Treasures

Treasures

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Mt 6:19-21)

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 10:2)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Ps 19:9-10)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Mt 13:44-46)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Col 2:2-3)

We may think that wealth and riches profit us in this life.  In some ways, that is true.  However, we should remember that any so-called treasure that is a result of dishonesty or sinful pursuits will not bring us the joy that truly satisfies.  Such treasures will never profit us in eternity. 

But the righteousness that is born of faith in Jesus Christ will deliver us from many evils in this life as well as from eternal death in the next.

The Bible is packed full of precious promises (treasures) for the believer.  There are promises concerning health, healing, prosperity, the blessings of children, and the joy of relationships.  There are promises about every area of life; and all we need to do is to study them, meditate upon them, and to claim them for ourselves.  Here are several examples:

  • Children are a blessing from God.  (Ps 127:3-5)
  • Great wealth is in the house of the righteous . . . (Prov 15:6a)
  • Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Ps 103:5)
  • Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.  (Isa 48:17)
  • For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26)
  • . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Pet 2:24)

These are the true treasures of life and of eternity in Jesus Christ.

What Are Idols?

What Are Idols?

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.  (Deu 6:14)

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  (Deu 8:19)

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  (1 Joh 5:21)

What is an idol?  An idol can be a statue, a god or deity, a symbol, a hero, or an obsession.  Hollywood and movie industry stars can be idols for people, as can a certain model of a car, or a favorite brand of watch or any number of other things.

The key is, what is the most important thing in life to you?  What do you talk about the most?  What do you think about and dream of daily?  Around what are your goals centered?  Are you determined to achieve riches and fame?  Influence?  Do you dream of becoming a political influencer? 

Any of these things, and more, can become idols in a person’s life.  But God’s Word warns us strongly to stay away from these things.  Therefore, we need to take stock of our thoughts and to acknowledge what we value in our hearts. 

A follower of Jesus would value their relationship with their Savior more highly than any other thing in their lives.  Equally, Jesus’ followers would highly value the Word of God.  And of course, we also choose to honor and to consistently obey the teachings of the Bible. 

We may each joyfully pursue our relationship with our Lord, and endeavor to mature in faith in our Redeemer.  Life is all about Him—not about us.  Our true hero is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Glory to God!

Choose Boldness & Endurance

Choose Boldness & Endurance

If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  (2 Tim 2:12)  We must sustain our faith throughout our lifetimes, and when we do, the Lord promises that we will one day reign with Him.

But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33)  Let us be watchful that we never—in any way—deny the Good News of Jesus Christ.  It takes the grace of God to boldly and persistently pursue a life of faith in Jesus.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.  (Lk 9:26)

To deny Christ means to reject Him and His claim to be the Son of God and savior of all those who believe in Him.  This denial is a life-long denial, where there is no repentance and no acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ.  To those whose lives deny the Lord, the Lord will also say to them one day, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” as we read in Matthew 7:23.    (Source:  http://answersfromthebook.net/jesus-said-that-if-you-deny-him-before-men-that-he-will-deny-you-before-his-father-peter-denied-the-lord-does-this-mean-that-jesus-will-now-deny-peter-before-his-father)

We need to be bold and brave in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We aren’t all called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, or evangelists, but we are ALL called to let our light shine in a dark and pain-filled world.  One way to do that is through good works that bring glory to God.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:14-16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16)

Each one of us can be courageous in living our life as a follower and servant of Jesus Christ.  We may do that quietly and without fanfare, but all who know us should perceive that we have been with Jesus.  (See Acts 4:13) 

For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.  (Rev 19:10, emphasis added)

Another way to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel is through telling others about our own, personal testimonies of God’s goodness to each of us, and of His miracles and wonders.

Look Out for False Teachings

Look Out for False Teachings

Today we’re taking note of Bible verses that warn us of false prophets.  False prophets are judged by their words, and the accuracy of those words. 

Their words must always be measured against and compared to the teachings of Jesus Christ as shown in the Bible, and to the teachings of true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  (Mt 7:15-17)  This passage from Scripture reminds us to be cautious with those who claim to be prophets, and reminds us to judge them by their words and the fruit of their words.  Every good tree–the ones that are connected to the true Savior, Jesus Christ—produces GOOD fruit fit for the kingdom of God.   Observe the fruit and works of those who desire to teach you “new” things.  If they are not operating in the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, then it’s best to avoid them.

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  (Mt 24:24)  The goal of the false prophet, in spite of performing apparent miracles, is to deceive God’s chosen ones.  Deception is a work of the devil.

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  (2 Thess 2:9-10)  False prophets may receive power and ability to perform lying wonders from satan, so these things cannot be the determining factor in our judgment of a prophet.  We must compare their words and their teachings, to the clear teachings of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  If the so-called prophet’s teachings do not agree with and line up with those of Jesus (shown in the Bible), then we must not follow their words or their teachings.

Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  (Mt 10:16)

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.  (Jam 1:5)

Let us endeavor to have the wisdom that is spoken of in the Bible, and which is given to everyone who asks the Lord for it.  Ask the Lord for wisdom, and He will surely give it to you.  God bless you.

Sheep without a Shepherd

Sheep without a Shepherd

Sheep who have no shepherd will die.  The shepherd protects his sheep, keeps his flock intact and leads them to still waters and grassy fields where they can feed.  He keeps watch over them and guards them from predators and thieves.

But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. 34 And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.  (Mk 6:33-34)  The multitudes ran to Jesus, because they heard so much about Him and they wanted to hear what He had to say.  Jesus responded to them with compassion, knowing that they needed a spiritual and moral shepherd.

But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  (Mt 9:36)  Jesus saw that the people were weary and that they were scattered in their beliefs and faith.  He felt concern and yearned to show mercy toward them.

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!  There is no want to those who fear Him.  10 The young lions lack and suffer hunger; but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:9-10)  Those who seek the Lord do not lack ANY good thing!  What a promise and what a blessing!

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  (Rom 8:31)  No one can successfully oppose the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.  (Lk 9:11)  Jesus taught the multitudes about the kingdom of God and the love of the Father.  He also healed all of those who needed any form of healing.  Praise God!

We, as the sheep of His pasture (Ps 95:7; 100:3), have the blessings of God’s protection, provision, and leadership.  Glory to God!

How Does God Oppose an Enemy?

How Does God Oppose an Enemy?

Why would we want to know how God opposes an enemy?  One reason is that God fights FOR us (Deu 3:22; 20:4) and our enemies become His enemies!  So, it’s sometimes enlightening to notice how God deals with His enemies so that we can recognize when and how He fights against OUR enemies.

There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to help you, and in His excellency on the clouds.  27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, and will say, ‘Destroy!’  (Deu 33:26-27) 

  • The Lord fights our enemies to help us; He is our refuge and support. God drives our enemies away from us and gives the command to destroy them.  Wow!

In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them.  (Isa 19:16 NIV)

  • The Lord causes His enemies to become weak with fear and trembling when they realize that He is their opposition.

 For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me.  (Zech 2:9)

  • When God shakes His fist against a nation or a tribe, they become as the spoils of war for their servants to plunder. It is wise to remain God’s friend.

 For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:  “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”  But you would not, and you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”— therefore you shall flee!  And, “We will ride on swift horses”— therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!  One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain and as a banner on a hill.  (Isa 30:15-17)

  • In this passage, the Lord was trying to give His people wise advice to return to their faith in Him, but they wouldn’t obey. He was offering the tribe of Judah the promise of protection from Assyria. Instead, His people decided to run away, and the Lord removed His blessings and protection from them.

Based upon this study, we can understand why the Bible says:

 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  (Heb 10:31)

For our God is a consuming fire.  (Heb 12:29)

We can rejoice that God fights for us, and gives us supernatural and miraculous abilities to defeat the enemy.

One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.  (Josh 23:10)  Let us rejoice that our God and Savior fights for us every single day!

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, Seek, Knock

So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  (Lk 11:9)

  • This verse of the Bible tells us to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK—with persistence. In the original language the implication is to ask and to keep on asking, to seek and to keep on seeking, and to knock and to keep on knocking!  And when you ask, it will be given to you.  When you seek, you’ll find.   When you knock, it will be opened to you.  This is not only a representation of the goodness and mercy of God, but also a model of persistence in faith as well as tenacity in believing that God is good and generous, and that He will answer prayers.

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.  (Mk 11:24)

  • The message to us in this verse is that our faith in God and in the fact that He cannot lie gives us the spiritual, anointed obstinacy to patiently wait—in hope and constant expectation—that our prayers have already been answered.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  (Joh 15:7)

  • As we memorize the Word of God, honor it, and obey it lovingly and joyfully, the Lord tells us in this verse that we may ask for our hearts’ desires and they shall be done for us. What a blessing!

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  (1 Joh 3:22)

  • This Scripture reminds us that as we please the Lord with our lives and actions by doing what is beautiful to Him, the Lord gives us whatever we ask from Him.

Here are a couple more faith-building verses from God’s Word upon which to meditate:

No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11b)

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (Joh 14:13)

When we read the Bible with a heart full of love and connection to God, the promises that He has given to us shine like the genuine treasures that they are!  So, keep on asking, seeking and knocking, and our loving Father God will look upon our faith and trust in Him with favor.  Have a blessed day.

Encourage & Build

Encourage & Build

Have you ever heard this saying?  “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”  Such a person is an ENCOURAGER!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 NIV)

There are at least thirteen passages in the New Testament alone about encouragement.  Encouragement means inspiration, reassurance, and support.  Encouragement is a combination of all three.  It has great potential for fostering and advancing critical moments in a person’s, a church’s, and or a nation’s history. 

But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.  (Deu 3:28 NKJV)  As this verse in the Bible demonstrates, encouragement is able to strengthen a person’s soul (mind, will, and emotions) and help them to push ahead to accomplish their goal.  Thanks to encouragement and God’s grace, Joshua accomplished great things for God.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Acts 11:23)  This is when Barnabas visited the church at Antioch:  He supported them in their faith in God and emboldened them to continue in it.

Here is something interesting to know about Barnabas

“Barnabas” wasn’t his birth name (it was Joseph); Barnabas was his nickname meaning “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). This rather obscure Bible character was so encouraging that it became his name.” ~ Source:  https://www.leadershipresources.org/who-is-barnabas-in-the-bible-10-things-to-know.

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)  These words of the Apostle Paul’s are inspiration to the church of his day—as well as to us.  He is nurturing our unity, our faith in and understanding of the Gospel, and our perseverance in faith.

. . . and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith . . .  (1 Thes 3:2)  The Apostle Paul is writing from Antioch about sending Timothy to confirm, reassure and to strengthen the faith of the Thessalonian church during persecution.

As these passages reveal to us, encouragement is powerful!  It has the potential to build (develop, shape, and foster) a person’s faith in God as well as a confidence in their calling to such an extent that they are enabled to accomplish mighty deeds and to produce pivotal moments in history. 

Boldly encourage someone that you care about today.  Blessings upon you!

Yes & Amen

Yes & Amen

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  (2 Cor 1:20)

This is a wonderful, blessed, and encouraging Bible verse.  It means that every promise in the Bible is fulfilled through, and guaranteed by, Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

But what does that mean, in everyday life, to a believer?

First, the key is to remember that all of God’s words are reliable.  They are firm, constant, and steadfast. God cannot lie. (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Heb 6:18; Tit 1:2)

These promises are fulfilled IN JESUS so it’s crucial to remember that Jesus never changes. (Heb 13:8)  Neither will His promises nor His support of God’s Word ever change.

God is consistent and His love is consistent.  That means that He, His love and His words NEVER FAIL.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  (Ps 13:5)

For with God nothing will be impossible.  (Lk 1:37)

He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever . . .  (Ps 18:50)

And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  (Josh 23:14)

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.  (Ps 33:5)

. . . so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  (Isa 55:11 NIV)

So, our question from the top of the article is what does this mean for the believer.  First, here are the definitions of the words:   The word Yes means “certainly, absolutely, and positively.”  The word Amen means “I agree” or “Yes, indeed.”

In everyday life, this means that you may choose a Bible verse or several that you would like to come to pass for you in your life.  As you meditate upon the verse (or verses) and keep it in front of your eyes, know that through Jesus, the Lord has already answered:  “certainly; I agree; absolutely; yes, indeed; and positively” to your need.

How glorious!  We serve the God of the impossible!

The Way, the Truth & the Life

The Way, the Truth & the Life

Why did Jesus connect Himself with these three words and how does it impact a life of faith?

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.
  (Joh 14:6)

Jesus said this to His followers the night before He was crucified.  He was preparing them for the challenging days that were ahead of them.

  • Jesus asserts that He is the Way which suggests that faith in Him is the open door to salvation and to eternal life.  This is the truth that the Good News is based upon, and we need to share it with everyone.  God has made the plan of salvation clear, and we have been given the honor of sharing His Gospel with everyone.

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.  (Joh 10:9) This is the Lord saying that He is to Door to Salvation and Eternal Life.   “Finding pasture” means that the Lord will supply all of our needs just as a shepherd cares for all of the needs of his sheep.

. . . that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  (Joh 3:15)  Believing in Jesus Christ as our Savior is the only road to God.

  • Jesus says that He is the Life because He is also the author and source of all of life. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  (Joh 1:1-4)  Jesus is the Word made flesh and this verse is the foundation for that truth.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  (Joh 11:25-26)  Jesus makes His claim clearly here that He is the resurrection and the life.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.   (Col 1:16)  All forms of life were created by the Lord.

  • No one would care about or remember Jesus’ claim to be the Way and the Life if He was not also, in reality, the Truth of God.  Jesus’ actions and entire life demonstrate the love, mercy, forgiveness, and miracle-working power of the Father God.  It is no wonder then, that Jesus prays the following prayer:

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  (Joh 17:15-19, emphasis added)

Jesus prayed, “Your word is truth.”  Jesus is known as the living Word of God.  (John 1:1, 14)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:13)  This verse is referring to Jesus Christ and says that He is called The Word of God.

Jesus is the living Word of God and God’s Word is truth.  Jesus was speaking the truth about Himself!  Praise the Lord!