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!

God’s Great Love for Us

God’s Great Love for Us

Something that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, may not meditate upon enough is His great love for us.  This article will help us focus on that today.

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.  (Isa 54:10 NASB)  The Lord is saying that even when immovable objects (like hills and mountains) start shaking and even being removed, that His loving peace and kindness will NOT leave His children.  The Lord says that He has compassion upon us.  What a blessed promise!

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.  (Mt 18:20 NIV)  When believers in Jesus come together and meet as Christians, the Lord reminds us that He is right there among us.  His presence abides with us.

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Heb 13:5 NKJV)  This is the Lord’s promise that He will never leave us nor abandon us—under any circumstances.  This is a promise that can be relied upon.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  (1 Cor 6:19 NKJV)  Here the Bible reminds us that all who have accepted Jesus as our Savior, have become the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit lives within the children of God.  We are children of God.

Rejoice in the precious promises that God has given to all who love Him.  Take some time to reflect upon God’s great, abiding love for you, and thank Him for it.  God bless you.

Esteem the Word

Esteem the Word

As followers of Jesus Christ, we should honor and respect God’s Word.  The Bible gives us guidance on this topic.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.  (Jer 15:16)

God’s Word should give us joy and cause us to rejoice in His goodness, His nature, and His salvation.

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word.  I have not departed from Your judgments, for You Yourself have taught me.  How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  (Ps 119:101-103)

In order to observe [obey] God’s Word, we endeavor to live holy, upright lives.  This is because we consider the Word of God to be sweeter and more satisfying to us than anything else in our lives.

The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.  (Ps 119:72)

The Word displays to us a right attitude through the above passage in Psalms.  The psalmist said that God’s Word was more precious to him than thousands of gold and silver coins!  He was saying that money paled in comparison to the value of God’s precious Word to him. 

May each and every one of us agree with the psalmist in this matter.  Praise the Lord!

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

The Lord has outlined everything in the Bible that believers need to know about life and godliness. (2 Pet 1:3) 

The Scriptures appeal to followers of Jesus to defend the destitute and the oppressed—those who can’t speak for or protect themselves. 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  (Pro 31:8 NIV) 

This verse tells us to uphold (endorse) the rights of the destitute.  Destitute means deprived, underprivileged, impoverished, or disadvantaged.

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.  (Ps 82:3-4)

In the passage above, the psalmist encourages us to defend:

  • the poor,
  • the orphaned,
  • the afflicted and
  • the needy

. . . from evil, wicked people as well as from wicked factions, lobbies, programs or organizations.

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the oppressed.  (Job 36:6)

God will ensure that all of the oppressed [tyrannized, persecuted, repressed, tormented] people on the earth will receive His justice.  We, His servants, must cooperate with and collaborate with the Lord in this undertaking.

Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  (Ps 146:7)

The Lord achieves justice for the all of the oppressed.  Jesus, our Savior, feeds the hungry and liberates the prisoners from every form and every type of imprisonment.  Glory to God, most High!

A Light for the Nations

A Light for the Nations

Do you realize that Jesus is the Light for all Nations, and as His disciples and followers, WE are called to shine His light into all of the earth?

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.”
  (Act 13:47 NIV)

I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.  I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles . . .  (Isa 42:6 NIV)

For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32 a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”  (Lk 2:30-32)

How can you shine the light of God’s love and salvation into the world? 

  • By serving the Lord obediently and joyfully;
  • By sharing your testimonies of how you came to accept Christ as your Savior and about your answered prayers;
  • By praying for other people’s needs and asking God to bless them and to provide for them;
  • By testifying to the miracles, signs and wonders that God has performed for you; and
  • By living a holy lifestyle in obedience to the Scriptures.

Here is a passage from the Bible that gives us some answers:

Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.  (Phil 2:14-16, emphasis added)

God bless you!

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.

Filled with the Spirit

Filled with the Spirit

Today our topic is about being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues (glossolalia).

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  (Eph 5:18-19)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Ac 2:4)

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Ac 9:17)

The Bible encourages us to be filled with the Spirit and to praise the Lord and sing hymns and melodies to Him.  What an joy and an honor!

To be filled with anything indicates that all of a person’s faculties are pervaded by it, engaged in it, or under its influence.  We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to allow the Holy Spirit to have such a mighty influence and impact upon us that He is able to pervade and engage literally every area and portion of our being.

When the Bible says that they spoke with “other tongues” it means that they spoke in languages that were not their own.  Acts 2:9-11 lists which languages were heard that day. 

To speak with other tongues – At the building of Babel the language of the people was confounded; and, in consequence of this, they became scattered over the face of the earth: at this foundation of the Christian Church, the gift of various languages was given to the apostles, that the scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one shepherd and superintendent (επισκοπος ) of all souls.  (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

As the Spirit gave them utterance – The word αποφθεγγεσθαι seems to imply such utterance as proceeded from immediate inspiration, and included oracular communications.     (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

There are believers who still speak in tongues today, and who usually operate in the fruit of the Spirit as well as in the gifts of the Spirit.  They typically believe that miracles still happen all over the world because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb 13:8) Hallelujah!

We Beheld His Glory

We Beheld His Glory

What does the word glory mean?  It means:  splendor; wonder; brilliance; or exaltation. 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.  (Joh 1:14)  This verse is describing Jesus and His glory.  It says that “we beheld His glory” which means that we can see it and recognize it.

This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.  (Joh 2:11)  Any time that Jesus performed signs, wonders, and miracles, He manifested His glory clearly for all to see.

When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  (Joh 11:4)  The only way that a sickness can be for the glory of God is when the sick person receives their complete healing by faith in Jesus Christ and they give all the glory, honor and praise to the Father God. 

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 4:6)  The “light” that was given to man was Jesus Christ, the light of the world.  (Joh 8:12) As we look into His face and accept Him as our Savior, He shares with us His own glory and relationship with the Father.

In Matthew 5:14 we are told that WE are the light of the world because we are the followers and disciples of Jesus, and we carry Him in us and with us wherever we go.

As we obediently follow Jesus, the Light of the World, we share His light and His life with others.  In His name, we pray for people to be saved, delivered, and healed. We are also privileged to see miracles and wonders done in the mighty name of Jesus.

We cannot hide our light, but rather we must allow it to shine brightly in the darkness for we are merely reflecting the glory of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, to the world.

Justified by Faith

Justified by Faith

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are justified (made righteous) through faith in Jesus Christ alone—not by works. 

Here’s what the Bible has to say about justification:

. . . knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.  (Gal 2:16)

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  (Gal 3:24)

. . . and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith . . .  (Phil 3:9)

Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  (Ac 13:38-39, underscoring added)

Even the faith which we have is a gift from God according to Ephesians 2:8.  So we cannot boast in our faith, because the faith in which we operate is a gift of God.  So, am I saying that good works have no place in the believer’s life?  No!  Of course not, but let us appreciate and thank God for His precious gift of salvation and the justification that is included in it.

Yes, there is a place for good works.  According to Ephesians 2:10, we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works.  Titus 3:8 reminds us to maintain good works because they are good and profitable to all people.

So, in our walk of faith let us recognize that we need to feed and strengthen our faith by reading the Word, and we need to maintain good works, as well.  With such behavior as this, God is well pleased.

Holy Boldness

Holy Boldness

Spending time in the presence of the Lord Jesus will impart holy boldness!  What a beautiful sign of how God sanctifies and prepares us for ministry.  The Bible informs us of this blessed benefit in several passages.

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.  (Acts 4:13)  Notice how other people observe and remark upon the impact of Jesus upon His followers.  God calls and anoints ordinary people to serve Him.

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.  (Acts 4:31)  Sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ courageously with other people is a sign of Jesus’ influence upon us.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech—  (2 Cor 3:12)  Hope imparts boldness!

. . . in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:12)  In Jesus Christ, we have both holy boldness and assurance of our salvation through faith in Christ.   We have access to the throne of God through faith in Jesus.

Why do I call this article “Holy Boldness”?  I do so because the unique boldness imparted to us through our relationship with Jesus is a consecration and sanctification of our very persons. 

We are set apart for service unto our Lord and King.  We are destined to bring glory to God, our Savior, as the verses quoted above confirm.  So, brothers and sisters, share your testimony with holy boldness.  It is within you; it’s available to you through Jesus who lives within every believer.  God bless you.