Defend the Helpless; Rescue the Poor & Needy

Defend the Helpless; Rescue the Poor & Needy

As servants of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we’re called to defend the helpless; rescue the poor and needy; and hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.  The Bible records this clearly. 

Let us consider these passages:

Open your mouth for the people who cannot speak, for the rights of all the unfortunate.  (Pro 31:8 NASB)

The Lord wants us to speak and fight for those who cannot speak for themselves—for the poor, the oppressed, and the afflicted.

Defend the cause of the poor and the fatherless.  Vindicate the oppressed and suffering.  Rescue the poor and needy.  Deliver them from the power of the wicked.  (Ps 82:3-4 NET)

This passage warns us to defend the cause of the poor and the fatherless; to exonerate the oppressed and suffering.  The Lord wants us to rescue the poor and the needy, and to deliver them from the power of evil people.

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?  (Pro 24:11-12 NIV)

In this passage from the Bible in Proverbs 24, someone claims that “they did not know this,” but God knows the contents of our hearts and minds.  We can never fool Him when we stand before Him on the day of judgement.

Let us ask the Lord for His grace to enable us to obey His will in our lives.  We must trust the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into the conflicts in which He wishes us to become involved.  Depending upon our calling in life, this will be different for every individual.  God bless you as you serve Him today!

Stay Away from Sin & Darkness

Stay Away from Sin & Darkness

The Lord gives us, in His Word, not only wisdom, revelation, and insight; but He also gives us admonitions, warnings, and advice.  Let’s review a few of these admonitions today.

. . . and have nothing to do with the unfruitful actions that darkness produces. Instead, expose them for what they are. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what is done by these disobedient people in secret.  (Eph 5:11-12 ISV)

Not only should we avoid sin and occasions to sin, but we shouldn’t even speak about other peoples’ sin.  The reason is because the Bible alerts us to the fact that to do so is shameful.  We are called to expose sin as the dark evil that it truly is.

Night is almost over, and day will soon appear. We must stop behaving as people do in the dark and be ready to live in the light.  (Ro 13:12 CEV)

We are called by Jesus Christ, who is the bright and morning star (Rev 22:16), to live in the light of God’s love. 

Furthermore, 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) states:  But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light . . .  We are called OUT OF darkness, sin, and sorrow into the light of God’s salvation, love, and blessings.  Glory to God most High!

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints . . .  (Eph 5:3 KJV)

Such sins as are mentioned in the verse above should not be participated in by born-again Christians who desire to follow Jesus.  They are harmful to us and to the body of Christ.

But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  (Ro 6:21 NIV)

The end of sin is death in many forms.  Some of the fruits of sin are shame, guilt, and separation from God.  Not one of these so-called fruits is desirable. 

From this study we can certainly see that it is for our good that God gives us these counsels.  Let us draw near to God and avail ourselves of His grace, love, and goodness.

Control Your Tongue

<strong>Control Your Tongue</strong>

We all know that it’s important to control what we say, but that doesn’t make it necessarily easy to do!  The Scriptures have quite a lot to teach us about this subject.

  • Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.  (Pro 4:24 ESV)

Crooked can mean dishonest, corrupt, twisted or unscrupulous.  Devious means sneaky, cunning, or scheming.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we can understand why neither of these would be admirable behavior for us.  The Holy Spirit would never lead us to act in such a way, particularly in light of Matthew 5:37; Colossians 3:9 and 4:6; and Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Eph 4:25 NIV)

  • All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverted in them.  (Pro 8:8 NASB)

The psalmist is laying his heart before the Lord concerning the use of his tongue.  Let us each remember Psalm 12:6, The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. (NIV)  In imitating our Savior, we should speak pure words, full of righteousness.  Short of that, we should choose to be silent.

  • But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.   (Col 3:8 RSV)

This Bible verse (above) clearly tells us what type of behavior and conversation that we should reject.  And we are given a clear instruction of what we should communicate in Ephesians 4:29, Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  (NIV)  Our words should encourage, comfort, and bless other people.  In this way, we become ministers of the love and presence of the Lord to other people.

  • If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is useless.  (Jam 1:26 CEV)

In the book of James, we’re reminded that controlling our tongues is a basic requirement for believers who represent the Lord Jesus and the kingdom of God. 

  • Obscene language, silly talk, or vulgar jokes aren’t acceptable for believers. Instead, there should be thanksgiving.  (Eph 5:4 CEB)

Thanksgiving is always appropriate.  Having an attitude of gratitude will improve our daily lives and generate a pleasant atmosphere for those around us.  Being thankful to other people, as well as to God for His many blessings, is always appreciated.

To sum up today’s article, here is one more Bible passage:

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit . . .  (1 Pet 3:10 ESV) May God give you good days and continual blessings!

Clothe Ourselves with Virtue

<strong>Clothe Ourselves with Virtue</strong>

How can we clothe ourselves with virtue?  For that matter, how can we “put on love” as instructed in Colossians 3:14?  And note that Romans 13:14 tells us that we have “put on Christ,” as does Galatians 3:27.

And what virtues are we encouraged by God’s Word to put on?

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Col 3:12 NIV)

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  (Col 3:14-15 NIV)

Your love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other.  (Rom 12:9-10 ISV)

. . . with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love . . .  (Eph 4:2 NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Gal 5:22-23 NASB)

Wow!  This is an impressive list of virtues and good traits to pursue and to practice.

In the natural realm, when we want to be clothed, it is a conscious act of the will.  Our clothes don’t fly through the air and attach themselves to us, right?  We have to physically maneuver ourselves into the clothes, and then button or snap or zip them into place.  And we have to choose exactly what items we want to wear each and every day.

As believers and followers of Jesus, we must be just as deliberate about what virtues we choose to use in every circumstance and situation in our lives.  We must decide to be peacemakers, just as we must choose to be kind, humble, gentle, patient, peace-loving, joyful, faithful, and self-controlled. 

As we make the decision each new day to follow Jesus, we must make the decision in every circumstance and life situation about how to react to our current challenges or trials. 

In answer to our prayers to Him, the Lord will give us the grace and power that we need to weave these virtues into our lives.  The Holy Spirit will guide us if we yield to Him in humility and obedience. 

The Holy Spirit is the only One who can teach us and transform us into the image of Christ.  And best of all, He can be trusted to guide us lovingly and faithfully.  Hallelujah!

Contend for Your Faith

Contend for Your Faith

CONTEND means to maintain, keep up, or to sustain something.  We are reflecting upon the Bible’s exhortation to us to contend for our faith in the Savior and Messiah.

We need to work diligently on holding tightly to our faith because life’s circumstances and the work of the enemy will try to separate us permanently from our faith.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.  (Jude 1:3 KJV)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  (1 Tim 6:12 NKJV)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (2 Tim 4:7 ESV)

The only thing that matters is that you continue to live as good citizens in a manner worthy of the gospel of the Messiah. then, whether I come to see you or whether I stay away, I may hear all about you—that you are standing firm in one spirit, struggling with one mind for the faith of the gospel . . .  (Phil 1:27 ISV)

So how do we ‘fight the good fight of faith’?  There are a number of healthy, spiritual habits that we should form in order to stay connected to our faith and to the Word of God.  Here are some ideas:

  • Flee from sin:  literally, fly away from sin!  God will show you a way out of it.  (1 Cor 10:13)
  • Pursue righteousness. (Mt 5:6)
  • Get to know God and lead a godly life. (2 Pet 3:11)
  • Put your confidence [trust] in God and in His Word. (2 Cor 5:7)
  • Operate in love.  (1 Cor 13:13; Mt 22:39)
  • Be humble and gentle.  (Eph 4:2)

We must make choices every day of our lives to pursue God’s will, to obey Him, and to live by faith.  This requires perseverance and steadfastness.  God’s grace will supply us with His ability to hold fast to our course.  God bless you.

Be Merciful

Be Merciful

What does merciful mean?  It means:  kindhearted, compassionate, sympathetic, and forgiving.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  (Lk 6:36 EHV)  As our Father forgives our sins repeatedly, we should also forgive and forget the sins of others against us.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  (Eph 5:1 NKJV)  In every way, as much as we have the grace to do so, we should imitate the mercy of God in our dealings with other people.  Let us be kindhearted and compassionate in imitation of our Father in heaven.

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  (Heb 2:17 NKJV)  Jesus was a merciful and faithful High Priest in that He became the sacrifice upon the altar to reconcile mankind to God the Father.

For I will be merciful in regard to their unrighteousness, and I will not remember their sins any longer.  (Heb 8:12 EHV)  Thanks to Jesus, our Father forgives our sins and does not remember them against us.  What a gift of love and mercy we have been given! 

In obedience to the Word, may each of us strive to be sympathetic to others and to be faithful representatives of Jesus and His love in a dark and hurting world.

Abide in God’s Word & Be Made Free

Abide in God’s Word & Be Made Free

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  (John 8:31-32)

The word KNOW in verse 32, above, means to perceive; understand; recognize; or realize.  This is a knowledge that has inception, a progress and an attainment, according to Strong’s concordance (#1097).  It is the recognition of truth by personal experience.

This personal experience suggests a close, personal relationship.  And verse 32 states that we need to abide in [accept, stand in, obey] God’s Word and thereby confirm ourselves to be Christ’s disciples.

In that context, as we personally come to experience the truth of and dependability of God’s Word, it is that same truth that shall set us free from various challenging and destructive experiences in our lives.  It also sets us free from the hurts that other people have inflicted upon us.

God’s steadfast and unfailing love for you can give you such strength and stability in your emotions that you can be made emotionally whole and healthy. 

The best kindness that you can do for yourself is to abide in the Scriptures and become more and more stable and secure in their truth—because you know that God does not lie.  (Num 23:19) 

Rest in Jesus, who has given you the grace, freedom, and strength to live your life to His glory daily!

Note:  This is a reprint of our blog article dated 11/21/2016.

God Calls Us to Love Our Christian Family, Pt. 1

God Calls Us to Love Our Christian Family, Pt. 1

We have received spiritual assignments due to the fact that all believers comprise the body of Christ on earth.  Because we are children of God, we are His representatives wherever we go and with whoever we meet.  Here are some scriptures concerning some of our instructions/assignments:

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.  (1 Pet 2:17 NKJV, underscoring added)

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.  (1 Joh 3:10 NKJV)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:7-8 NKJV, underscoring added)

1 John 4:7 clearly states that ‘love is of God.’  That means that love is the description of and the province of God.   We are instructed to love the brotherhood (1 Pet 2:17)—which means that we should love all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.  It goes without saying that we are also instructed to love ALL people (1 Joh 4:7).

We are encouraged to honor all people, as well.  (1 Pet 2:17)   Honor means to esteem, respect, or admire someone.  Wow!  Can you think about giving honor to ALL PEOPLE?  That’s a huge responsibility and a tremendous challenge.  The only way that we can fulfill this command is to ask God to give us His grace and His blessing to enable us to obey.

Critical and significant assignments from our Savior require us to walk closely with Him in unity and companionship.  Only by an obedient and humble relationship with the Lord will we be able to receive the grace, insights and the wisdom that we need to enable us to fulfill our assignments.  God is our strength and our song!  (Ex 15:2; Ps 118:14)  All glory to God most High!

Faith is a Gift

Faith is a Gift

Remember that faith is a gift from God!  It is a precious gift and vital to our daily life in the service of the Kingdom of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8 NKJV)

Each and every believer has been given a measure of faith.  Be sure to make good use of what you have been given.  Use your faith constantly either for yourself or on behalf of other people, which is the highest and best use for this beautiful gift.

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.  (Rom 12:3 NKJV, emphasis added) 

Some believers have even been given an unusual gift of faith that stands well above the norm.  To all such believers, I encourage you to pray, pray, pray for other people and help them to receive everything that they need from the Lord—the chief need being salvation!

. . . to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit . . . (1 Cor 12:9 NKJV)

We must serve God by USING the spiritual gifts that He has given to each and every one of us.  It is our responsibility and our joy to discover what our spiritual gifts are and then to use them in spiritually productive ways on behalf of the Kingdom of God and of His people. 

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  (1 Cor 13:2)

We must use all of our spiritual gifts—whatever they may be—with LOVE!  God is love (1 Joh 4:8), and all who serve His kingdom must flow in LOVE. 

Note that love is the FIRST fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23.  God bless you!

Savior & Deliverer

Savior & Deliverer

Our God is our Savior and our Deliverer.  His Word is full of His promises to us, and it also contains the testimonies of many believers who have experienced the Lord’s saving power and deliverance.

The Lord will save me when anyone tries to hurt me, and he will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory forever and ever be the Lord’s. Amen.  (2 Tim 4:18 NCV)

But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and will protect you from the Evil One.  (2 Thes 3:3 NCV)

God saved us from these great dangers of death, and he will continue to save us. We have put our hope in him, and he will save us again.  (2 Cor 1:10 NCV)

These Bible verses remind us of some wonderful truths about the God whom we serve:

  • God saves us from those who try to harm us;
  • The Lord will make sure that we arrive safely in heaven;
  • Our God is faithful;
  • God’s grace will give us strength and protect us from the enemy of our souls;
  • God has saved our souls, and will continue to save us day-by-day; and
  • As long as we put our hope in Him, He will continue to save us time after time.

There is no God like our God!  (Ex 8:10; 1 Sam 2:2; 1 Chr 17:20)  Let us give Him all of the glory, honor, and praise!