Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

This study is about causing people to stumble spiritually, and it is a serious matter in God’s sight. 

As followers of Jesus, we have a grave responsibility to expose people to the light of the true gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined throughout the entire scriptures.  The gospel of salvation sets people free and makes the promises of God available to them.  It also gives them the blessing of an eternity in heaven.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  (Mt 18:7 NIV, emphasis added)

My reading of the verse above is this –

This present world is an evil and dangerous place. It’s full of attacks, sins, traps, and sorrows.  We all recognize that it’s a treacherous road that we must travel through life, full of stumbling-blocks, precipices, and false guides.  But God forbid that any one of us should be the cause of spiritual or moral stumbling on the part of another person.

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  (Lk 17:1 NIV)

Here a similar idea to that of Matthew, above.  The truth of Luke 17:1 is that God is warning that a great wretchedness shall come upon anyone who causes injury or harm—in word or deed—to one of His little lambs.  Who qualifies for God’s punishment?   

  • 1. Anyone who has in some way discouraged a believer in serving Christ and in fulfilling their calling.  Or anyone who has discouraged a Christian so deeply that the believer is in danger of being driven away from serving Christ completely. DO NOT discourage other people in any way that would undermine them or discourage them from achieving their goals.
  • 2. Those who corrupt the truths of Christ and His Word, and so distress and hassle the minds of believers. This is an evil practice of planting seeds of doubt into the hearts and minds of those who have faith. WE ARE NOT CALLED TO hassle or distress brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • 3. Those who profess to be Christians, but who live scandalously (shamefully, sinfully), and thereby weaken the connections between and sadden the souls of God’s people. We must live in OBEDIENCE to and in agreement with the Word of God.

May each one of us live in harmony with the standards of God’s holy Word. Blessings upon you.

If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised

If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.   (Rom 13:3-4)

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.  (1 Pet 2:13-14)

God has promised us, according to the Scriptures, that when we do good works on earth, we’ll be honored and celebrated.  This is God’s reward and His blessing upon all who are obedient to His Word and His will.

It is clear that doing good works is the will of God for His people.  Here are several Bible verses about good works:

  • In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 5:16 ESV)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  (Jas 2:26 ESV)
  • That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim 3:17 ESV)

What are “good works” according to the Bible?  Here is another perspective:

Ephesians 2:10 would encourage you to learn to see your whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you’re a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. If you’re a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God’s masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes.  (Source:  https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/daily-reflection/what-are-good-works-god-has-prepared-us)

The Bible also tells us these things about good works:

  • If someone is hungry or inadequately clothed, believers should feed them and give them clothing.  (Jas 2:14-17)
  • Whatever we do, we should work enthusiastically and with all of our might, because the Lord Himself will reward us.  (Col 3:23-24)
  • We must do wholesome, upright, virtuous deeds and share whatever we have with others. (Heb 13:16)
  • Don’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing good.  (Gal 6:9)
  • All that we do should be done in love.  (1 Cor 16:14)
  • Believers should encourage and inspire each other to lovingly perform good works.  (Heb 10:24)

Think deeply today about what we’ve studied, and about the many forms of good works.  There are so many unique ways in which you may demonstrate the love and mercy of God to the world through your good works. Be blessed in Jesus’ name!

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

The Bible invites us to do good to everyone.

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  (1 Thes 5:15 NIV)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Gal 6:10)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord . . .  (Heb 12:14)

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.  (3 Joh 1:11)

As children of the most High God, we desire to live holy lives that obey the Word of God.  We serve a good God who is full of mercy, forgiveness, and love.  God has given every believer the blessing of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who leads us and teaches us. 

We should:

  • Strive to do whatever is good—for each other and everyone else;
  • Never pay back a wrong; never seek revenge;
  • As we have opportunity, do noble, virtuous, kind things for everyone—especially other believers;
  • Seek to be at peace with ALL; and
  • Pursue holiness always.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, demonstrated “doing good” to all.  If we follow His example, and emulate our Prince of Peace, we will be blessed.

God, Our Mighty Warrior

God, Our Mighty Warrior

Our God is a mighty warrior who fights for His people and on behalf of His people.  What a powerful blessing from God has been granted to us!

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.  He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zeph 3:17 NIV)

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name. (Ex 15:3 NIV)

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.  (Ex 14:14)

The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.  (Isa 42:13 NIV)

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.  They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.  (Jer 20:11 NIV)

A warrior is a soldier, fighter, combatant, and trooper.  God tells us that He fights for us and goes before us in battle.  (Deu 1:30)  This reminds us to follow our Lord and Savior in any battle and never to try to strike out on our own.  He is our leader so we need to be responsive to His timing, strategies, and guidance.

The Lord tells us not to fear our enemy because of the fact that God, Himself, fights for us.  (Deu 3:22)  Since we know that we have the Lord with us—because He never leaves us nor fails us—then we’re able to successfully put a thousand enemy troops on the run!  (Josh 23:10)  Glory to God!

Sometimes the Lord simply instructs us:  “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”  (2 Chron 20:17)

Through the Scripture passages shown above, we recognize that:

  • Our enemies will stumble and not prevail.
  • The enemy will fail and be disgraced.
  • Our Lord, our Warrior, loves us and saves us;
  • He delights in us, and
  • He rejoices over us with singing!

All glory and honor and praise be unto God, our Savior! God bless you.

How Can I Receive a Miracle?

How Can I Receive a Miracle?

Considering the last blog article, I thought it would be timely to look at Bible verses that help us to understand how to receive a miracle when we need it or whenever someone we care about might need one. Let’s clarify our terms, first.  Let’s look at the difference between a blessing and a miracle.

A blessing is unmerited favor or approval; a special favor, mercy or benefit.  (Example:  The blessing of living in a land of liberty. -or- The blessing of having food and shelter.)

A miracle is a supernatural phenomenon from God in an emergency or time of need; an extraordinary, welcome event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to God. 

From time to time, most of us need a miracle at some point in our lives.  The God whom we serve is predictable and orderly; He is forever faithful. 

God doesn’t change.  God always want to help us; always wants to bless us and to deliver us from evil.  You can find these truths right in God’s Word.  (Ps 54:4; Isa 41:10; Heb 13:8)

First, know what the Bible says to you.  Meditate upon these truths from Scripture:

  • And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.  (Deu 28:13)  –  God surrounds us with His favor at all times.  He gives us the grace and ability to rule in this life.
  • But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness . . .  (Rom 4:5) – Our faith in Jesus Christ is our righteousness in God’s sight.
  • And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19) – God’s promises to meet ALL of our needs through Jesus Christ and our faith in Him.
  • And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”  (Ps 35:27b) – God is pleased with our success and our prosperity. 
  • Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  (3 Joh 2) – The Lord’s desire is for us to prosper and to be healthy always.
  • But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Mt 19:26, see also Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27) – All things are possible to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.
  • And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (Joh 14:13) – Jesus says that He will do WHATEVER we pray for in order to bring glory to our Father God through the Son, Jesus. 
  • Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”  (Lk 1:38)  – When we ask God for something, we place our faith in God and in His Word. 

The eight Bible verses shown above are only a sample of the good and precious promises that God has given to every believer.  God’s Word is His will.  When we ask for something in agreement with His will, we know that God WILL give us whatever we need.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

  1. Know what God’s Word says and understand that it is His will for you.
  2. Sow God’s Word into your heart by reading, memorizing, and meditating upon it daily.
  3. Put your faith in the Word, and ask God for what you need, based upon His Word.
  4. Understand that God’s answer to you is “Yes” and receive your miracle by faith right then.  Have confidence that God’s Word will prevail in your life.
  5. Praise and thank God for hearing and answering your prayers, and expect to reap the harvest of your miracle thanks to the seed of the Word of God that you have planted in your heart. 
  6. Do not abandon your faith or your testimony. Hold fast; do not waiver in your faith in God.

Following these guidelines should reap untold benefits and wonders. Give God all of the glory, honor, and praise, in Jesus’ holy name.

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

When we have fellowship with other believers, we can influence one another to perform acts of kindness out of love for the Lord Jesus and thereby bring glory to God.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Heb 10:24-25 ESV)

. . . but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (Heb 3:13) 

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  (Act 2:1)

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

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . .   (2 Pet 3:14)

These Scripture verses shown above demonstrate a number of good examples for us believers today:

  • As we have regular fellowship, and we have the privilege of comforting and improving each other.
  • It is good to encourage one another to perform kind and loving deeds.
  • We should exhort (urge) one another to live holy lives, even as Jesus did.
  • We should live in peace, harmony, and holiness.
  • It is good to meet with other believers very frequently or to have fellowship through a phone conversation.
  • Do not allow ourselves to become hard-hearted.
  • When we do meet with fellow believers, it is important to be in one accord (unity, harmony).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be an incredible blessing and encouragement to one another.

God Blesses Our Food & Drink

God Blesses Our Food & Drink

How often do we realize that God protects us in many and varied ways, DAILY?  He blesses even our food and drink!  Let’s think about this and see what God says.

So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. (Ex 23:25) 

God’s promise is to bless [sanctify, approve, validate] everything that we eat and drink as well as to remove [eradicate] sickness and disease from within us.  If we truly believe and stand upon this promise of God, it will operate in our circumstances. 

Why is God’s blessing upon our food important to us? 

Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Ps 103:5) 

God not only blesses us with the provision of food to eat, but by His blessing upon our food and drink, God renews our youth day by day, moment-by-moment! 

. . . because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.  (Neh 13:2)

In Nehemiah 13, God not only set Himself against Israel’s enemies, but He also reversed the curse placed upon His people and He caused the Israelites to be blessed. 

We are God’s New Covenant people and He has given us even BETTER promises than He gave to the people in the Old Testament!  (Heb 8:6)  It’s time to acquaint ourselves with what belongs to us through Jesus, our Lord and Savior!

I encourage you to read the Bible every day to collect and to meditate upon the blessings and precious promises that Jesus suffered and died to purchase for each and every one of His children. 

Leaders, Shepherd the Flock

Leaders, Shepherd the Flock

Here are standards for those who are Pastors, elders, or leaders in a church.  If you would LIKE to become a Pastor, elder, or leader, study the Scriptures to discover what is required of such a person.  Then begin to live that out in your life; behave as if you already ARE a Pastor, elder, or leader.  It will not go unnoticed by God, and He will put you into the position that you desire.  (1 Tim. 3:1)

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords (masters) over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.  (1 Pet 5:2, 3 NKJV)

  1. Shepherd the flock of God AMONG YOU! That means everyone that you come into contact with daily!  Make an impact for GOOD on those with whom you connect regularly—including your own family members.  (Mk 3:14; 16:15; Ac 5:42; 8:4; Heb 6:10, 11; 2 Tim 4:2)
  2. We’re to serve as overseers. An overseer is an administrator, manager, or someone who gets things done.  We were not elevated to our responsible position in order to prosper financially or to charge people fees.  We never saw Jesus give us such an example.  We’re to help people—help them receive all that they need by whatever means that the Lord directs us to use.  Whatever a person’s needs are, the salvation of Jesus Christ has already met that need!  We’re put here to help people to see this truth, and to help them to receive God’s blessings.  (Mt 6:10; 16:19; 18:19; Ac 20:28; Phil 4:19; Col 1:27; 1 Joh 5:14, 15)
  3. We are supposed to serve willingly and eagerly, with a good attitude and cheerful heart. We are called, each one of us, to BE a blessing!  (Col 3:23-24; 1 Pet 3:9)
  4. We are told not to “lord” it over people. Instead we are to sacrifice and humble ourselves even as our Savior, Jesus, sacrificed and humbled Himself to provide and secure our salvation.  (Mt 18:4; 23:12; Rom 12:1, 16; Eph 5:2; Phil 2:8; Heb 13:16; 1 Pet 2:5; 5:6; Jas 4:6, 10)
  5. The sheep have been entrusted to the care of their church leaders, and we are NEVER to harm the sheep. We are serving as an under-shepherd under the authority of Jesus, the Good Shepherd!  (Jer 50:6; Eze 34:10; Joh 10:11, 14; 1 Pet 5:4)
  6. The Word tells us that we should be examples to the flock. Jesus was our example, and we’re to follow in His footsteps.  (Joh 13:14-16; Phil 3:17; 1 Pet 2:21)

May God bless you and flood you with His love and grace, as you pursue your leadership role in the Kingdom of God.

Work is God’s Gift

Work is God’s Gift

This statement may shock you or surprise you:  Work is a gift from God!

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.  (Eccl 5:19 NLT) 

Our work is a blessing to us because through it, we receive finances, satisfaction, and fulfillment.  We use our skills and talents to carry out our work, and we should actually enjoy making use of these talents.

The Bible shows us many, many passages that demonstrate that God, Himself, works.  Here are a few of those passages:

All men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider His doing.  (Ps 64:9)

Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men.  (Ps 66:5)

I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  (Ps 77:12)

In life, as we pursue an education, it is for the purpose of building skills, becoming trained, and uncovering our gifts and talents.  The more skilled and talented that we become, the more that we gain self-esteem, as well as a sense of purpose and accomplishment.  In this way, we are happy to acknowledge that we have contributed something good to the world.

When we work to a high level of skill and excellence, we bring glory to God and honor to His name.  When we work with a sense of joy and eagerness to discover solutions, we improve the environment of our workplaces.  In cooperating with and respecting our co-workers, we quietly acknowledge that we’re all made in God’s image. 

In such ways, we can contribute the love of God to those with whom we work, and thereby find favor in God’s eyes. 

God Is In Control

God Is In Control

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.  (Pro 19:21)

This article is a meditation upon the concept that our God and Savior is in control of life’s events.  Even in those cases where something that is negative or harmful occurs, the Lord can ultimately bring glory to Himself by delivering us.  He can also cause something that was intended to harm us turn into an opportunity for us to receive a blessing!  (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1) – God is not with us in trouble merely to comfort or strengthen us, but to protect and help us.  Hallelujah!

The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.  (Pro 16:4) – The Lord has created everything for His own purposes, and He gave human beings a free will even though He knew that a percentage of us would rebel against Him and reject Him.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  (Pro 16:9) – We make our own, fleshly plans; but the Lord in His mercy and goodness directs the circumstances of our lives according to His good plan for us. 

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.  (Pro 16:33) – Even the most seemingly accidental, chance, unexpected, or unplanned events are under God’s control. Trust Him and rely upon His love for you.

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.  (Ps 115:3) – Our God is a merciful and loving God, so He will show mercy whenever and wherever He chooses to do so.  Because He can see the end from the beginning, He knows what events need to take place in our lives in order to accomplish His good plans for us.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand . . . (Isa 14:24) – God’s good purposes and plans for us shall stand for He will bring them to pass.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”  (Jer 32:27) – Whatever our difficulty or challenge or heartache, NOTHING is too difficult for God to turn it around.  Praise the Lord!

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  (Mt 10:29) – We know that God cares for us vastly more than the sparrows, so this verse opens our eyes to the truth that He diligently watches over us in all of the details of our lives.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  (Rom 13:1) – We must recognize that God even determines who will have authority at every level of a nation’s hierarchy.  He determines when and for how long a person will be in authority, even our employers, overseers, or business partners. 

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11) – All power comes from God because it all belongs to Him.  Therefore, whatever position of power, authority or influence that you may have, be conscientious, kind, respectful and merciful to others.  You will one day give an account of yourself.

. . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.  (1 Pet 3:9)

We are called to bless others and to be a blessing.  Living in obedience to God’s will always causes us to inherit blessings.  Recognizing that God is not only in control of all things, but that He watches over us in order to be able to bless and help us will make it quite easy for us to want to help others.