O church, arise and put your armor on;
Hear the call of Christ our captain;
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
An army bold whose battle cry is “Love!”
Reaching out to those in darkness.
Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on ev’ry side,
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died—
An inheritance of nations.
Arise, shine for your light has come
Arise, shine for the Risen Son
Lift your eyes, we are His radiant bride
Arise, o church arise!
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”
“Who is like the Lord our God? Strong to save, faithful in love My debt is paid, and the vict’ry won the Lord is my salvation.” Today, we in Christ proclaim with confidence, “the Lord is my salvation” and we rejoice in this forever truth. Before the cross, we had no such confidence, no hope, no blessed assurance, no regenerate heart or new life in Christ. Paul in writing to the church at Ephesus, “…remember that formerly you who are Gentiles… remember at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.” “But now” although we were once far away, we have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Because God is rich in mercy, we “…are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
A fairly challenging, argumentative, resistant gal came to my office a couple of weeks ago. She was scheduled to return yesterday. I found myself praying preparing for another uncomfortable encounter. To my relief, she was smiling as she entered. Earlier that morning I was searching through my bag and placed my Bible on my desk. Within seconds she saw it and asked, “Are you a Christian?” I answered in the affirmative. The walls of resistance fell down. She opened and began sharing extensively. After she acknowledged her tendency to be easily irritated and rude to most people, yet claiming to be a fellow believer in Jesus, I was able to relate our common struggle with our flesh nature. I also encouraged her to fill her mind with Scripture, especially applying love, joy, peace, patience, etc., as she pursued living according to the Spirit.
Through the blood of Christ all genuine believers, regardless of ethnicity or race are members of God’s household. This gal I was working with was of African American descent. I was able to express kindness in the moment to one who was now cooperative and very attentive; I said, with a sense of joy and conviction, “we are family in Christ, brothers, and sisters in Jesus.” She smiled and sat silent for a moment. Amazing grace! Who is like the Lord our God?
Piper (2000) wrote, “But let us also dwell on this: that God ordained the death of his Son to reconcile alien people groups to each other in one body in Christ. This too was the design of the death of Christ. Think on this: Christ died to take enmity and anger and disgust and jealousy and self-pity and fear and envy and hatred and malice and indifference away from your heart toward all other persons who are in Christ by faith—whatever the race.”
Beloved, be encouraged and continue to stand on the solid foundation in which our shared faith is built. In Christ, we are united with the saints of the past as well as contemporary Christians of every race, ethnic group, and tribe. We continue to grow individually and together as the church in process by and in the power of the Spirit becoming a holy temple in the Lord. One body in Christ we are, “…being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
Come, see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This victory march continues till the day
Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.
So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride;
Give grace for every hurdle.
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old, still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls, and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in Glory.
Sisters are meeting for prayer. First Baptist, 1912 Arnold Way, Alpine, 0900
You are invited to join sisters in Christ for a time of encouragement and prayer. We are thankful for our diverse sisters gathering week after week to ask, seek, and knock before the throne of grace. To God be the glory as we humbly approach the Father by one Spirit.
Brothers are meeting too! Mt. View Bible, 2710 Alpine Blvd. Alpine, 0730.
O the joy of meeting with brothers in Jesus! Join us for a time of prayer and encouragement as we journey together in Christ. As the Holy Spirit leads we want to hear, sense, and keep in step. Help us through your prayers as God dwells in you by his Spirit.
 Ephesians 2:13
 Ephesians 2:11-12
 Ibid 2:19-20
 Ibid. 2:22