Be Kindhearted and Empathetic

Be Kindhearted and Empathetic

The Word of God teaches us how to live good, righteous, and content lives.  All we need to do is to honor and to obey His Word.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  (Rom 12:15 NIV)  Be considerate of and sympathetic to other peoples’ feelings and life experiences.  In this way we minister God’s love to them.

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  (1 Cor 12:26 NKJV)  We should rejoice with those who rejoice and sorrow with those who grieve, since we are all a part of the family of God.

Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place.  (Heb 13:3 CEB)  The Lord wants us to be benevolent and gentle with other peoples’ feelings and life experiences.  He wants us to respond to peoples’ needs as if we have been in exactly the same spot that they are in.

Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.  (Phil 2:17-18 NKJV)  The writer of Philippians, who is allowing his own life to resemble a drink offering unto the Lord, reminds his cherished readers to be glad and to rejoice with him.

This is the right way to respond to all who are members of the family of faith–the family of God.

Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

All believers have the life of the Spirit of God within them.  We carry His glory in our ‘earthen vessels.’  (2 Cor 4:6-7)

The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock.  They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.  (Zec 9:16 NIV, emphasis added)

The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.  (Isa 60:3 NKJV, emphasis added)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:16 NIV)

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  (2 Cor 2:14 ESV)

We who follow the Lord Jesus, as obedient and loyal human sheep, have been privileged and blessed to carry the kingdom of God with us.  It is our calling and our honor to shine the light of God’s love, mercy and wisdom into every situation and exchange in which we take part.

When unsaved, hurting and needy people interact with us, they should walk away with the sense that they have encountered someone who is out of the ordinary, good, and encouraging.  This is because we are called to perform good works and good deeds.  We are called to SHINE a light into dark places, into dark troubles, and into evil practices.

We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that Christ leads us in triumph and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of HIM everywhere!  A fragrance is defined as:  a pleasant, sweet smell; a sweet or delicate aroma; and a pleasing odor.  It is true that the experiential knowledge of Jesus and a deep relationship with him is evidenced by a positive atmosphere, and even an attractive fragrance such as a perfume. All of these Scriptures encourage us to be a force for good as representatives of the Kingdom here on earth.  Go ahead and leave a little sparkle (of the love and goodness of Jesus) wherever you go!

Pleasing All Men in All Things

Pleasing All Men in All Things

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.  (Rom 15:1 NIV)

Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.  (1 Cor 10:32-33, emphasis added)

Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.  (Phil 2:3-4 CEB)

We’re instructed by God’s Word to watch out for what is best for others and pleasing to others.  We’re also urged to avoid selfishness and encouraged to care for each other.  That’s a tall order, right?  The apostle Paul said that he pleased all men!  Wow, he is a righteous example to us all.

So why did Paul ‘please all men’?  He did it so that many people would be saved.  By his pleasing and caring behavior toward others, he won many, many people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All of those people accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  Paul didn’t do it in order to be a man-pleaser but in order to win souls to the Kingdom of God. His motivation was pleasing in God’s sight.

For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.  (Gal 1:10)

. . . not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart . . .  (Eph 6:6)

Our assignment as followers and servants of Jesus Christ is to please God first, but also to demonstrate God’s love to all people.  That means doing top-notch work in our jobs (even those who are self-employed).  It also means finding ways to cooperate kindly with our earthly neighbors whether we have a house, condo, apartment, or a tent. 

We also, as servants of Jesus, represent Him in our families, with our friends and within our communities and churches.  As ambassadors for God’s Kingdom, we have the honor and privilege of being ‘the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.’  (2 Cor 2:15) May our conduct and our conversation be as a pleasant perfume to the lost and the hurting as well as to the Lord Jesus.  Praise the Lord!

Upright Living

Upright Living

We are strongly encouraged to live holy, upright lives in the Scriptures.  Here are several instances:

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.  (Tit 2:7-8 NIV)

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  (1 Tim 4:12 NKJV)

. . . having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  (1 Pet 3:16)

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—  (1 Pet 2:15)

Why is this so important to the Lord that He would repeat it many times throughout the Bible?  It’s because the Lord has designed us to be His light in this ever-darkening world.  His plan is that through our upright and holy lives, we may silence all who try to defame us and vilify us in public. 

Our Lord Jesus was our example.  He lived a holy, sinless life on this earth and went about teaching the people about God and the Kingdom.  Jesus also performed signs, wonders and miracles continually.  It is such good works as His that we should yearn to imitate. 

I encourage us all to follow our loving Savior’s example of a righteous life.  God bless you.

God Knows Those Who Trust in Him

God Knows Those Who Trust in Him

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.  (Nah 1:7)

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.  (Joh 10:14)

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.  (Pro 18:10)

But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.  (1 Cor 8:3)

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”  (2 Tim 2:19)

Our God is full of power, wisdom and knowledge.  He knows when a person turns to Him with love, and when a person has put their trust in Him.  To such people, God is a fortress, a good shepherd, and a place of safety.

God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.  (Isa 64:4)  What a magnificent promise!

All who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have been given many promises in the Bible.  Here are just a handful of such treasures:

  • Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  (Deu 31:6)
  • The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence.
    I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.
      (2 Sam 22:3-4)
  • “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”  (Joh 10:28-30)
  • The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.  (Ps 23:1-5)

Let me reassure you that God knows your heart.  He knows that you love Him, trust Him, and turn to Him in times of need and trouble.  He will not fail you nor will He ever forsake you.  He will meet your needs and fulfill His promises to you.  What joyous facts to know! Hallelujah!

King of Kings

King of Kings

Back in the 70s, there was a sweet worship chorus that said, “Oh!  Let the flag fly high on the castle of my heart, for the King is in residence there.”  Since we serve Jesus who is the King of Kings, it is fitting that our hearts be portrayed as the castles where the King mercifully reigns in love and righteousness, in power and glory.

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  (Mt 6:10 ESV, emphasis added)  Every kingdom has a King, and Jesus is our Redeemer King.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world …  (Mt 25:34, emphasis added)  Our King has prepared a kingdom for each one of us.

And Moses built an altar and called its name, The-Lord-Is-My-Banner …  (Ex 17:15)  The Lord Jesus is our banner:  His image is on the flag that flies high over our lives; He is our standard—the rallying point for all spiritual power and resources in battle against the forces of hell.

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious.”  (Isa 11:10, emphasis added)  This verifies that Jesus, a descendant of Jesse, is our banner.

The King whom we serve is filled with love and compassion; mercy for the lost and the wounded; and health and healing for those who are sick.  He is good all of the time, and His plans for us are good and give us hope and a future. (Ps 34:8; Jer 29:11)

He brings reconciliation to relationships and to families.  (Jer 31:17; Rom 5:11; 2 Cor 5:18-19)  All glory to His name.

Jesus is a King whose grace humbles us without ever demeaning us, and who exalts us without causing us to puff up with false pride or ego.  Walking in a consistent relationship with Jesus, the Lamb of God, will mature us and grow us into mercy-filled, loving servants of the Kingdom of God.  Praise the Lord!

Union With Christ

Union With Christ

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.  (Rom 6:5-6 NIV)

. . . always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  (2 Cor 4:10 NKJV)

. . . even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus . . . (Eph 2:5-6 NKJV)

These Bible passages are discussing a believer’s union with Christ.  Union with Christ refers to the relationship between the believer and Jesus Christ.  It also refers to a willing loyalty of Christ to the believer, as well as a loyalty of the believer to our Lord Jesus. 

The first 14 verses of Ephesians, chapter One, explain some of the blessings that we receive from being united with Christ.  These passages reinforce our understanding that we are blessed and highly favored by God. 

Unity in Christ—a result of our salvation—brings about an ongoing redemptive work in a believer’s life and conduct.  As we come to know and understand our Savior, and through the Bible learn about our untold blessings, we yearn to live in a manner that is completely pleasing to the Lord.  This is understandable. 

Even as a small child who is loved, valued and protected by their parents will choose to please and obey those good parents—so also does a believer desire to please and to obey our loving and merciful Savior.  From His hand we receive forgiveness, favor, health, prosperity, protection, provision, and the gift of grace to enable us daily. 

Our God is a good God.  He blesses people and nations, whether they acknowledge Him or not.  He places people in governing positions for the sake of giving people order and safety in the world.  He blesses believers individually as we love, obey, and serve Him.

In the last days, they will tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness. (Hos 3:5b NLT)  As this Scriptures states, in the end times we will tremble with awe because of the Lord’s magnificence and His unimaginable goodness to mankind.  Glory to God!

Equipped to Please Him

Equipped to Please Him

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  (Heb 13:20-21 NIV, emphasis added)

. . .  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  (Phil 2:13)

. . . that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim 3:17)

Not only does our Redeemer set us free from sin and bless us daily!  He literally trains, supplies and prepares us with all that we need so that we may complete His will for us and please Him!  Think about what an enormous and miraculous gift that is to each one of us.

He accomplishes this in various ways.  He provides us with Pastors, teachers, missionaries and evangelists who share their testimonies and their wisdom with us.  Our Pastors teach us weekly how to live obediently and victoriously in Jesus.  As we obey the Lord not only do we bring Him glory and honor, but we please Him.

God’s supply comes through our earthly paychecks, salaries, bonuses and incentives as well as through miraculous (unexpected) provision. 

God prepares us through His Word and through His Spirit speaking into our hearts.

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  (1 Joh 3:22)

According to 1 John 3, because we keep the Lord’s Word (commandments) and act in ways that please Him, He hears and answers our prayers.  We serve a good, kind, and loving God!

Imagination—A Benefit for the Kingdom

Imagination—A Benefit for the Kingdom

The imagination at its core is good because it comes from God who created each one of us with an imagination.  God imagined US before He created us.  When we are curious for answers, it can trigger our imagination to become creative in finding unique solutions.

And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.  (Lk 2:47, underscoring added) 

When you need answers, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the Word of God.

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.  (Mt 7:8)

When we ask questions or seek for answers (in the Lord), God will bring us the information that we need in wondrous and miraculous ways.

But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  (Gal 6:4)

When we examine our own work, to determine its excellence or ability to meet a specific need, then we may rejoice over our work and what we have accomplished for the glory of God and His kingdom.

We need to develop our imagination, and in order to do that we need input from numerous other people.  So we need to build friendships and relationships with other, talented people.  As we do this our neural networks develop and we use more and more of our brainpower!

Imagination takes us to new places and helps us to envision new possibilities.  Don’t limit people to your view of the world or to your life experiences.  Create a judgment-free zone in which to grow your imagination.  “Big Imagination” should equal “big sense of humor” as well. 

Think of (imagine) the good and excellent things that God has given to us.  (Phil 4:8)

Pursue What is Good

Pursue What is Good

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  (15) See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.  (1 Thes 5:14-15)

Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.  (Isa 1:17)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  (1 Tim 6:11)

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11)

These passages from God’s Word remind us that we’re advised to chase, track, or hunt “good.”  What do you think that God means by that?  We understand the concept of chasing or pursuing something, but what exactly does God really mean by saying that we should hunt what is good?

I believe that God is saying that we should seek what is inherently or innately good.  We should seek to do good for other people; and desire what is best for ourselves, our families, and our friends.  The Bible says that we should ALWAYS pursue what is good.  This indicates a level of energy and consistency that most of us do not undertake. 

Connecting with this truth effectively so that we actually exemplify loving one another is an outworking of “loving our neighbor as ourselves.”  (Lev 19:18; Mt 19:19; 22:39; Rom 13:8)  Remember, too, that God blesses our obedience. 

He also blesses us when we look for and are thankful for all of the good that actually exists in our lives on a moment-by-moment, ongoing, and daily basis.  He wants us to see (recognize) the good, to recognize Him in it, and to glorify Him for it. 

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  (Ps 27:13)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!  (Ps 34:8)

In others words, He doesn’t wants us to be fault-finders, criticizers and complainers; but rather, He desires a people filled with love, peace, and a thankful heart!