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!

The Armor of Light, Part 3

The Armor of Light, Part 3

Our last blog article which ended with a discussion of the sword of the Spirit raises two questions: 

  1. Is the sword of the Spirit only for use as an offensive weapon?
  2. Who or what is the foe against which the sword is to be used?

    While the gladius was the primary offensive weapon available to a legionnaire, it was also invaluable for defense, being used to evade and deflect attacks by an opponent. In the same way, the Word of God (sword of the Spirit) is valuable in defending against spiritual attack.
    Jesus Christ, Himself, demonstrated how valuable it is to be grounded in the words of the Bible when He was attacked by Satan during a time of extreme physical weakness due to His fasting. (Mat 4:1-6) This is a masterful example of how to use the Word of God.

The enemy of every Christian is Satan, the devil, as he tries to separate each one of us from our God.  (1 Pet 5:8-9)  The apostle Paul used a military analogy when he talked about the Christian fight. He described thoughts and attitudes that we must defeat, just as a soldier would use his weapons to defeat the enemy.  (2 Cor 10:3-5)  We are to use the Word of God to discern those thoughts and attitudes that are contrary to God’s way and to use that sword to bring those attitudes and thoughts into captivity. That is the Christian battle, and that is how we use the offensive weapon in our armor.

As Christians, we also must train and be skillful in the use of the sword—God’s Word. The author of Hebrews tells us that we must become gradually more knowledgeable and skilled with the Word of God, until we are able to use it to discern good from evil. (Heb 5:12-14)

Notice the attitude shown by the psalmist when it came to God’s Word:  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! Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way. (Ps 119:101-104).

This is the attitude and approach to God’s Word that will produce a skilled, spiritual warrior.  Remember!  Your training and skill levels are your choice!

God’s Word in My Mouth, Part 1

God’s Word in My Mouth, Part 1

In my life’s experiences, I’ve discovered that God’s Word coming forth from my own lips builds my faith, attracts heavenly intervention, and brings about victory!  Glory to God!

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (Romans 10:8, 9 NKJV)

It comes back to the question:  “Whose report will you believe?” 

I’ve made a decision to value God’s Word in my life more than anyone else’s—more than my own word, more than my loved ones’ words, more than my friends’ words, and more than the words of my extended family members!

Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That you may be justified in your words, and may overcome when you are judged.”  (Romans 3:4 NKJV)

God and His Word are inseparable because all of God’s power and might is invested in the Words He speaks.  His Words are creative.  The Words have power in themselves to bring themselves to pass!  That’s pretty awesome AND it gives me great confidence, faith, and trust in His Word.

Then said the Lord unto me, “Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten My Word to perform it.”  (Jeremiah 1:12 KJV)

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  (Heb. 4:12 NKJV)

When I speak God’s Word and teach God’s Word—whether to myself or to others—it attracts all of the power of the Kingdom of God!  Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus upholds ALL things by the Word of His power! 

Be bold and courageous and begin speaking God’s Word out of YOUR mouth with firm faith and expectation.

Rejoice!

Rejoice!

Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness [graciousness, forbearance] be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  (Phil 4:4-5) 

The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.  (Ps 118:15)

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, for they are the rejoicing of my heart.  (Ps 119:111)

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)

. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer . . . (Rom 12:12)

As you can see from these Bible passages, rejoicing is an integral part of the life of a believer.  We’re told to rejoice in Philippians.

The “voice of rejoicing and salvation” is heard in the homes of the righteous because God’s right hand (who is Jesus) does valiantly. 

Valiantly means with courage or determination.  Jesus fulfilled his calling to become our Savior and Redeemer!  He fulfilled that calling with courage and determination. 

“That hero of heroes, the conquering Savior, gives to all the families of his people abundant reasons for incessant song now that he has led captivity captive and ascended up on high. Let none of us be silent in our households: if we have salvation let us have joy, and if we have joy let us give it a tongue wherewith it may magnify the Lord.”  –  Excerpt from commentary on Psalm 118:15

Source of above quotation:  http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/psalms-118-15.html

As believers, we have so many great reasons to rejoice.  God’s word, which is full of His precious promises to us, is another reason for us to rejoice.

As we wait for God to fulfill His promises to us, we rejoice in hope!  Under all circumstances, let us praise God and rejoice in Him.