Keep Away from Evil

Keep Away from Evil

As servants of the Living God and followers of Jesus Christ, we should have a sincere desire to stay away from evil in every form:  evil thoughts; evil words; evil people; and even occasions to be tempted to commit evil.  If we obey the Lord, and obey the Scriptural command to be holy (1 Pet 1:16), this will make sense to us.

By mercy and truth atonement is made for wrongdoing, and by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil.  (Pro 16:6 NASB)  If we have a respectful reverence for the Lord, it will keep us away from doing evil.  If we have done evil in some way, and if there is an avenue open to us to make amends for it, God’s gifts of mercy and truth will guide us to the right path. For any sin that we may commit, we need to repent to the Lord and ask Him to forgive us and to cleanse us from unrighteousness. The GOOD news is that He always hears and answers these prayers for forgiveness and cleansing. Praise God!

I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.  (Joh 17:15 ESV)  I believe Jesus was praying for all who would accept Him as their Lord and Savior and follow Him all of their days.  The Lord prayed for His followers (US) to be kept away from the evil one who is satan.  The evil one and his works are described in John 8:44.

But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”  (1 Cor 5:13)  This is language similar to Deuteronomy 24:7 regarding excluding people, those who are indulging in evil, from the fellowship of believers. 

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  (Eph 4:31)  The Scriptures exhort us to avoid indulging in any of these activities, because they do not honor the Lord nor do they flow from the heart of God.

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11)  We must always choose to reject evil actions, and turn to the Lord.  When we follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we will seek and pursue peace with all of our hearts. 

Let us highly value peace in our hearts, in our relationships, and in our lives.  The peace of God which passes all understanding (Phil 4:7) encompasses within it wholeness, maturity, and completeness as well as freedom from turmoil and worry. Focus upon serving Jesus and doing good, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

Good Gifts

Good Gifts

Every good thing that we receive in life, no matter how it comes to us, is a blessing from God.  We need to recognize the truth of this principle.  What does the Bible teach us?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  (Jas 1:17 NKJV)

This verse clearly supports the premise that I offered in the first sentence of this article.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!  (Mt 7:11 NKJV)

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”  (Lk 11:13 NKJV)

Both of the passages above say clearly that if we, as human parents, understand the desire to shower good gifts upon our own children, then surely we must recognize that God’s desire is also to do good and to bless His spiritual children.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jer 29:11 NIV)  God plan is to prosper each one of us and to give each of us hope and a good future.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  (Rom 8:28 NIV)  God is telling all who have accepted Christ as their Savior that He works for our GOOD in every circumstance of life.  Praise God!

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will . . .  (Eph 1:11 ESV)  God has given each and every believer an inheritance, which is not only eternal but it is GOOD.  Thank the Lord most High!

Pay Attention to the Wisdom of God

Pay Attention to the Wisdom of God

Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; 18 for it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; let them all be fixed upon your lips . . .  (Pro 22:17-18)

Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.  34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.  (Pro 8:33-34)

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge.  (Pro 5:1-2)

As we read these passages from the Bible shown above, we can clearly see one theme shining through which is that we need to pay attention to and obey the Wisdom of God. 

The Bible is filled with the wisdom of God from the beginning to the end.  As we fill our hearts and minds with God’s Word, we will learn about God’s nature and goodness as well as about His eternal wisdom.

As we choose to obey God’s will and to yield to His wisdom, we will experience God’s blessings and prosperity.   As we continue to yield to His Word throughout the course of our life, we will acquire a merciful and loving heart toward others, and a deep desire to bless other people.  This is truly the outworking of God’s life and Spirit within us.

Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24, 30), and in Him, this wisdom is available to us.  Glory to God!

Who Do You Want To Be?

Who Do You Want To Be?

Today’s topic is a consideration of what type of person each one of us wants to be.  How do we get T-H-E-R-E from where we are now?  The Lord Jesus is committed to each and every one of His children.  If we cooperate with Him, we will never be put to shame.

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Mt 7:12 NKJV)  – This is the golden rule:  Do unto others what you want them to do to you.  If this rule guides your thoughts and actions, the results will be pleasing.  Allow this to motivate you to extend mercy and forgiveness to others.

For “‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘For we are indeed his offspring.’”  (Acts 17:28 ESV)  – Remember, we are made in the image of God; we are His children.  We live and do everything in Christ.  God bestows His unconditional love and abundant blessings upon His children.  Remember WHOSE you are!  It will do wonders for your self-image, and for how you conduct yourself. 

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Rom 5:3-5 NKJV)  – God’s love has been poured out upon each one of us.  All of life’s circumstances are designed to improve our character and to conform us to the image of Christ.  (See Romans 8:29)  Allow your circumstances to soften your hard edges, and to nurture a merciful and loving quality within you.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (1 Cor 3:16 ESV)  – Each one of us is truly God’s temple, and His Spirit dwells within each one of us.  Glory to God!  Be aware of God’s presence constantly, and allow the knowledge that He is with you to transform all of your decisions and actions.  It will bless you and cause you to bless others.

. . . but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—  (Eph 4:15 NKJV)  – God wants us to grow up (mature) into the image of Christ.  One way of doing that is to walk in love and to do everything with a loving heart and attitude.

Grow up and BE the person you truly want to be.  How do you want your spouse, your children, and your friends to remember you?  Once you’ve come to a decision on that, take some time to strategize how to aim your life and your behavior in that direction.  Allow the Scriptures and the Lord to guide you.  God is committed to transforming each one of us, and will give us the grace that we need.  Oh joy!

The Righteous

The Righteous

. . . and the desire of the righteous will be granted.  (Pro 10:24b)

. . . the righteous has an everlasting foundation.  (Pro 10:25b)

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 11:4)

Let us understand that when the Bible refers to the righteous it is talking about those who have been justified by Jesus Christ by accepting Him as their Savior.  Now I’m going to share some thoughts about each verse shown above, in order.

  1. How often does the Bible say that God will give us the desires of our hearts? It may be stated in different ways, but this theme is mentioned in Ps 37:4-5; Ro 4:21; Jer 1:12; Mt 6:33; 7:7-8; Lk 11:9-10 as well as the first verse shown above.  How often do you really believe and trust that the Lord wishes to give you the desires of your heart?  Yes, we do need to live obediently to Him and to seek His kingdom, and as we are doing that, we have been encouraged by these Scriptures to ask Him to give us what we desire.  So many people think only of monetary things, but what we desire may be the salvation of a loved one or the healing of a relationship or any of a number of other spiritually worthy things.  And if you do need physical healing or financial blessings, the Bible gives us many promises to encourage our faith in these areas, as well.  So, I encourage you to share your desires with the Lord.
  2. The foundation that the righteous have that is everlasting is Jesus Christ, the Chief Cornerstone. (Mt 21:42; 1 Cor 3:11)  In Him, we are secure and anchored, so don’t let go of your foundation of faith.
  3. Humanly speaking, people appreciate having more than enough money because it solves so many challenges and problems in the natural realm. But even more important than wealth (according to the Bible) is righteousness, because righteousness liberates us from spiritual death, and from the fear of physical  death.
    1. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jo 14:6, emphasis added)
    2. And He said to me, “It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.  (Rev 21:6, emphasis added)

Today we may rejoice in the blessings and the promises that God has given to us—His righteous, blessed children.

The Touch of Faith

The Touch of Faith

. . . and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment.  And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.  (Matt 14:36 NKJV)

She came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel of his garment, and her bleeding stopped at once.  (Lk 8:44 ISV)

As we read these two different reports, you’ll notice that in one “the hem” of Jesus’ garment was mentioned; and in the other, “the tassel” of His garment was touched by the needy, faith-filled woman.

In the Mosaic Law, God instructed His people regarding the corners, or fringes, of their garments. Jews were to “make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a “cord of blue on the tassel of each corner” as a reminder that they were God’s people called to keep His commandments (Numbers 15:37-41). It seems like a strange instruction until we learn that in the Ancient Near East, the corner of a person’s garment represented his identity; it was a symbol of who he was and what he stood for.  (Source of above note:  https://biblemesh.com/blog/why-were-people-healed-from-touching-jesus-clothes/)

According to the above historical note about the tassels of a person’s clothing in Bible days, the tassels represented a person’s identity.  So, the woman with the issue of blood would have known that symbolism.

 It helps us to understand that the woman not only reached out in faith and in need, but she also reached out with a desire to identify and connect with Jesus’ identity.  She was humbly connecting with the Son of God, her Messiah.

In the same way, when we have a need, we would do well to follow this woman’s example.  Draw near to Jesus with a humble heart; recognize and appropriate His identity; and reach out and touch Him by faith.  In the biblical account of the woman healed of the issue of blood, Jesus established that He responded to this touch of faith!

He’s never too busy to perform a miracle for you!  

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence

Therefore, do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.  (Heb 10:35-36 KJV)

Endurance means constancy; perseverance; steadfastness; or patient stamina.  We have need of such endurance as we trust in God and in His Word to meet our every need, and the needs of others.

Why do we need endurance?  So that we may experience victory in Jesus which can only come through the faith that He has given to each believer as a free gift!

The enemy of our souls uses various tactics to shake us and to try to discourage our faith in God.  He wants us to give up and to stop believing the truth of God’s Word, because that’s the only way that he can prevent us from receiving God’s promises.

Here’s a specific example.  I relied upon Bible verses on the topic of healing when I was young, and engaged to be married.  I was told that I had a cyst on my left ovary.  The critical fact was that it was the only one I had!  Due to an emergency removal of the other ovary some years prior, I didn’t even know if I would be able to have children.

So, now—not wanting to be made barren—I prayed daily for healing, and I meditated on verses of Scripture concerning healing.  My fiancé joined with me in trusting God for a miracle.  After about a month, during a communion service, I felt an overpowering knowledge that I had been healed.  I had an appointment with my doctor the following day, and was told that the cyst was gone!  The Lord had performed a miracle for me!  Hallelujah!  We had to obstinately hold onto God’s Word to receive what He had promised us.

The Lord gave us four beautiful children to raise, and they’re adults now.  Over the course of raising our kids and 41 years of marriage, my husband and I have experienced many, many answered prayers and miraculous occurrences in our family.  Our kids have experienced miracles.  I’m not saying that we’re perfect.  No.  We’re human and we struggle with faith as everyone does.  We’re familiar with the fear that attacks a person when they are given a negative diagnosis or when facing any crisis (whether financial, mental, or physical).

We have learned that when we trust God, meditate upon His unfailing love, and simply persevere in faith, He always meets our needs.  There have been countless variations in the methods that God uses, but the result is always, always that God fulfills His Word.

Just be patient . . . and know that God loves you and He WANTS to meet your need.  Find some Scriptures that promise you the thing or things that you need or desire, and ask God to fulfill them in your life.

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.  (Ps 143:8 NIV) 

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.  (Ps 37:4 NKJV – emphasis added)

Think of endurance as having a stubbornness or obstinacy in your faith.  Don’t let go of your confidence in God’s Word!