When Did We See You, Lord?

When Did We See You, Lord?

. . . for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  (Mt 25:35-40)

Jesus is making a point in these teachings.  He wanted His followers to realize that mercies shown to His people are considered by God to be the same as if they were shown to Jesus, Himself. 

In the Lord’s view, by showing kindness to the poor, the sick, and the needy, we demonstrate that we possess the spirit of Christ.  Jesus also showed His kindness to the poor, sick, and needy.  He gave us a perfect example.

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.  (Mk 9:41)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.  (1 Joh 3:14)

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  (1 Joh 3:17)

We need to have eyes to see the world and all people in the same way that the Lord sees them.  The Lord sees a field that is rich and ready to be harvested. 

The Lord sees people in deep need of the salvation that He has already provided, and He wants us to introduce this Good News to the spheres of influence in which we individually reside.  As we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the needy, provide homes to the lost, and visit the sick and the prisoners, we’re doing it all as unto God, our Savior. 

As we serve and treasure other people, in the same way that Jesus did while He was on earth, our Father God lays up our heavenly rewards for us. Glory to God!

Be Ready to Explain Your Hope

Be Ready to Explain Your Hope

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  (1 Pet 3:15-17) 

According to this passage of Scripture, we need to be ready to share with people who ask us the reason for the hope that is within each one of us.  The Bible actually tells us the answer for this in Colossians 1:27.  Christ within us—the hope of glory.  The life of Christ within us is our hope.

That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?  (Pro 22:21)

We need to answer all questions with “words of truth” according to this Proverb.  It is interesting to note that when Paul was being questioned by King Agrippa, Paul said:  “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.”  (Ac 26:25)  Paul was speaking “words of truth” and reason.  According to John 14:6, Jesus is the Truth and Paul was telling the King all about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  Paul spoke words of truth.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.  (Col 4:6)

We cannot say that we don’t know how to answer.  Our answer is Jesus Christ and His story as the Redeemer of all mankind.  Hallelujah!

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and Wisdom

Humility and wisdom are two attributes that are praised in the Scriptures.  Blessings are frequently mentioned in connection with them.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.  (Pro 11:2 NIV)  Humility and wisdom are frequent companions!

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.  (Jas 3:13 NIV)  This verse informs us that humility comes from wisdom.  As a matter of fact, a person with humility coupled with the fear of the Lord will experience riches, honor, and life.  (Pro 22:4)

Toward the scorners He is scornful, but to the humble He gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.  (Pro 3:34-35 ESV)  To people who are humble, the Lord gives favor; and the Lord bestows honor upon the wise.

Only we are capable of humbling ourselves; no one else can do it for us.  When we humble ourselves, the Lord promises to exalt us.  (Jas 4:10 NKJV)  The Bible reminds us that if we don’t humble ourselves, the Lord will do it for us.  (Mt 23:12 ESV)

James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we should ask God for it because He will generously answer our prayer.  Scriptures state repeatedly the many blessings that God bestows upon those who are wise.  See Ps 111:10; Pro 3:13-18; 4:6-7; 14:16; 16:16; 24:3-7; Lk 21:15; Jas 3:17.

Because the end of the ages is approaching, all believers must live carefully and intentionally for the Lord.  Let us each take inventory of our strengths and our weaknesses; and if we are lacking in wisdom or humility, take steps to mend our ways. 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.  (Eph 5:15-16 ESV)

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.

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.

Really? Nothing?

Really?  Nothing?

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

This Bible verse above says that NOTHING is impossible with God!  Does the Lord really mean this?  Let’s look at where else this idea is shared in the Word.

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Mt 19:26)

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”  (Mk 10:27)

But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”  (Lk 18:27)

Now these three verses assert the same idea from a positive mindset rather than a negative one.  These verses declare that with God ALL things are possible.  How do we, as believers, respond to these assertions? 

What looks or feels impossible to you right now?  What situation in life or what need are you facing?  Why not stand upon these passages of Scripture and ask God to fulfill His Word in your life today? 

Trust Him, and stand in faith on His Word with a firm expectation in your heart of His miraculous answer.