The Word of God

The Word of God

For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective].  It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart.  (Heb 4:12 AMP)

This verse of the Bible from the Amplified Version is quite clear on the penetrating, discerning power of the Word of God.  How often do we think about the truth that the Scriptures are imbued with God’s power?

Because they are, it is vital that we make use of the Scriptures as a tool, a medicine, a comfort, a basis for praising God, and as our weapon.

The Scriptures were fashioned by God to:

  • Accomplish their task (Josh 21:45; 23:14; Isa 46:10,11),
  • Stand forever (Isa 40:8; 46:10-11; Mt 24:35; Mk 13:31; Lk 21:33; 1 Pet 1:23-25), and
  • Never lie (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29).

There are many mysteries connected with Christianity, but one thing that we can be sure of is that God honors and upholds His own Word.  Do a little studying into the various Scripture references cited above.  You’ll be impressed. 

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.  (Ps 33:11)

We do well to highly value the Scriptures. 

Does Living for God Yield Benefits?

Does Living for God Yield Benefits?

Are there really benefits given to those of us who live for God and His Kingdom?  The Scriptures tell us that there are!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits . . . (Ps 103:2)

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation.  (Ps 68:19)

What might some of those benefits be?  

The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.  (Ps 34:22)  This is God’s promise to redeem the essence and character of His servants, as well as that—as we trust in Him—we won’t be scorned, abused, or belittled.

. . . and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.  (Ps 37:19b)  In famine, the Lord says that He will quench our hunger.

. . . but the Lord upholds the righteous.  (Ps 37:17b)  . . . for the Lord upholds him with His hand.  (Ps 37:24b)  The Lord supports, defends, and encourages us.  Praise God! 

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite [crushed] spirit.  (Ps 34:18)  The Lord comforts and heals us when we’re brokenhearted or feel crushed in spirit.

All flesh shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.  (Isa 49:26c)  The Lord will demonstrate to everyone that He is our God by showing His power on our behalf.

The Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints:  they are preserved forever . . . (Ps 37:28a)  God will never forsake us but He will save and sustain us always.

For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.  (Ps 5:12)  God surrounds us with His blessings, esteem, kindness, and approval.  Thank You, Lord!

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain [protect; support; defend] you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. [shaken]  (Ps 55:22)  As we share our concerns, problems, and heartaches with the Lord, He’ll protect us and prevent us from getting pushed around (bullied) by the enemy or by our circumstances.

And these are only the benefits from the Old Testament!  There are more and BETTER benefits recorded in the New Testament.  (Heb 8:6)  Hallelujah!

Render to God the Things That Are His

Render to God the Things That Are His

When they had come, they said to Him, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?”  But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it.” So they brought it.  And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”  And Jesus answered and said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  And they marveled at Him.  (Mk 12:14-17, emphasis added)

The chief priests and scribes heard Jesus teaching the people, and they decided that they wanted to test Him. They wanted to trick Him into saying something publicly for which He could get into a lot of trouble.  But Jesus answered them with the wisdom that He received from God.  The crowd marveled at His answer, and the chief priests and scribes were silenced.

When Jesus asks whose image and inscription were on the coin, they answered correctly, “Caesar’s.”  Genesis 1:26 tells us that mankind was made in the image and likeness of God.  Believers also have the inscription of God’s law written within them.  (Ex 13:9; Isa 44:5; Jer 31:33)

WE have God’s image and inscription written upon us, as believers, so we should desire to give ourselves to Him.  We are obligated to pay taxes, but we owe our very lives and all that we are and all that we have to God.  Our duty to God will always surpass our duty to the government.  Why?  Because when we were born again we were “conformed to the image of His Son.”  (Ro 8:29)

Another thing that is due the Lord is a tithe of our income to support the preaching and teaching of the Gospel.  In Bible times, the Hebrews also were expected to give tithes to their priests, because the tribe of Levi had not been given an inheritance in the Promised Land.  So they relied upon the Hebrews for their livelihood.

. . . because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  (Ro 1:21, emphasis added)

One of the major things that we owe to God is to glorify Him.  Even our very bodies belong to God! 

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Co 6:19-20)

We should rejoice in our God, in our salvation, and in our blessings.  For these reasons, alone, let us thankfully give the Lord all of our praise and worship continuously.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Phil 3:20) In the end, we are citizens of Heaven—our eternal home.

The God of the Living

The God of the Living

But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?  (27) He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.  You are therefore greatly mistaken.  (Mk 12:26-27) 

Jesus is speaking with the Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection from the dead.

In verse 27, the word mistaken correctly communicates deceived.  This indicates to me that there is an important point hidden in this verse that we need to investigate.

Jesus was discussing resurrection from the dead with the Sadducees, and the disciples were pleased with Jesus’ statement above in Mark 12:27, since they felt it was His verbal victory. 

We can see that the gospel of Luke echoes the main point:

 For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.  (Lk 20:38)

This verse reminds us that “all live to Him,” meaning that to the Lord, no human being is ever dead or will be, but all mankind sustain an abiding conscious relation to Him. (Source of italicized, bold type material:   Jamieson, Faussett & Brown)

The “all” who live to Him mean “those accounted worthy to obtain that world.”  (see Lk 20:35)  They maintain a loving covenant relationship with the Lord which will never end.   

How helpful is this to us in the here and now?  The Bible states that God made mankind in His own image.  (Gen 1:26a; 27; 9:6)  Because we’re made in the image of God, once a human being has been born on this earth, it means that their soul [the essence of their identity and consciousness] will live for eternity.

For we know that if our earthly house [our body], this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  (2 Cor 5:1, bracketed comment added)

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.  (2 Cor 5:8, emphasis added)

That is why God provided our salvation through Jesus Christ, so that we could spend eternity with Him.  We live unto God while here in the flesh; and when we vacate our body, we go on to live with the Lord in Heaven. 

We serve the living God (1 Thes 1:9; Heb 9:14)—the God of the living.  Hallelujah!

The Righteous

The Righteous

. . . and the desire of the righteous will be granted.  (Pro 10:24b)

. . . the righteous has an everlasting foundation.  (Pro 10:25b)

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 11:4)

Let us understand that when the Bible refers to the righteous it is talking about those who have been justified by Jesus Christ by accepting Him as their Savior.  Now I’m going to share some thoughts about each verse shown above, in order.

  1. How often does the Bible say that God will give us the desires of our hearts? It may be stated in different ways, but this theme is mentioned in Ps 37:4-5; Ro 4:21; Jer 1:12; Mt 6:33; 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10 as well as the first verse shown above.  How often do you really believe and trust that the Lord wishes to give you the desires of your heart?  Yes, we do need to live obediently to Him and to seek His kingdom, and as we are doing that, we have been encouraged by these Scriptures to ask Him to give us what we desire.  So many people think only of monetary things, but what we desire may be the salvation of a loved one or the healing of a relationship or any of a number of other spiritually worthy things.  And if you do need physical healing or financial blessings, the Bible gives us many promises to encourage our faith in these areas, as well.  So, I encourage you to share your desires with the Lord.
  2. The foundation that the righteous have that is everlasting is Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. (Mt 21:42; 1 Cor 3:11)  In Him, we are secure and anchored, so don’t let go of your foundation of faith.
  3. Humanly speaking, people appreciate having more than enough money because it solves so many challenges and problems in the natural realm. But even more important than wealth (according to the Bible) is righteousness, because righteousness liberates us from spiritual death, and from the fear of physical  death.
    1. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jo 14:6, emphasis added)
    2. And He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  (Rev 21:6, emphasis added)

Today we may rejoice in the blessings and the promises that God has given to us—His righteous, blessed children.

A Kiss for a Right Answer!

A Kiss for a Right Answer!

But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.  (25) He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.  (Pro 24:25-26)

This passage from the Bible has a couple of good spiritual points to make. 

  • The first recommends that we admonish those who commit evil, depraved, or heinous acts, rather than justifying or remaining neutral to what they do. Verse 24 says that that when we reprove the wicked, a blessing will come upon us.
  • The second point (v. 25 above) is shown like this in a reverse interlinear: “Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.”  In short, this means that plain, direct words are preferable to deceptive or ambiguous ones.  And that when someone speaks plainly to us, we should appreciate and value them. 

The “right answer” spoken of here is an answer that is filled with the wisdom of God.  The more we are acquainted with the Bible and familiar with the voice of the Holy Spirit, the easier it will be to recognize and value a “right answer” when we hear it.

All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; nothing crooked or perverse is in them.  They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.  10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold . . .  (Pro 8:8-10, emphasis added)

I believe that the purpose of these two verses is to help us to remember that ALL of the words of our lips are colossally important, both in the natural and spiritual realms.  Additionally, the Lord is giving us His advice on when to be critical of someone’s actions, as well as when to welcome and to be grateful for wise counsel or a useful and eye-opening insight.

By God’s empowering gift of grace, we’ll know when and how to apply this biblical wisdom.

A Word Fitly Spoken

A Word Fitly Spoken

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  (12)  Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuke to an obedient ear.  (Pro 25:11-12)

A word fitly spoken implies words of wise counsel given just in the nick of time, even as events unfold.  Comparing this word of wise guidance to golden apples set in a woven, silver basket is designed to help us to realize just how valuable and desirable this advice is to the person who receives it.  Unless we value and use such guidance, which is sent to us by God through another human being, it cannot help us!

Along similar lines, verse 12 of Proverbs 25 wants us to open our eyes to this truth:  those who want to KNOW and DO rightly are the people who most highly cherish good counsel.  For a listening ear [listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit] surpasses one hung with gold!

Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.  (Pro 9:9)

The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.  (Pro 15:31)

It’s spiritually healthy for us to remember that all children receive instruction and rebuke from a loving parent.  The Lord will send us wisdom, instruction, and correction through other people.  This message from the Lord can turn our lives around; help us to make mid-course corrections, and help us to avoid shipwreck in the future. 

The moral of this article is that all of us who believe in Jesus Christ need to have an obedient and receptive ear,  and to be willing to receive correction.