Keeping a Pure Path

Keeping a Pure Path

The Bible gives us answers for everything that we need in life, including how to live a pure and holy life.  Let’s look to the Word:

How can young people keep their paths pure?  By guarding them according to what you’ve said.  (Ps 119:9 CEB)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  (2 Tim 2:22 ESV)

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.  (Ps 119:11 NKJV)

The Word gives us these clear instructions:

  • We should guard our paths according to the Word of God;
  • Flee youthful passions and avoid occasions that give rise to temptation;
  • Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with all other believers who live a holy life unto the Lord;
  • Memorize the Word of God and hide it in our hearts because the Word that we cherish and honor will keep us away from sin.

These are clear and understandable directions from the heart of God.  He has also given each one of us the gift of grace to empower us to do what He has called us to do.  Hallelujah!

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God . . .  (Eph 2:8, emphasis added) 

May God surround us all with His grace, mercy, and love in Jesus’ name.  Praise His holy name!

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!

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

Peace Between Parents & Adult Children

One area where we need to apply our faith as believers is to our relationship with our grown children.

Thus says the Lord:  Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears; for your work (raising of your children, prayer) shall be rewarded, says the LORD, and they(your children) shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope (something that you can expect) in your future, says the LORD, that your children shall come back to their own border (place of peace and safety and well-being).”  (Jer 31:16-17 AMP, emphasis added) 

We as parents must always provide a place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual peace, safety and well-being.  When we fall short, and most of us fall short in some way at some time, we need biblical solutions and practical help.

And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers . . .  (Mal 4:6 NKJV) The Lord is the only Being who is able to change a person’s heart.  The hearts of parents should ALWAYS be in favor of and in support of their own children.  Our hearts should always yearn for the best things for our children.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation . . .  (2 Cor 5:18 NKJV, emphasis added)

As followers of Jesus Christ, our desire should always be for reconciliation in our relationships.  If it doesn’t exist at the moment, it’s something that we should take to the Lord in fervent prayer.

It may happen in some families that after children have grown, they choose to disconnect totally from their relationship with their parents.  In some cases, the parents may not have a clue as to why this has happened.  In other scenarios, one or the other parent does know the reason.  It can be the result of one parent who was harsh, overly strict or critical of the child or children as they were being raised.  Or it can be as serious as some form of abuse.  Whatever the situation, it can result in grown children having very painful memories and deep anger and resentment against a parent.  In some cases, the adult children may be in counseling to deal with the emotional and mental pain they are experiencing and have experienced in the past.

Parents who find themselves in this situation need to scrupulously review their past behavior in their relationship with their child (or children).  They must take full responsibility for their own actions, and openly admit their faults to their family. 

If there is a pathway to open communication, the parent should apologize and repent directly to the child (or children) whom they have hurt.  Additionally, whichever parent was responsible would need to promise to change the way that they relate to their adult child, so that in future the relationship would be based solely upon positive and healthy input from the parent.  Then the parent should pray for God’s grace and help in fulfilling this goal. 

Copious prayer is needed in this situation by both parents!  The offending parent should ask God to correct them, give them wisdom and insight, and to reveal what their child (or children) truly needs right now.  Praying for God’s peace to reign in the relationship is also key.

If there is no communication between parent and child, then the one hope and solution available to the parent is to continually pray for God to bring healing and reconciliation into the relationship between them and their child.  In this case, it is also good to ask God to reveal to the parent where they made mistakes and how they sinned against their child.  Repent wholeheartedly to God for whatever He reveals, and determine to change the behavior.  Read books on good parenting of adult children, and seek counseling if possible.  Counseling can come through licensed counselors, group counseling, pastors, psychologists, or 12-step programs such as AA. 

As followers of Jesus, we must seek peace in all of our relationships.  (Rom 12:18)  Parents never stop being parents, even after our children are grown.  So it is pleasing to God for us to continue to pray for our estranged adult children, and to ask God to bless them and to continue to protect them and to fulfill His will in their lives.  It would be wisdom to also pray earnestly for healing and for reconciliation in the relationship with the estranged child or children.  May God’s peace reign in your life and your family in Jesus’ name.

Stumble?

Stumble?

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.  (Ps 119:165)

What does “stumble” mean as used in the Bible? 

It means:  1) to err; to slide into a crime or an error; 2) to have a moral failing; or 3) to place a blockage in someone’s way causing them to sin.

As the verse in Psalm 119 above says, when we have the peace that Jesus has given to us and we love God’s Word, then nothing has the power to cause us to sin.  Hallelujah!

My son, let them not depart from your eyes—keep sound wisdom and discretion; 22 so they will be life to your soul and grace to your neck.  23 Then you will walk safely in your way, and your foot will not stumble. (Prov 3:21-23)

As we keep the wisdom and discretion that comes from reading and memorizing God’s Word in our hearts, those words are life itself to our souls.  They provide grace to our behavior and character; they give us strength and sure-footedness.  And they prevent us from stumbling.

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.  (1 Joh 2:10)

When we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we live in the light where all of our actions are open to view.  And in our actions, as we live for Christ and serve the Kingdom of God, there will be nothing for someone to see as an invitation or a cause to sin.  This is just one of the many blessings that living a holy life, committed to serving Jesus Christ gives to us.  Thank You, Lord!

The Gifts That You Were Given

The Gifts That You Were Given

Happy beautiful day to you!  We rejoice and are glad in this day!  (Ps 118:24)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Pe 4:10 KJV)

Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.  (1 Cor 14:12)

Every believer has received gifts and talents from the Lord.  God wants us to use the gifts that He has entrusted to us for the strengthening and encouragement of fellow believers.  God wants us to be good stewards or managers of these precious gifts.

Your gifts may be extensive; you may have gifts such as:  faith; musical ability; artistic talent; patience; organizational ability; mercy; mathematical aptitude; peace; perceptiveness; or whatever.  Invite the Lord to show you how He would like you to use the gifts that He has given you in order to bless other people and to further His kingdom. 

If you have a calm and peaceful spirit combined with good note-taking skills, your boss may direct you to attend most meetings with him.  He may not realize why!  He may say that he wants you to take notes, but it may really be that he just feels better and thinks more clearly when you’re there!  In reality, you carry a beneficial atmosphere (of calm and peace) into the room.  These are God’s divine gifts, and they work supernaturally.

Don’t forget that, as you mature spiritually and chronologically, more gifts will bloom in your life.  Seek the Lord’s guidance, and He will teach you the best use of all of your gifts!

(This is a reprint of an article published by this blog on 05/01/2016.)

SPECIAL ARTICLE: Hope in the Midst of Crisis

SPECIAL ARTICLE:  Hope in the Midst of Crisis

In the midst of this worldwide health crisis known as the Corona virus, it’s important that we recognize that we believers have a hope that the world does not know.  It’s at times like these that we must hold onto our faith, and be a light in the midst of darkness.

Let’s consider some Biblical truths:

. . . according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  (Eph 3:11-12)

Our Father God accomplished His eternal purpose through Jesus Christ by giving mankind the gift of salvation.  In Jesus, through Him and by Him, all who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, have been given access to our Father God; and as a result, we may have full confidence in our relationship with Him.  Hallelujah!

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  (Heb 10:35)

So do not abandon your assurance and faith in Jesus Christ and in His salvation.  Hold onto your faith; take a firm grasp of your salvation and never let it go!

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 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)

This is a precious promise from God for us TODAY.  We know that when we ask for something that agrees with the will of God, He hears us AND He gives us the specific answer for which we have asked.

You may ask, “How do I know if it’s God will for me to be healthy and well?”  Here is how you may KNOW:

  • Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 Joh 2)  This passage would not be in the Bible if God did not want us to be healthy.
  • My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. (Pro 3:1-2)  God shares His wisdom with us that as we hide His Word in our hearts, it will add long life and peace to us.
  • It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones. (Pro 3:8)  God is again telling us that His Word, sown into our hearts and minds, will give health to our physical bodies and strength to our very bones.
  • For I am the Lord who heals you. (Ex 15:26c)  The Lord declares that He is our Healer!  If it was not His will for us to be healthy, He would not declare Himself to be the Mighty One who heals us.

Believe in and rely upon these supernatural words of power from God.  Place your faith in Him and in His Word.  Be unshakeable and stubborn in your faith in God, dear brothers and sisters!  Hope in Christ who is our health, our strength, our life.

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  (Heb 12:14 ESV)

. . . let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11 NKJV)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
  (Mt 5:8-9)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  (1 Tim 6:11)

STRIVE means to struggle, do your utmost, and to make every effort.  So the Bible is instructing us to pull out all the stops to be at peace with everyone and to live holy lives so that we will see the Lord. 

We want to turn away from evil, and live moral, virtuous and upright lives.  A certain path towards good is to look for peace and to take every opportunity to promote and to practice peace.  Jesus said that peacemakers would be called sons of God.  (Mt 5:9)

The Holy Spirit leads us to flee evil, vice and iniquity.  The Holy Spirit will inspire us to chase after and to exercise righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  The Lord also gives us His empowering grace in order to live each day victoriously and with joy.

The Bible reminds us in several passages that the Holy Spirit is our teacher.  (Lk 12:12; Joh 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13)  We need to allow Him to teach us and to lead us in the paths where He wants us to walk.  Submit to the Lord’s wisdom and guidance joyfully.

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

Stir Each Other to Love & Good Works

When we have fellowship with other believers, we can influence one another to perform acts of kindness out of love for the Lord Jesus and thereby bring glory to God.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  (Heb 10:24-25 ESV)

. . . but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  (Heb 3:13) 

When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  (Act 2:1)

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.  (1 Thes 5:11)

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . .   (2 Pet 3:14)

These Scripture verses shown above demonstrate a number of good examples for us believers today:

  • As we have regular fellowship, and we have the privilege of comforting and improving each other.
  • It is good to encourage one another to perform kind and loving deeds.
  • We should exhort (urge) one another to live holy lives, even as Jesus did.
  • We should live in peace, harmony, and holiness.
  • It is good to meet with other believers very frequently or to have fellowship through a phone conversation.
  • Do not allow ourselves to become hard-hearted.
  • When we do meet with fellow believers, it is important to be in one accord (unity, harmony).

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we can be an incredible blessing and encouragement to one another.

Treasure

Treasure

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (Lk 12:34; Mt 6:21)

. . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  (Mt 6:20)

Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.  (Lk 12:33)

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  (2 Cor 4:6-7)

The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 that the true TREASURE to be cherished above all is the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  That is the treasure that we believers carry around within us. 

Do you agree with the Bible that the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ is your treasure?  Or do you consider your treasure to be your physical health, physical possessions and wealth, or your earthly power and influence?  I sincerely hope not.  All of those things are temporary—brief and impermanent.

The “knowledge of God in Jesus Christ” means that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Redeemer.  It means that you have accepted Him as your Lord.  What a blessed, all-encompassing wealth Jesus imparts to all who have made Him their Savior and Lord.

Jesus is the One who: 

  • Heals the sick: physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally (that means He heals each one of us—when we need it),
  • Raises the dead to life,
  • Surrounds each one of us with His supernatural, miraculous, indefensible, irresistible favor as with a shield,
  • Renews our youth like the eagle’s,
  • Upholds and sustains our lives,
  • Bestows abundant prosperity upon us,
  • Makes peace between us and others because He is our Peacemaker and Advocate,
  • Protects and defends us,
  • Never leaves us nor fails us,
  • Provides for us continuously, and
  • Meets literally every need that we may have now or in the future.

The treasure that we each carry within us, of the knowledge of God through Jesus, our Savior is eternal, never-ending and undying. 

It means that each one of us will have endless peace, love, and joy in the presence of our Savior now and for all eternity. 

That is genuine treasure.

Do You Not Care?

Do You Not Care?

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mk 4:37-39)

In this passage from the Scriptures, the companions of Jesus ask Him, “Don’t You care that we’re in danger of dying?”  Is it ever possible for God to NOT care about His sheep?  Decidedly NO—it is not possible!

Here are just several passages from the Bible to demonstrate my point.

Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.  (Deu 3:22 NIV)  God fights for you.

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.  (Deu 31:8)  The Lord never leaves you; don’t be fearful.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  (Ps 27:1)  The Lord will light our way and give us strength.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.  (Lk 12:7)  God not only loves us but He also values us highly.

So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  (Heb 13:6)  We may boldly declare that “God is my helper.”

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  (1 Joh 4:9-10)  God loved us first, and gave us His salvation.

Our salvation was designed by God the Father and paid for by Jesus Christ, our Savior.  What more proof do we need that God cares for us always, at all times, and in all circumstances? We are the objects of the unconditional and unending love of God.  Hallelujah!