Listen to and Accept Instruction

Listen to and Accept Instruction

We’re taught by the Word of God to listen to the Word and to obey it.  We’re also encouraged to accept instruction from our parents, our elders, and wise counselors.  Most human beings find these instructions challenging—at least some of the time!

But the Bible reminds us repeatedly that blessings, wisdom, and long life will be given to us if we listen to and accept instruction.  Let’s look at some Bible verses:

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.  (Pro 4:10 NIV)

Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold . . . (Pro 8:10 NIV)

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  (Pro 19:20 NIV)

Receive instruction from his mouth, and lay up his words in your heart.  (Job 22:22 NIV)

This verse in Job recommends that we memorize the Scriptures to make it easier to meditate upon them.

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.  (1 Thes 2:13 NIV)

The more that we memorize and meditate upon the Word–as well as obeying it–the more powerfully the Word will work in us and transform us into the image of our Savior and Creator.  God bless you.

Mercy, Peace & Love be Multiplied

Mercy, Peace & Love be Multiplied

Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (Jud 1:2 NKJV)

Take another look at that verse!  The Holy Spirit chose to intensify the blessings of mercy, peace and grace by using the word multiplied.

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Rom 1:7 NIV)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  (2 Pet 1:2 NIV)

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.  (Gal 6:15-16 NKJV)

MERCY means:  1) compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm; 2) compassion, kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted.  Mercy is when God decides not to punish us for our sins and wrongdoings.

PEACE means:  1) freedom from disturbance; tranquility; 2) to experience tranquility, harmony, and agreement.  Psalm 7:11 (NKJV) says, God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  But the Lord is not angry with believers.  Jesus has purchased reconciliation and peace between believers and God.  This is the peace that Jesus promised in John 14:27 (NKJV):  Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  This is the peace that Jesus experienced in the core of His own pain and suffering that He shares with us.

LOVE:  agape, Greek agapē, in the New Testament; the fatherly love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God. In Scripture, the transcendent agape love is the highest form of love.  This kind of love is not based on performance or precision; it flows from the pure heart of God.  This is a miracle-working type of love that has been given to us through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.  It’s the most selfless and generous form of love we can imagine. 

Jude begins his letter by praying this triad of blessings on all believers:  Mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.  (Jud 1:2 NKJV)  And he prayed for these blessings to be multiplied to us.  He desires these blessings to come upon each believer in waves of blessings.  He wants these blessings to flourish, proliferate, and be magnified in our lives—that they exceedingly abound!   The blessings of God are found in His mercy, His peace, and His love— which are all revealed through His Son and extravagantly imparted to us by the Spirit.  Glory to God!

We are Heirs of God through Christ

We are Heirs of God through Christ

Through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, we have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  (see Rom 8:17)  An “heir” is a person who inherits, or has a right of inheritance, to the property of another person following their death.

 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15 NKJV)

What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.  (1 Cor 2:12 NIV, emphasis added)

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God . . .  (Rom 8:16 ESV)

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.  And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.  (Gal 4:4-7 NKJV)

God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.  (Eph 1:5 NLT)

One of the rights that we were given as heirs is an inheritance of everything that belongs to God.  Everything in the entire universe belongs to God.  Both seen and unseen things belong to God!  It is all God’s property.

So, as incomprehensible as it may seem, when it comes to our inheritance as the children of God, everything that belongs to Jesus also belongs to us because we are joint heirs with Christ! 

“According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you . . . ”  (1 Pet 1:3-4 ESV) Our inheritance includes all of the blessings and promises found in the Bible and more.  We have been given an eternal inheritance that is shown above in 1 Peter 1 as “imperishable, undefiled, unfading and kept in heaven for us.” 

I think it’s safe to say that our eternal inheritance is so royal and so wonderful, that we can’t even get a true concept of the enormity and magnificence of it.  Have fun and receive inspiration from meditating upon this truth. God bless you!

Trust in God & Be Not Afraid

Trust in God & Be Not Afraid

As followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we place our trust, faith, and hope in God and in His Word.  But there are various challenging circumstances that we may face in life that might bring fear into our hearts.

Fear is not good because fear involves torment (suffering, torture, persecution).   Even the Bible confirms this fact:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  (1 Joh 4:18a NKJV)

These Bible passages (below) encourage us to trust in God and to avoid fear.  These verses state why we can be faith-filled.

In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Ps 56:4 NIV)  With God on our side, what can a mere human being do?

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Ps 118:6 NIV)  This echoes the same feeling as the verse above.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  (Rom 8:31-34 NIV)  This passage from the Scriptures reminds us of the many blessings that we have received along with our salvation.  We have so many reasons to rejoice and to be full of faith.

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  (Heb 13:6 NIV)  Be filled with confidence. Just remember that the Lord is the One who is helping us—constantly!

Let us overflow with thanksgiving and praise.

What About Eternal Life?

What About Eternal Life?

How does the gift eternal life, through salvation in Jesus Christ, affect us now in our daily lives? 

These Bible verses are among many that assure us of eternal life, as believers in Jesus:

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.  (1 Jo 5:20 ESV, emphasis added)

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

Having an eternal point of view will change the way that we live as believers.  Does anything last forever?  Only God.  Being mindful of our eternal home in heaven, will prevent us from focusing on the wrong things in this life. 

Considering an eternal home in the presence of Jesus and hosts of angels, along with countless brothers and sisters, will help us to reject pride, envy, jealousy, lust for wealth, and many other temptations that are common to human beings.

The Lord has given us the Bible to inform us about our salvation; about His standards of righteous living; and about the endless and bounteous blessings that God pours out upon all people.  His word teaches us to think on good and virtuous things, to bear fruit for the kingdom, to always praise God, and to have regular fellowship with other believers.

Living with an understanding of an eternal future in heaven will infuse our daily lives with joy and wonder.  God bless you.

Carrying Out the Will of God

Carrying Out the Will of God

Do you think that carrying out the will of God is very important to Jesus, our Savior?  Yes, indeed, it is!  The Bible has quite a bit to say on this subject. 

For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.  (Mt 12:50, underscoring added)  Accomplishing the will of God on this earth qualifies us to be members of the family of God.

But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”  (Lk 8:21)  Those who are members of the family of God, not only hear the word of God but we perform it.  Jesus says so.

You are my friends if you do what I command you.  (Joh 15:14)  I want to be a friend of Jesus and a friend of God.  There is only one way to be God’s friend, and that is to carry out the will of God.

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:17)  One of God’s precious promises to us is that all who do the will of God will live forever. 

Meditating upon the Bible, honoring the Word of God, and continuously executing the instructions found within its pages will make us people who “do the will of God” and earn God’s favor and His blessings.  Hallelujah!

Secrets

Secrets

Are you a person who enjoys having a secret?  Do you have secrets of your own to protect—that you do not want to be revealed?

Well, our Father in heaven has secrets that He will share only with His children.  God also knows every secret of every human being on earth; nothing is hidden from Him.

I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, am the God of Israel.  (Isa 45:3 NKJV, underscoring added)  There are hidden riches in undisclosed places which are known only to God, and He has promised to give these blessings to His own children.

He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.  (Dan 2:22 NKJV)  Only our God and Savior is able to reveal to us His deep and secret things in such a way that they will be useful, helpful, and fruitful to us.

When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.  (Mt 6:6 CEV)  When this passage states that God knows what happens in private, it is saying that God sees and knows what is done secretly.

This proves that the conscience is like a law written in the human heart. And it will show whether we are forgiven or condemned, 16 when God appoints Jesus Christ to judge everyone’s secret thoughts, just as my message says.  (Rom 2:15-16 CEV)  God knows even our secret thoughts!  And He loves us no matter what they may be.

Praise God! He can make you strong by means of my good news, which is the message about Jesus Christ. For ages and ages this message was kept secret . . .  (Rom 16:25 CEV)  We are so blessed that the Good News of salvation is no longer a secret but has been revealed to all mankind.  Glory to God most High!

Prayer & Faith

Prayer & Faith

Prayer that arises from faith in Jesus in our hearts accomplishes wonderful and mighty blessings.  Another beneficial tool that believers have is anointing people with oil, and laying hands on them in prayer.  In the Scriptures, oil represents the Holy Spirit.  In the New Testament the laying on of hands was associated with Christ healing the sick (Luke 4:40)

Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  (Jas 5:14-15 NIV)  In this case, we are encouraged to ask the elders of the church to pray for the sick after anointing them with oil.

And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them. (Mk 6:13)  This passage is referring to the apostles’ doing good works, including casting out demons, anointing the sick with oil and healing them.  Praise God!

And it happened that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and dysentery. Paul went in to him and prayed, and he laid his hands on him and healed him.  (Ac 28:8)  The Apostle Paul laid hands on Publius after praying for him, and healed Publius.

These are procedures that the apostles used, because they had seen Jesus Christ (our example) using them.  Modern believers should use these same methods and practices in order to see the same results.

Remember, all signs, wonders and miracles are a result of faith in Jesus Christ and in focusing upon Him and His love and mercy.  Faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8) and we should cherish it, value it, and thank and praise God for it. Hallelujah!

Sow Righteousness

Sow Righteousness

The concept of sowing and reaping is an important one in the Scriptures.  We are instructed by the Lord to sow righteousness.  How may we do that?

The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.  (Pro 11:18)  We are taught by God’s Word, that those who “sow righteousness” will have a certain reward.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  (Gal 6:7)  We are warned that whatever we sow, we shall also reap. 

In other words, if a person sows corn, they will produce a corn crop.  If they sow malice and hatred, they will gather heartache and sorrow.  If we sow love and mercy in order to honor the Lord, then we will harvest blessings for ourselves and our children.

For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  (Gal 6:8)  If we satisfy our own fleshly desires and sinful nature, we will collect only decay and death as a result.  But if we will sow to the Spirit (or sow righteousness), we will harvest eternal life and many of God’s blessings along the way..

The Bible makes it very clear that the seed that every believer should sow is the Word of God.  When we sow the Word of God, we sow righteousness.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.  (1 Pet 1:23 NIV)

The seed is the word of God.  (Lk 8:11b NIV)

Sharing our testimony with other people, inviting people to visit our church so that they can hear the Good News, and praying for the salvation of people that we know are also beautiful ways to sow righteousness.  Praising God and supporting the Kingdom of God financially, as well as doing good works, are other righteous seeds to plant.  Blessings upon you!

Working Hard Has Benefits

Working Hard Has Benefits

We can’t bring any glory to the Lord or to the Kingdom of God by being lazy.  There is no honor in laziness, nor is there any glory in being idle.  I want to make it clear that I’m NOT talking about people who yearn to work, who have searched rigorously and urgently for employment, but haven’t been able to obtain it.  That’s not the same thing. 

What these Scriptures are addressing are people who prefer to be idle, and those who choose to engage in gossip and spreading rumors rather than performing true, diligent labor.  

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.  (Pro 14:23 NIV)  This verse teaches us that working hard brings us the benefit of being paid for our labor.  Those who only talk about working, but who actually do nothing, earn no wages and can buy no groceries.

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies.  (2 Thes 3:10-11 NKJV)  This excerpt from 2 Thessalonians demonstrates the truth that people who won’t work will have nothing to eat.  In addition, when people don’t work they have lots of time on their hands which the enemy can turn into opportunities to sin against God.  While all sin is displeasing to God, the sin of gossip displeases the Lord greatly. It is the reason that the Scriptures describe such persons as busybodies.

And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.  (1 Tim 5:13 NKJV)  Here again, the Bible warns us about idle hands and minds being turned toward evil, unrighteous pastimes. 

As we see from Proverbs 14:23 (above), the Holy Spirit says that ALL hard work brings financial gain and advantages to the ones who work diligently.  The Bible encourages believers to work hard, to be responsible and kind, and to live honorably within our communities so that we are an asset to them.  God will reward us with His blessings as we live obediently to His word. Praise His Name!