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!

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

One area where we need to apply our faith as believers is to our relationship with our grown children.

Thus says the Lord:  Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work (raising of your children, prayer) shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they(your children) shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope (something that you can expect) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border (place of peace and safety and well-being).”  (Jer 31:16-17 AMP, emphasis added) 

We as parents must always provide a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual peace, safety and well-being.  When we fall short, and most of us fall short in some way at some time, we need biblical solutions and practical help.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . .  (Mal 4:6 NKJV) The Lord is the only Being who is able to change a person’s heart.  The hearts of parents should ALWAYS be in favor of and in support of their own children.  Our hearts should always yearn for the best things for our children.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . .  (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV, emphasis added)

As followers of Jesus Christ, our desire should always be for reconciliation in our relationships.  If it doesn’t exist at the moment, it’s something that we should take to the Lord in fervent prayer.

It may happen in some families that after children have grown, they choose to disconnect totally from their relationship with their parents.  In some cases, the parents may not have a clue as to why this has happened.  In other scenarios, one or the other parent does know the reason.  It can be the result of one parent who was harsh, overly strict or critical of the child or children as they were being raised.  Or it can be as serious as some form of abuse.  Whatever the situation, it can result in grown children having very painful memories and deep anger and resentment against a parent.  In some cases, the adult children may be in counseling to deal with the emotional and mental pain they are experiencing and have experienced in the past.

Parents who find themselves in this situation need to scrupulously review their past behavior in their relationship with their child (or children).  They must take full responsibility for their own actions, and openly admit their faults to their family. 

If there is a pathway to open communication, the parent should apologize and repent directly to the child (or children) whom they have hurt.  Additionally, whichever parent was responsible would need to promise to change the way that they relate to their adult child, so that in future the relationship would be based solely upon positive and healthy input from the parent.  Then the parent should pray for God’s grace and help in fulfilling this goal. 

Copious prayer is needed in this situation by both parents!  The offending parent should ask God to correct them, give them wisdom and insight, and to reveal what their child (or children) truly needs right now.  Praying for God’s peace to reign in the relationship is also key.

If there is no communication between parent and child, then the one hope and solution available to the parent is to continually pray for God to bring healing and reconciliation into the relationship between them and their child.  In this case, it is also good to ask God to reveal to the parent where they made mistakes and how they sinned against their child.  Repent wholeheartedly to God for whatever He reveals, and determine to change the behavior.  Read books on good parenting of adult children, and seek counseling if possible.  Counseling can come through licensed counselors, group counseling, pastors, psychologists, or 12-step programs such as AA. 

As followers of Jesus, we must seek peace in all of our relationships.  (Rom 12:18)  Parents never stop being parents, even after our children are grown.  So it is pleasing to God for us to continue to pray for our estranged adult children, and to ask God to bless them and to continue to protect them and to fulfill His will in their lives.  It would be wisdom to also pray earnestly for healing and for reconciliation in the relationship with the estranged child or children.  May God’s peace reign in your life and your family in Jesus’ name.

Inner Strength

Inner Strength

God gives inner strength to every person who trusts in Him and in His salvation.  Here are several Bible passages on the topic:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  (Isa 41:10 NKJV)

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves . . .  (Eph 3:16 GNT)

. . . strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy . . . (Col 1:11 NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Phil 4:13 NKJV)

This is one of the blessed benefits of our salvation—to receive inner strength and perseverance from God, our Savior.  Whenever we face difficulties, challenges, sorrows, or calamities, we may cry out to the Lord in our trouble and He will deliver us. Take note of these Bible verses:

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.  (Ps 107:6)

. . . persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.  (2 Tim 3:11, emphasis added)

What a loving and mighty God we serve!  Look at just some of the blessings that He pours out upon each and every one of His people:

  • He is always with us and will never reject us. 
  • He upholds and sustains us.
  • He gives us grace to enable us to serve Him and to fulfill our callings. 
  • He provides health, healing, reconciliation, and mercy continuously. 
  • He justifies us and grants us peace with our Father God. 
  • He loves us perfectly
  • He has given us a salvation that will provide us with joy in the presence of the Lord now and for all eternity.

Become aware of and use the inner strength that God has given to you.  Study these blessings and benefits of our salvation in order to support and to sustain your inner strength.  Blessings upon you!

How Can I Receive a Miracle?

How Can I Receive a Miracle?

Considering the last blog article, I thought it would be timely to look at Bible verses that help us to understand how to receive a miracle when we need it or whenever someone we care about might need one. Let’s clarify our terms, first.  Let’s look at the difference between a blessing and a miracle.

A blessing is unmerited favor or approval; a special favor, mercy or benefit.  (Example:  The blessing of living in a land of liberty. -or- The blessing of having food and shelter.)

A miracle is a supernatural phenomenon from God in an emergency or time of need; an extraordinary, welcome event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to God. 

From time to time, most of us need a miracle at some point in our lives.  The God whom we serve is predictable and orderly; He is forever faithful. 

God doesn’t change.  God always want to help us; always wants to bless us and to deliver us from evil.  You can find these truths right in God’s Word.  (Ps 54:4; Isa 41:10; Heb 13:8)

First, know what the Bible says to you.  Meditate upon these truths from Scripture:

  • And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.  (Deu 28:13)  –  God surrounds us with His favor at all times.  He gives us the grace and ability to rule in this life.
  • But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness . . .  (Rom 4:5) – Our faith in Jesus Christ is our righteousness in God’s sight.
  • And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:19) – God’s promises to meet ALL of our needs through Jesus Christ and our faith in Him.
  • And let them say continually, “Let the Lord be magnified, Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”  (Ps 35:27b) – God is pleased with our success and our prosperity. 
  • Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  (3 Joh 2) – The Lord’s desire is for us to prosper and to be healthy always.
  • But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Mt 19:26, see also Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27) – All things are possible to us through our faith in Jesus Christ.
  • And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  (Joh 14:13) – Jesus says that He will do WHATEVER we pray for in order to bring glory to our Father God through the Son, Jesus. 
  • Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”  (Lk 1:38)  – When we ask God for something, we place our faith in God and in His Word. 

The eight Bible verses shown above are only a sample of the good and precious promises that God has given to every believer.  God’s Word is His will.  When we ask for something in agreement with His will, we know that God WILL give us whatever we need.  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

  1. Know what God’s Word says and understand that it is His will for you.
  2. Sow God’s Word into your heart by reading, memorizing, and meditating upon it daily.
  3. Put your faith in the Word, and ask God for what you need, based upon His Word.
  4. Understand that God’s answer to you is “Yes” and receive your miracle by faith right then.  Have confidence that God’s Word will prevail in your life.
  5. Praise and thank God for hearing and answering your prayers, and expect to reap the harvest of your miracle thanks to the seed of the Word of God that you have planted in your heart. 
  6. Do not abandon your faith or your testimony. Hold fast; do not waiver in your faith in God.

Following these guidelines should reap untold benefits and wonders. Give God all of the glory, honor, and praise, in Jesus’ holy name.

Encourage & Build

Encourage & Build

Have you ever heard this saying?  “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.”  Such a person is an ENCOURAGER!

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11 NIV)

There are at least thirteen passages in the New Testament alone about encouragement.  Encouragement means inspiration, reassurance, and support.  Encouragement is a combination of all three.  It has great potential for fostering and advancing critical moments in a person’s, a church’s, and or a nation’s history. 

But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.  (Deu 3:28 NKJV)  As this verse in the Bible demonstrates, encouragement is able to strengthen a person’s soul (mind, will, and emotions) and help them to push ahead to accomplish their goal.  Thanks to encouragement and God’s grace, Joshua accomplished great things for God.

When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord.  (Acts 11:23)  This is when Barnabas visited the church at Antioch:  He supported them in their faith in God and emboldened them to continue in it.

Here is something interesting to know about Barnabas

“Barnabas” wasn’t his birth name (it was Joseph); Barnabas was his nickname meaning “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). This rather obscure Bible character was so encouraging that it became his name.” ~ Source:  https://www.leadershipresources.org/who-is-barnabas-in-the-bible-10-things-to-know.

. . . that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ . . .  (Col 2:2)  These words of the Apostle Paul’s are inspiration to the church of his day—as well as to us.  He is nurturing our unity, our faith in and understanding of the Gospel, and our perseverance in faith.

. . . and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith . . .  (1 Thes 3:2)  The Apostle Paul is writing from Antioch about sending Timothy to confirm, reassure and to strengthen the faith of the Thessalonian church during persecution.

As these passages reveal to us, encouragement is powerful!  It has the potential to build (develop, shape, and foster) a person’s faith in God as well as a confidence in their calling to such an extent that they are enabled to accomplish mighty deeds and to produce pivotal moments in history. 

Boldly encourage someone that you care about today.  Blessings upon you!

The Lord’s Swift Help

The Lord’s Swift Help

Here are Bible verses that remind us that when we need God’s help, we may need it suddenly and abruptly! 

Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.  (Ps 38:22 NIV)

Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.  (Ps 40:13 NIV)

Come closer, God! Please hurry and help.  (Ps 71:12 CEV)

Lord, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.  (Ps 141:1)

The above verses show human beings calling upon the Lord for immediate and speedy help.  We all turn to God in fear and anguish when we are facing some sort of crisis in our lives.  But remember, God has already declared Himself as our Savior and Redeemer.  (Isa 49:26; 60:16). 

So we can have complete assurance that He hears and answers our prayers. (Pro 15:29; Joh 16:24; 1 Joh 5:14-15)  Look up some of these verses and meditate upon them to build your faith.

Behold, the Lord rides on a swift cloud, and will come into Egypt; the idols of Egypt will totter at His presence, and the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst.  (Isa 19:1, emphasis added) 

The word “totter” means to stagger, wobble, quake, or lurch.  When God’s power comes into a circumstance or a life, every false god and demon quakes and falls in fear and defeat.  They recognize that Jesus is the Victorious One.  (Joh 16:33; Col 2:15)

Notice that the imagery in Isaiah 19:1 mentions a swift cloud, which gives us a clue as to the decisiveness of the Lord when He has determined to take action on behalf of His people. So, in your moment of need, trust in the Lord and in His abiding and perfect love for you.  Understand that the Lord will move swiftly (instantly) on your behalf at exactly the best moment—the one that He knows will bring about the most blessings for you.

As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us that the Lord LEADS US IN TRIUMPH in Christ.  (2 Cor 2:14)  Hallelujah!  Allow Him (trust Him) to lead you triumphantly in every situation. 

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.

God’s Wonderful Counsel

This also comes from the Lord of hosts; He is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.  (Isa 28:29 ESV)

O Lord, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; Your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.  (Isa 25:1 NKJV)

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  (Isa 9:6)

The Lord has declared Himself, through His Word, to be our Counselor.  A counselor is one who gives advice, guidance, and direction.  A wise counselor also gives warning when they feel it is appropriate.

God, who our Savior as well as our Counselor, gives us:

  • Support,
  • A listening ear,
  • Help, and
  • Instruction

We receive many of these blessings through our church family in the person(s) of our Pastor, our elders, and our wise friends.  This is a matchless and precious gift to each one of us.  What a blessing are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Rely upon the Lord and His Word for the best counsel that exists anywhere in creation or in the universe!

A Good Name

A Good Name

What exactly is a “good name”?  It means having a good reputation, or being known as a person with a good character.  The Bible speaks most favorably about having a good name.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.  (Pro 22:1 NIV)

Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  (Pro 3:4 NIV)

A good name is better than fine perfume . . . (Eccl 7:1a NIV)

Ecclesiastes asserts that a good reputation is better than fine perfume!  Does that surprise you?  Let’s think about this for a little time.  Your good name is all about your integrity—your very character.

When people hear your name, what do they think about you?  Do they associate your name with timeliness, honesty, and hard work?  Or do they think several negative things instead?

Here are some valuable reasons why a good reputation can be considered better than riches.

  • A good name provides steadiness – A person with a good name means that there are positive character traits the person has. When you’re known for having a good character, it causes other people to trust you and to want to deal with you.  Trust is a stabilizing factor in life.  In business, people will want to hire you or affiliate themselves with you.  In personal life, you will have many trusted friends who will remain friends.  A person with a good character is easy to love.
  • A good name is endless – Think about the many people in history that are spoken of in our time with respect and awe. A good character stays behind when we have gone ahead into eternity.  Once we have lived our lives and passed on, what kind of legacy will we have we left behind?  How will our children, our family and friends remember us?  If we followed Jesus’ example and lived our lives by faith, we can be assured that we will have made a positive contribution to our world.
  • God bestows loving favor on those who have a good name. – When a person has a good name (a good character), they receive the favor of God and man. (Ps 84:11; Pro 3:1-4; 33-35)  People enjoy interactions with those who make them feel good and who interact honorably with them.  People will love you for your honesty; they will appreciate your work ethic; and they will respect your sense of integrity.  When a person of good character is assaulted, their friends and associates will choose to defend and protect them.  People love to unite together to help a person with a good name. 

It’s good to stop and take stock, occasionally, of the state of our reputation.  Is it in good shape?  If not, there’s still time to make changes in your life in order to repair your good name.

Seek the Well Being of Others

Seek the Well Being of Others

As children of God, our actions will naturally imitate the actions of our Heavenly Father.  God cares for each and every person.  He is pleased when—instead of being selfish—we look for opportunities to help and to bless other people.

Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.  (1 Cor 10:24)

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus  . . . (Phil 2:4-5)

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth . . . (1 Cor 13:4-6, underscoring added)

God is love (1 Joh 4:8) so the passage of Scripture above outlining the nature of love gives us a very good picture of the nature of the God whom we serve.  This reveals how the Lord deals with each person individually, and helps us to understand His love for mankind.

In these verses from the Bible, we can see that working on behalf of other people in order to bless their lives will also result in bringing glory to God.  This is what we who serve the Good Shepherd are called to do.  We’re called to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ; to bring glory to God; and to spread the Good News.  In so doing, the very works of God will be revealed in us.  (Joh 9:3) Have a blessed day!