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!

The Great Calm

The Great Calm

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)

When Jesus rebuked the wind, and commanded the sea to be still, the Bible says that there was a “great calm.”  This great calm . . . where did it originate? [Originate means begin, commence, or come from]

You may say, “It was the elements being obedient to the command of their Creator.”  And that is absolutely correct.  I believe that all of the animals and even the earth, itself, recognize the voice of their Creator and Lord.

Another way to answer this question is that the great calm originated within Jesus, Himself.  Jesus IS the Prince of Peace! (Isa 9:6)  He has peace within Himself, and that was why He could peacefully sleep in the boat in the midst of a storm.  He wasn’t frightened or threatened.  He wasn’t unsure of the outcome. 

Jesus is able to convey the peace that exists within Him to the people and/or the world or elements around Him!

Several Bible verses quote Jesus as saying, “Peace to you.”  (Lk 24:36; Joh 20:19, 21, 26)  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of peace.  (Ac 10:36)  Jesus Christ came to reconcile mankind to our Father God—making peace between mankind and the Father.

We are promised that the peace of God, which is beyond all human understanding, will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  (Phil 4:7) 

Seek His peace now, dear friend.  Jesus loves to answer our prayers and to meet every need.  Most of all, He imparts His peace to our hearts and to our life circumstances if we will simply look to Him and expect Him to meet our needs.  God bless you.

Safe in God’s Secret Pavilion

Safe in God’s Secret Pavilion

Have you had a circumstance where people were speaking evil reports about you—and they were untrue?  Are you aware that somehow you’ve made an enemy at work and that person is making plans to undermine you?  Has a close relative or friend turned against you for no apparent reason? 

Do you realize that God has a safe hiding place for you that will protect you while He works on your behalf?  This hiding place exists within your heart and mind.

You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.  (Ps 31:20)

You will be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and need not fear destruction when it comes.  (Job 5:21)

For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high upon a rock.  (Ps 27:5)

You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.  (Ps 32:7)

You are my hiding place and my shield; I put my hope in Your word.  (Ps 119:114)

Psalm 32 says that the Lord surrounds us with songs of deliverance.  God says that He will rescue you, and set you free from these types of situations!  Thank the Lord!

In the secret dwelling place of God, the holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary of God’s tabernacle), we may relax in peace because we are secure in the knowledge that God is our protection.  In this state of mind and heart, we are free to pray in faith and to ask the Lord to help us and to give us His wisdom, revelation, and insight into our situation. 

He promises to hear us when we call, and to answer! (Ps 66:19; Pro 15:29; 1 Joh 5:14)  As Psalm 32:7 reminds us, God has already surrounded us with songs of deliverance—that means that in the spiritual realm where time does not exist, your deliverance is already an established fact.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Cor 15:57)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4)

According to the two Scripture verses above, God gives us the victory through Jesus by the faith in our hearts that is born of God and this gift of faith overcomes the world.  Remember, you have received overcoming faith to stand upon God’s Word and to expect Him to deliver you from evil.  Stand firm and expectant of great things from God.  God bless you.

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

It’s Never Too Late for Peace, Part 2

We continue our study on making peace.  We serve the God who is the Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6), so we must always cooperate with Him.

Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (Jas 3:18)

A very vital spiritual discipline is to pray for the other person involved in the broken relationship.  Never try to “get even,” because that motivation does not come from the Spirit of God but from the pit of hell.

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 . . . (Mt 5:44)

Bless those who persecute you. Bless and do not curse.  (Rom 12:14)

Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people.  (1 Thes 5:15)        

If you’re the offended person and you receive a text, email, or note in the mail similar to what was described in our previous article, pray deeply and sincerely about your response.  Weigh the pros and cons of what actually happened between you. Was it an uncommon occurrence on the other person’s part?  Was it out of the ordinary or some kind of misunderstanding? 

Ask the Lord to give you His supernatural grace to forgive; and understand that when you ask Him to do something according to His will (1 Jo 5:14-15), that He hears you and gives you exactly what you’ve requested. 

Remember that you are also forgiven by the Lord.  The Lord said:  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Mt 6:15) 

If you’re able to forgive the other person, it is a victory for the Kingdom of God!  And it will enrich your life and the lives of those who may be aware of the problem.  Forgiveness and reconciliation is a testimony to God’s goodness, mercy, and grace. 

If you honestly and sincerely feel that the circumstance(s) that caused a rift between you was a predictable event, and that it will certainly happen again, then you still need to forgive the person.  But you can choose NOT to resume a relationship with the person who hurt you.  However, you should respond to their overture and let them know that you do forgive them, and that you wish them the very best.  You can then indicate that due to the history between you, you feel it’s best for you that you don’t resume a relationship with them. 

In following these guidelines, you will have cooperated with the other person (and with God) in establishing peace between you.  (2 Cor 13:11) God bless you.