Do You Hear & Obey Instruction?

Do You Hear & Obey Instruction?

Listening to God (heeding His Word) and obeying it are momentously important to God.

The proverbs of Solomon.  A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grieves his mother.  (Pro 10:1 ISV)

A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.  (Pro 13:1 ESV)

Listen, children, to your father’s instruction, and pay attention in order to gain understanding.  I give you sound teaching, so do not abandon my instruction.  (Pro 4:1-2 ISV)

According to Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a brief definition of biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.” 

The only “instruction” that it is imperative for us to obey is God’s Word and God’s instructions.

What are the reasons for this?  Let’s consider what the Bible says:

  • Jesus tells us to obey.  (Joh 14:15 ESV)
  • Our obedience, as followers of Jesus Christ, flows from a heart full of thanksgiving for God’s gift of salvation and His gift of grace.  (Rom 12:1 NLT)
  • The Scriptures remind us repeatedly that God rewards obedience.  (Gen 22:18 NLT; Lk 11:28 NKJV; Jas 1:22-25 NIV)
  • When we obey God and His Word, we prove how much we love Him.  (1 Joh 5:2-3 NASB; 2 Joh 1:6 NLT)
  • The Old Testament says that “obedience is better than sacrifice.”  In the Old Testament, God’s people were commanded to offer sacrifices to the Lord, but even then it was not supposed to take the place of obedience.  (1 Sam 15:22)
  • Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.

God bless you as you read, meditate and obey God’s Word!

We Were Washed & Sanctified

We Were Washed & Sanctified

God’s Word has given us great and precious promises which belong to every believer.  We need to study and comprehend all of the priceless treasures that we have been given.

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”  (Zech 13:1 NIV)

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  (Ps 51:7 NKJV)

And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.  (1 Cor 6:11 NKJV)

Jesus suffered at the hands of His enemies; shed His blood on Calvary; died a shame-filled death; and was resurrected on the third day and ascended into Heaven.  By fulfilling His calling on this earth, He not only purchased salvation for every person who accepts Him as their Savior and Lord.  He also is our source for continuous cleansing, washing, and sanctification.

Jesus is the living Word of God. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (Joh 1:1)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  (Rev 19:13)

Jesus is the fountain spoken of in Zechariah 13:1.

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’  (Joh 7:38 ESV)

Jesus cleanses us from unrighteousness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 Joh 1:9)

Through Christ we are justified.

. . . and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.  (Ac 13:39)

Through faith in Christ we are sanctified.

. . . to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.  (Ac 26:18)

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.  (Rom 3:28)

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .  (Rom 5:1)

Let us rejoice and praise the Lord for the benefits and blessings of our mighty salvation!

Don’t Choose to Oppress Others

Don’t Choose to Oppress Others

Today we’re looking at the wisdom of God’s Word, as well as the grave importance of choosing to be on God’s side at all times.

Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways . . .  (Pro 3:31 NKJV)

An oppressor is also known as a “man of mischief”—a person who is an evildoer and who is destined to reap the eternal harvest of his wickedness.  That harvest of wickedness often begins to unfold while the oppressor is still on earth.

Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them . . .   (Pro 24:1 NKJV)

This verse warns us all to recognize that there’s nothing whatsoever to envy in those who are evil.  At times when evil men seem to succeed, we may become jealous of them, and then want to be with them.  The type of evil this proverb is discussing is associated with troublemaking and violence.  The Lord knows the end from the beginning, and He knows what torment awaits these cruel people. 

If you see the oppression of the poor, and the violent perversion of justice and righteousness in a province, do not marvel at the matter; for high official watches over high official, and higher officials are over them.  (Eccl 5:8 NKJV)

In this verse, we are told not to marvel over the fact that in a certain province [district, municipality, county, or state] there is a person or people in authority who practice violent perverting of judgment and justice, and who oppress the poor under rule of law, backed with power. 

God is higher than the highest of officials. God has set other people in higher levels of authority who oversee the province where evil is being done.  If those higher officials do nothing to correct the situation, rest assured that God wields his own hierarchy of power.

There is a realm of angels who are employed by divine justice to protect the injured and to punish those responsible for harming the poor.  Our Supreme God in heaven demands that oppressors answer to Him.  And they will certainly do so, and they will not escape God’s judgment. So in all of your trials and tribulations, trust the Lord to rescue and to deliver you.  God bless you.

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!

God Crushes the Enemy

God Crushes the Enemy

God crushes the enemy—He defeats him completely and utterly.  This truth should reassure us and embolden our faith.

Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.  (Ps 60:12)  God is the One who defeats our enemies.

With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies.  (Ps 108:13) God walks all over our enemies.  Some of our enemies are:  fear, sickness, lack, pain, and danger.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.  What can man do to me? The Lord is for me among those who help me; therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.  It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.  (Ps 118:6-8) It is always best for us to put all of our faith and hope in the Lord above all others.

And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.  (Rom 16:20)

Where does Romans 16 say that Satan will be crushed?  Under OUR feet—under the feet of those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  The Bible has some further insights for us:

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  (Lk 10:19)  The Lord has given us power to fulfill His will on earth even as it is in heaven.  (Mt 6:10)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  (Rom 8:37)  Christ has given us the victory in all things, but we must be strong in faith, nothing wavering.  (1 Cor 15:57; Heb 10:23)

Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  (Mt 18:18)  God has given us, His people, power to hold back and restrict (bind) things on earth as well as the power to free up and cause things to pour forth upon the earth!

Jesus has given His church power so that we can fulfill His will and His plan.  Read and meditate upon God’s Word daily in order to strengthen your faith, and to gain boldness in the Lord.  God is using His church (His people) as His instrument to trounce the enemy!

Stumble?

Stumble?

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.  (Ps 119:165)

What does “stumble” mean as used in the Bible? 

It means:  1) to err; to slide into a crime or an error; 2) to have a moral failing; or 3) to place a blockage in someone’s way causing them to sin.

As the verse in Psalm 119 above says, when we have the peace that Jesus has given to us and we love God’s Word, then nothing has the power to cause us to sin.  Hallelujah!

My son, let them not depart from your eyes—keep sound wisdom and discretion; 22 so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck.  23 Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. (Prov 3:21-23)

As we keep the wisdom and discretion that comes from reading and memorizing God’s Word in our hearts, those words are life itself to our souls.  They provide grace to our behavior and character; they give us strength and sure-footedness.  And they prevent us from stumbling.

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  (1 Joh 2:10)

When we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in the light where all of our actions are open to view.  And in our actions, as we live for Christ and serve the Kingdom of God, there will be nothing for someone to see as an invitation or a cause to sin.  This is just one of the many blessings that living a holy life, committed to serving Jesus Christ gives to us.  Thank You, Lord!

Put Away Anger & Envy

Put Away Anger & Envy

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.  (Job 5:2 KJV)

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.  (Eccl 7:9 NKJV)

 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?  How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”  (Pro 1:22-23 ESV)

Don’t be silly or foolish (as described in the Bible verses above), but put away anger and envy.  Anger gives a foothold to the devil in your life, so try to avoid it.  Envy is another word for bitterness, jealousy, resentment or spite.

Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to control your emotions as you study God’s Word.  The Lord wants to help you so that He may bless you.

The Bible tells us repeatedly not to envy other people.  You may study this by looking at these passages:  Proverbs 3:31; 23:17; 24:1, 19.  The Bible lists envy among a list of vile things in Mark 7:21-23.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.  (Pro 19:11 NLT)  When something happens that hurts or offends you, your first option is to ignore the aggression.  In other words, take no notice of another person’s attack.  Other people will respect you all the more when they see how you handle it.  And the Lord will be pleased with your response.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  (Eph 4:31 NIV)  Sometimes, due to the nature of the wrongdoing against you, it can’t be overlooked.  In that case, give yourself time to calm down and to gain control of your thoughts and feelings.  Plan out what needs to be said, and what you’d like to see happen.  Then take an objective, wise person along with you to speak with the person who offended you.  Try to resolve the issue between you and to restore peace.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.  (Eph 4:26-27 NLT)  Don’t allow your emotions to control you.  You are in control of them because you have the Holy Spirit living within you.  The Holy Spirit within you produces the fruit of self-control.  (Eph 5:22-23 NLT)

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.  (Pro 16:32 NLT)  As this Scripture reminds us, it’s better to be patient than powerful!  It’s far better to have self-control than to be in search of fame.

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

How Do We Take Thoughts Captive?

Our thoughts are central to our lives because we act upon our thoughts.  (see Pro 23:7a; Mk 7:21)

When we consider our ways, it’s wise to turn our hearts to God’s Word.  (Ps 119:59)  God’s Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts; and it will reveal our true motives to us—something that we all need.  (Heb 4:12)

We should reject our own thoughts and carnal ways; and turn to the Lord, who will forgive us and will renew our thinking.  (Isa 55:7; 65:2)

God understands our thoughts and knows our works.  (Isa 66:18)  But God’s thoughts and God’s ways are higher than ours.  (Isa 55:8-9)  That’s why the Bible tells us that we’re being changed into His image day by day.  (2 Cor 3:18)  We need to be changed.

Here’s how to take thoughts captive [confined; caged; enslaved]:

  1. Recognizing when they are spiritually unhealthy; worthless; unpleasing to God; and not in agreement with the Word of God;
  2. Stopping them in their tracks by determining that they did not originate in our own thoughts or hearts;
  3. Rejecting them outright and robbing them of any power over us; and
  4. Replacing them with Scripture verses that the Holy Spirit brings to our minds to counteract them and to minister comfort to our hearts.

It’s important to understand this process because the Lord tells us to take our thoughts captive in 2 Corinthians 10:5:  

. . . casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ . . .

Our goal is to bring our thoughts into obedience to Christ, our Savior.  We willingly offer our thoughts to the Lord Jesus, who alone is able to confine them. 

As mentioned above, the types of things that we would want to take captive are those that are:

  • Spiritually unhealthy (fearful or sinful);
  • Unproductive to the Kingdom of God;
  • Unpleasing to God;
  • Worthless;
  • Originating from the evil one (disparaging of self or others; lonely; discouraged; depressed; lustful thoughts; mulling over past hurts; etc.);
  • Not in agreement with the Word of God.

We are blessed because we have the freedom and ability to choose what thoughts to entertain and what thoughts to utterly reject.  We have spiritual weapons (2 Cor 10:4) at our disposal that will assist us in the battlefield of the mind.  Several of those spiritual weapons are:  prayer; confession; praise; the Word of God; fellowship with other believers; and the power of the Holy Spirit.

As we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2), we become engaged in the battle against pretense and the arrogant philosophy of the world. Trusting Christ and rightly dividing the Word of God (2 Tim 2:15), we take every thought captive, pull down the strongholds, and, by the grace of God, set ALL of the captives free.  Hallelujah!

What Did You Want to See?

What Did You Want to See?

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  (Mt 11:8)

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  (Lk 7:24)

Jesus talked about a “reed shaken by the wind” because in Bible days, reeds grew similar to sugar cane. The reeds bowed nearly to the ground during the hot daytime. At night, thanks to the cool breeze of the Mediterranean, the reeds would stand up again. This singularity was a crowd-gathering event. Groups of people came out to see the reeds rise in the cool breezes of the night. Then they would return home, unchanged by what they had witnessed. 

Jesus was telling the people that they did not follow John’s teachings, but that all they wanted was to see a spectacle (similar to the reeds).  They were not willing to repent and to be baptized.

They were also coming out to listen to Jesus in the same way—without a willingness or interest in changing their lives. Jesus was showing them how empty and frivolous they were.  They simply moved through the events of their lives without ever connecting with God or His power.

We must determine that in the course of our everyday lives, we must “see Jesus” and His power come alive in our own lives and in our own experiences.  How do we do that?  We study the Word of God and we allow it—INVITE IT—to cleanse us, transform us, and empower us to act. 

We are Christ’s disciples and we are meant to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  We are called to support the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to work in our own neighborhoods to be an influence for good and a witness of Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

Getting Out of the Slump

Getting Out of the Slump

What is a slump?  It can be defined as:  sluggishness; lethargy; boredom; or stagnation.  Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten into a spiritual slump and have just been treading water?  We’re going to consider how to extricate ourselves from just such a slump.

Let’s look at the Bible:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Eph 3:14-21)

I was taught that this passage makes an excellent basis for prayer for ourselves and loved ones.  It’s also a great basis for prayer for spiritual disciples and spiritual children.

To get out of a slump, we need to pray this passage over ourselves.  So what is it that we’re asking for?  We’re asking God to give us:

  • Strength in our inner man through the Holy Spirit, (Ps 18:32)
  • Christ’s indwelling presence by faith, (1 Joh 4:13)
  • A foundation in His love, (1 Joh 4:8)
  • A deep comprehension of and experience of God’s perfect love, and
  • The fullness of God alive within us. (Eph 4:13; Col 2:9)

We receive everything from God by grace through faith.  Grace is God’s part and faith is our part of the process.  When we are born again (saved), Christ makes His home in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we grow in our Christian walk, we study God’s word and obey it with joy and gladness.  This kind of obedient life causes us to gradually come to know the love of God more fully and completely; and we become filled with the fullness of God.  Love is the atmosphere in which God dwells, because GOD IS LOVE.  (1 John 4:8)

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  (Joh 14:21)

As the verse above says, our obedience to God’s word demonstrates our love for God.  And Jesus says that to such a person, He will manifest (reveal) Himself.  This is what being filled with the fullness of God is all about.  It will elevate you out of any slump anytime, and places you back in your seat in the heavenlies.  (Eph 2:6)  Blessings upon you!