An Everlasting Covenant

An Everlasting Covenant

Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.  (Ezek 37:26 NKJV)

From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing.  I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained.  (Jer 30:19 NIV)

For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst of her.  (Zech 2:5 KJV)

A covenant is an agreement, pledge, bond, or contract.  The Bible reminds us that God cannot lie (Tit 1:2) and that His Word is tested and true.  (Ps 119:140, 142)

God’s promises to His people, based upon the passages above, are that:

  • He will establish us;
  • He multiplies us;
  • He gives us His peace;
  • He lives within us;
  • He will bring us honor;
  • He guarantees that we won’t be disdained;
  • He protects us as a wall of fire; and
  • He is the glory within us.

He will establish us by confirming that our faith us genuine and that our relationship with Him is legitimate.

He multiplies us by adding other believers to our numbers, and by giving us literal children of our own, as well as spiritual children whom we parent as spiritual mentors.

He gives us peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:7) because He is the Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

He lives with every believer because we are individually (and collectively) the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19)

How does God bring honor to any believer?  Some of the ways He will honor us is by hearing and answering our prayers for other people.  When we lead people to accept Jesus as their own personal Savior, we are being honored by God.  When God performs signs and wonders in response to our prayers for someone, he is honoring us.  He is responding to the genuine faith that we are using by praying on behalf of other people.  Hallelujah!

The final three promises are that we won’t be disdained; that He protects us; and that His glory is within each of us.  These are things that we have to simply trust Him to perform.  We don’t need to do anything about them; we just need to continue in our relationship with Jesus Christ and keep on serving our Savior, who is a Covenant-Keeping God.  Glory to God!

Worthy to Be Praised

Worthy to Be Praised

My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness and Your salvation all the day, for I do not know their limits.  (Ps 71:15 NKJV)

I will praise you every day; I will praise you forever and ever.  (Ps 145:2 NCV)

On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.  People will speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.  They will burst forth in speaking of Your abundant goodness, and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.  (Ps 145:5-7 NASB)

I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.  (Ps 18:3 NKJV)

These passages from the Bible remind us of one vital truth: 

That God is worthy to be praised!

Worthy means commendable, admirable, exemplary, and excellent!  God is the model of who is eligible for praise and what sort of being has earned praise.  He is the standard against whom all persons will be compared and judged!

When we meditate upon God’s glory, splendor, majesty, and His works, we cannot PREVENT ourselves from breaking into spontaneous praise and adoration.  It bursts from us in an unstoppable flow, and causes us to shout joyfully praising God’s righteousness.  Hallelujah!

And this is the same God who has provided salvation as a free gift to all of mankind.  All He asks in return is that we place all of our faith, hope and trust in His Son, Jesus, who is our Savior and Redeemer.  What a deal!

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!

Wisdom is Proven Right

Wisdom is Proven Right

In the real world, in everyday living, a wise person is one who follows Biblical standards in their personal lives; and in consequence, experiences startling results. 

I’m describing a person who lives out their faith in Jesus Christ daily, moment by moment.  They extend their help and friendship to those in need; they share the love of Christ with all those who cross their paths; and they even make decisions on practical and political matters based upon their faith in Jesus Christ and in God’s Word.

Yet Wisdom is shown to be right by what its followers do.  (Lk 7:35 CEV)

The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”  (Mt 11:19 NIV)  This verse is talking about Jesus being called a glutton and a friend of drunkards and sinners.  However, Jesus was wise in obeying the plan that Father God had for His live. 

Jesus knew that these were the very people that He had been sent to redeem.

Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.  (Hos 14:9 NIV)  As this verse reminds us, wisdom understands that the ways of the Lord are righteous and the just person walks in those ways.  Only the rebellious trip over them and end up struggling through life.

Do you want to acquire wisdom? 

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.  (Jas 1:5 NKJV) With all sincerity of heart, ask the Lord to give you His wisdom today. He will certainly hear and answer your prayer, dear reader.

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!

The Blessings of Fellowship

The Blessings of Fellowship

There are great blessings that result from fellowship and unity with other believers.  We need the companionship of close friends and relatives who are fellow Christians.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
  (Eccl 4:10 NIV)

Here the Bible reminds us that having a close companion or friend will provide us with support, help, and strength.

. . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  (Heb 10:25)

This passage in Hebrews reminds us that gathering regularly with other believers provides encouragement and validation of our faith as well as support.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.  (1 Thes 4:18)

Meeting with other believers provides us with comfort, security, and reassurance.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 RSV) Christian fellowship provides inspiration from the Bible, the nurturing of our faith and the joy which lightens our hearts.  What beautiful and loving blessings from God!

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!

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Discouraged Versus Encouraged

Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’  (Deu 1:21)

Discourage means to dishearten; to dash someone’s hopes; to hinder or to restrain.  When you discourage someone, you hinder them from a plan or a project that they intended to complete.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Act 11:23, underscoring added)

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)

Encourage means to embolden; to inspire; to support or assist someone.  When you encourage someone, you inspire them.  You assist them by expressing your confidence in their ability and their resolve to complete their mission.

As followers of Jesus and children of the living God, let us be channels of blessing on the earth to encourage fellow believers in their faith, and to encourage non-believers to accept the precious gift of salvation offered to them by God, our Father.

The Bible demonstrates in many passages that believers encourage one another in their faith, and it strengthens them.  (See Ac 11:23; 16:40; 20:2; Rom 1:12; Eph 6:22; Col 2:2; 4:8; 1 Thes 3:2)

The Word pleads with us in this verse:

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  (1 Thes 5:14 ESV, emphasis added)

Here is another Scripture passage that demonstrates a way to encourage one another:

Then you will recite to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; you will sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts . . .  (Eph 5:19 ISV)  If we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord—even alone in our quiet time with the Lord—we will encourage and embolden ourselves in our faith.  God bless you.

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!

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

Don’t Put Faith in Wealth

The Lord urges us in His Word to avoid trusting in riches just like we would avoid a plague.  True wealth is given by God to the righteous. Let’s read the Scriptures.

He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.  (Pro 11:28)

Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.  (Ps 52:7)

Why do you brag about your strength?  Your strength is exhausted,you rebellious daughter.  You trust in your treasures, never imagining who would attack you.  (Jer 49:4 CEB)

Don’t trust in violence or depend on dishonesty or rely on great wealth.  (Ps 62:10 CEV)

Jesus said clearly in Mark 10:23-25 that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for people who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of heaven!  Wow!

Jesus told a parable about a rich fool in Luke 12:16-19.  This fool had accumulated so much wealth that he had to build larger barns to hold it all, and then he decided to ‘eat, drink and be merry.’  And God said to him (v. 20-21):  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

This is wisdom from God for us.  In providing for ourselves, our children, and our retirement, we mustn’t allow ourselves to start trusting in and relying upon the money that we have set aside for emergencies or for a retirement fund.  Our faith in God and our relationship with the Lord Jesus must always be the main focus and core of our lives. 

Even though the Lord gives us power to get wealth (Deu 8:18; Ecc 5:19), we must never lose sight of the fact that this is a GIFT from God.  It is a reason for thankfulness and rejoicing over the goodness of God.  We need to consider this blessing as part of our heritage from God, and by acknowledging God’s central part in it, we may then rejoice in our labor.

Let us daily concentrate upon our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our righteousness.  Here are worthy things upon which to meditate:

  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isa 9:6
  • Redeemer – Isa 59:20
  • Immanuel (God with us) – Mt 1:23
  • King of the Jews – Mt 27:37
  • Lamb of God – Joh 1:29
  • Bread of Life – Joh 6:35
  • Living Stone, Cornerstone – 1 Pet 2:4-8
  • Alpha and Omega – Rev 22:13

We must intentionally make Jesus the heart and focus of our entire lives.  Our trust and our entire reliance should eternally be upon Jesus Christ, who is our life!  (Col 3:4)  May God richly bless you.