Instructions for Holy Living

Instructions for Holy Living

Today we’re taking note of the Bible’s helpful ideas about holy living.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  (2 Tim 2:20-26 NIV)

The passage above is talking about different kinds of people who all attend the same church.  Some are precious vessels of gold and silver who can withstand the fires of hardship, heartaches, or persecution.  Others are vessels of wood and earth which are fragile and soon destroyed in the flames of hardship and misfortune.

The people who constantly purify themselves by “being cleansed by the washing of the water of the word” (Eph 5:26 NASB)—reading and obeying God’s Word regularly—are set apart and made holy unto God.

We’re told to run away from the lusts of the flesh.  Instead, we should pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to be diligent to avoid unwise and reckless squabbles.  The Spirit of God instructs us to be kind to everyone, able to teach God’s ways to others, and that we should be thankful.  We are urged to treat our enemies gently by sharing God’s Word and wisdom with them, and in so doing, hope to bring them to salvation. 

Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  (Tit 1:7 NIV)

The book of Titus reminds us that anyone in a place of authority should be virtuous and approachable.  We should not give in to human frailties such as intoxication; physical or verbal abuse; or chasing after or being corrupted by seeking wealth.

Keep away from worthless and useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God.  (2 Tim 2:16 CEV)

Avoid discussions that have no spiritual or eternal value, which can only alienate people from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are fairly easy to understand guidelines which are challenging to fulfill without the ongoing grace of God and our obedience to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  God bless you!

Don’t Seek the Dead

Don’t Seek the Dead

The Bible gives believers important instructions and guidelines for living a life of faith.  One point that is very important is that we should never turn to mediums, wizards, or fortunetellers for information about our future

Wisdom teaches us to place our trust in the Lord, knowing that He loves us and has plans to give us a blessed and meaningful future.  We already know that we will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord, and we may surely rejoice in this truth.

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?  (Isa 8:19, emphasis added)

Note, this passage asks: “Should not a people seek their God?”  This is a hint from the Holy Spirit to us that it is only the Lord, Himself, who is capable of knowing the future.  And He is the only Being who has the power to change the future! So, we must turn only to the Lord Jesus when we are grieving, sad, or uncertain about what is to come.

And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.  (Lev 20:6)

In the above Scripture, the Lord warns us that He will be in opposition to anyone who puts their trust or hope in mediums or soothsayers; and that He will cut such a person “off from their people” which is actually a sentence of death upon that person.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1)

2 Peter 2:1 states plainly that believers who turn to false prophets have brought upon themselves SUDDEN destruction.  We must avoid this at all costs! 

We are called to turn to the Lord Jesus for direction and guidance in the course of our daily lives.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we must jealously and conscientiously protect, defend and cherish our relationship with our Savior.  It is the most important aspect of our lives. May God surround you with His love and wisdom.

God’s Counsels

God’s Counsels

Our Lord has given us His counsel and wisdom through His Holy Word.  We can’t enjoy these benefits of salvation if we don’t pay attention to the Bible and obey it.

O Lord, You are my God.  I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.  (Isa 25:1, emphasis added)

So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels.  13 “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways!  (Ps 81:12-13)

So that your trust may be in the Lord; I have instructed you today, even you.  20 Have I not written to you excellent things, of counsels and knowledge, 21 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 22:19-21, underscoring added)

It’s a dangerous thing when man is permitted to walk in his own counsels, according to Psalm 81:12-13, above.  Counsels means advice, guidance, assistance, direction or warning. 

God’s counsels are blessings in our lives, and we need to recognize this truth.  We need to hunger and thirst for His counsels. 

The Bible says that God’s counsels are faithfulness and truth. (Isa 25:1)   What beautiful and blessed encouragements that the Lord, our God, bestows upon His people!

Faithfulness means truthfulness, reliability, loyalty, and commitment.  Truth means reality, integrity, and honesty.  What precious blessings these qualities are to all believers who pursue them and desire them! 

Only as we obey the Word and fill our hearts with passages from the Bible will we come to know and understand the counsels of God.  As we memorize and meditate upon the Word of God, our faith will be strengthened and we will grow in wisdom.  We will become qualified to answer with words of truth when people question us about our faith, or about the Bible.

As we honor and obey God’s word, by diligent search and study of God’s Word, we will sow God’s precious counsels into our own lives and hearts.  And the longer we walk with and serve the Lord, the more evidence we will see of this taking place in our lives.  And we will grow in wisdom, mercy, and understanding.  God bless you!

Wisdom to Speak

Wisdom to Speak

God has promised over and over in the Bible, that when we need to know what to say and how to give an answer for our faith, the Spirit of the Lord shall give us wise words to speak.  We need to trust Him to fulfill this promise, and we must place our faith in the Lord in the moment when we are tested.

And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.  (Mk 13:11 ESV)

The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.  (2 Sam 23:2)

Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.  (Lk 21:14-15, emphasis added)

But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak . . .  (Mt 10:19, underlining added)

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)

When we lack wisdom, the Bible instructs us to ask God for it, and reminds us that He will answer our prayer without criticism but with abundant generosity.  Hallelujah!

We need to settle it in our hearts—ahead of time—that God will supply us with wisdom in the midst of any challenging ordeal.  Simply ask Him to give you the words to speak.  And the wisdom that God gives to us will not be able to be opposed.  (Lk 21:15)  Glory to God!

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

Keeping a Pure Path

Keeping a Pure Path

The Bible gives us answers for everything that we need in life, including how to live a pure and holy life.  Let’s look to the Word:

How can young people keep their paths pure?  By guarding them according to what you’ve said.  (Ps 119:9 CEB)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  (2 Tim 2:22 ESV)

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  (Ps 119:11 NKJV)

The Word gives us these clear instructions:

  • We should guard our paths according to the Word of God;
  • Flee youthful passions and avoid occasions that give rise to temptation;
  • Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with all other believers who live a holy life unto the Lord;
  • Memorize the Word of God and hide it in our hearts because the Word that we cherish and honor will keep us away from sin.

These are clear and understandable directions from the heart of God.  He has also given each one of us the gift of grace to empower us to do what He has called us to do.  Hallelujah!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8, emphasis added) 

May God surround us all with His grace, mercy, and love in Jesus’ name.  Praise His holy name!

One Flock and One Shepherd

One Flock and One Shepherd

All who serve and follow the Lord Jesus Christ are one flock, and we obey one Good Shepherd’s voice!

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Gal 3:28, emphasis added)

 . . . where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.  (Col 3:1, emphasis added)

And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  (Joh 10:16, underlining added)

As we read and meditate upon these Bible passages, we can clearly understand that in God’s flock there is no room for prejudice, hatred, nationalism or sexism.  We are all one in Christ—united in, by and through Jesus Christ.  All believers follow Jesus Christ who is our example and our Good Shepherd.

Because we are all following one Savior and we are all listening to the only Good Shepherd’s voice, the Lord desires us to dwell in unity with one another.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!  (Ps 133:1)

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.  (1 Cor 12:12)

. . . endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  (Eph 4:3)

. . . till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . . (Eph 4:13)

The Lord also desires us to be in harmony with each other as well as to comfort and to edify one another!  Let us be always obedient to the voice of the Lord.

Be of the same mind toward one another.  (Rom 12:16a)

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11)

God bless you!

Filled with the Spirit

Filled with the Spirit

Today our topic is about being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues (glossolalia).

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  (Eph 5:18-19)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Ac 2:4)

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Ac 9:17)

The Bible encourages us to be filled with the Spirit and to praise the Lord and sing hymns and melodies to Him.  What an joy and an honor!

To be filled with anything indicates that all of a person’s faculties are pervaded by it, engaged in it, or under its influence.  We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to allow the Holy Spirit to have such a mighty influence and impact upon us that He is able to pervade and engage literally every area and portion of our being.

When the Bible says that they spoke with “other tongues” it means that they spoke in languages that were not their own.  Acts 2:9-11 lists which languages were heard that day. 

To speak with other tongues – At the building of Babel the language of the people was confounded; and, in consequence of this, they became scattered over the face of the earth: at this foundation of the Christian Church, the gift of various languages was given to the apostles, that the scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one shepherd and superintendent (επισκοπος ) of all souls.  (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

As the Spirit gave them utterance – The word αποφθεγγεσθαι seems to imply such utterance as proceeded from immediate inspiration, and included oracular communications.     (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

There are believers who still speak in tongues today, and who usually operate in the fruit of the Spirit as well as in the gifts of the Spirit.  They typically believe that miracles still happen all over the world because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb 13:8) Hallelujah!

Call the Walls Salvation

Call the Walls Salvation

Here are a couple of prophetic verses from the Bible.

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.  (Isa 60:18)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:  “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.  (Isa 26:1)

There is a day coming when Jesus Christ shall gather His church together, and the verses above foretell of that victorious time.  There will be no need of gates or walls for protection, because the walls will be the very salvation of our God, and the “gates” that we enter will be praise unto our God.  Praise opens all gates into the presence of our living God.

God has shown Himself well able to protect His people.  He says that He is a wall of fire around His people.

‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  (Zech 2:5) 

God is already the glory in our midst—right now. 

He is our Protector and Deliverer.  (2 Sam 22:2-3; Ps 5:11; 34:17; 91:9-12; 2 Thes 3:3)  As we walk with Him and obey His Word willingly, He takes care of all of our individual needs.  Surely, our relationship with Jesus Christ is a fortress and a protection from evil.  The walls of this fortress are called “salvation.”

Know Jesus & You’ll Know the Father

Know Jesus & You’ll Know the Father

The Scriptures below remind us that when we know Jesus, then we also know our heavenly Father. 

But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.  (Joh 15:21)

Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”  Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”  (Joh 8:19)

And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.  (Joh 16:3)

It’s our honor and our privilege to come to fully know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  We do that by reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God.  In the Bible, we see verse upon verse explaining to us the nature and personality of the Lord.  The knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ is entry into eternal life.

But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight,” says the Lord.  (Jer 9:24)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (Joh 17:3)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:7-8)

According to 1 John, God is love.  And everyone who loves is born of God and KNOWS GOD! 

Do you want to know God?  Then learn of His perfect love for YOU; study and meditate upon His love for you. Search out and meditate upon the Bible verses that discuss the love of God, and how His love has been manifested. Once you have received and fully understood His perfect love for you, turn around and shower that love upon everyone in your life, beginning with yourself.  As Matthew 19:19 reminds us, we can only love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Learn about God through His magnificent, matchless love.