God Makes Wars Cease

God Makes Wars Cease

Jesus is the Prince of Peace referred to in Isaiah 9:6.  It makes sense that the Prince of Peace, sent by His heavenly Father, is opposed to war.  Instead, He chose to make changes on earth through His love and His self-sacrifice even to the point of dying on the cross for us.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.  (Ps 46:9)  God’s mighty power extends all over the earth in every country, region, and land.  He has power to demolish weapons and bring an end to war anywhere on earth.

Then I will knock the bow out of your left hand, and cause the arrows to fall out of your right hand.  (Ezek 39:3)  The Lord can cause weapons to be forcefully removed from human hands and to fall out of a person’s strongest hand! Wow!

He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.  (Isa 2:4)  In God’s perfect timing, He will cause nations to destroy their weapons and cease from attacking one another. 

Until that time, Christians are to “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”  (Heb 12:14) The gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News for all human beings.  It establishes peace between God and man through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. 

We should always promote peace instead of discord, and be instruments of God to demonstrate His love, mercy, and forgiveness to all.  We are blessed!

Do You Hear & Obey Instruction?

Do You Hear & Obey Instruction?

Listening to God (heeding His Word) and obeying it are momentously important to God.

The proverbs of Solomon.  A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grieves his mother.  (Pro 10:1 ISV)

A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.  (Pro 13:1 ESV)

Listen, children, to your father’s instruction, and pay attention in order to gain understanding.  I give you sound teaching, so do not abandon my instruction.  (Pro 4:1-2 ISV)

According to Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a brief definition of biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.” 

The only “instruction” that it is imperative for us to obey is God’s Word and God’s instructions.

What are the reasons for this?  Let’s consider what the Bible says:

  • Jesus tells us to obey.  (Joh 14:15 ESV)
  • Our obedience, as followers of Jesus Christ, flows from a heart full of thanksgiving for God’s gift of salvation and His gift of grace.  (Rom 12:1 NLT)
  • The Scriptures remind us repeatedly that God rewards obedience.  (Gen 22:18 NLT; Lk 11:28 NKJV; Jas 1:22-25 NIV)
  • When we obey God and His Word, we prove how much we love Him.  (1 Joh 5:2-3 NASB; 2 Joh 1:6 NLT)
  • The Old Testament says that “obedience is better than sacrifice.”  In the Old Testament, God’s people were commanded to offer sacrifices to the Lord, but even then it was not supposed to take the place of obedience.  (1 Sam 15:22)
  • Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments.

God bless you as you read, meditate and obey God’s Word!

What’s Your Decision?

What’s Your Decision?

Whom would you rather serve?  You would do well to read our last blog titled Two Paths.  It will shed light upon this article.

Every human being on earth must make a decision whether to serve Jesus, the Son of the Living God; or to serve satan, known as the accuser of the brethren.  (Rev 12:10)

What does the Bible say about Jesus?  I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  (Joh 10:10b NKJV)

The Scriptures warn us to “make our election sure.”  The Lord tells us in His Word how each and every believer may confirm and safeguard his future in eternity:

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.  10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2 Pet 1:5-11 NKJV, emphasis added)

After we have accepted the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Redeemer, we do well to submit ourselves to the cleansing that comes to us through daily reading and meditation upon the Bible.  Read for yourself the truth of this statement:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  (Eph 5:25-27 NKJV, underscoring added)

Also, the Holy Spirit will teach us and lead us into all truth as we read the Word of God regularly.  (Joh 16:13) 

Trust the Lord to teach you and to guide you.  Allow Him to make changes in your life day by day, year by year, and decade by decade.  In so doing, you will bear fruit and make your calling and election sure!  God bless you.

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!

Instructions for Holy Living

Instructions for Holy Living

Today we’re taking note of the Bible’s helpful ideas about holy living.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  (2 Tim 2:20-26 NIV)

The passage above is talking about different kinds of people who all attend the same church.  Some are precious vessels of gold and silver who can withstand the fires of hardship, heartaches, or persecution.  Others are vessels of wood and earth which are fragile and soon destroyed in the flames of hardship and misfortune.

The people who constantly purify themselves by “being cleansed by the washing of the water of the word” (Eph 5:26 NASB)—reading and obeying God’s Word regularly—are set apart and made holy unto God.

We’re told to run away from the lusts of the flesh.  Instead, we should pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace along with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need to be diligent to avoid unwise and reckless squabbles.  The Spirit of God instructs us to be kind to everyone, able to teach God’s ways to others, and that we should be thankful.  We are urged to treat our enemies gently by sharing God’s Word and wisdom with them, and in so doing, hope to bring them to salvation. 

Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  (Tit 1:7 NIV)

The book of Titus reminds us that anyone in a place of authority should be virtuous and approachable.  We should not give in to human frailties such as intoxication; physical or verbal abuse; or chasing after or being corrupted by seeking wealth.

Keep away from worthless and useless talk. It only leads people farther away from God.  (2 Tim 2:16 CEV)

Avoid discussions that have no spiritual or eternal value, which can only alienate people from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

These are fairly easy to understand guidelines which are challenging to fulfill without the ongoing grace of God and our obedience to the leading and guiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  God bless you!

Jesus Reveals the Father

Jesus Reveals the Father

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Mt 11:27)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:15)

Jesus has a distinctive and unmatched relationship with the Father.  Since His relationship with the Father is personal and direct, ONLY Jesus can accurately disclose God the Father to us. 

How has Jesus revealed the Father to us?  Through His life and through His acts, He has displayed His Father’s character and heart for all to see and understand.  Here are just a handful of gifts that the Father has given to believers:

  • Love (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 3:1)
  • Freedom from Guilt (Rom 8:1)
  • Health, healing (Ex 15:26; Isa 53:5; Mt 12:15;Lk 5:17)
  • Daily benefits [blessings]  (Ps 68:19)
  • God hears and answers our prayers  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

As we study the Word of God and think deeply about it, we gradually learn more and more about the character and nature of God.  And the more we learn of Him, the more confident that we can be in the fact that He loves us; that He enjoys blessing us; and that He’s always with us.  Have a wonderful day!

God’s Fierce Love for Us

God’s Fierce Love for Us

Chapter Eight of the Song of Solomon is a representation of God’s fierce and jealous love for people.  Not just His people but for ALL people.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.  It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.  If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned.  (Song of Sol. 8:6-7 NIV)

Here’s the way that I understand and meditate upon this passage from the Bible:

“Father, I am loved affectionately by You; lodged deep within Your heart; owned and acknowledged by You; and protected by Your powerful right arm.  My love for You is mightier than loss, bereavement or death.  Oceans of water can’t smother Your love for me nor can floods ever drown the power of our mutual love. If someone tried to buy our love with unimaginable riches, we would disdainfully reject it.”  Praise the Lord most High!

If you would insert the first name of your spouse or fiancé in the place of the word ‘Father,’ you would begin to comprehend the depth and breadth and intensity of God’s ferocious love for human beings. 

God’s love for us is His reason for sending Jesus to earth to purchase our salvation.  It’s His motive for inserting so many miraculous and precious promises into His Word for us to discover and to rely upon.  His promises are a priceless treasure given to us—we, who are the object of His potent love. I encourage you to meditate upon and to mightily rejoice in God’s fierce love for you! Glory to God!

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

The Bible invites us to do good to everyone.

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  (1 Thes 5:15 NIV)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Gal 6:10)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord . . .  (Heb 12:14)

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.  (3 Joh 1:11)

As children of the most High God, we desire to live holy lives that obey the Word of God.  We serve a good God who is full of mercy, forgiveness, and love.  God has given every believer the blessing of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who leads us and teaches us. 

We should:

  • Strive to do whatever is good—for each other and everyone else;
  • Never pay back a wrong; never seek revenge;
  • As we have opportunity, do noble, virtuous, kind things for everyone—especially other believers;
  • Seek to be at peace with ALL; and
  • Pursue holiness always.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, demonstrated “doing good” to all.  If we follow His example, and emulate our Prince of Peace, we will be blessed.

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!