Being Strengthened & Established

<strong>Being Strengthened & Established</strong>

As we live our daily lives as believers and followers of Jesus, there should come times when we are strengthened and established, or recognized, in our faith.  Let’s take a look at some Scriptures concerning this topic:

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established—that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.  (Rom 1:11-12 NKJV)

Paul was writing to believers in Rome, saying that he wished to see them in order that he could impart [pass on] a spiritual gift to a number of them, and that he could encourage them in their faith—and be encouraged himself by them. 

First of all, do you realize that praying for each other is encouraging? 

And do you also realize that by praying for one another, we may reveal our own spiritual gifts and may even pass them on?  Well, it’s absolutely true! 

But I know that when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  (Rom 15:29 NKJV)

Paul was confident that when he saw the believers in person, that he would be operating in the FULLNESS of the blessing of Christ’s gospel.  What faith!  This demonstrates the confidence of a man who relies completely upon the Word, and lives his life accordingly.  Glory to God!

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.  (Ac 16:5 NIV)

When we are strengthened in our faith, we can’t help but share our experiences and testimonies with others.  When we do that, other people visit our churches in order to discover what is happening.  Their curiosity is provoked, and they want to investigate for themselves.

When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  (Ac 19:6 NIV)

Praying for people, as you touch them, is a biblical and correct form of prayer.  This verse tells us that when Paul did this, the people that Paul touched came under the influence and presence of the Holy Spirit.  As a result these same people actually spoke in tongues and prophesied.  Hallelujah!  These are biblical results and we should be encouraged by them, and use them as our example.

A key tactic we can use to strengthen our faith is to read the Bible, and to the meditate upon it daily.  God bless you.

Joy & Safety

<strong>Joy & Safety</strong>

This may seem like a quirky combination to write about, but I hope that you’ll take time to study this along with me.

Not only does the Lord want us to be filled with joy, but He also wants us to know that we are safe and secure thanks to Him.

You have put joy in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine are abundant.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety.
  (Ps 4:7-8 NASB)

This Bible passage above acknowledges that the Lord has placed joy in our hearts.  He is the author of joy!  Also, it talks about our sleeping peacefully because the Lord causes us to live in safety.  What wonderful blessings!

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.  (Ps 92:4 NIV)

We may rejoice and have joy because of God’s righteous and upright acts. 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.  (Pro 3:24 NKJV)

This verse again speaks about our sleep being sweet and peaceful because our faith in God allows us to be free of fear.  Glory to God!

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.  (Ps 3:5 RSV)

Even our ability to awaken on any given morning is because the Lord sustains our very life.  Think about that!

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.  (Ps 16:8-9 ESV)

In this Psalm, David is discussing the fact that he was aware of God’s presence with him at all times.  David felt God’s face before him, and God’s presence at his side.  As a result, it filled David with joy and rejoicing.  This also made him feel secure (protected, sheltered, and safe).  We are just as beloved by God as David was.  God’s presence is always with us, and His Spirit dwells within each and every one of us.   We are His temple.  (1 Cor 6:19 NKJV)  Hallelujah!

God Speaks to Us

<strong>God Speaks to Us</strong>

The Word of God gives us multiple instances of how God has spoken to His people over the centuries.  The written Word of God, the Bible, is one way that the Lord communicates with His people.  In His Word, He gives us instructions and promises which will lead us, guide us, and encourage us.

. . . and said to Moses, “If you speak to us, we will listen. But don’t let God speak to us, or we will die!”  20 “Don’t be afraid!” Moses replied. “God has come only to test you, so that by obeying him you won’t sin.” 21 But when Moses went near the thick cloud where God was, the people stayed a long way off.  (Ex 20:19-22 CEV)  The Jewish people who followed Moses didn’t want to hear God’s voice!  They wanted Moses to speak with the Lord and to be their intermediary.  They wanted to receive their instructions from a man rather than directly from the Lord. 

From heaven he spoke to you in order to teach you, and on earth he showed you his great fire from which you also heard his words.  (Deu 4:36 NET)  God speaks to us in order to teach us, to encourage us, and to bless us.

Then you and your son and your grandson will fear the Lord your God. You will obey all His Laws that I tell you, all the days of your life. And then you will have a longer life.  (Deu 6:2 NLV)  One of the Bible’s promises concerning obeying God’s instructions is that we will have a long life.

This is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness together with the angel who spoke to him at length on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to you.  (Ac 7:38 NASB)  God’s Words are living words.  (See Heb 4:12)

There are multitude of ways that God communicates with mankind.  He speaks to us through the beauty and majesty of His creation.  Also, he speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through dreams, visions, and our inner thoughts.  As we’ve already mentioned, the Lord converses with us through the Bible. 

Two Bible passages remind us that we who follow Jesus, our Shepherd, hear His voice and know His voice.  (Joh 10:16, 27)  This should reassure us, and encourage us.  Place your faith in God and in His Word, for God cannot lie!  Glory to God!

Seek Good Not Evil

Seek Good Not Evil

The Bible exhorts us to seek good and not evil on a daily basis.  We’re encouraged to try to live at peace with others.  Let’s have a look at some of those verses:

Do you want to live and enjoy a long life?  13 Then don’t say cruel things and don’t tell lies.  14 Do good instead of evil and try to live at peace.  15 If you obey the Lord, he will watch over you and answer your prayers.  (Ps 34:12-15 CEV)

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.  (Isa 1:16-17 ESV) 

Seek good, not evil, that you may live.  Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.  (Amos 5:14 NIV)

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
  (Mic 6:8 NLT)

Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  (Mt 6:33 CEB)

There is a promise to us that if we seek good and not evil, and be at peace with others, we will enjoy a long life.  Not only that, but the Lord says that He will be with us.  Another promise is that the Lord will watch over us and answer our prayers.  Wow!  Those are wonderful promises that God is giving us and notice that these are very desirable blessings.

We are also exhorted to be humble.  In other words, we should treat others with the respect that they deserve since all human beings have been made in the image of God.

Desire to see God’s kingdom and righteousness established, and when we do, every other blessing that we could ever desire will be given to us.  So today’s lesson is:  Live an upright and holy life, and reap the blessings that Jesus Christ purchased for everyone who would believe in Him.  Glory to God!

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!

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.

Live Humbly in Order to Honor God

Live Humbly in Order to Honor God

The humility spoken of in the Bible means believing WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT US over anyone else’s opinion, including our own!  Humility is freedom from pride or arrogance, modesty.  Humility allows us to be open to the possibility of making a mistake. 

The Lord defends the humble, but he throws the wicked to the ground.  (Ps 147:6 NCV)  Because the Lord places such value upon humility, He chooses to defend humble people.

Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  (Mt 23:12 ESV)  The Lord says that He exalts people who are humble.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  (Jas 4:10 NIV)  Our God promises to lift up His humble servants.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time . . .  (1 Pet 5:6 NKJV)  In His timing, the Lord shall exalt those who live humbly in His service.

Here are some characteristics of humble people:

  • Humility esteems God’s ways above everything; it recognizes that He is all-knowing, all-powerful, merciful and loving.
  • Humility stays mindful that none of us is greater than another.
  • Humility is knowing when to ask questions as well as when to ask for help.
  • Humility knows who we are and to Whom we belong.
  • Humility always involves honesty.
  • Humility means being willing to learn and being curious about others.
  • Humility implies not taking our desires, successes, or failing too seriously.
  • Humility is trusting that what God says concerning each of us is true.
  • Humility is believing that what God says is always true.

Humility is a viewpoint of spiritual modesty that comes from understanding our place in the world and God’s perfect plans for us.  His plans for us are good to give us a future and a hope.  (Jer 29:11)  Thank the Lord most High!

Guard Your Faith

Guard Your Faith

How would we guard a treasure?  Would we put it in a bank deposit box; a secret vault; or in a guarded safe?  Naturally, we would do all that we could to protect our valuable property.

What about protecting our spiritual treasure?  Are we just as diligent?  Do we value it properly as we should?  

What is our spiritual treasure?  It is our saving FAITH in Jesus Christ which gives us new life on earth and an eternity in heaven with the Lord—where we will receive a crown.  We’ll be in eternal blissfulness in the splendor of God’s presence.

So what does the Bible say to us?

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.  (1 Cor 16:13 NIV)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  (1 Tim 6:12 ESV)

 I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.  (2 Tim 4:7 CEB)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.  (Eph 6:10 NIV)

In life hardship and heartaches come our way but, thanks to Jesus, we are never defeated, never without hope, and never alone because our lives are in the hands of God.  He is our defender and protector.

We’ve been given a treasure, but we need to guard it strongly.  The devil wants to destroy our saving faith.  He wants to make us doubt in our minds, to confuse our understanding, and to lead us off course to false treasures which have no value whatsoever. 

But we rely upon the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is eternal truth, and nothing will prevail against it.  As we memorize and meditate upon the Scriptures and remind ourselves of the wonderful gift of salvation that we have received, we will learn how to use our spiritual weapons referred to in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

Here are just some of spiritual our tools:

  • We must take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:5) – this means that we must monitor our thoughts and reject those that contradict the Gospel.  We need to train our minds to remain centered upon Jesus.
  • Be sober-minded and watchful.  (1 Pet 5:8)
  • Submit ourselves to God and resist the devil.  (Jas 4:7)
  • Put on the armor of God in order to stand successfully against the schemes of the devil.  (Eph 6:10-12; Eph 6:14-18)
  • Authority to tread on serpents and scorpions.  (Lk 10:19)
  • Meditate upon excellent things that are worthy of praise.  (Phil 4:8)
  • The blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  (Rev 12:11)
  • The Holy Spirit within us is greater than the devil.  (1 Joh 4:4)

With these impressive spiritual tools, we are more than able to guard our faith victoriously.  Hallelujah!

The Love of Money

The Love of Money

People who have an unreasonable love of money and a lust to accumulate it have fallen into a trap with inbuilt dangers.  These dangers plunge people into ruin and destruction.  The enemy of our souls uses this extreme love of money to control and rule the world, and even to destroy many Christians.

Let us turn to the Bible:

Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.  This too is meaningless.  (Eccl 5:10 NIV, underscoring added)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  (1 Tim 6:10 NKJV)

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.  (Mt 6:24 NIV)

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  (Lk 12:15 NIV)

Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  (Mt 6:19 ISV)

From the Scripture verses above we learn:

  • When a person loves money, they can never have enough.
  • The love of money can drive people to commit sin and to perform evil deeds.
  • The love of money can drive people away from faith in God.
  • We cannot serve two masters:  we must choose to serve God or to serve money.  We cannot serve both.
  • Be on guard against covetousness (greed, materialism, avarice).
  • Learn to value eternal things over and above real estate; savings accounts; stocks & bonds; and possessions.  When we value the eternal, we please God.

Money is not evil.  It can be used for good or evil.  King David was wealthy, but it didn’t control his heart. 

Do not give your heart to money or allow your monetary concerns to control your decisions or your actions.  Tithe and give offerings faithfully as the Lord guides you.  Be generous and help others wherever and however you can as the Holy Spirit directs you.  Use your abundance to bless and help others and to earn the blessings of God in response.  Don’t be stingy with your prosperity.

Be content with what you have and with your situation in life.  If you would like things to change, pray and ask for God’s direction.  He will hear and answer your prayers.

Don’t rely upon or trust in money.  Trust in and put your faith in the Lord and in His Word.  Obey the Lord and His Word and maintain a loving relationship with our Savior. Cultivate an eternal perspective.  We all must remember that wealth cannot go with us into eternity.  But Jesus will be with every believer throughout eternity as long as their relationship with the Lord is alive and vital at the time of their death.  Hallelujah!

Guard Your Words & Emotions

Guard Your Words & Emotions

It is important for us to guard our words and our emotions.  Words are very important in life, and the Bible attests to that.  Let’s see what the Scriptures tell us.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  (Jam 1:19 NIV) 

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.  (Prov 21:23 CEB)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  (Prov 10:19 ESV)

Whoever controls his temper is better than a warrior, and anyone who has control of his spirit is better than someone who captures a city.  (Pro 16:32 ISV)

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  (Col 3:8 NKJV)

We’re taught by the Word of God to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Do you notice that the only thing we should be QUICK about is listening?  Isn’t that opposite to what usually happens?

The wisdom that we can glean from God’s Word is that:

  • Restricting our words keeps us away from trouble;
  • We should control and limit our words;
  • Curtailing our lips is sensible and discreet;
  • Being able to control our own spirit is better than conquering an entire city; and
  • We should put away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and all filthy language.

As we live in harmony with and obedience to the Word of God, we invite God’s blessings upon our lives.  Hallelujah!