The Importance of Forgiveness

The Importance of Forgiveness

Today we meditate upon God’s Word concerning forgiveness.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  (Mt 18:21-22 NIV)

The Lord is telling us that we must practice forgiveness, and grow so accustomed to it that it becomes habitual.  Does that surprise you?  But that is the way that God forgives each and every one of us!  Whenever we repent of any sin, whether small or large, God faithfully forgives us.

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”  (Lk 17:3-4 NKJV) 

Again, we understand that forgiveness is something that all who follow Jesus Christ must do without grudging.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  (Mt 6:14-15 NKJV)

Now, we see that it can even be self-serving to forgive other people, because God’s Word says that if we forgive other people’s sins that God also forgives our sins.  Thank God!

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”  (Mk 11:25 NKJV)

This verse encourages us to forgive anyone who has injured us. 

Of course, it requires the grace of God for us to be able to forgive someone who has betrayed us, wounded us emotionally, or injured us physically.  All we need to do is to ask the Lord to give us His grace to be able to forgive.  And He will.

When we give it all to God and know that God sees all of the hurts that we have endured and that He stands with us, empowering us to forgive, we find that we have the grace that we need to do what God has asked us to do.  And never forget that He blesses our obedience to His Word. God bless you.

Don’t Choose to Oppress Others

Don’t Choose to Oppress Others

Today we’re looking at the wisdom of God’s Word, as well as the grave importance of choosing to be on God’s side at all times.

Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways . . .  (Pro 3:31 NKJV)

An oppressor is also known as a “man of mischief”—a person who is an evildoer and who is destined to reap the eternal harvest of his wickedness.  That harvest of wickedness often begins to unfold while the oppressor is still on earth.

Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them . . .   (Pro 24:1 NKJV)

This verse warns us all to recognize that there’s nothing whatsoever to envy in those who are evil.  At times when evil men seem to succeed, we may become jealous of them, and then want to be with them.  The type of evil this proverb is discussing is associated with troublemaking and violence.  The Lord knows the end from the beginning, and He knows what torment awaits these cruel people. 

If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.  (Eccl 5:8 NKJV)

In this verse, we are told not to marvel over the fact that in a certain province [district, municipality, county, or state] there is a person or people in authority who practice violent perverting of judgment and justice, and who oppress the poor under rule of law, backed with power. 

God is higher than the highest of officials. God has set other people in higher levels of authority who oversee the province where evil is being done.  If those higher officials do nothing to correct the situation, rest assured that God wields his own hierarchy of power.

There is a realm of angels who are employed by divine justice to protect the injured and to punish those responsible for harming the poor.  Our Supreme God in heaven demands that oppressors answer to Him.  And they will certainly do so, and they will not escape God’s judgment. So in all of your trials and tribulations, trust the Lord to rescue and to deliver you.  God bless you.

Instructions for Holy Living

Instructions for Holy Living

Today we’re taking note of the Bible’s helpful ideas about holy living.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  (2 Tim 2:20-26 NIV)

The passage above is talking about different kinds of people who all attend the same church.  Some are precious vessels of gold and silver who can withstand the fires of hardship, heartaches, or persecution.  Others are vessels of wood and earth which are fragile and soon destroyed in the flames of hardship and misfortune.

The people who constantly purify themselves by “being cleansed by the washing of the water of the word” (Eph 5:26 NASB)—reading and obeying God’s Word regularly—are set apart and made holy unto God.

We’re told to run away from the lusts of the flesh.  Instead, we should pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to be diligent to avoid unwise and reckless squabbles.  The Spirit of God instructs us to be kind to everyone, able to teach God’s ways to others, and that we should be thankful.  We are urged to treat our enemies gently by sharing God’s Word and wisdom with them, and in so doing, hope to bring them to salvation. 

Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  (Tit 1:7 NIV)

The book of Titus reminds us that anyone in a place of authority should be virtuous and approachable.  We should not give in to human frailties such as intoxication; physical or verbal abuse; or chasing after or being corrupted by seeking wealth.

Keep away from worthless and useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God.  (2 Tim 2:16 CEV)

Avoid discussions that have no spiritual or eternal value, which can only alienate people from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are fairly easy to understand guidelines which are challenging to fulfill without the ongoing grace of God and our obedience to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  God bless you!

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

This study is about causing people to stumble spiritually, and it is a serious matter in God’s sight. 

As followers of Jesus, we have a grave responsibility to expose people to the light of the true gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined throughout the entire scriptures.  The gospel of salvation sets people free and makes the promises of God available to them.  It also gives them the blessing of an eternity in heaven.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  (Mt 18:7 NIV, emphasis added)

My reading of the verse above is this –

This present world is an evil and dangerous place. It’s full of attacks, sins, traps, and sorrows.  We all recognize that it’s a treacherous road that we must travel through life, full of stumbling-blocks, precipices, and false guides.  But God forbid that any one of us should be the cause of spiritual or moral stumbling on the part of another person.

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  (Lk 17:1 NIV)

Here a similar idea to that of Matthew, above.  The truth of Luke 17:1 is that God is warning that a great wretchedness shall come upon anyone who causes injury or harm—in word or deed—to one of His little lambs.  Who qualifies for God’s punishment?   

  • 1. Anyone who has in some way discouraged a believer in serving Christ and in fulfilling their calling.  Or anyone who has discouraged a Christian so deeply that the believer is in danger of being driven away from serving Christ completely. DO NOT discourage other people in any way that would undermine them or discourage them from achieving their goals.
  • 2. Those who corrupt the truths of Christ and His Word, and so distress and hassle the minds of believers. This is an evil practice of planting seeds of doubt into the hearts and minds of those who have faith. WE ARE NOT CALLED TO hassle or distress brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • 3. Those who profess to be Christians, but who live scandalously (shamefully, sinfully), and thereby weaken the connections between and sadden the souls of God’s people. We must live in OBEDIENCE to and in agreement with the Word of God.

May each one of us live in harmony with the standards of God’s holy Word. Blessings upon you.

Wisdom is Proven Right

Wisdom is Proven Right

In the real world, in everyday living, a wise person is one who follows Biblical standards in their personal lives; and in consequence, experiences startling results. 

I’m describing a person who lives out their faith in Jesus Christ daily, moment by moment.  They extend their help and friendship to those in need; they share the love of Christ with all those who cross their paths; and they even make decisions on practical and political matters based upon their faith in Jesus Christ and in God’s Word.

Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what its followers do.  (Lk 7:35 CEV)

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”  (Mt 11:19 NIV)  This verse is talking about Jesus being called a glutton and a friend of drunkards and sinners.  However, Jesus was wise in obeying the plan that Father God had for His live. 

Jesus knew that these were the very people that He had been sent to redeem.

Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.  (Hos 14:9 NIV)  As this verse reminds us, wisdom understands that the ways of the Lord are righteous and the just person walks in those ways.  Only the rebellious trip over them and end up struggling through life.

Do you want to acquire wisdom? 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (Jas 1:5 NKJV) With all sincerity of heart, ask the Lord to give you His wisdom today. He will certainly hear and answer your prayer, dear reader.

Trust the Lord More Than Any Human Being

Trust the Lord More Than Any Human Being

Did you know that the Bible tells us that it’s far better to trust in the Lord than to put our trust in any human being—no matter who they are?  Let’s turn to the Bible.

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.  For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited.  (Jer 17:5-6) 

This passage warns us that a person who trusts in a human being rather than trusting in God, has departed from the Lord!  It also clearly says that such a person will be like a parched shrub in a desert who couldn’t recognize good when he saw it.  Furthermore, it forecasts that this unbeliever will continue to live alone in the wilderness.  What a bleak prospect for anyone!

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.  It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.  (Ps 118:8-9)  Not even princes or kings should be trusted in preference to the Lord.  God is the only Being who is truly good and who has ultimate, unending power.

Do not trust in a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom.  For son dishonors father, daughter rises against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.  Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.  (Mic 7:5-7)  This passage even counsels us to distrust our own loved ones before we would distrust God.  It further advises us to wait for God’s salvation, knowing that God always hears our prayers.

These are very serious admonitions which we should heed if we want to be true followers of Jesus Christ.  May God continue to give us wisdom and insight into His Word. A day-by-day trust in the Lord that is constant and unwavering will grow our faith and our relationship with the Lord who loves each one of us! Hurray!

Esteem the Word

Esteem the Word

As followers of Jesus Christ, we should honor and respect God’s Word.  The Bible gives us guidance on this topic.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.  (Jer 15:16)

God’s Word should give us joy and cause us to rejoice in His goodness, His nature, and His salvation.

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word.  I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me.  How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  (Ps 119:101-103)

In order to observe [obey] God’s Word, we endeavor to live holy, upright lives.  This is because we consider the Word of God to be sweeter and more satisfying to us than anything else in our lives.

The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.  (Ps 119:72)

The Word displays to us a right attitude through the above passage in Psalms.  The psalmist said that God’s Word was more precious to him than thousands of gold and silver coins!  He was saying that money paled in comparison to the value of God’s precious Word to him. 

May each and every one of us agree with the psalmist in this matter.  Praise the Lord!

Upright Living

Upright Living

We are strongly encouraged to live holy, upright lives in the Scriptures.  Here are several instances:

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.  (Tit 2:7-8 NIV)

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  (1 Tim 4:12 NKJV)

. . . having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  (1 Pet 3:16)

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—  (1 Pet 2:15)

Why is this so important to the Lord that He would repeat it many times throughout the Bible?  It’s because the Lord has designed us to be His light in this ever-darkening world.  His plan is that through our upright and holy lives, we may silence all who try to defame us and vilify us in public. 

Our Lord Jesus was our example.  He lived a holy, sinless life on this earth and went about teaching the people about God and the Kingdom.  Jesus also performed signs, wonders and miracles continually.  It is such good works as His that we should yearn to imitate. 

I encourage us all to follow our loving Savior’s example of a righteous life.  God bless you.

God Gives Us Triumph

God Gives Us Triumph

The Bible gives us many passages that speak about the truth that God gives triumph to His people.  Throughout the Old Testament, the Lord delivered His people from their enemies and gave them the victory.  In the New Testament, we also have a firm basis to trust that our God shall bring us to triumph over our enemies.

So I will triumph over my enemies around me. With shouts of joy I will offer sacrifices in his Temple; I will sing, I will praise the Lord.  (Ps 27:6 GNT) 

Whenever we experience an instance of God-given triumph, it should always motivate us to praise and to worship the Lord in joyous thanksgiving.  It’s an important part of victory to give the Lord all of the honor and glory that is due Him.

Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.  (Ps 112:8 NIV) 

In the midst of a trial or battle, we can rest assured knowing that we shall ultimately experience victory over the enemy.  Allow the passage of Scripture above to support your faith in a crisis.

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.  (Col 2:15 NKJV)

Jesus, our Savior, is the One who disarmed every spiritual enemy and by publicly putting them on display, triumphed over them permanently.  Hallelujah!

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [triumph] through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57 NKJV)

In 1 Corinthians, the Scriptures clearly reveal that we may live in continual victory through Jesus Christ.

By faith in Jesus—and living in agreement with and obedience to Biblical standards—we live in a constant state of victory.  Our faith in the Lord makes us participants in His victory which is established forever in the heavens.

God Draws People to You

God Draws People to You

Do you realize that God surrounds His people with His supernatural and miraculous favor?  God’s favor upon believers turns us into people magnets!  What do I mean?  Let’s look at what the Bible has to say.

Arise, shine; for your light has come!  And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.  (Isa 60:1-3)

In the verse above, notice that the passage states: “. . . the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.  The Gentiles shall come to your light . . . “ 

The Word Gentiles in Biblical times referred to people who were NOT God’s chosen people.  So, in our era, the word basically refers to unbelievers–those who haven’t heard the good news of the Gospel of salvation.  The reference to God’s glory arising over us and people coming to our light is a poetic way of describing the fact that people will approve, esteem, prefer, and promote those who are recipients of God’s favor. God’s favor upon us causes other people to be attracted to us so that we may have an impact for good on behalf of the Kingdom of God in this world.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:16)

When unbelievers and believers observe the good works done by those who believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord, it will cause them to honor and to glorify God in response.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.  (Eph 5:8)

To walk as children of light implies living upright, holy and exemplary lives that conform to biblical guidelines and standards.

. . . that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world . . .  (Phil 2:15)

When we live and walk as children of light we expose darkness wherever we find it; we search for meaningful fruit in our own lives; we participate in our local church or fellowship; and we read and meditate upon the Scriptures (the Bible) regularly.  Glory to God!