all on the doctors (Mark 5:26) and was no better but rather grew worse. This poor woman was completely broke and more than likely had not slept in a bed for some time, what hotel would have her!  What friend would let her stay at their house, everything she touched would be ceremonially unclean.

How scared she must have been as she was mingling with the crowd trying not to be seen and recognized, desperately trying to reach Jesus, her only hope. Mark goes on to say that when she touched Him and was instantly healed, Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” (v.31). Her response was one of fear, she “fell at his feet, and trembling with fear” (v.33). Why would she be trembling?  She took a huge risk. Jesus is well known as a Rabbi in whom is the Spirit of God. She would have thought that she would contaminate him with her own uncleanness and render him not able to heal the ruler of the Synagogue’s daughter. I am sure that she expected to be severely told off.

I love His response to her, “Daughter your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Her history over the last 12 years of having this condition was one of rejection by people.  How beautiful to see grace, acceptance, understanding and joy in the face of our Savior.  Doesn’t grace and kindness win your heart? Hasn’t He been like that with you? I long to be accepting of the poor and hurting like Him.

Prayer: Oh God, make me more like Jesus, full of grace and truth.

Keith Thomas

The Purchased Possession of God

paid-in-fullThe Book of Revelation is a book in the Bible devoted to future things that God gave the apostle John. John is taken outside of regular time to a time yet future to us. He sees things that “must soon take place” on earth (Revelation 1:1). He sees the Lord Jesus Christ as a Lamb, “looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne” (Revelation 5:6). He is the only one that is worthy to open a scroll sealed with seven seals. Scripture doesn’t tell us what the scroll represents but theologians and scholars believe that the scroll is the title deed to planet earth. When the Lord Jesus comes forward and takes the scroll from God the Father, seated on the throne of heaven, a song of praise to the Lord Jesus is sung by those that are there:

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10 Emphasis mine).

We are told two things that stand out to us today. 1) The Lord Jesus Christ, symbolically represented as a Lamb, has purchased people with His blood. 2) These people are from every tribe, language, people and nation. Let’s look at the first thought. The Bible says,

No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—that he should live on forever and not see decay” (Psalm 49:7-9).

No man can buy another out from under the curse of sin that pervades the earth. Jesus is the Almighty God, born into the world as a man. The Lord Jesus Christ was the only one who could pay the ransom price to deliver us from Satan’s slave market. Eternal justice has placed a penalty on anyone who sins—the penalty is death (Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23), which means not just physical death, but separation from God for eternity. The whole of mankind, because of our sin, is seen to be in Satan’s slave market of sin. There is only one way out—God Himself would take the guilty person’s fate upon Himself. God came in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus, to pay the price of death as the just payment for our sin. With His blood He purchased a people to Himself. Let’s now look at our second thought, who are the people whom He has purchased? Are they only from the West? No! They are from every nation, tribe and language on Earth! You that are reading this in India, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and China—you, along with all nations, are the ones that He has purchased to Himself. Do you have a God like that? One that will come and take the worst that Satan and fallen humanity can throw at Him and still love us enough to cry from the cross with His last breath—“It is finished” (John 19:30). This English phrase in the original Greek language of the New Testament is the word tetelestai. It literally means, “paid in full.” Do you realize that full payment for the deeds of your sin was fully paid nearly two thousand years ago? The God of heaven loves you so much that He came and paid the ransom price for you. Do you believe this? Believing requires you to turn from everything displeasing the One who has paid the price of buying you out from Satan’s dominion (Colossians 1:13). Repent (turn from your sin to following Christ) and believe the Good news of your being purchased from Satan. I look forward to seeing you when our Lord Jesus comes for His purchased possession!

Keith Thomas

Ask for Whatever You Want Me to Give You

imagesKing Solomon was just a young man when he was anointed King over all Israel. Soon after becoming king, God tested his inner motives by offering to give King Solomon whatever he wanted, it was his choice, and nothing was off the table. God said to him:

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5).

Solomon responded correctly to the test. Because of the weight of the responsibility that was on his shoulders, and because of his youth and inexperience at leading a nation of five or six million people, he asked God for the gift of wisdom that he could govern correctly and distinguish between right and wrong (1 Kings 3:9). God was pleased at the motive that issued from the young man’s heart. Because he didn’t ask for the death of his enemies or wealth for himself, God not only gave him his hearts desire but also riches and honor more than any other man before him or after him.

If the God of the universe came to you today and asked you what one thing you wanted, what would you ask for? Be careful how you respond—for He is listening! Surely you would think hard and carefully if God made such an offer to you. Maybe you are young and have your whole life ahead of you. Maybe you are from a poor family and your aged parents are looking to you to provide for them. The weight of the responsibility hangs heavy on you—what should you ask for? Maybe you have been through hard, difficult times and you would like life to be easier, different, and more meaningful. Perhaps what you do in life gives you the feeling that you are making no difference with what you do every day—is there anything more discouraging? I had years as a commercial fisherman where I cried out to God for Him to use me.  Day after day I was out at sea not making a difference in anyone’s life, for it was just my father and I alone on our boat. But there came a day when God called me from my nets to cast out His nets. Don’t despise the day of small things when God is teaching you in the waiting time. The time at sea was spent in many hours of reading and meditating on the Bible. When I look back I see that I was being trained for what I am doing now. It was the small things and a correct heart attitude that led me to now work with my other Father with His nets.

“Who dares despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10).

When I look back on a full life of serving my Lord for 39 years now, some of my best times of intimacy with Christ were out on the North Sea off the coast of England alone with my father and my Lord. It was the testing time when God was working on the inside of my heart to prepare me for what I am doing now, writing words that reach your heart—I trust God inspired words.

I put it to you that the greatest need of every man, woman and child on planet earth is to be right with God through faith in Christ. This is what God would have you ask Him for.

28Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” 29Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:28-29).

God wants for you to ask Him for the gift that He so freely wants to give you—the gift of eternal life in Christ His Son. There is no work to be done. It is the finished work of Christ that satisfies the Father’s justice. If you ask for this, just like Solomon, you will get everything else too!

32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32).

Keith Thomas

What on Earth are you Building?

p1010075-004As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these tremendous buildings! Look at the massive stones in the walls!” Jesus replied, “These magnificent buildings will be so completely demolished that not one stone will be left on top of another” (Mark 13:1-2).

Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem was one of the Wonders of the World in its day.  In the time of Christ they had been building it for 46 years (John 2:20), and as Christ was talking, the building had still not been completed.  The Jewish people were very proud of Herod’s Temple; it was one of the ways that Herod was trying to win his way into the Jewish people’s heart, even though he lived an ungodly life.  I have lived in Jerusalem for more than a year and a half of my life, and many times have walked up on the Temple Mount and reflected on the fact that every stone was literally thrown down just as Christ prophesied. It was totally destroyed in 70A.D. by the Roman General Titus. Josephus the historian speaks of more than a million Jews being killed when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and set fire to the Temple. The gold of the Temple melted into the cracks in the walls, so every stone was separated to get at the gold. The result being that each stone of the temple was thrown down from the Temple Mount.

When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman in John 4, the big issue to her was whether or not she should worship at the temple that was in Samaria or the one in Jerusalem.  Jesus said, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (vs.21-23).  What was He saying?

God is not as interested about buildings—He is interested in us. What concerns Him is the temple of the heart.  Paul the Apostle wrote about this when he said “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 6:19). It’s seems to me like he was writing something that was 101 basic Christianity to the Church in Corinth using the words “Don’t you know” to remind them.

Isn’t it easy to get sidetracked into building what can be seen by men rather than what is seen only by God? I notice that the first Temple was called Solomon’s Temple, the second being Herod’s Temple.  Maybe that is why God allowed the magnificent structure of the Temple buildings to be destroyed. The buildings were about what men had built.  I don’t want to be disappointed at the end of my life by what I have built with my time, energy and money, and I don’t want you to be disappointed either. Jesus said that we were to not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2-3).  Is it about me? Does it have my name on it? Why am I building it? Is my labor truly glorifying to Him or is it bringing glory to me? Is it magnificent to men but lacks value to God?

The things we build here on earth may be magnificent for a time but have little if any lasting value. The things that last are issues of the heart and character. I am convinced that many of you will be greatly rewarded for things that man has not recognized but God alone has seen.

Prayer: Please don’t let me get sidetracked into investing into things of this world; I truly want to build something that is glorifying to you.

Keith Thomas