A Steadfast Heart

A Steadfast Heart

Steadfast means committed, unwavering, reliable and trustworthy.

He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  (Ps 112:7, underscoring added)

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.  (Pro 1:33)  Wisdom is speaking in the passage.  When we obey wisdom, we obey God.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yahweh, the Lord, is everlasting strength.  (Isa 26:3-4)  When we are focused upon the Lord, with absolute trust, our hearts will be filled with the peace that passes all understanding.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.  (Joh 14:1) Jesus is speaking in this verse, and He’s encouraging us to believe in Him.  He’s inviting us to rely upon Him and to have confidence in Him.

The point of these verses that I’ve shared is that under all circumstances, even in the midst of challenges and painful trials, a believer knows the beautiful character of Jesus, and is able to trust Him effortlessly.  Why?  Because Jesus is a good and loving Savior.

The Lord’s plans for us are good plans intended to give us a good future.  We can see the only person who can prevent those plans from coming to pass when we look into the mirror! 

If we don’t cooperate with the Lord, if we don’t trust Him and place all of our faith in Him, then we cannot blame God for whatever mess in which we eventually find ourselves.

Place all of your hope, faith and trust in the Lord.  Yield to God’s plans and His ways, and you will be blessed.  Hallelujah!

What Are Idols?

What Are Idols?

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.  (Deu 6:14)

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  (Deu 8:19)

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  (1 Joh 5:21)

What is an idol?  An idol can be a statue, a god or deity, a symbol, a hero, or an obsession.  Hollywood and movie industry stars can be idols for people, as can a certain model of a car, or a favorite brand of watch or any number of other things.

The key is, what is the most important thing in life to you?  What do you talk about the most?  What do you think about and dream of daily?  Around what are your goals centered?  Are you determined to achieve riches and fame?  Influence?  Do you dream of becoming a political influencer? 

Any of these things, and more, can become idols in a person’s life.  But God’s Word warns us strongly to stay away from these things.  Therefore, we need to take stock of our thoughts and to acknowledge what we value in our hearts. 

A follower of Jesus would value their relationship with their Savior more highly than any other thing in their lives.  Equally, Jesus’ followers would highly value the Word of God.  And of course, we also choose to honor and to consistently obey the teachings of the Bible. 

We may each joyfully pursue our relationship with our Lord, and endeavor to mature in faith in our Redeemer.  Life is all about Him—not about us.  Our true hero is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Glory to God!

We Are Friends of God

We Are Friends of God

We are friends of God.  Does that blow your mind?  This truth fills me with joy.

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.  (Jas 2:23)

Abraham’s faith in God qualified him to be called the friend of God.  All who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior are also friends of God, as the Scriptures teach us.

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  (Lk 12:14)  Jesus warns us, His friends, to beware of those who can harm us spiritually rather than physically.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.  (Pro 17:17)  Jesus is the Friend who loves each one of us at ALL times!  And in adversity or trouble, He will fight for us.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.  (Joh 15:13)  Our Friend, Jesus, has laid down His life for each and every one of us.  Glory to God!

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.  (Joh 15:14)  When we obey Jesus and His teachings, we may rest assured that we are indeed His friend.

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  (Joh 15:15)  Jesus has taught us everything that He heard from His Father God; and in doing so, has made us His friends. Rejoice in the knowledge that each of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord has become a friend of the Most High God–the Living God!

No Longer a Slave

No Longer a Slave

A slave is a person who is held in a permanent position of servitude to another; a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.  Imagine being the legal property of another human being?  The idea brings up a tremendous sense of outrage in those of us who have been blessed to live in a nation renowned for freedom, as well as a sense of regret, shame and deep sorrow over our nation’s past history.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we have been set free from all types and forms of bondage or slavery.  Hallelujah!

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  (Joh 8:32)  Jesus is the Truth who sets us free.  Jesus tells us that He IS the Truth in John 14:6.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed . . .  (Lk 4:18, emphasis added)  Jesus read these words in the temple in Nazareth.  In Luke 4:21, Jesus went on to say:   And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  Jesus clearly states that HE is the fulfillment of this passage originally found in Isaiah 61.  Jesus sets at liberty ALL who are oppressed.

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.  (Joh 8:36)  This Scripture could easily read:  “Therefore SINCE the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.” 

Think about this:  Jesus has set us free from all bondage, both external and internal. 
In Jesus we have been set free from:

  • Fear – Fear involves torment. The perfect love that Jesus bestows upon us casts out fear. (1 Joh 4:18) Our Savior and King does not use fear as a tool–ever. 

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15)  Please see also 2 Timothy 1:7.

  • Sin – We have been set free from sin. (Rom 6:18)  We are not under the rule of law but we are under the rule of GRACE.  (Rom 6:14)  There is only one thing it is permissible for us to serve, and that is righteousness“Sin is a power within that is trying to draw you away to worship idols, to compromise, to go and make yourself God rather than submitting to the living God.” ~ Andrew Wilson
  • Death – In Christ, we have received eternal LIFE.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (Joh 3:16)
    In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
     (Pro 12:28)

Rejoice in and appreciate the liberty that our Savior has given to each of us.

Wisdom Speaks

Wisdom Speaks

Did you know that wisdom has a voice?  The Scriptures help us to learn this lesson.

Can’t you hear the voice of wisdom? She is standing at the city gates and at every fork in the road, and at the door of every house. Listen to what she says . . .  (Pro 8:1-3 TLB, emphasis added)

“Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.  34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord; 36 but he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; all those who hate me love death.”
  (Pro 8:32-36)       Wisdom is speaking in this passage of Scripture. 

Why should we listen to the voice of wisdom? 

  • One reason is that the Bible tells us to listen to her voice. (Pro 2:2) 
  • We’re told in the Word to learn wisdom and to gain wisdom. (Ps 90:12; Pro 2:10-11)
  • The Bible says that we’ll be commended for having wisdom. (Pro 12:8)

Wisdom is essential in our lives because wise decisions often prevent sorrow and distress. Using wisdom in life can prevent difficult problems from getting worse, or from even happening at all.  When questioning whether something is right or wrong, wisdom will contribute toward making the best decision. 

Deduction:  Listen for, pay attention to and obey the voice of wisdom! 

The entire Bible is full of the wisdom of God, especially the book of Proverbs.  Read the Bible regularly and read one Proverb a day to sow wisdom into your heart. 

Equipped to Please Him

Equipped to Please Him

Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  (Heb 13:20-21 NIV, emphasis added)

. . .  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.  (Phil 2:13)

. . . that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim 3:17)

Not only does our Redeemer set us free from sin and bless us daily!  He literally trains, supplies and prepares us with all that we need so that we may complete His will for us and please Him!  Think about what an enormous and miraculous gift that is to each one of us.

He accomplishes this in various ways.  He provides us with Pastors, teachers, missionaries and evangelists who share their testimonies and their wisdom with us.  Our Pastors teach us weekly how to live obediently and victoriously in Jesus.  As we obey the Lord not only do we bring Him glory and honor, but we please Him.

God’s supply comes through our earthly paychecks, salaries, bonuses and incentives as well as through miraculous (unexpected) provision. 

God prepares us through His Word and through His Spirit speaking into our hearts.

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.  (1 Joh 3:22)

According to 1 John 3, because we keep the Lord’s Word (commandments) and act in ways that please Him, He hears and answers our prayers.  We serve a good, kind, and loving God!

Love in Action

Love in Action

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  (1 Joh 3:18)

The Bible reminds us that we must put our love into action.  How can we do that?  Let’s see what the Bible has to say.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (Joh 13:34-35)

 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  (Joh 14:15)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”  (Mt 5:43-47)

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.  (Col 3:12-14)

All of the Bible passages that I’ve shown above talk about love being shown by actions.  The Lord asks us to demonstrate our love by:

  • Loving one another;
  • Obeying His commandments;
  • Loving our enemies; blessing those who curse us; doing good to those who hate us; and praying for them;
  • Putting on tender mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; and
  • Bearing with one another and forgiving one another.

Love (the bond of perfection) binds all of the qualities of goodness together—which means that love is the source from which all good character traits proceed.  Love motivates, sustains, and unites the presence of all good qualities of character.

Essentially, in living this way we demonstrate the concept of putting on Christ.

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  (Gal 3:27)

The Lord reminded us in His Word that GOD IS LOVE.  (1 Joh 4:8)  The Lord acts upon His own perfect love for us by constantly surrounding us with His love, grace and blessings.

For more verses about love in action, see:  Joh 15:9-10, 13; Rom 5:8; 1 Joh 2:3-6; 3:10-11; 4:7-12; 4:17-20.

Yield to the Lord

Yield to the Lord

The Lord reminds us to “submit to Him” which means to relinquish or hand over control of our lives to Him.  This can be a real challenge for us to do while we live on this earth.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  (Pro 3:5-6 NIV, underscoring added)

Let’s look at several more passages from the Bible in order to get a clearer picture.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  (Pro 16:3 NIV)  When we commit our actions to the Lord, we place them in His hands and trust Him to:

  • Bless these actions;,
  • Bring Himself glory through them; and
  • Uphold our plans.

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.  (Isa 30:21)  This passage reminds us that the Lord leads us and guides us by the voice of His Spirit.  He will bless us and prosper us as we yield to Him, and obey His voice..

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)  The Lord wishes us to defer to His leading and guidance; and as we do, He will cause us to prosper.

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  (1 Cor 10:31)  In accepting God’s will for our lives by being obedient to His leading, we will actually bring Him glory and honor.  This is the goal to which we have been called.

A believer who will bow down in humility before the Lord, responding with submission and yieldedness to His guidance, will be blessed greatly by the Lord.

But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”  (Lk 11:28, underscoring added – see also Jas 1:25)  Our obedience to God is blessed.

Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.  (Tit 3:1-2) 

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?  (Jas 4:11-12)

The Scripture passages above remind us that we should not speak evil of anyone, but rather to be ready in every season for good work.  We’re called to be peace-promoting, quiet, and unpretentious people.

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Lk 6:37)  We’re not called to criticize or to assess other human beings!  We’re told to judge ourselves first and foremost.  (1 Cor 11:31)

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.  (Jas 3:2)  The goal of controlling the tongue is a life-long goal that must be chosen for each and every day of our lives.  If anyone should ever accomplish this goal, James tells us that we would be “perfect” or complete and mature.

Furthermore, we have no need to judge anyone because there is already a Judge Who is qualified to judge mankind, since He lived as a man on earth.  All judgment has been committed to Jesus.  (Joh 5:22)

We should not only avoid judgment but we should not speak evil of other people.  We are to use our words wisely and to watch over them. (Ex 20:16; 23:1; Eph 4:29, 31; 1 Pet 2:1)  God bless you.

Getting Out of the Slump

Getting Out of the Slump

What is a slump?  It can be defined as:  sluggishness; lethargy; boredom; or stagnation.  Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten into a spiritual slump and have just been treading water?  We’re going to consider how to extricate ourselves from just such a slump.

Let’s look at the Bible:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Eph 3:14-21)

I was taught that this passage makes an excellent basis for prayer for ourselves and loved ones.  It’s also a great basis for prayer for spiritual disciples and spiritual children.

To get out of a slump, we need to pray this passage over ourselves.  So what is it that we’re asking for?  We’re asking God to give us:

  • Strength in our inner man through the Holy Spirit, (Ps 18:32)
  • Christ’s indwelling presence by faith, (1 Joh 4:13)
  • A foundation in His love, (1 Joh 4:8)
  • A deep comprehension of and experience of God’s perfect love, and
  • The fullness of God alive within us. (Eph 4:13; Col 2:9)

We receive everything from God by grace through faith.  Grace is God’s part and faith is our part of the process.  When we are born again (saved), Christ makes His home in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we grow in our Christian walk, we study God’s word and obey it with joy and gladness.  This kind of obedient life causes us to gradually come to know the love of God more fully and completely; and we become filled with the fullness of God.  Love is the atmosphere in which God dwells, because GOD IS LOVE.  (1 John 4:8)

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  (Joh 14:21)

As the verse above says, our obedience to God’s word demonstrates our love for God.  And Jesus says that to such a person, He will manifest (reveal) Himself.  This is what being filled with the fullness of God is all about.  It will elevate you out of any slump anytime, and places you back in your seat in the heavenlies.  (Eph 2:6)  Blessings upon you!