How Much More?

How Much More?

“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.  10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  (Lk 11:9-13, emphasis added)

The Lord Jesus is speaking here about the generosity of our heavenly Father, in that He wishes to bless us in many different and varied ways!  Jesus also encourages us, based upon everything that He has said up to this point, to ask the Father to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit!

What I want to ponder today is the heart of the Father who wants us to come to Him when we’re in need of anything at all.  He outlines that:

  • When we ask, whatever we request will be given;
  • After seeking for a specific answer to prayer, we will find (receive) the perfect answer; and
  • That when we knock at a door, that it WILL be opened to us. (This can be a spiritual, figurative, or physical door—a door of access, welcome, or opportunity.)

Then Jesus continues by reiterating that when we ask, we receive; that the one who seeks a blessing or benefit, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will conclusively be opened!  Then our Lord reminds us that when a child asks for bread, fish, or an egg, that any good parent would give their child exactly what they desire.  And if human beings, who were born in sin, are so good and kind and generous to their own children, then how much more good, kind, and generous will our heavenly Father be to us?

In making these simple yet affirming statements, Jesus opens up the entire world of God’s generosity right before our eyes. 

. . . but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.  (Ps 34:10b, underlining added)

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.  (Ps 51:12)

. . . no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11c, underlining added)

According to God’s own Word, He has a generous Spirit and He withholds NO good thing from us.  What a great basis of faith—to enable us to trust in God’s love, mercy, and generosity.  He has promised that He has given us all that pertains to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him.  (2 Pet 1:3)

Why Was I Created?

Why Was I Created?

We were created in the image of God. (Gen 1:27; Col 3:10)  We were—each and every one of us—created by God to have and to enjoy a vital relationship with Him.  We have the choice of entering into a relationship with Him or not. 

The Bible reminds us that every human being has sinned (Rom 3:23).  Because God loves mankind, He provided a Savior for us.  (Joh 3:16)  Jesus is the Savior that God gave us.  (1 Joh 2:2; 4:10; Gal 2:20)

The Bible also reminds us that we have the free will to make this choice, even to reject our Savior.  (Joh 1:11; 2 Tim 2:12)  God has given us the freedom to make our own decisions.

But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 10:33 ESV)

However, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, He gives us salvation:  abundant life as well as eternal life.  (Joh 3:16; Rom 10:13)

Jesus said about Himself:  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10)  The life that Jesus provides is an abundant one, full of blessings and benefits.  (Ps 68:19: 103:2; 116:12)

The Lord desires to have a daily relationship with each one of us where we experience His presence and trust Him for wisdom, courage, and strength in all situations. With every step that we take, decision we make, conversation we have, and thought that we entertain, the Lord wants to glorify Himself through each one of us. He desires to shine in our lives—with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control illuminating our unique talents, traits, and personalities as we walk in obedience to Him.  He wants to live in each one of us and through each one of us.

Read your Bible, pray, worship the Lord along with other believers, and obey the Scriptures.  As you do these things, the Lord will lead you and teach you how to love Him, serve Him, and to walk in His ways.  Listen for His voice, and be sensitive to Him—even as you would be to your spouse—for your relationship with the Lord is your most crucial relationship.

So we were created:  1) for an intimate relationship with the Lord through Jesus Christ; 2) to glorify God through our lives; and 3) to be loved by God and to give Him our love in return.

This is a life of harmony and unity with Jesus Christ—where He is the Captain of our souls.  He lovingly charts our journeys, decides on the ports of call, and brings us safely to our destination.  All glory to God!

Love Is the Gift of God

Love Is the Gift of God

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:8)

LOVE – the single most important thing in life and in eternity.  There’s no way that we can “love too much”!

Firstly, God is love—as shown in the verse above.  That’s why it was easy to make the statement above that love is the single most important thing in life and in eternity.  This is true simply because God IS love—and HE is the most important Being in life and in eternity.  I believe that without God, mankind would have no concept of love.  God IS love—pure, perfect, unconditional, unending love. 

God chose to create us with a free will.  We can choose to obey Him or not; and we can choose to love God or not.  But when we DO love God and serve Him, He causes amazing things to happen in our lives. 

Here are just some of the wonderful things that God provides and does for those who love and serve Him:

  • Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the Lord preserves the faithful . . . (Ps 31:23) He preserves [maintains, upholds, sustains) His people.
  • Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. (Ps 91:14)  God will deliver us when we’re in trouble; and He will set us on high.  God made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus—that is being “set on high.”  (Eph 2:6)
  • I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications. (Ps 116:1)  God hears our voices as we pray to Him.  And another verse in the Bible (1 Joh 5:14-15) says that when we know that God has heard us, we know that He has given us the very thing for which we have prayed.  Glory to God!
  • The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. (Ps 146:8)  The Lord gives sight to the blind; straightens those who are bent over and removes their burden; and He loves us.  The Lord is our healer.  (Ex 15:26; 23:25; Isa 53:4-5; Jer 30:17; Jam 5:14-15)
  • That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries. (Pro 8:21)  Wisdom (represented as a person) is speaking in this verse, and all wisdom comes from God Himself.  So this verse says that God causes those who love Him to inherit wealth, and He fills their bank accounts. 

This list includes verses from the Old Testament only, but there are even better promises in the New Testament for us!  My point in this discussion is that LOVE is a hugely important gift to consider.  And there are even bigger and better indications of God’s love for us in the New Testament.  Search out those hidden treasures for yourself!

We know that God loves each one of us.  But in addition to His love, He has allowed us to love and to be loved by fellow human beings.  That is one of God’s chief gifts to us.  The reason it is so key is because every ounce of love that we either feel for another or receive from another is a reminder and a representation of God Himself—who is love. 

Treasure, cherish and appreciate every single person who loves you and whom you love.  Enjoy the fact that you’re able to love other people, and that you’re able to receive and to experience their love for you.

Love—it’s a gift of God to each one of us.

Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Today’s topic is a consideration of what type of person each one of us wants to be.  How do we get T-H-E-R-E from where we are now?  The Lord Jesus is committed to each and every one of His children.  If we cooperate with Him, we will never be put to shame.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Mt 7:12 NKJV)  – This is the golden rule:  Do unto others what you want them to do to you.  If this rule guides your thoughts and actions, the results will be pleasing.  Allow this to motivate you to extend mercy and forgiveness to others.

For “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”  (Acts 17:28 ESV)  – Remember, we are made in the image of God; we are His children.  We live and do everything in Christ.  God bestows His unconditional love and abundant blessings upon His children.  Remember WHOSE you are!  It will do wonders for your self-image, and for how you conduct yourself. 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Rom 5:3-5 NKJV)  – God’s love has been poured out upon each one of us.  All of life’s circumstances are designed to improve our character and to conform us to the image of Christ.  (See Romans 8:29)  Allow your circumstances to soften your hard edges, and to nurture a merciful and loving quality within you.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16 ESV)  – Each one of us is truly God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within each one of us.  Glory to God!  Be aware of God’s presence constantly, and allow the knowledge that He is with you to transform all of your decisions and actions.  It will bless you and cause you to bless others.

. . . but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  (Eph 4:15 NKJV)  – God wants us to grow up (mature) into the image of Christ.  One way of doing that is to walk in love and to do everything with a loving heart and attitude.

Grow up and BE the person you truly want to be.  How do you want your spouse, your children, and your friends to remember you?  Once you’ve come to a decision on that, take some time to strategize how to aim your life and your behavior in that direction.  Allow the Scriptures and the Lord to guide you.  God is committed to transforming each one of us, and will give us the grace that we need.  Oh joy!

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

We continue our study on making peace.  We serve the God who is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), so we must always cooperate with Him.

Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (Jas 3:18)

A very vital spiritual discipline is to pray for the other person involved in the broken relationship.  Never try to “get even,” because that motivation does not come from the Spirit of God but from the pit of hell.

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you . . . (Mt 5:44)

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.  (Rom 12:14)

Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people.  (1 Thes 5:15)        

If you’re the offended person and you receive a text, email, or note in the mail similar to what was described in our previous article, pray deeply and sincerely about your response.  Weigh the pros and cons of what actually happened between you. Was it an uncommon occurrence on the other person’s part?  Was it out of the ordinary or some kind of misunderstanding? 

Ask the Lord to give you His supernatural grace to forgive; and understand that when you ask Him to do something according to His will (1 Jo 5:14-15), that He hears you and gives you exactly what you’ve requested. 

Remember that you are also forgiven by the Lord.  The Lord said:  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Mt 6:15) 

If you’re able to forgive the other person, it is a victory for the Kingdom of God!  And it will enrich your life and the lives of those who may be aware of the problem.  Forgiveness and reconciliation is a testimony to God’s goodness, mercy, and grace. 

If you honestly and sincerely feel that the circumstance(s) that caused a rift between you was a predictable event, and that it will certainly happen again, then you still need to forgive the person.  But you can choose NOT to resume a relationship with the person who hurt you.  However, you should respond to their overture and let them know that you do forgive them, and that you wish them the very best.  You can then indicate that due to the history between you, you feel it’s best for you that you don’t resume a relationship with them. 

In following these guidelines, you will have cooperated with the other person (and with God) in establishing peace between you.  (2 Cor 13:11) God bless you.

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 1

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 1

When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.  (Pro 16:7)

And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.  (Rom 5:11)

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:18, 19, emphases added)

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.  (Pro 19:11)

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.  (Rom 14:19)

It’s never too late to make peace with estranged friends, family members and loved ones.  Reconciliation is the very crux of Jesus’ work for the Kingdom of God.

Whenever something has happened to cause a breakdown in a relationship, it’s best to pray about it and literally bathe the event in prayer (after it has happened).  Ask God to give you supernatural wisdom, insight, and understanding in the matter. 

If you’re the offender, respectfully approach the person whom you’ve hurt, and indicate that you would like to make peace.  This might involve you sending a “thinking of you” card in the mail (or a text message or an email, etc.) saying that you’d like to make things right between you.  Share your sincere apology for the offense (briefly say what it was), and that you would like to resume a relationship.  Indicate how important the other person is to you.

Now, whatever the response is—you’ve done your part.  Your mind and conscience can be at peace, even if the offended person doesn’t reply.  Or they may say that they forgive you, but they don’t want to resume the relationship.  Again, that’s their prerogative, and you’ll know that you did the responsible and godly thing.  At least you have participated in establishing peace between you and the other person.  (Rom 12:18)

Our next article will cover Part 2 of this subject.

The New Covenant is Better!

The New Covenant is Better!

Today we’re thinking about various way in which the New Covenant is far better than the Old Covenant.  Please read 2 Corinthians, chapter 3 in preparation (only 18 verses). 

Here are some ideas on how the New Covenant surpasses the Old: 

NEW   1.  The Holy Spirit validates God’s people. (Rom 14:18; Eph 1:6)

OLD    1.  The Holy Spirit strove with God’s people who were rebellious. (Gen 6:3)

NEW  2.  The law is written in our hearts. (Heb 10:16 NLT)

OLD   2.  The law was written on tablets of stone. (Ex 24:12; Deu 4:13)

NEW  3.  We have confidence to draw near to God. (Jas 4:8)

OLD   3.  Only the priests could draw near after performing rituals. (Ex 19:22-24)

NEW  4.  We serve a spiritual truth–salvation is real. (Joh 3:16-17; Col 2:16-17; 1 Pet 2:9)

OLD    4.  The Old Covenant priests served symbols and shadows. (Heb 10:1)

NEW   5.  Gives spiritual life. (John 1:4; 14:6; 2 Cor 3:6; 1 Joh 3:5)

OLD    5.  Revealed spiritual death because the law could only condemn. (Eccl 7:20; Ps 51:5; Isa 59:7)

NEW   6.  God’s glory lives within each of us. (Ps 3:3; Col 1:27; 1 Cor 6:19-20)

OLD    6.  God’s glory was seen for a time upon Moses’ face; it was temporary. (Ex 34:33)

NEW   7.  Gives us a living righteousness. (Rom 3:22; 2 Cor 5:21)

OLD    7.  Could not impart righteousness but could only offer forgiveness. (Num 14:19; 2 Sam 12:13; Rom 4:13)

NEW   8.  Unveils the heart. (2 Cor 3:16)

OLD    8.  Required a veil. (2 Cor 3:13, 15)

NEW   9.  Sanctifies and transforms us. (Acts 26:18; Rom 15:16; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 3:18)

OLD    9.  Could only unmask, condemn and slay people. (Gen 6:5; Eccl 7:20; Isa 59:7; 64:6)

I hope that this article has encouraged you and reminded you of how greatly we are blessed through Jesus Christ, our Savior.