The Sad State of Our World

The Sad State of Our World

I am grieved by what is happening in the world now.  It is full of chaos and confusion and conflict.

Families typically share a worldview:  common beliefs that they hold in common at least while the children are young.  As the youngsters mature and grow into adulthood, they will evaluate their worldview and either accept it or reject it.  Then when children marry, new and unfamiliar opinions get mixed in.  This can bring harmony and unity, if these viewpoints should agree, but they can bring chaos and turmoil when they don’t.

Micah is an Old Testament prophet who said this about his own time, and also about what will happen when Messiah comes to earth.

Sons refuse to respect their own fathers, daughters rebel against their own mothers, and daughters-in-law despise their mothers-in-law.  Your family is now your enemy.  (Mic 7:6 CEV)

During those days, even within one family there would be breakdowns and strife.  Neighbors no longer trusted one another.  Families were in crisis.

What Micah said in Micah 7, was also Jesus’ argument a few hundred years later!  Jesus even says that He came to turn people against one another—even among families.

For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a person’s enemies will be the members of his household.  (Mt 10:35-36 NASB)

“Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  (Lk 12:53 NKJV)

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  (Lk 21:16 NIV)

These are difficult things to hear from the Lord.  No one wants the very people that he deeply loves to turn against him.  But the Lord is warning all of His followers to expect persecution—even from those whom we have nurtured and loved and known deeply.

The enemy loves to use family pressure—even the threat of family violence—to drive us away from our faith in Jesus.  How many of us believers have raised our children and watched them grow up, get married and later turn away from their faith in Jesus Christ?  Too many, and it always brings devastating pain, and too often, broken relationships.

Our only consolation is to know that Jesus loves each one of us.  He will not stop working to bring back His lost sheep into His sheepfold.  Pray faithfully for those whom you love who have wandered away from their faith in Jesus and in the true gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It is good to understand and remember that the Lord has engraved each of us on the palms of His hands.  (Isa 49:16) Praise God!

Why Did Humanity Throng Jesus?

Why Did Humanity Throng Jesus?

A THRONG means a multitude, crowd, mass of people, or swarm of people.  The Bible points out that everywhere that Jesus traveled, people swarmed to Him.  They ran to Jesus in hope, out of need, and due to a yearning to see the hand of God operating among them.

The people not only crowded around the Lord, but they were actually pressing in upon Him—trying to get as close to Him as they possibly could.  Let’s turn to the Bible:

And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him.  (Mk 5:24 NASB)

And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”  (Mk 5:31 NASB, emphasis added)

On one occasion, while the crowd was pressing in on him to hear the word of God, he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret . . . (Lk 5:1 ESV)

. . . because his twelve-year-old child was dying. She was his only daughter. While Jesus was on his way, people were crowding all around Him.  (Lk 8:42 CEV)

Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” While everyone was denying it, Peter and those who were with him said, “Master, the crowds are surrounding you and pressing in on you.”  (Lk 8:45 ISV)

The people wanted and needed to experience the forgiveness, the love and the mercy of God that Jesus radiated to all who were exposed to Him.  All human beings desire love and acceptance, and no one conveyed that as powerfully and as genuinely as Jesus Christ did.

In the physical presence of Jesus, I believe that every human being on earth would react in just the same way today as people did in Bible times. 

What we would do well to remember is that we already having a loving and personal relationship with Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and Messiah.  We have access to all of His blessings and to His presence in our lives.  All we need to do is to stop, and get alone with Him in a place of prayer and worship.  At once, the Lord’s presence will be magnified as we focus upon Him, alone.  God bless you.

Jesus, Our High Tower & Our Safe Place

Jesus, Our High Tower & Our Safe Place

One of the mightiest defenses that we have in this world to help us fight against the tactics of Satan, is the name of the Lord

John 17:12 (AMP) Jesus is speaking:  While I was with them, I kept and preserved them in Your Name [in the knowledge and worship of You]. Those You have given Me I guarded and protected . . .  

Jesus was communicating this idea:  ‘I kept them in that High Tower, inside that NAME—I kept them there; they were in that lofty place.’  Remember the 70 that were chosen to be sent out said, “even the devils are subject to us in Your Name!” 

There are numerous Bible verses referring to the Lord as our high tower—our stronghold, our refuge. 

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me; My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge; My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold.  (Ps 18:2 AMP, emphasis added)

The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold [our refuge, our high tower]. Selah.  (Ps 46:7; 46:11 AMP, emphasis added)

O [God] my strength, I will watch for You; for God is my stronghold [my refuge, my protector, my high tower].  (Ps 59:9 AMP, emphasis added)

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy.  (Ps 61:2-3 NKJV)  Jesus is the Rock.  (1 Cor 10:4; Ps 78:35)

But the Lord has become my high tower and defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.  (Ps 94:22 AMP)

My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.  (Ps 144:2 NKJV, emphasis added)

A high tower represented safety to people in biblical times; it was used for defensive purposes.  (Jud 9:51) Watchmen would be posted upon high towers to keep a lookout for enemies (human or animal), and the watchmen would sound an alarm when they saw danger approaching. 

High towers also served as a protection for people, animals, and goods.  They were used as a fortress in times of war.  It served as a last retreat when a town was taken by an enemy.  The people would flee to the high tower along with their valuable possessions.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs to it and is safe and set on high [far above evil].  (Pro 18:10 AMP)

“The Lord is a strong tower in fearful and scary times. It is the name of the Lord that is our
strong tower. It is the place of safety which God promises to those who
run to Him. The name of the Lord is a Biblical expression for the whole
character of God. The name of the Lord refers to God’s person and character.” 

~ (Source:  https://www.cui.edu/devotions/lent/2019/post/the-name-of-the-lord/day/40)

Jesus’ name is our high tower; and when we turn to Him, we are set far above evil.  Let us praise and worship the Lord for His mercy, love, and protection.  Thank You, Lord!

What We KNOW as Believers

What We KNOW as Believers

We, as Christians, don’t have to wonder or hope or try to get faith.  We need to stop and consider what we know.  Our key verse for this study is in 2 Timothy:

. . . for I KNOW whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.  (2 Tim 1:12b KJV)

For we KNOW JESUS, our Savior and Lord, with whom we have a living, vital relationship—Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God!  (Mt 16:16; 26:63; Joh 6:69) To KNOW someone means to have a relationship with, to comprehend, and to have experienced who they truly are as a person.

As a matter of fact, because we have received Jesus Christ as our Savior, Redeemer and Lord, we are now known as SONS OF THE LIVING GOD!  (Rom 9:26)  Hallelujah!

These are some of the vital things that we KNOW as believers:

  • That the Lord has set us apart for Himself; the Lord will hear us when we call upon Him!  (Ps 4:3) 
  • That because we are set apart for God (His anointed), He will answer us with the saving strength of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ps 20:6)
  • That the Lord is great, and He is above all gods.  (Ps 135:5)
  • That God’s works are marvelous.  (Ps 139:14)
  • That Jesus is the Holy One of God. (Mk 1:24c; Lk 4:34c)
  • We know the mysteries of the kingdom of God.  (Lk 8:10)
  • We know Jesus, our Good Shepherd.  (Joh 10:14)
  • We know the Lord, because He dwells with us, and He lives in us.  (Joh 14:17)
  • We know that Jesus dwells in the Father; we dwell in Jesus; and Jesus dwells in us.  (Joh 14:20)
  • That wherever we go, we carry the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29)
  • That we have received the Spirit who is from God through whom we know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  (1 Cor 2:12; 1 Joh 4:12-14)
  • We are the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within each believer.  (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19)
  • That we are in Christ because we keep His Word, and the love of God is perfected in us.  (1 Joh 2:5)
  • That Jesus was manifested to take away our sins and in Him there is no sin.  (1 Joh 3:5)
  • That we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren.  (1 Joh 3:14)
  • We know the Spirit of God because we confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, and He is from God.  (1 Joh 4:2)
  • That we are born of God and know God because we love one another, and love is of God.  (1 Joh 4:7)
  • We know that we have eternal life because we believe in the name of the Son of God and will continue to do so.  (1 Joh 5:13)

The Importance of Words

The Importance of Words

The Bible is unambiguous about how important our words are.  The unique thing about words is that they affect not only the HEARERS but the SPEAKER as well.  We would do well to not only read these verses but to meditate upon them.

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.  (Pro 15:4 MSG) Words can cut and maim or they can heal and comfort.  Words can be constructive and informative, lending courage and information to the hearer.

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!  (Pro 15:23 NIV) If we make positive, uplifting remarks it brings us joy and is received as a benefit by the hearer.

By his fruitful speech a man can remain satisfied, and a man’s handiwork will reward him.  (Pro 12:14 ISV) When our words bear the fruit of encouragement, peace, and joy, we will eventually earn a reputation as an encourager and a person full of faith.

Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.  (Pro 24:26 NIV) Honest words, spoken in love, carry a blessing to the spirit of the hearer.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  12 As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.  (Pro 25:11-12 MEV) Those who wish to please God and be good examples to others should speak the whole truth, utter appropriate praise, reflect wisdom, and edify the listeners; these words will always be “fitly (properly) spoken.”

Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 NASB) This verse reminds us that we should not speak any nasty or unpleasant words.  Instead, our words should edify (enlighten, improve, inform) the listeners so that those who hear will be honored, enhanced, or blessed.

As we honor God’s Word by obeying it, the Lord will show His pleasure and bless us in ways that we can’t imagine.  Spread kind, life-giving words wherever you go today.  Praise the Lord!

Why Forgiveness is Important

Why Forgiveness is Important

Jesus is our perfect example in all things, and He demonstrated forgiveness to us.  (See John 8:7 & 11)  Let’s see what else the Scriptures teach us on this topic.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Mt 6:14-15 ESV)

Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins.  (Mk 11:25 CEV)

Both preceding verses remind us that as we forgive other people for ways in which they hurt us, our Father God also forgives us for our sins.  And they warn that if we don’t forgive others their transgressions, then the Lord won’t be able to forgive us.  Why?  Because our unforgiving attitude separates us from God, and from His loving plan for all people.  Unforgiveness can become a bitter root within us corrupting our faith in God.

But love your enemies and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil people. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Lk 6:35-36 NASB)

In Luke 6, we’re taught by the Lord to love our enemies and even to do good to them.  We’re told to lend, without expecting repayment—but then the Lord will give us a great reward.  The reason for that is that the Lord is kind to ungrateful and evil people, and when we act the same way, He is mightily pleased with us.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  (Col 3:13 NIV)

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  (Eph 4:32 NIV)

The two verses above in Colossians and Ephesians emphasize that we should be patient with each other and kind to one another.  And again, we are urged most definitely to forgive others in honor and remembrance of the fact that the Lord has forgiven us repeatedly.  As we humbly recall the many occasions that our Savior has forgiven every one of us, we can begin to recognize that the Lord is not asking us to do anything that He has not already done!

After forgiving someone, it may be necessary for us to forgive them again for the same issue.  Not because they have offended us again, but because the enemy of our souls tries to tempt us by reminding us of the offense to break our fellowship with Jesus. 

That gives us the opportunity to submit to the Lord and pray, telling ourselves and the entire spiritual realm that we forgive the one who hurt us, and we do so freely in obedience to the Lord.  The Lord will give us the grace that we need to be able to arrive at the peace that He so fully provides as the Prince of Peace.  God bless you!

God’s Understanding is Unsearchable

God’s Understanding is Unsearchable

The Bible points out to us that God is far beyond our understanding, despite the fact that we may have a loving and very genuine personal knowledge of Him.  Let us look at some Scriptures:

“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!  But the thunder of His power who can understand?”  (Job 26:14 NKJV)

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.  (Isa 40:28 NIV)

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.  (Ps 145:3 NKJV)

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.  (Ps 147:5 NKJV)

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:8-9 NIV)

Clearly, we can see from these passages that God is more complex than our finite minds or emotions can grasp.  We cannot know the limits of His power, greatness, thoughts, wisdom, or ways.  We can’t even perceive everything there is to be known about even one facet of His character.  Of course, our acquaintance with sin and the world limits our ability to understand God, as well.

The impeccable harmony and agreement of God’s qualities simply highlight the complexity of God’s nature.  Another element of our challenge as believers is that God is infinite, and we are not. 

It is clear from the Word of God that some secret things are the domain of the Lord alone.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”  (Deu 29:29 ESV)

The joyous truth for us is that there have been many revelations given to believers, and the most important one is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:26-27 ESV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  (Rom 10:9-10 NIV) And one glorious day we will be in heaven with the Lord, and many mysteries will be revealed to us.  And yet, I believe that throughout eternity there will always be new and wonderful insights that the Lord will open to our understanding.  What a joy to contemplate!  God bless you.

Wisdom, Wealth & Honor Come from God

Wisdom, Wealth & Honor Come from God

God blesses His people with wisdom, honor and wealth.  The Bible says:

Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.  (1 Chr 29:12 NIV)

. . . wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”  (2 Chr 1:12 ESV)

But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.  (Deu 8:18 NRSV)

Wisdom is defined this way:

The right use or exercise of knowledge; the choice of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect, or practice. If wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper, most conducive to prosperity or happiness.  (Source:  https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/wisdom.html)

Wealth is:

The most basic English definitions of wealth are “the condition of being happy and prosperous” and “spiritual well-being” (OED). But the most common usage probably involves the narrower sense of “abundance of possessions, or of valuable products.” A large percentage of Scripture focuses on right and wrong uses of this latter kind of wealth, while always subordinating it to the former.  (Source:  https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/wealth/)

About Honor:

The source of all honor is God on the basis of his position as sovereign Creator and of his character as a loving Father. God the Father has bestowed honor on his Son, Jesus Christ (John 5:23). He bestowed honor on humanity by creating man a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5-6). He has also created spheres of authority within human government, the church, and the home. The positions of authority in those spheres are to receive honor implicitly.  (Source:  https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/honor.html)

Let us remember that in whatever measure we enjoy these three blessings of God, we should be thankful for them and rejoice in God’s great goodness to us.  Praise the Lord!

A Good Spouse is God’s Gift

A Good Spouse is God’s Gift

A good spouse (whether husband or wife) is a gift and a blessing from God.  These next verses mention the blessing of a prudent and excellent wife, but a kind and loving husband is also a gift from God. 

He who finds a wife finds what is good, gaining favor from the Lord.  (Pro 18:22 CEB)

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents but a prudent wife is from the Lord.  (Pro 19:14 NIV)

An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.  (Pro 31:10-12 ESV – see also verses 13-31)

As the Scriptures teach us, EVERY GOOD THING is from our heavenly Father.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  (Jas 1:17 NASB)

A good spouse blesses us in so many ways by providing:

  • Companionship and connection
  • Attraction, intimacy and passion
  • A confidant and spiritual partner and
  • A sense of purpose in having children and raising them together.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.  (Gen 2:24 NKJV)

. . . and the two will become one flesh.’[So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  (Mk 10:8 NIV) Spouses from the Lord become one body with their partner—united in faith, love and bringing glory to God.

The Gospel Will Bring Division

The Gospel Will Bring Division

With strong language, Jesus clearly explained that He came to bring a sword and division among people.  This dividing sword is described below:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb 4:12 NKJV, emphasis added)

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’  37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.  (Mt 10:34-39 NIV)

“I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to receive, and how distressed I am until it is over! 51 Do you suppose that I came to bring peace to the world? No, not peace, but division.”  (Lk 12:49-51 GNT)

But the people of the city were divided. Some were with the Jews, while others were with the apostles.  (Ac 14:4 ISV)

The worldwide division created by the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that we are either saved or lost.  We see this theme repeatedly in the Scriptures.

Jesus speaks about the fact that everyone must enter either the small gate or the wide gate.  Depending upon which gate we choose, we find ourselves upon either a narrow or a broad road. 

These two roads end in two different destinations:  choose the wide gate and travel the broad road that leads to destruction (eternity in hell) or choose the small gate and walk the narrow road that leads to life in heaven for all eternity.

The teachings of Jesus brought divisions:

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.  (Joh 9:16 NIV)

Wherever the Gospel is preached, some believe and accept Christ as their Savior and others mock what they hear and reject God.  The Lord designed the Good News to divide people intentionally.

All of this means that our love for Jesus and our commitment to Him must surpass and depose every other relationship, even with our closest family members.  The Bible says:

“If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.”  (Lk 14:26 NLT)  The way to have unity with our loved ones is to pray for their salvation and demonstrate God’s love and kindness in our interactions with them.  We can invite them to attend a church service with us and take opportunities to bless them and to help them.  The best way to minister to others is through acts of love and kindness. God bless you.