As a Little Child

As a Little Child

Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in.  (1 Kgs 3:7, emphasis added) 

This verse in 1 Kings reflects the wisdom of Solomon—who considered himself as a little child in comparison to the wisdom and the eternal knowledge of God.

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.  (Mk 10:15)

“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mt 18:3-4)

What do you think are the characteristics of a little child that Jesus is referring to in these passages?  Here are some ideas to consider.  Very young children were, in ancient, biblical times:

  • Humble and not envious of each other;
  • Did not think about advancing themselves to a place of power;
  • Didn’t have status or rights; and
  • Were completely dependent upon the good will of others to care for them.

Jesus humbles Himself in identifying with the little child.  Jesus came to meet the needs of all those who are marginal, needy, and powerless.  He came to save the lost—and there are many ways to be “lost.” 

Jesus says that the way that WE should respond to such marginal, needy people is the same way that we respond to HIM.  (see Mt 18:5)  If we love Jesus, we should show love and concern for the lost. Jesus wants to remind us of the spiritual nature of His kingdom, and desires that we be heavenly-minded. 

The Bible says that we are strangers and pilgrims upon the earth (Heb 11:13) because our King is a heavenly King, and our country is with our heavenly King. 

As we submit our lives to the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit, we shall suddenly move from earthly life into eternity—into humility and total dependence upon God.  (1 Cor 15:51-52)

Stumble?

Stumble?

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.  (Ps 119:165)

What does “stumble” mean as used in the Bible? 

It means:  1) to err; to slide into a crime or an error; 2) to have a moral failing; or 3) to place a blockage in someone’s way causing them to sin.

As the verse in Psalm 119 above says, when we have the peace that Jesus has given to us and we love God’s Word, then nothing has the power to cause us to sin.  Hallelujah!

My son, let them not depart from your eyes—keep sound wisdom and discretion; 22 so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck.  23 Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. (Prov 3:21-23)

As we keep the wisdom and discretion that comes from reading and memorizing God’s Word in our hearts, those words are life itself to our souls.  They provide grace to our behavior and character; they give us strength and sure-footedness.  And they prevent us from stumbling.

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  (1 Joh 2:10)

When we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in the light where all of our actions are open to view.  And in our actions, as we live for Christ and serve the Kingdom of God, there will be nothing for someone to see as an invitation or a cause to sin.  This is just one of the many blessings that living a holy life, committed to serving Jesus Christ gives to us.  Thank You, Lord!

God Knows You

God Knows You

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.  (Ps 139:1-4)

God has explored and examined humanity.  He knows each one of us better than we know ourselves. 

According to the Bible verses above, God knows where we’re going; what our plans are; when we will sleep; and all about our individual personalities.  He even knows what each one of us is about to say!  Wow!

Jesus is our Savior and Intercessor.  He intercedes and even pleads for us before the throne of God continuously.  (Rom 8:34; 1 Tim 2:5) 

Jesus always lives to make intercession for us.  (Heb 7:25)

He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.  (Rom 8:27-28 MSG)

Everything that we do out of love for God and in serving God, He has promised He will work out for our good.  Glory to His name.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”  (Joh 15:5)

In the above Scripture, we’re reminded that as the vine and branches are one entity, even so we’re united with Jesus Christ into a unique, spiritual entity.  Since we are united with Christ, we also have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16) We can know His will and plans for us.

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.  (1 Cor 12:27)  Even though we are members or individual parts of the body of Christ, we are still unique and individual.  God uses every matchless part of His body to minister in distinct and irreplaceable ways. 

Rejoice in the truth that God knows you very well.

King of Kings

King of Kings

Back in the 70s, there was a sweet worship chorus that said, “Oh!  Let the flag fly high on the castle of my heart, for the King is in residence there.”  Since we serve Jesus who is the King of Kings, it is fitting that our hearts be portrayed as the castles where the King mercifully reigns in love and righteousness, in power and glory.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  (Mt 6:10 ESV, emphasis added)  Every kingdom has a King, and Jesus is our Redeemer King.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world …  (Mt 25:34, emphasis added)  Our King has prepared a kingdom for each one of us.

And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner …  (Ex 17:15)  The Lord Jesus is our banner:  His image is on the flag that flies high over our lives; He is our standard—the rallying point for all spiritual power and resources in battle against the forces of hell.

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”  (Isa 11:10, emphasis added)  This verifies that Jesus, a descendant of Jesse, is our banner.

The King whom we serve is filled with love and compassion; mercy for the lost and the wounded; and health and healing for those who are sick.  He is good all of the time, and His plans for us are good and give us hope and a future. (Ps 34:8; Jer 29:11)

He brings reconciliation to relationships and to families.  (Jer 31:17; Rom 5:11; 2 Cor 5:18-19)  All glory to His name.

Jesus is a King whose grace humbles us without ever demeaning us, and who exalts us without causing us to puff up with false pride or ego.  Walking in a consistent relationship with Jesus, the Lamb of God, will mature us and grow us into mercy-filled, loving servants of the Kingdom of God.  Praise the Lord!

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!