Discover the More Abundant Life in Christ

THIS KING – A Christian Response to Coronavirus

A new king has emerged, though not entirely new. It has been around for thousands of years, wreaking havoc on the human race. Its name is “Coronavirus” and its existence in our day is known as “Coronavirus COVID-19 “.

This king is in keeping with its name: for “corona” means “crown.”

This king is overruling the kings of the Earth, even of the mightiest nations.

For consider how this king has …

Shut down schools
Shut down churches
Shut down factories
Shut down supply chains
Shut down stores
Shut down offices
Shut down concerts
Shut down sporting events
Shut down financial markets
Shut down governments
Shut down highways and byways
This king has even shut down Presidential elections!

And in the space of just one week, this king’s tyrannical rule in the United States has shuttered institution after institution, in a landslide of malevolent victory.

But there is another KING. And He alone overrules all. Even the king known as “coronavirus.”

THIS KING has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16)

THIS KING brought the murderous King Manasseh down to his knees with hooks and bound in fetters where he turned and honored THIS KING as the LORD God. (2 Chronicles 33:11-13)

THIS KING humbled the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar who, in a moment, went insane. After seven long years, the king lifted his eyes to heaven and said:

THIS KING is the Most High and I praise and honor Him who lives forever!
THIS KING has an everlasting dominion and His kingdom is from generation to generation.
THIS KING reputes all the inhabitants of the Earth as nothing.
THIS KING does according to His will in the army of heaven!
THIS KING has power among the inhabitants of the Earth and is so great that no one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” (Daniel 4:33-37)

To THIS KING, he said, “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” (Daniel 4:34-37)

THIS KING restored the king’s reason and the glory of his kingdom, his honor, and his splendor.

THIS KING reigns infinitely supreme over all.

THIS KING is God, and there is no other. There is none like Him.
THIS KING declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things that are not yet done.
THIS KING says, “My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

THIS KING has all wisdom and might.
THIS KING changes the times and the seasons.
THIS KING removes kings and raises up kings.
THIS KING gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.
THIS KING reveals deep and secret things.
THIS KING knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him (Daniel 2:20-22).

THIS KING has created all that is in heaven and that are on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.
THIS KING has created all things through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

THIS KING is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17)

THIS KING upholds the universe by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3)

THIS KING is worthy to receive glory and honor and power, for He created all things, and by His will they exist and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

THIS KING is the Lamb who was slain, worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. (Revelation 5:12)

THIS KING is the head of the body, the church.
THIS KING is the beginning.
THIS KING is the firstborn from the dead.
THIS KING has in all things preeminence. (Col 1:18)

THIS KING is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.
THIS KING is the One who lives, and was dead, and is alive forevermore. ((Revelation 1:11, 19)

THIS KING is the One who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)

THIS KING is I AM (Jehovah, Exodus 3:14, John 8:58)

THIS KING is Jehovah Rophe and is OUR HEALING. (Exodus 15:26)
THIS KING is Jehovah Shamma and is PRESENT WITH US. (Ezekiel 48:35)
THIS KING is Jehovah Tsidkenu and is OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6, 33:16)
THIS KING is Jehovah M’kaddesh and MAKES US HOLY. (Exodus 31:13)
THIS KING is Jehovah Jireh and is OUR PROVISION (Genesis 22:14)
THIS KING is Jehovah Shalom and is OUR PEACE AND WHOLENESS (Judges 6:24)
THIS KING is Jehovah Sabaoth and is the OUR LORD OF HOSTS AND POWER (1 Samuel 1:3)
THIS KING is Jehovah Nissi and is OUR VICTORY. (Exodus 17:15)

THIS KING has the government upon His shoulder.
THIS KING is called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

It is THIS KING Whom God also has highly exalted and given the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on Earth, and of those under the Earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Even the king, Coronavirus, bows to the honor, the glory, the power, and the supremacy of THIS KING…

And so does SARS
And H1N1
And Ebola
And cancer
And cardiovascular disease
And depression
And catastrophe
And oppression
And strife
And war
And hostility
And unrest
And financial ruin
And all that has brought ruin and woe to the Earth…

THIS KING is The King of Kings, The Lord Jesus Christ!

[Note: click here for an audio version of THIS KING]

THIS KING – A Christian Response to CoronavirusCC by-nc-nd 2020Mark D. VanOuse

God’s Use of the Word “Grace” is Not What You Think

The word “Grace” is used frequently in Christian sermons, books, podcasts, etc. However, many times this word is used in a way that God does not use it. Which means we are communicating something incorrect when we use the word “Grace” in a Christian context. The result of such incorrect usage of the word “Grace” in the church has resulted in a lot of “grace confusion”.

Tetelestai: All is Completely Fulfilled, FOREVER!

What was Jesus’ last word, uttered as He gave His last breath at the Cross? We read about it in The Bible:

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)

In your mind, transport yourself back in time, to Jerusalem, circa 33 AD, at Mount Calvary. You’re in the crowd, watching as Jesus was crucified. Jesus’s last word was not “it is finished”, because the English language did exist yet. Jesus’ last word that you would have heard that day was the incredibly amazing Greek word:

What does “tetelestai”, mean? It is a form of the Greek root word, “teleo” which means, “to fulfil, to accomplish”. But what is so striking is that tetelestai is the word “teleo” in the perfect tense of the verb.

The perfect tense signifies that an action has been completed once, with results for all time. It is the exact opposite of the continuous tense, which signifies an action carried out continuously, without an end.

For instance, a man and wife get married on one specific day, at one specific time. Ever since that one day, that couple has been married ever since. Do they need to keep getting married over and over again to stay married? No. That one act, performed at one time results in being in that state from then on. That’s the perfect tense of “to marry”. Contrast that with the continuous tense of a verb. For instance, I need to brush and floss my teeth daily to keep them in a state of being clean. This is certainly not perfect tense, which would mean I would just have to brush and floss once and they are clean from that time on (though I wish that was the case!)

When Jesus uttered that glorious word, “tetelestai” from the cross, He used the perfect, not continuous tense of the word teleo, (to complete or fulfill). And what did Jesus’ last word tetelestai mean for us?

ALL is completely fulfilled… FOREVER!

And this powerful truth gloriously borne out throughout the book of Hebrews, particularly in chapter 10:

5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

    “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
    But a body You have prepared for Me.
    6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
    You had no pleasure.
    7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
    In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
    To do Your will, O God.’ ”

8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Heb 10:5–10.

Jesus’ telestai fulfilled so many things. Hebrews goes into the depths of this. (To learn more, listen to my series, Hebrews: the Glory of the New Covenant). In addition, Jesus’ telestai also completely fulfilled what He said in Matthew 5:17-18

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.

I used to think (like many Christians do) that what Jesus meant when He said, “till all is fulfilled” meant some time way in the distant future. But that is not true. Remember, the Bible is the best interpreter of itself. Too many Christians disregard Jesus’ perfect, finished work (expressed as “tetelestai”) when interpreting scripture. This is a fatal flaw. Jesus said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

The Lord Jesus Christ, in all of His perfection, perfectly satisfied the demands of perfect righteousness, perfectly obeying His Father perfectly fulfilling all the prophecies and perfectly settling the Law… forever. He didn’t destroy the law, He perfectly fulfilled it! Hebrews 10:9 says, “then He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.’ He takes away the first that He may establish the second.”

ALL is completely fulfilled… FOREVER!

Dear Christian, your Christian life begins with the reality and totality of Christ’s tetelestai for you! That’s because:

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)

(Photo by Gustavo Moreno on Unsplash)

The Blessedness of a Blessing God!

Psalm 103:1–5 (NKJV):

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
3 Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
4 Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
5 Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Verse 1 explodes with blessing, worship, praise and adoration to our wonderful, blessing God!

Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! And this blessing and worship of God is not without reason or cause, verse 2:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits

And now those incredible, life-transforming benefits that are given to us by God who is good and loving (notice the couplets):

  • 3a Who forgives all your iniquities,
    • 3b Who heals all your diseases,

  • 4a Who redeems your life from destruction,
    • 4b Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,

  • 5Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
    • 5b So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

And I am the recipient of such blessings!

Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
God has forgiven all my many iniquities! All because of what Christ did for me through His life of total obedience to the Father, all the way to death on the cross (Philippians 2:8, Hebrews 10:1-10).

God has healed me of cancer, of COVID-19 (twice), of many ills in my body and soul!

Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies.

God has intervened thousands of times to redeem (rescue and buy back) my life from destruction! JESUS is my Kinsman-Redeemer! He has “delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 2:13-14). I have even been rescued from the bullets of a gunman who came to our workplace and shot at brave police officers who were there to protect us and many others!

Not only does God lift me, redeem me and rescue me from destruction, He also “crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies!”

Oh, how I love that Hebrew word for “lovingkindness”: hesed! This incredible word is power-packed with God’s love toward me: a faithful and strong kind of covenant-keeping Love! This was the hallmark of King David’s life. No one else in scripture mentioned God’s hesed love more than David! I believe that God’s hesed was truly the secret behind David’s success! And God’s hesed, faithful, strong, covenant Love is also the secret behind my success!

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

No one and no thing can satisfy the thirst, hunger and desires of our life like God Himself! No one and no thing! I’m so glad that God has created us for enjoyment, satisfaction and pleasure… and the greatest enjoyment and pleasure of our lives is God Himself!

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

God is no “kill joy”. He is he architect of satisfaction and pleasure. Truly, there is no greater satisfaction and pleasure for spirit, soul and body than God Himself!

“So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”

Even though I am in my 60’s, I take no heed to what the world says about “aging”. But I sure pay a lot of attention to what God says! He says that He renews my youth like the eagle’s! Soaring high above the dangers and problems below, lofted by His glorious presence!

As I feed and delight in God… He renews my youth!

And the wonderful thing is, I am living forever, thanks to what The Lord Jesus Christ has done for me! His life and blood spent for me! Such Love, such Love, such wondrous Love!

How I praise Him for how good He is, how loving He is, how faithful, strong, wise, forgiving, healing, redeeming, crowning, satisfying and renewing He really is!

Oh, my heart and my soul want to explode and say:

Bless the LORD, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:

(c) 2022, Mark D. VanOuse

We Will Never Plumb the Depths of God’s Love in All Eternity

Ephesians 2:7 (NKJV)
[7] that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Jamieson Faucett & Brown in their commentary* observe:
Ephesians 2:7 answers the question of why God lavished such love upon his people: so that they will marvel for all of eternity over the incredible kindness and love of God. It will take all of eternity to fathom God’s love, and those who are saved will never plumb the depths of it.

The thought that “It will take all of eternity to fathom God’s love, and those who are saved will never plumb the depths of it” is so powerfully touching my heart.

In this world, all we know is limited supply. Eventually, we will run to the end of everything: money, time, resources, energy, pleasure, satisfaction, peace, safety, health, life — even human love.

Yet for all eternity we will never exhaust the Love of God! There will be new (to us) depths and places in His love that we will endlessly discover for all eternity! Think of that! Oh, the constant satisfaction! Oh, the constant delight and pleasure! Oh, the wonder of real, unfailing Love!

The one thing the world over seeks is this Love…. eternal Love…. forever Love.vYet we foolishly seek love elsewhere…

“For My people have committed two evils:They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

A catch basin, that’s all it is — and a broken one at that!
Yet He is the Living Water (John 4). His Love is an everlasting Love fit for all eternity. From this moment to eternity, His Love will always satisfy us with delight, wonder and discovery!

His great, conquering Love brought us from the depths of of sinfulness — objects of His wrath — to being “seated together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)!

* Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown 1871

Photo by Mike Enerio on Unsplash

God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair – Pt 5

[Series: God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair. This episode: “Psalm 37:34-40 – The Hope of the Righteous”] When we are going through a dark time, when the unrighteous and ungodly are getting away with their wrongdoing, it can seem like there is no hope. That our lives are hopeless, lost to the great wrong being perpetrated against us. In this episode, we see the great reality that God and His righteousness always triumphs:

  • Examples of people in the Bible who were viciously persecuted by the ungodly, but who through God triumphed, while those who persecuted them were eventually cut off by God.
  • What it means to “wait on the LORD”.
  • Even though the wicked may be temporarily prospering and growing in influence, God says it won’t last for too long. They are quickly cut off and destroyed.
  • The salvation and deliverance of God.

God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair – Pt 3

[Series: God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair, this episode: “Ps 37:12-21 – The Doom of the Wicked and The Heritage of the Righteous] Over and over again in the Bible we see situations where the righteous are vexed and can be tempted to be discouraged when it seems like the unrighteous are getting away with murder. Meantime, the righteous suffer. But that is only temporary. In this episode:

  • God is KING! He is the highest Judge and nothing gets past holy God!
  • Heart to heart counsel to those who are vexed, frustrated and even angry at the way the wicked are getting away with their wrong in the here and now. It’s important to shut everything off and find a quiet place with God.
  • A reminder of the reality that all of us came into this world as fallen creatures, rebellious and idolatrous against God. Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against Satan.
  • Why doesn’t that day of God’s justice come now? Taking the longer view and understanding that while God’s justice will certainly come, His mercy stays His hand to allow more to come into the Kingdom.
  • The sharp contrast between the certain doom of the wicked and the eternal heritage of the righteous.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair – Pt 2

[Series: God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair] God is speaking very clearly to us during these distressing times and no matter the situations of unfairness that we face. We continue our hope-filled series, based on Psalms 37 & 73 (the “3-7, 7-3” prescription). In this episode:

  • I heard God LAUGH. His laugh of derision of the wicked, for He knows their day is coming (Psalm 37:13 and Psalm 2:4)
  • What it means to “delight in The Lord” and “commit your way to The Lord”
  • We must be very careful not to run ahead of God or take matters into our own hands when we have been treated unjustly. We need to trust in The Lord.
  • GOD shall bring it to pass: HE will make our righteousness to be brought forth as the light.
  • What it means to rest in The Lord, cease from anger and forsake wrath.
  • The sudden, calamitous destiny of the wicked versus the lasting inheritance and peace of the righteous.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair – Pt 1

[Series: God’s Prescription When Life Isn’t Fair] There are times when we are frustrated — even angry — that something in our lives is downright unfair. We may be living our lives, doing what is right and then someone takes advantage of us. And it seems like they are getting away with it, while we suffer. In this opening episode:

  • The pandemic, a contentious U.S. Presidential election, economic upheaval, racial unrest, and violence in our cities. All of this has fallen upon us in just one year. This can leave many frustrated and even angry. But it is not good when we give into our flesh and respond in anger.
  • God is speaking to us through His Word…. and He has a powerful prescription for us when life is unfair. It’s the “3-7 7-3” prescription: Psalm 37 and Psalm 73. This series walks us through these two powerful psalms to discover God’s heart of love and patient justice.
  • Even though it may seem that the unrighteous are getting away with their wrong for a while, there will come a day when their end will come… swiftly.
  • God calls us not to fret or become angry, but to fully trust in Him.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

In God We Trust – Pt 2

[This is the second part of a 2-part message. NOTE: although the title is similar to the message shared during the last two podcast episodes (preached in 2020), this is a different one (preached in 2016)]. There are times when it seems as if things are spinning out of control. Or perhaps that the godless and wicked are gaining control. But that is not the case because God is The King and He is very much in control. On this podcast power encouragement during distressing times:

  • God is sovereign and rules over all.
  • The blessedness of trusting in God.
  • “In God We Trust” begins with in God I trust. This must be personal first.
  • Numerous examples are given in American history of in God we trust.

In God We Trust – Pt 1

[This is the first part of a 2-part message. NOTE: although the title is similar to the message shared during the last two podcast episodes (preached in 2020), this is a different one (preached in 2016)]. The most important and comforting thought we could ever have, even in the midst our turbulent times is this: God HIMSELF is supremely and always King. We can safely and confidently put our full trust in Him. In this message:

  • How God throughout the history of America has responded with revival to the fervent prayer of His people who cry out to Him.
  • How one verse, Isaiah 33:22, is the foundation verse of the United State’s form of government.
  • What GOD thinks about those who trust in man.