Guard Your Words & Emotions

Guard Your Words & Emotions

It is important for us to guard our words and our emotions.  Words are very important in life, and the Bible attests to that.  Let’s see what the Scriptures tell us.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  (Jam 1:19 NIV) 

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.  (Prov 21:23 CEB)

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  (Prov 10:19 ESV)

Whoever controls his temper is better than a warrior, and anyone who has control of his spirit is better than someone who captures a city.  (Pro 16:32 ISV)

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.  (Col 3:8 NKJV)

We’re taught by the Word of God to be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry.  Do you notice that the only thing we should be QUICK about is listening?  Isn’t that opposite to what usually happens?

The wisdom that we can glean from God’s Word is that:

  • Restricting our words keeps us away from trouble;
  • We should control and limit our words;
  • Curtailing our lips is sensible and discreet;
  • Being able to control our own spirit is better than conquering an entire city; and
  • We should put away anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy and all filthy language.

As we live in harmony with and obedience to the Word of God, we invite God’s blessings upon our lives.  Hallelujah!

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

Do We Have Ears that Hear?

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear. (Mk 4:23 NKJV)

He who has ears to hear, let him hear!  (Mt 11:15 NKJV)

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  (Rev 2:29 NKJV)

The Scriptures talk about people having “ears to hear” quite a bit.  What can that mean to us as believers?

Do you know that God is always speaking to His people?  And our relationship with our Savior is based, as any true relationship is, upon communication! 

To quote Kris Vallotton (Bethel Church, Redding, CA), “Communication is probably the single greatest vehicle of any relationship.”  Prayer is part of our communication with God and listening for His voice is the other part of that two-way communication.  It is our responsibility to do the listening!  Pay attention because the Lord’s voice will often be quiet and unobtrusive. And He may speak to you in ways that you don’t recognize.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.  (1 Kgs 19:11-12 NKJV, emphasis added) 

The wonderful thing about God is that He may use various ways to communicate with us.  He uses the Scriptures to communicate clearly with us, but he may also use any of these other methods as well. 

  • Visions:  The Lord may give us visions which are simply images and concepts that play upon the screen of our imagination within our minds.  Visions frequently require interpretation.  So, when the Holy Spirit uses this method to communicate, we need to ask Him to clarify the meaning of the vision.  (See Acts 2:17-18)
  • The still, small voice of the Lord:  This can be perceived as a transient thought, an abrupt but strong impression, or an inner perception of a message from the Lord.  (See 1 Kgs 19:11-13)
  • Creation:  The very creation that God made speaks to us of His power, strength, creativity, provision, and beauty.  Pay attention to any message that the Lord may give you through His creation.  For me, when I was a brand-new believer, I was asking the Lord to show me His love.  I was out with my fiancé driving on a country road.  I kept looking at the beautiful sky above me that was just full of large, puffy, billowy clouds as far as the eye could see in EVERY direction.  As I was observing those clouds, a church song came into my heart in which the chorus includes the phrase:  Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray, in fathomless billows of love!  (Song Wonderful Peace, lyrics by Warren D. Cornell, music by W. George Cooper – 1889) 
    The Lord used nature to communicate His great love for me with the image of fathomless billows of love that were demonstrated to me by the huge, billowing clouds before my own eyes—as far as the eye could see in every direction.  To this day, 50 years later, I have never forgotten that message from the Lord that was just for me.  I cherish it.
  • Circumstances:  God is able to speak to us and to direct us through the circumstances of our lives.  He can open doors of opportunity, or close them, as a way of directing us.  However, we can easily misread a blockage that has been erected by the enemy and think that it is God directing us.  But we would be wrong.  Consequently, we should always seek wise counsel from our Pastor and from other mature believers whom we know very well, and who know us.  Also, we must ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us about every step we need to take in our lives.

So, look back upon your life and recall the times when God used any of these various methods to speak to you or to direct you.  Or, you may have a new example of how God communicated something to you.  But the important thing to recognize is that there is communication flowing in your relationship with the Lord.  Thank and praise the Lord for it! When you can receive such communication from God and ACT UPON IT, then you can be assured that you DO have ‘hearing ears’!  God bless you.

Trust in God & Be Not Afraid

Trust in God & Be Not Afraid

As followers and disciples of Jesus Christ, we place our trust, faith, and hope in God and in His Word.  But there are various challenging circumstances that we may face in life that might bring fear into our hearts.

Fear is not good because fear involves torment (suffering, torture, persecution).   Even the Bible confirms this fact:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  (1 Joh 4:18a NKJV)

These Bible passages (below) encourage us to trust in God and to avoid fear.  These verses state why we can be faith-filled.

In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Ps 56:4 NIV)  With God on our side, what can a mere human being do?

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?  (Ps 118:6 NIV)  This echoes the same feeling as the verse above.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.  (Rom 8:31-34 NIV)  This passage from the Scriptures reminds us of the many blessings that we have received along with our salvation.  We have so many reasons to rejoice and to be full of faith.

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”  (Heb 13:6 NIV)  Be filled with confidence. Just remember that the Lord is the One who is helping us—constantly!

Let us overflow with thanksgiving and praise.

His Life in Us

His Life in Us

The Holy Spirit teaches each one of us about Jesus, so that we may see Him clearly and accurately.  The goal of our lives should be to know Him as He is, for only then can we represent Him faithfully.

As Jesus has dealt with each one of us in love and mercy, He desires us to reach out in that same manner to those who don’t yet know Him as their Savior.  In fact, Jesus’ very own love and mercy emanates from the Christ who lives within each one of us! 

Here are a few Scripture verses that support this concept:

But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness. (Rom 8:10)  This would be more accurately translated: “But since Christ is in you . . .”

I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  (Gal 2:20)

Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:27)

We cannot have spiritual life without the One who is Life—Jesus Christ.  Jesus told us that He is the Way, Truth, and Life.  (John 14:6)

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.  (1 John 5:12)

Since we are so honored and blessed as to have the Source of Life living within, let’s share Him freely and unashamedly with everyone whom we meet—pouring out His love and mercy upon all.

Note:  This is a copy of our blog article dated 04/17/2017.

Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

Leave a Little Sparkle Wherever You Go

All believers have the life of the Spirit of God within them.  We carry His glory in our ‘earthen vessels.’  (2 Cor 4:6-7)

The Lord their God will save his people on that day as a shepherd saves his flock.  They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.  (Zec 9:16 NIV, emphasis added)

The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.  (Isa 60:3 NKJV, emphasis added)

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mt 5:16 NIV)

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.  (2 Cor 2:14 ESV)

We who follow the Lord Jesus, as obedient and loyal human sheep, have been privileged and blessed to carry the kingdom of God with us.  It is our calling and our honor to shine the light of God’s love, mercy and wisdom into every situation and exchange in which we take part.

When unsaved, hurting and needy people interact with us, they should walk away with the sense that they have encountered someone who is out of the ordinary, good, and encouraging.  This is because we are called to perform good works and good deeds.  We are called to SHINE a light into dark places, into dark troubles, and into evil practices.

We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 2:14 that Christ leads us in triumph and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of HIM everywhere!  A fragrance is defined as:  a pleasant, sweet smell; a sweet or delicate aroma; and a pleasing odor.  It is true that the experiential knowledge of Jesus and a deep relationship with him is evidenced by a positive atmosphere, and even an attractive fragrance such as a perfume. All of these Scriptures encourage us to be a force for good as representatives of the Kingdom here on earth.  Go ahead and leave a little sparkle (of the love and goodness of Jesus) wherever you go!

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!

The Word of God and Healing

The Word of God and Healing

How is healing connected to the Word of God?  This is a thought that occurred to me and made me interested in pursuing the subject for study and meditation.  And for sharing with you!

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.  Do not let them depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart; for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.  (Pro 4:20-22)

The Scripture passage above tells us to pay attention to God’s Word!  Listen to the Word (obey it); and meditate upon the Word.  Keep them in your heart which means to memorize them.  And the equation is that when we follow this advice, we will find LIFE and this life will be health [healing, medicine] to all of our flesh.  It is indeed a crucial point that we, as believers and followers of Jesus, must hear and obey God’s Word.

He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  (Ps 107:20)

Notice that this verse says that God sent His Word, and IT (the Word) healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  Destructions means ruins, devastations or annihilations! God’s Word is alive and active and powerful. (Heb 4:12)

He who is of God hears God’s words . . .  (Joh 8:47a)

Hearing God’s Word means listening and obeying it.  God says that when we do that, we are “of Him”!  We belong to Him and can be recognized as being His children.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil.  It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.  (Pro 3:7-9)

Rather than relying upon human wisdom, we must live with a deep respect and regard for God and for His Word.  We must depart from evil of every kind, including sin.  And living in this way will give health to our flesh and strength to our bones at every age.  Hallelujah!

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  (Mt 9:35) If we will live in harmony and obedience to the word of God, using the gift of faith that we have each been given, then we will be empowered to pray for others (just like Jesus did in the above verse) and witness Him heal them right before our eyes.  Be encouraged and be bold in the Lord.  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!

A Wise Life Lesson

A Wise Life Lesson

An angry king is like a roaring lion.  Making him angry may cost you your life.  (Pro 20:2 NCV)

If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post; calmness can lay great offenses to rest.  (Eccl 10:4 NIV)

As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, but a wise man will appease it.  In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.  (Pro 16:14-15 NKJV)

A “king” or “ruler” as used in these verses, refers to someone with power and authority over other people.  In modern times, that could represent a Prime Minister, Senator, President (whether of a nation or of a private company), employer, supervisor, manager or foreman.  A person’s boss has a measure of power and authority over them.  Anyone, even a parent, who has power or great influence over the events of our lives would fit into this description.

The life lesson here is to recognize the importance of these types of people in our lives.  It’s wise to learn what makes such influencers happy, what displeases them, and what soothes them.  Further lessons to be learned from these Scriptures are:

  • Don’t underestimate the significance of such people in our lives;
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Rom 12:18 NIV)  We should strive to keep our relationships with “kings and rulers” peaceful.
  • Don’t leave an uncomfortable situation; remain calm; and work to placate (pacify, soothe) the influencer.
  • Pray for God’s supernatural favor with everyone, especially these types of people. 
  • Endeavor to earn favor by working hard, showing respect and following instructions.

Lastly, remember to ask God to give you the grace that you need in order to maintain peace in these relationships.  May God continue to bless you every single day. 

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

Defend the Destitute & the Oppressed

The Lord has outlined everything in the Bible that believers need to know about life and godliness. (2 Pet 1:3) 

The Scriptures appeal to followers of Jesus to defend the destitute and the oppressed—those who can’t speak for or protect themselves. 

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  (Pro 31:8 NIV) 

This verse tells us to uphold (endorse) the rights of the destitute.  Destitute means deprived, underprivileged, impoverished, or disadvantaged.

Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.  Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked.  (Ps 82:3-4)

In the passage above, the psalmist encourages us to defend:

  • the poor,
  • the orphaned,
  • the afflicted and
  • the needy

. . . from evil, wicked people as well as from wicked factions, lobbies, programs or organizations.

He does not preserve the life of the wicked, but gives justice to the oppressed.  (Job 36:6)

God will ensure that all of the oppressed [tyrannized, persecuted, repressed, tormented] people on the earth will receive His justice.  We, His servants, must cooperate with and collaborate with the Lord in this undertaking.

Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  (Ps 146:7)

The Lord achieves justice for the all of the oppressed.  Jesus, our Savior, feeds the hungry and liberates the prisoners from every form and every type of imprisonment.  Glory to God, most High!