Joy & Safety

<strong>Joy & Safety</strong>

This may seem like a quirky combination to write about, but I hope that you’ll take time to study this along with me.

Not only does the Lord want us to be filled with joy, but He also wants us to know that we are safe and secure thanks to Him.

You have put joy in my heart, more than when their grain and new wine are abundant.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety.
  (Ps 4:7-8 NASB)

This Bible passage above acknowledges that the Lord has placed joy in our hearts.  He is the author of joy!  Also, it talks about our sleeping peacefully because the Lord causes us to live in safety.  What wonderful blessings!

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done.  (Ps 92:4 NIV)

We may rejoice and have joy because of God’s righteous and upright acts. 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.  (Pro 3:24 NKJV)

This verse again speaks about our sleep being sweet and peaceful because our faith in God allows us to be free of fear.  Glory to God!

I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.  (Ps 3:5 RSV)

Even our ability to awaken on any given morning is because the Lord sustains our very life.  Think about that!

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.  Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.  (Ps 16:8-9 ESV)

In this Psalm, David is discussing the fact that he was aware of God’s presence with him at all times.  David felt God’s face before him, and God’s presence at his side.  As a result, it filled David with joy and rejoicing.  This also made him feel secure (protected, sheltered, and safe).  We are just as beloved by God as David was.  God’s presence is always with us, and His Spirit dwells within each and every one of us.   We are His temple.  (1 Cor 6:19 NKJV)  Hallelujah!

God’s Comforts

God’s Comforts

What are God’s ‘comforts’ as mentioned in Psalm 94:19?  From my study of this passage, the word refers to the promises of God, and the ability to remember and to mentally reenact our prior experiences of God’s care and kindnesses to us.  Such thoughts give us consolation, and they revitalize our minds and our thoughts.

In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.  (Ps 94:19 NKJV, emphasis added)

As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.  (Isa 66:13 NRSV)  The Lord promises to comfort us when we are distressed.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  (Ps 61:2 NASB)  During tribulations, we must allow our hearts to turn to the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.

Just as I am satisfied with the choicest of foods, so my lips will praise you joyfully.  When I think of you in bed, I will meditate on you in the night watches.  (Ps 63:5-6 ISB) 

A good life habit to cultivate is to praise the Lord joyfully AT ALL TIMES, under all circumstances.  It will bring us joy and it will strengthen our faith.  When we can’t sleep in the night, we should meditate upon the Lord and upon His Word.  God promises in many places in the Bible that He will comfort us and that the Holy Spirit is our comforter. 

Turn to the Lord and trust Him to soothe and to encourage you when painful life experiences threaten to sink you.  He will not fail you.

The Importance of Words

The Importance of Words

The Bible is unambiguous about how important our words are.  The unique thing about words is that they affect not only the HEARERS but the SPEAKER as well.  We would do well to not only read these verses but to meditate upon them.

Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.  (Pro 15:4 MSG) Words can cut and maim or they can heal and comfort.  Words can be constructive and informative, lending courage and information to the hearer.

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!  (Pro 15:23 NIV) If we make positive, uplifting remarks it brings us joy and is received as a benefit by the hearer.

By his fruitful speech a man can remain satisfied, and a man’s handiwork will reward him.  (Pro 12:14 ISV) When our words bear the fruit of encouragement, peace, and joy, we will eventually earn a reputation as an encourager and a person full of faith.

Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.  (Pro 24:26 NIV) Honest words, spoken in love, carry a blessing to the spirit of the hearer.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.  12 As an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover to an obedient ear.  (Pro 25:11-12 MEV) Those who wish to please God and be good examples to others should speak the whole truth, utter appropriate praise, reflect wisdom, and edify the listeners; these words will always be “fitly (properly) spoken.”

Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.  (Eph 4:29 NASB) This verse reminds us that we should not speak any nasty or unpleasant words.  Instead, our words should edify (enlighten, improve, inform) the listeners so that those who hear will be honored, enhanced, or blessed.

As we honor God’s Word by obeying it, the Lord will show His pleasure and bless us in ways that we can’t imagine.  Spread kind, life-giving words wherever you go today.  Praise the Lord!

How to Give Joy to Your Parents

How to Give Joy to Your Parents

Most children would like to give joy to their parents.  Not only small children, but adult children also wish to give enjoyment to their mother and father.

I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are living according to the truth.  (3 Joh 1:4 CEB)

The father of a righteous child will celebrate greatly.  One who fathers a wise son will find joy in him.  (Pro 23:24 EHV)

The proverbs of Solomon:  A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.  (Pro 10:1 NKJV)

A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.  (Pro 29:3 NIV)

These various Scriptures all refer to the subject of giving joy or gladness to our parents.  These are the ways, according to the Word, that we can give true gladness to our mom and dad:

  • To live according to the truth (of the Word of God);
  • To live a righteous life with wisdom;
  • To gain wisdom (the best source of wisdom is the Bible); and
  • To love wisdom and embrace it in all of your ways.

Not only will these acts bring joy to your parents, but God will bless you as you obey His Word.  Glory to God!

Two Paths

Two Paths

In life, there are only two paths to choose from.  Please, recognize this statement for the truth that it is.

We may choose to live for God and the Kingdom of righteousness; or we may sink to serving satan who is the enemy of God and the enemy of all that is good and true, peaceful and holy.

The ancient Hebrew word for satan means “accuser” or “adversary.” Why would we want to serve the being who is named “accuser”?

My heartfelt question is “Why would anyone choose to serve the kingdom of darkness?”  Let’s look at what the Scriptures have to say.  I’m going to put the Bible verses in categories to help to clarify this study.

About the Kingdom of God & Jesus

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace . . .  (Gal 5:22 NKJV)

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10b NKJV, emphasis added)

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

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.  (1 Cor 14:33 NKJV)

About the Kingdom of Darkness & satan

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  (Jas 3:16 NKJV)

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  (Joh 8:44 ESV)

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  (Joh 10:10a NKJV)

Warnings from Scripture

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  (Eph 6:11 ESV)  We have to protect ourselves with the spiritual tools that the Lord has given to every believer.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  (1 Pet 5:8 NKJV)  We believers need to be vigilant and review our lives on a fairly regular basis so that we don’t allow even the smallest entry for the devil.

Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  (Rev 12:20 NKJV, underscoring added)  Know that the enemy will surely receive his eternal punishment which is described here.

Conclusions

The Bible informs us of key things we should know about the enemy and his realm.  In the kingdom of darkness, the atmosphere is full of envy, self-seeking, confusion, lies and every evil thing.  The beings who populate that realm enjoy killing, stealing, lying and destruction.  The future holds a grim reality for satan and for all who choose to serve him: 

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.  (Rev 20:10 NKJV)  This is an eternal, never-ending punishment. 

The Bible informs us that Jesus came to impart life not only here on earth, but for all eternity to those who accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  That is why John 10:10 says “more abundantly.”  When we serve Jesus and His Kingdom, we experience love, joy and peace.  We become a member of the family of God.  And lastly, when we become a child of God we experience the peace that passes all understanding.  (Phil 4:7)  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!

Our Lives Reflects our Hearts

Our Lives Reflects our Hearts

All of our actions—whether good and kind or hurtful and evil—flow out of our hearts. 

As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.  (Pro 27:19 NIV, emphasis added)

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.  (Jam 1:22-25, underscoring added)

. . . he who fashions the hearts of them all, and observes all their deeds.  (Ps 33:15 RSV)

For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”  (Mk 7:21-23 NIV)

As the Bible tells us, we need to be obedient, active Christians who LIVE THE WORD every single day of our lives.  Our lives will surely expose whatever is in our hearts.

This doesn’t imply that we’re perfect and never make mistakes.  Absolutely not.  It means that we start with a fresh slate every day, and continue loving and serving the Lord Jesus persistently and consistently. 

When we do sin, we stop and repent before God.  After we have received forgiveness and cleansing, we begin again in perfect fellowship and harmony with the Lord, our merciful Redeemer.  Because Jesus lived on earth as a human, He understands the nature of temptation.  (Heb 2:18; 4:15; Mt 4:1)

Because we know our own flaws and weaknesses, we’re able to extend mercy and encouragement to others.  We know that as we surrender to God’s will and resist the enemy, he must flee from us.  (Jam 4:7)

We serve our loving God and the body of Christ by praying for our fellow man, whether believers or unbelievers.  We also pray for our civic and government leaders that God will lead them and send them wise counselors, and give us peace on the earth.

As we hide God’s Word and His precious promises in our hearts, our hearts will overflow with the joy, mercy, and love of God.  Our faith will be nourished and strengthened.  Our daily lives will reveal and replicate the condition of our hearts.  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!

Treasures

Treasures

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Mt 6:19-21)

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.  (Pro 10:2)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.  (Ps 19:9-10)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.  (Mt 13:44-46)

. . . 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, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  (Col 2:2-3)

We may think that wealth and riches profit us in this life.  In some ways, that is true.  However, we should remember that any so-called treasure that is a result of dishonesty or sinful pursuits will not bring us the joy that truly satisfies.  Such treasures will never profit us in eternity. 

But the righteousness that is born of faith in Jesus Christ will deliver us from many evils in this life as well as from eternal death in the next.

The Bible is packed full of precious promises (treasures) for the believer.  There are promises concerning health, healing, prosperity, the blessings of children, and the joy of relationships.  There are promises about every area of life; and all we need to do is to study them, meditate upon them, and to claim them for ourselves.  Here are several examples:

  • Children are a blessing from God.  (Ps 127:3-5)
  • Great wealth is in the house of the righteous . . . (Prov 15:6a)
  • Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  (Ps 103:5)
  • Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.  (Isa 48:17)
  • For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26)
  • . . . who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  (1 Pet 2:24)

These are the true treasures of life and of eternity in Jesus Christ.

Be Generous

Be Generous

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  (Lk 6:35 NIV, underscoring added)

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.  (Pro 19:17 ESV, underscoring added)

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.  (Ps 112:5 ESV, underscoring added)

Justice means fair play, impartiality, objectivity or neutrality.  The Scripture verse shown above (Ps 112:5) talks about a person who deals generously, lends to others, and conducts his affairs with justice.  All of these character traits are traits of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our example.  (See Phil 2:5; 1 Pet 2:21)

The Lord challenges us to test Him with our generosity just so that we will learn that we cannot out-give God!  (Mal 3:10-12)  It is the only area in which the Lord has instructed us to test Him.  Just ponder that for a little while . . .

The Lord demonstrated His love for mankind by GIVING His only begotten Son to become our Savior.  That was sacrificial love and sacrificial giving on God’s part, and anyone who is a parent understands that completely.

The focus of this article is about the call to believers to be generous—to live a generous lifestyle.  And it’s crucial for us to understand that God the Father gave generously, and Jesus Christ gave generously, also. 

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’  (Ac 20:35)

When we live a generous lifestyle while here on earth, in obedience to our heavenly Father, the Lord sees it and He places treasure in heaven aside for us as a reward.  (Mt 6:19-21)  God is most pleased when we share what we have with others, especially with those who are needy.  (Mt 10:8; Heb 13:16)

Live generously and with joy!  We believers are being transformed daily into the image of Christ, and this is simply one way in which we may cooperate with the Lord in our own transformation.  (See Rom 8:29-30; Phil 2:13; 3:21; Col 3:10; 2 Cor 3:18)  Blessings upon you!