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!

Peace Must Rule

Peace Must Rule

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.  (Col 3:15)

Synonyms of RULE:  govern, administrate, lead or control. 

Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace.”  (Isa 9:6)  He is our Savior and Lord, and we must follow Him in all that we do.  We must allow His peace to control and lead everything that we do and everything that we pursue in life and in ministry. 

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  (Ps 100:4)

Praise, thankfulness and blessing work in beautiful harmony with peace.  As we exalt, praise and bless the Lord, thankfulness arises in our hearts.  The overflow of that thankfulness will result in our being a blessing and a joy to other people as we minister God’s love to them.  And peace will be the result.

. . . and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:7)

God’s peace exceeds and transcends any other definition of the word.  His peace goes so far beyond and is so much better than any human concept of peace that it will always outperform the human version of peace! 

Therefore, allow yourself to be ruled by God’s peace, so that your life will be blessed and others will be blessed in your presence.  Glory to God!

The Blessings of Fellowship

The Blessings of Fellowship

There are great blessings that result from fellowship and unity with other believers.  We need the companionship of close friends and relatives who are fellow Christians.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
  (Eccl 4:10 NIV)

Here the Bible reminds us that having a close companion or friend will provide us with support, help, and strength.

. . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.  (Heb 10:25)

This passage in Hebrews reminds us that gathering regularly with other believers provides encouragement and validation of our faith as well as support.

Therefore comfort one another with these words.  (1 Thes 4:18)

Meeting with other believers provides us with comfort, security, and reassurance.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 RSV) Christian fellowship provides inspiration from the Bible, the nurturing of our faith and the joy which lightens our hearts.  What beautiful and loving blessings from God!

Wisdom to Speak

Wisdom to Speak

God has promised over and over in the Bible, that when we need to know what to say and how to give an answer for our faith, the Spirit of the Lord shall give us wise words to speak.  We need to trust Him to fulfill this promise, and we must place our faith in the Lord in the moment when we are tested.

And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.  (Mk 13:11 ESV)

The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.  (2 Sam 23:2)

Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.  (Lk 21:14-15, emphasis added)

But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak . . .  (Mt 10:19, underlining added)

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.  (Jam 1:5)

When we lack wisdom, the Bible instructs us to ask God for it, and reminds us that He will answer our prayer without criticism but with abundant generosity.  Hallelujah!

We need to settle it in our hearts—ahead of time—that God will supply us with wisdom in the midst of any challenging ordeal.  Simply ask Him to give you the words to speak.  And the wisdom that God gives to us will not be able to be opposed.  (Lk 21:15)  Glory to God!

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

Jesus told us that the kingdom of God has come upon us, and that the kingdom is within each and every believer.  Let’s look at the Scriptures.

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.  (Mt 12:28 NIV)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit . . .  (Rom 14:17 NIV)

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”  (Lk 17:20-21)

He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  (Lk 9:2)

‘The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.’  (Lk 10:11)

The Kingdom of God arrived on earth in the person of Jesus, and was established in the hearts of all believers when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples.  This is described for us in Acts 2:1-5.

Since then, all who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord have also received the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  We are told in the Word of God that we are the very temple (house, dwelling) of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Cor 6:19) Glory to God!

The gift of the Holy Spirit is referred to in Scriptures as:

  • The promise of the Father (Lk 24:49; Ac 1:4)
  • The Helper (Joh 14:26; 16:7-16)
  • The Spirit of Truth (Joh 14:16-17; 15:26)
  • The Breath of the Almighty (Job 33:4)
  • Advocate (Joh 14:16 NIV; 1 Joh 2:1)
  • The Eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14)
  • Lord (2 Cor 3:17)
  • Intercessor (Rom 8:26-27)
  • Teacher (Joh 14:26)
  • Spirit of the Living God (2 Cor 3:3)
  • Spirit of Glory (1 Pet 4:14)

We are temples of the Living God.  We are highly blessed and favored, and we need to meditate upon that truth more frequently.  It’s almost too monumental of a concept to grasp with our human intellect.  The Kingdom of God dwells within you and me!  Rejoice!

Angels Among Us

Angels Among Us

The Scriptures tell us in many different ways and in various passage that angels walk among us.  It’s a fact that we need to know and to acknowledge.

And when forty years had passed, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire in a bush, in the wilderness of Mount Sinai.  (Ac 7:30)  An angel appeared Moses in a burning bush. 

Acts 7:35 states that God sent back the same man his people had previously rejected when they demanded, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us?’ Through the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush, God sent Moses to be their ruler and savior.  Angels can be sent to us by God to give us instructions or information from God.

They passed the first and second guards and came to the Iron Gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself. After leaving the prison, they proceeded the length of one street, when abruptly the angel was gone. (Ac 12:10 CEB)  This angel was sent to Peter to lead him out of prison and to keep Peter safe until he reached freedom.  When the angel completed the mission, he disappeared.  Angels can be sent to us to set us free.

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out . . .  (Ac 5:19)  The angel led the apostles out of prison, and then gave them a message from the Lord (v. 20):  “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

And the apostles obeyed the angel and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.  (Lk 1:11)  An angel appeared to Zacharias while he was serving in the temple.  The angel informed Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a son.  The angel told Zacharias to name the boy John.  Zacharias heeded the angel.

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  (Mt 1:20)  An angel told Joseph to fulfill his plan to take Mary as his wife because the baby whom she carried was a holy child.  And Joseph obeyed God’s directions–which came through the angel.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.  (Heb 13:2) This verse in Hebrews reminds us to be hospitable to strangers, because they may be angels in human disguise!  We may not always know that an angel has spoken to us, but something about the encounter will impress us, remain in our hearts and in our memories, and influence us with heavenly wisdom.  Remember to welcome strangers!  Glory to God!

God Stands By Us

God Stands By Us

Our amazing God stands by His people at all times, and in all circumstances. He actually fights for us.  The Bible confirms this truth.

Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.  (Deu 3:22)

For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.  (Deu 20:4)

Through You we will push back our adversaries; through Your name we will trample down those who rise up against us. (Ps 44:5)

One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.  (Josh 23:10)

God loves us and He defends us in order to give us the victory.  Jesus is our Overcomer.  (Joh 16:33b)  God has made each and every one of us overcomers because we are people of faith who serve a God who asks us to put our faith in Jesus Christ.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5, emphasis added)

God has promised that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ (which qualifies us as born-of-God) are overcomers.  Hallelujah!

God never stops fighting for us because He is almighty and eternal.  He is not limited by time; He is not limited by human constraints; and He never lacks for anything.  He calls us His chosen and special ones.  (Deu 7:6; 14:2)

His Word is His promise to us, and He is eternally faithful to His Word; He keeps His Word.  When our faith is weak, He is by our side, imparting His strength and grace to us.  All we need to do is to open our hearts to Him and allow His strength and empowerment to flow into us.

The Lord said that He will never leave us, never forsake us. (Neh 9:31; Heb 13:5b, italics added) 

If you’re in a battle of any kind whether faith, finances, relationships or health, put your trust and hope in Jesus Christ.  He is with you always—waiting for you to turn toward Him.  God bless you.

A Steadfast Heart

A Steadfast Heart

Steadfast means committed, unwavering, reliable and trustworthy.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  (Ps 112:7, underscoring added)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.  (Pro 1:33)  Wisdom is speaking in the passage.  When we obey wisdom, we obey God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yahweh, the Lord, is everlasting strength.  (Isa 26:3-4)  When we are focused upon the Lord, with absolute trust, our hearts will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  (Joh 14:1) Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He’s encouraging us to believe in Him.  He’s inviting us to rely upon Him and to have confidence in Him.

The point of these verses that I’ve shared is that under all circumstances, even in the midst of challenges and painful trials, a believer knows the beautiful character of Jesus, and is able to trust Him effortlessly.  Why?  Because Jesus is a good and loving Savior.

The Lord’s plans for us are good plans intended to give us a good future.  We can see the only person who can prevent those plans from coming to pass when we look into the mirror! 

If we don’t cooperate with the Lord, if we don’t trust Him and place all of our faith in Him, then we cannot blame God for whatever mess in which we eventually find ourselves.

Place all of your hope, faith and trust in the Lord.  Yield to God’s plans and His ways, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

Be Ready to Explain Your Hope

Be Ready to Explain Your Hope

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.  (1 Pet 3:15-17) 

According to this passage of Scripture, we need to be ready to share with people who ask us the reason for the hope that is within each one of us.  The Bible actually tells us the answer for this in Colossians 1:27.  Christ within us—the hope of glory.  The life of Christ within us is our hope.

That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?  (Pro 22:21)

We need to answer all questions with “words of truth” according to this Proverb.  It is interesting to note that when Paul was being questioned by King Agrippa, Paul said:  “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.”  (Ac 26:25)  Paul was speaking “words of truth” and reason.  According to John 14:6, Jesus is the Truth and Paul was telling the King all about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  Paul spoke words of truth.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.  (Col 4:6)

We cannot say that we don’t know how to answer.  Our answer is Jesus Christ and His story as the Redeemer of all mankind.  Hallelujah!

Secrets: Hidden Things Coming to Light

Secrets:  Hidden Things Coming to Light

All human beings—no matter what nationality, race, or creed—have secrets.  Some secrets are fairly harmless and others are very serious, and yet other secrets are actually very dangerous.  Most of us fall into having the “fairly harmless” category of secrets.

One important thing to know is that God promises to uncover secrets and hidden things.  One way or another, all dark and secret things will be exposed by the Lord.  Those of us who follow Jesus Christ need to know this truth and to live in the light of it.

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.  (1 Cor 4:5)  The word counsels means advice, information, or instruction. 

 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  (Heb 4:13)  The Lord our God sees everything and knows even the thoughts and intents of our hearts.  (Heb 4:12)  Even the content of our hearts will be revealed.  That’s a sobering thought.

In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.  (Lk 12:1-3, underscoring added)

We all have challenges, desires, disappointments, and heartaches. Most human beings have areas where they are weak, and they may occasionally fail and sin.   In all of these things, the Lord cares about us, and wants to help us.  As the Bible passage above reminds us, our innermost secrets—which may have been whispered in the dark—will one day be heard by all. 

A daily review, before the Lord, is the best way to deal with everything:  sins, challenges, secrets, disappointments, etc.  Bring it all to the Lord at the end of each day, and ask His forgiveness for sins, and His help and wisdom with problems and heartaches.  Seek His hope and grace to carry you through disappointment and heartache. 

Above all, whatever secrets you have, share them ALL with the Lord now.  Ask Him how to deal with them, and follow His guidance.  If you’re having difficulty in hearing from the Lord, go to a wise, mature, and trustworthy brother or sister in Christ, and request their wise input. 

We must all learn to live honest, holy, and productive lives that will bring glory and honor to the Lord.  Learning how to bring our secrets into the light of the Lord’s love and mercy is an integral part of holy living.  Our loving God supplies us with the grace and the ability to accomplish this goal.  May God richly bless you.