We all understand that in order to receive the crown (reward, wreath), we must complete the race as a winner. A winner can also be called a conqueror, a victor, or an overcomer. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Cor 9:25 ESV)We are called by the Lord to complete the “race of life” as a conqueror who will receive an eternal reward. One factor that is required, even as it is required of athletes, is self-control in all things. But we are able. Let’s remember that Romans 8:37 tells us: Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.We are “more than conquerors” because the true Conqueror, Jesus Christ, has shared His victory with each one of us through the gift of salvation.Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. (2 Tim 2:5 NIV)Obviously, every race has rules that must be obeyed. In order to receive the victor’s crown spoken about in the Bible, we must obey the Word of God. 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)The battle in which we must engage is the battle for our very own souls, and the only way to win this battle is by FAITH. This is emphatically taught in Scripture:For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 Joh 5:4 NKJV)Who is the one who overcomes the world, but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 Joh 5:5 NASB)But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57 NIV)If we stay on the path of obedience to God and to His Word, we shall surely win the race and receive the crown! Glory to God most High!
Tag: His Word
Have You Got It?
Have you received the thing for which you most recently and fervently prayed? The answer should always be YES! Why? Because the Bible says so!Let’s read these Scriptures:Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mk 11:24 NIV) Believe that you have already received what you need and faith operating in you will bring it to you! And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Mt 21:22 KJV) When we pray and ask the Lord to give us something based upon His Word, we must always mix our prayer with the faith that we have received at salvation. If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (Joh 15:7 NASB) Keeping God’s Word (the Bible) ‘before you’ means reading it regularly—daily—and memorizing and meditating upon it. As we make these habits a part of our Christian lives, we may ask WHATEVER we need, and it will be done. Hallelujah!Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (1 Joh 5:14-15 NKJV) Note first of all that this Scripture passage mentions our CONFIDENCE in God; this is crucial. Once, we have that confidence and we pray according to God’s Word—which is His will—then we are positive that we have received our prayer requests. Praise the Lord!But those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.. (Ps 34:10b CEB, emphasis added)Our Lord and our God, you are like the sun and also like a shield. You treat us with kindness and with honor, never denying any good thing to those who live right. (Ps 84:11 CEV, emphasis added)Both of the verses above from Psalms say that we, as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, will never be denied any good thing. What a joyous and blessed security our Savior has given to His children. God bless you!
Hold Fast to Your Hope
We have good reasons to cling to our hope in Christ. First of all, God cannot lie, so we know that we can trust His Word. Secondly, this hope will not disappoint us as Romans 5:5 states (below).
. . . so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to hold firmly to the hope set before us. (Heb 6:18 NASB, emphasis added)
We must ‘hold fast’ [keep hold of; hang onto; grip] the hope set before us by the Lord.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy . . . (Ps 33:18 NKJV)
God is keeping watch over all those who hope in Him and in His mercy. Glory to God!
. . . because you are my hope, Lord. You, Lord, are the one I’ve trusted since childhood. (Ps 71:5 CEB)
The Lord, who is almighty and never-failing, is the basis of all of our hope. When we base our trust in Him, we have placed our trust appropriately.
My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word. (Ps 119:81 ESV)
We are wise when we put hope in God’s Word because His Word will not fail, simply because He watches over His Word to perform it.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. (Ps 130:5 NIV)
This also confirms the wisdom of putting our hope in God’s Word.
. . . and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Rom 5:5 NRSV)
In this verse, God promises that our hope in Him will never be disappointed or frustrated. What a wonderful reassurance from the heart of the Lord!
Who Knows the Things of God?
Who can know the mind and heart of the Lord? Who knows God’s thoughts?
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Cor 2:11 NKJV)
The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being. (Pro 20:27 NIV)
Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? (Rom 11:33-34 NASB)
The Spirit of God is the only One who knows the thoughts of God. Even as we humans are the only ones who can know our own thoughts. No one else can know them unless we share them verbally or in writing.
The Lord has given us His Word in the form of the Bible so that we may know Him better and learn all about His personality, His virtues, and His ways. We can come to understand His thoughts much more clearly by studying and memorizing His Word.
The Bible teaches us that God’s thoughts are far higher than ours and they are also very different from ours.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:8-9 NKJV)
The Bible also reveals to us that God thinks about His people constantly:
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. (Ps 40:17a NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11 NKJV)
The good news for us is that God thinks about each one of us all of the time! His thoughts include planning a good and peace-filled future for each one of us. Glory to God!
Don’t Be Ashamed
The Lord tells us in His word that we should not be ashamed of Him or of His words. The apostle Paul teaches us the right attitude with his declaration in the book of Romans:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Ro 1:16)
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mk 8:38)
For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Lk 9:26)
We should never feel embarrassed or uncomfortable that we are Christians. Additionally, we should never be ashamed to share testimonies of our answered prayers, or of our salvation experience and the blessings of God.
For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Rom 10:11 ESV)
The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the POWER OF GOD to everyone who believes. Let us rejoice in this truth and praise the name of the Lord!
Can Anything Separate Us from God’s Love?
Here’s something positive to focus upon and to meditate upon. God’s love for us is stronger than any force that would try to interrupt it or stop it. His love for us is eternal, unfailing and sacrificial.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 8:38-39 NKJV)
And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Eph 5:2 NKJV, underscoring added)
“I made your name known to them, and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have for me may be in them and I myself may be in them.” (John 17:26 ISV)
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. (1 Cor 13:8 NKJV)
Most human beings desire and need to feel loved. It is a normal and healthy need that I believe our creator God instilled in us. And since God is love (1 Joh 4:8), He is the perfect One to fulfill the need that we have for love.
From the Bible verses I’ve included above, you can see a small sample of what God has to share with us in His Word about His wonderful love. The best way to learn about His love and the enduring nature of it is to read and to meditate upon His Word. His Word is not only His promises to us but His Word is also His will for us!
God has created each one of us to be in a loving and lasting relationship with Him. Turn to Him when you need comfort and reassurance. Pray to Him when you need human arms to hold you, help you and to comfort you. He will send you some friends or relatives who will be able and willing to meet your need for love. Glory to God!
If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Rom 13:3-4)
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. (1 Pet 2:13-14)
God has promised us, according to the Scriptures, that when we do good works on earth, we’ll be honored and celebrated. This is God’s reward and His blessing upon all who are obedient to His Word and His will.
It is clear that doing good works is the will of God for His people. Here are several Bible verses about good works:
- In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Mt 5:16 ESV)
- For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (Jas 2:26 ESV)
- That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:17 ESV)
What are “good works” according to the Bible? Here is another perspective:
Ephesians 2:10 would encourage you to learn to see your whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you’re a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. If you’re a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God’s masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes. (Source: https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/daily-reflection/what-are-good-works-god-has-prepared-us)
The Bible also tells us these things about good works:
- If someone is hungry or inadequately clothed, believers should feed them and give them clothing. (Jas 2:14-17)
- Whatever we do, we should work enthusiastically and with all of our might, because the Lord Himself will reward us. (Col 3:23-24)
- We must do wholesome, upright, virtuous deeds and share whatever we have with others. (Heb 13:16)
- Don’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing good. (Gal 6:9)
- All that we do should be done in love. (1 Cor 16:14)
- Believers should encourage and inspire each other to lovingly perform good works. (Heb 10:24)
Think deeply today about what we’ve studied, and about the many forms of good works. There are so many unique ways in which you may demonstrate the love and mercy of God to the world through your good works. Be blessed in Jesus’ name!
What is Better Than Sacrifice to God?
For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hos 6:6)
This Scripture verse states two things that God prefers over a burnt offering:
- Mercy – God wants His people to show compassion and kindness to others, especially anyone who is in need.
- Knowledge of God – God wants us to know Him, and one important way to do that is to read and to meditate upon His Word. He has given us His Word in order to allow us to learn all about Him, and about His truth.
So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Sam 15:22)
God says clearly here that obedience is better than sacrifice. He wants us to obey Him and His Word. He asks us to live in agreement with His Word and His wisdom.
To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Pro 21:3)
The Bible passage shown above teaches us that more than sacrifice, the Lord desires:
- For us to live righteously – This means to live a holy, good, and moral life among men, a life that honors God and obeys the Word of God.
- For us to do justice – This means to live with a sense of fairness to all, and to treat everyone equally. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Gal 5:14)
The Inexorable Force
Our God is the Inexorable Force of the universe. What He says always, ALWAYS comes to pass. When we become born again, He places His hand upon us in such a way that we must share His Truth and His Word. These verses illustrate what I’m saying:
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Ac 4:19-20 NIV, underlining added)
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jer 20:9 NIV)
“Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.” (Num 22:38 NIV)
In our hearts, we feel that force within us that compels us to testify that Jesus is the Redeemer of all mankind—the hope of all the world. If we are not aware of an inner inducement to share the Good News with others, then it is time to renew our commitment to the Lord and to rededicate ourselves to His purposes.
In Acts 17:16-17, we read that Paul was provoked to share the gospel message with the people in Athens. Jesus addressed His followers in Acts 1:8 to tell them that they would be His witnesses in this world.
We must confess, along with 2 Samuel 23:2: “The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me; His word is on my tongue.” Let us lift our voices and testify to the loving goodness and kindness of our God and Savior. The Holy Spirit (The Inexorable Force) within each one of us lovingly requires it of us all.
The Word of God
For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Heb 4:12 AMP)
This verse of the Bible from the Amplified Version is quite clear on the penetrating, discerning power of the Word of God. How often do we think about the truth that the Scriptures are imbued with God’s power?
Because they are, it is vital that we make use of the Scriptures as a tool, a medicine, a comfort, a basis for praising God, and as our weapon.
The Scriptures were fashioned by God to:
- Accomplish their task (Josh 21:45; 23:14; Isa 46:10,11),
- Stand forever (Isa 40:8; 46:10-11; Mt 24:35; Mk 13:31; Lk 21:33; 1 Pet 1:23-25), and
- Never lie (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29).
There are many mysteries connected with Christianity, but one thing that we can be sure of is that God honors and upholds His own Word. Do a little studying into the various Scripture references cited above. You’ll be impressed.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. (Ps 33:11)
We do well to highly value the Scriptures.