Clothe Ourselves with Virtue

<strong>Clothe Ourselves with Virtue</strong>

How can we clothe ourselves with virtue?  For that matter, how can we “put on love” as instructed in Colossians 3:14?  And note that Romans 13:14 tells us that we have “put on Christ,” as does Galatians 3:27.

And what virtues are we encouraged by God’s Word to put on?

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Col 3:12 NIV)

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  (Col 3:14-15 NIV)

Your love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to each other with mutual affection. Excel at showing respect for each other.  (Rom 12:9-10 ISV)

. . . with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love . . .  (Eph 4:2 NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Gal 5:22-23 NASB)

Wow!  This is an impressive list of virtues and good traits to pursue and to practice.

In the natural realm, when we want to be clothed, it is a conscious act of the will.  Our clothes don’t fly through the air and attach themselves to us, right?  We have to physically maneuver ourselves into the clothes, and then button or snap or zip them into place.  And we have to choose exactly what items we want to wear each and every day.

As believers and followers of Jesus, we must be just as deliberate about what virtues we choose to use in every circumstance and situation in our lives.  We must decide to be peacemakers, just as we must choose to be kind, humble, gentle, patient, peace-loving, joyful, faithful, and self-controlled. 

As we make the decision each new day to follow Jesus, we must make the decision in every circumstance and life situation about how to react to our current challenges or trials. 

In answer to our prayers to Him, the Lord will give us the grace and power that we need to weave these virtues into our lives.  The Holy Spirit will guide us if we yield to Him in humility and obedience. 

The Holy Spirit is the only One who can teach us and transform us into the image of Christ.  And best of all, He can be trusted to guide us lovingly and faithfully.  Hallelujah!

God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

God’s Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

When we understand and comprehend God’s perfect love for us, it drives out all fear.  Let’s see what the Bible has to teach us.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  (1 Joh 4:18 NIV) 

The perfect love that we receive from God is unending, unfailing, and persevering.  Glory to God!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  (2 Tim 1:7 NKJV)

The spirit of fear is not from God but comes from not being able to trust God completely and comprehensively.  God has given us the Holy Spirit as well as the fruit of the spirit which includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (see Gal 5:22-23)  The Holy Spirit is the spirit of power.  (See Acts 1:8)

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  (Rom 8:15 NIV)

The spirit whom we received when we accepted Christ as our Savior is the Holy Spirit.  (See Acts 2:38; Eph 1:13; Rom 8:16)  Once we accepted Christ as our Savior, we became children of God.

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  (1 Joh 4:12 NIV)

The Bible verse above reminds us that no one has ever seen God in His complete, divine revelation.  Even Moses only saw the back of the Lord in Exodus 33:18-23.  However, as we believers imitate the love of God for mankind, we demonstrate God’s love to humanity. 

The perfect love of God—which has forgiven and cleansed us of all of our sins—drives out fear.  It drives out the fear of eternal punishment, as well as the fear of what other people think of us.  It drives out the fear of the unknown because we know that God holds us in the palm of His hand and has provided all that we need for life and godliness.  (2 Pet 1:3) As we believers experience God’s love inside of us, it empowers us to live for Him and to love others.  As we mature and grow in grace and walking in the love of God, we model the love, forgiveness, and mercy of God toward all with whom we interact.  Praise God!

Persist in Faith for Christ is our Hope

Persist in Faith for Christ is our Hope

Because we have a living Hope who is Jesus Christ, the righteous One, we need to persevere in our faith.  We should also pray diligently for answers to our needs.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Rom 12:12 NIV)

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.  (Ps 62:8 NKJV) 

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing . . .  (1 Thes 5:16-17 NKJV)

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  (Col 1:27 NIV)

Glory to God!  God is our refuge—our safe haven and our protector. 

The tomb couldn’t hold the living and victorious body of our Savior.  Jesus lived a holy and sinless life on earth. 

He appeared to many people several days after He had been crucified bearing the wounds of the cross.  When He did, Jesus demonstrated power and victory over death.  Jesus is ALIVE.  Glory to God! Jesus is our hope because He is alive; He is almighty; and He has reconciled us to God the Father.

Jesus Heals Broken Things, Especially Our Hearts

Jesus Heals Broken Things, Especially Our Hearts

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.  (Ps 34:18 NCV)

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.  (Ps 147:3 NET)

My flesh and my heart may grow weak, but God always protects my heart and gives me stability.  (Ps 73:26 NET)

For I am the Lord who heals you.  (Ex 15:26c NKJV)

Charles Spurgeon said: “There are many sorts of broken hearts, and Christ is good at healing them all.”  What a beautiful statement of faith and truth!

What types of things can break a person’s heart? 

  • The death of someone we love;
  • Betrayal by someone who is dear to us;
  • The end of a friendship;
  • A miscarriage;
  • Divorce;
  • Being helpless;
  • Being bullied;
  • A crisis on the job;
  • A troubled church situation; or
  • Recognizing that life is unfair, and that it contains pain and heartache.

Everyone has felt the anguish of a broken heart.  If not, then it will occur at some time in the future.  It seems that this is a part of life that cannot be avoided.

The reality is that God is with us in the midst of our brokenness, distress and torment. 

Matthew 5:4 says:  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Again, in Hebrews 13:5 we’re told:  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Jesus has promised that He will never leave us nor abandon us.  He is always with us, and His love is always surrounding us.  His Spirit is our Comforter.

Isaiah 53:3 reminds us that Jesus knows how we feel:  He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Jesus was betrayed and ultimately rejected by mankind.  He came to extend salvation, love, mercy, and healing to humanity; but we angrily refused Him, tortured Him and crucified Him. 

And yet, Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:11), and He came forth from the grave in power, valor, and ENDURING LOVE for us!  How wonderful is our Savior! He is truly a God who actively and lovingly comforts us and binds up our hearts with bands of mercy, love and healing. 

Trust in Jesus and turn to Him when you are brokenhearted and trust Him to heal your wounds. Hallelujah to His holy Name!

Where is God?

Where is God?

Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock?  Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them . . .  (Isa 63:11 NIV)

. . . just as I promised your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Don’t worry. My Spirit is right here with you.  (Hag 2:5 CEV)

Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.  (Zech 4:6 ESV)

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.  (Heb 13:5 NKJV)

For all of us who wonder, “Where is God?”  The Scriptures have given us answers as we can see from the passages shown above.

The Lord, who created us in His own image, has promised that He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  In the midst of sorrow, pain, and challenging circumstances, meditate upon these Bible passages. 

When we fancy that God is far from us, and is not moving in any way to help us—we must realize that we are mistaken.  We are in too much pain or in too much worry to see the truth.  The enemy of our souls will do everything within his power to prevent us from seeing the truth—that God is with us at all times. 

God is supplying His grace and His mercy to whatever our situation is.  He is operating in the spiritual, unseen realms to bring us to His victory:  for which Jesus has already paid the complete price.

Meditate upon the stripes that Jesus bore; the painful crown of thorns that were beat into His head by Roman soldiers; the cross that He carried for miles; and the ignominious death that He suffered all for you and for me.  After Jesus’ death, the mighty power of the Holy Spirit raised Christ from the dead, and carried Him to the right hand of God in heaven. 

Jesus fulfilled His destiny, so that all human beings would be able to have a deep and abiding relationship with the Lord.  He has promised He is with us to the end of the age.  (Mt 28:20) Oh, joy!

What Makes the Enemy Run?

What Makes the Enemy Run?

What makes enemies run away?  The presence of the Living God! 

What about God’s presence in us and with us causes our enemies to “perish at His presence”?

When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence.  (Ps 9:3 NKJV)

This verse tells us that the enemies begin to run away (‘turn back’) and then they fall and then they perish (or die).  God’s power, perfection, and glory have this devastating effect on those who work in defiance of God and of His will.

You will make them turn their backs when you aim your arrows at them.  (Ps 21:12 NCV) 

They run from God in fear and terror because the enemies of our souls are aware that God is always victorious, and His arrows never miss their targets.

You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.  (Ps 18:40 NIV)

The explanation for this verse is that the enemy (satan) sets ambushes for people and aims arrows of lack, sickness, strife and fear at God’s people.  God’s arrows are the power of His spoken Word, His living Word, and His written Word.   With the power and authority of Jesus Christ and His finished work of salvation, the Lord overcomes and overpowers the enemy easily as we trust in Him, and speak His Word in faith and power into our circumstances.

Rejoice in the goodness and the mighty power of our God!

Don’t Seek the Dead

Don’t Seek the Dead

The Bible gives believers important instructions and guidelines for living a life of faith.  One point that is very important is that we should never turn to mediums, wizards, or fortunetellers for information about our future

Wisdom teaches us to place our trust in the Lord, knowing that He loves us and has plans to give us a blessed and meaningful future.  We already know that we will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord, and we may surely rejoice in this truth.

And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?  (Isa 8:19, emphasis added)

Note, this passage asks: “Should not a people seek their God?”  This is a hint from the Holy Spirit to us that it is only the Lord, Himself, who is capable of knowing the future.  And He is the only Being who has the power to change the future! So, we must turn only to the Lord Jesus when we are grieving, sad, or uncertain about what is to come.

And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.  (Lev 20:6)

In the above Scripture, the Lord warns us that He will be in opposition to anyone who puts their trust or hope in mediums or soothsayers; and that He will cut such a person “off from their people” which is actually a sentence of death upon that person.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  (2 Pet 2:1)

2 Peter 2:1 states plainly that believers who turn to false prophets have brought upon themselves SUDDEN destruction.  We must avoid this at all costs! 

We are called to turn to the Lord Jesus for direction and guidance in the course of our daily lives.  As believers in Jesus Christ, we must jealously and conscientiously protect, defend and cherish our relationship with our Savior.  It is the most important aspect of our lives. May God surround you with His love and wisdom.

Imparted Power

Imparted Power

Most of us who follow Jesus Christ don’t realize how much power the Lord has imparted to us, His people.  The word imparted means transferred, taught, or revealed. 

When we read the Bible, we need to think deeply about each and every passage that we read.  We should ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, and to give us revelations into the Scriptures.

Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ . . .  (2 Cor 2:10 ESV) 

We have authority to forgive others on behalf of the kingdom of God!  Think about the significance of this, and don’t take it lightly. 

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.  (Joh 20:23 ESV) 

Jesus has given us the example, along with our Heavenly Father, of forgiving mankind of all sin through the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.  It is our responsibility to follow His good example and His teachings.  Let’s advance the kingdom of God by being just like Him by extending merciful, and generous forgiveness to others.

And I tell you this—whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven, and whatever you free on earth will be freed in heaven.  (Mt 18:18 TL B) 

We have power to bind on earth: 

  • to truss up or tie up;
  • to hinder or inhibit people, demons, or calamitous events; and
  • to deter or prevent situations—as God directs.  

We have authority to set free on earth:

  • to liberate (unshackle) people from bondage;
  • to emancipate human beings from every shame;
  • to release all those imprisoned by sickness, fear, pain, and the consequences of sin; and
  • to unshackle hurting ones from unhealthy situations and relationships.

The Lord Jesus has said clearly that He has given His followers power and authority.  This is an important truth upon which to meditate, and ask God to give us insight and wisdom into it.

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  (Lk 10:19) 

Later, in the book of Luke, Jesus talks again about our being given power from heaven.

I am sending to you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. (Lk 24:49 ISV) Recognize who you are and what you have been given.  Believers are children of the Kingdom, and we have been given the message of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ.    It’s our job to bind or to set free the right things for the right reasons.  It’s time for us to listen to and obey the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Praise God!

Inherit the Earth

Inherit the Earth

For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.  (Ps 37:9)

He himself shall dwell in prosperity, and his descendants shall inherit the earth.  (Ps 25:13)

The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever.  (Ps 37:29)

For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it . . .  (Pro 2:21)

These passages of the Bible focus upon the idea that the righteous have been given a promise to “inherit the earth.”  What does that mean for believers? 

Here are some facts to begin this meditation:

  1. God is the owner of this earth (Ps 24:1).
  2. Those who obey Christ become children of God (Gal 3:27; Heb 5:9), and “joint-heirs” with the Lord (Rom 8:17).
  3. The Father supplies all of our needs (Phil 4:19); we therefore enjoy this earth and its blessings more than all others.
  4. Mainly, however, our inheritance is spiritual (Ac 20:32); we are heirs in the kingdom of Christ (Eph 5:5), and citizenship in that kingdom is available now on this earth (Col 1:13).
  5. Finally, we also look for an inheritance that is reserved for us in heaven (1 Pet 1:4), because we are aware that the earth will be destroyed when Christ returns (2 Pet 3:10).

The verses of Scripture at the beginning of this article all describe a blessing appointed to the righteous in the coming age. 

All who have been made righteous through Jesus Christ shall one day have power over all things, and until then will always receive provision of their needs through Jesus Christ. How blessed we are!

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

How can weakness or challenges in life reveal God’s strength to us? 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Cor 12:9)

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Cor 12:10, emphasis added)

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  (2 Cor 13:4)

Whenever we are weak in an area, it presents an opportunity for God’s strength to be discovered by us.  Our weaknesses, when exposed and humbly given to God, invite God’s love and strength to work powerfully in our situations.

Our weaknesses help us to see that there isn’t much that we can do in ourselves and by ourselves.  We comprehend our utter helplessness.  Problems and weaknesses compel us to turn to the true source of ALL help and power:  to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must learn to rely upon God’s grace and mercy, both of which are abundantly available to us according to the Word of God.

In times of need, trial, or crisis, we reach a point where we are ready and willing to yield to God’s will in our lives.  Praise God!  As the Scriptures shown at the top of this article demonstrate, God is ready and able to meet our needs and to help us.  And when He does, it is a testimony to His love and mercy.

He loves to bless us and to solve our problems because He loves us.  (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 4:19; Ps 37:40; 46:1; 63:7)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (Rom 8:26, emphasis added)  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.

After we turn to the Lord and pray about our area of weakness and need, His power will flow into the situation and turn it around.  We then have gained genuine, first-hand experience of the love and mercy of God.  This, in turn, enables us to comfort and to minister to other people who are in similar situations.  (2 Cor 1:4)  It also deepens and matures our faith.

Rejoice in the strength and power of God that is available to you!