If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised

If We Do Good Works, We’ll Be Praised

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.   (Rom 13:3-4)

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.  (1 Pet 2:13-14)

God has promised us, according to the Scriptures, that when we do good works on earth, we’ll be honored and celebrated.  This is God’s reward and His blessing upon all who are obedient to His Word and His will.

It is clear that doing good works is the will of God for His people.  Here are several Bible verses about good works:

  • In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 5:16 ESV)
  • For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.  (Jas 2:26 ESV)
  • That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.  (2 Tim 3:17 ESV)

What are “good works” according to the Bible?  Here is another perspective:

Ephesians 2:10 would encourage you to learn to see your whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you’re a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. If you’re a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God’s masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes.  (Source:  https://www.theologyofwork.org/the-high-calling/daily-reflection/what-are-good-works-god-has-prepared-us)

The Bible also tells us these things about good works:

  • If someone is hungry or inadequately clothed, believers should feed them and give them clothing.  (Jas 2:14-17)
  • Whatever we do, we should work enthusiastically and with all of our might, because the Lord Himself will reward us.  (Col 3:23-24)
  • We must do wholesome, upright, virtuous deeds and share whatever we have with others. (Heb 13:16)
  • Don’t allow ourselves to get tired of doing good.  (Gal 6:9)
  • All that we do should be done in love.  (1 Cor 16:14)
  • Believers should encourage and inspire each other to lovingly perform good works.  (Heb 10:24)

Think deeply today about what we’ve studied, and about the many forms of good works.  There are so many unique ways in which you may demonstrate the love and mercy of God to the world through your good works. Be blessed in Jesus’ name!

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

Filled with the Spirit

Filled with the Spirit

Today our topic is about being filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues (glossolalia).

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  (Eph 5:18-19)

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  (Ac 2:4)

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  (Ac 9:17)

The Bible encourages us to be filled with the Spirit and to praise the Lord and sing hymns and melodies to Him.  What an joy and an honor!

To be filled with anything indicates that all of a person’s faculties are pervaded by it, engaged in it, or under its influence.  We, as believers and followers of Jesus, are to allow the Holy Spirit to have such a mighty influence and impact upon us that He is able to pervade and engage literally every area and portion of our being.

When the Bible says that they spoke with “other tongues” it means that they spoke in languages that were not their own.  Acts 2:9-11 lists which languages were heard that day. 

To speak with other tongues – At the building of Babel the language of the people was confounded; and, in consequence of this, they became scattered over the face of the earth: at this foundation of the Christian Church, the gift of various languages was given to the apostles, that the scattered nations might be gathered; and united under one shepherd and superintendent (επισκοπος ) of all souls.  (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

As the Spirit gave them utterance – The word αποφθεγγεσθαι seems to imply such utterance as proceeded from immediate inspiration, and included oracular communications.     (Source:  Adam Clarke Commentary – https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts-2.html. 1832)

There are believers who still speak in tongues today, and who usually operate in the fruit of the Spirit as well as in the gifts of the Spirit.  They typically believe that miracles still happen all over the world because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Heb 13:8) Hallelujah!

Call the Walls Salvation

Call the Walls Salvation

Here are a couple of prophetic verses from the Bible.

Violence shall no longer be heard in your land, neither wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.  (Isa 60:18)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:  “We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.  (Isa 26:1)

There is a day coming when Jesus Christ shall gather His church together, and the verses above foretell of that victorious time.  There will be no need of gates or walls for protection, because the walls will be the very salvation of our God, and the “gates” that we enter will be praise unto our God.  Praise opens all gates into the presence of our living God.

God has shown Himself well able to protect His people.  He says that He is a wall of fire around His people.

‘For I,’ says the Lord, ‘will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  (Zech 2:5) 

God is already the glory in our midst—right now. 

He is our Protector and Deliverer.  (2 Sam 22:2-3; Ps 5:11; 34:17; 91:9-12; 2 Thes 3:3)  As we walk with Him and obey His Word willingly, He takes care of all of our individual needs.  Surely, our relationship with Jesus Christ is a fortress and a protection from evil.  The walls of this fortress are called “salvation.”

Praise at the Sound of God’s Word

Praise at the Sound of God’s Word

Today I’m meditating upon the importance of the Word of God.  Let us continuously praise the Lord for His Word.

In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth.  Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.  (Ps 138:3-5, emphasis added)

When the kings of the earth hear the words of God’s mouth, they will praise the Lord and sing of His ways.  What an image!

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before You.  (Ps 22:27)  All the people of the earth shall remember the Lord and turn to Him and worship Him.  There is no doubt that this shall come to pass.

Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him.  (Ps 72:11, emphasis added)  People shall be in such awe of God, that they will actually FALL DOWN BEFORE HIM in order to worship Him and to pay Him honor.  This also reminds us that, one day, everyone shall serve the Lord.

Here are several Bible passages that talk about the wisdom of the Word of God:

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple . . . (Ps 19:7)  God’s Word makes us wise.

You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me.  (Ps 119:98)  God’s Word gives us wisdom that enables us to be wiser than our enemies—and to thereby gain the victory.  When we have memorized God’s Word, it is forever with us.  Hallelujah!

The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken.  Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord; so what wisdom do they have?  (Jer 8:9)  This verse rightly asks the question:  “Since they have rejected God’s word, what wisdom do they have?”  The unspoken answer is:  none.

Be sure to avail yourself of the wisdom of the ages and the wisdom that will cause all kings and all nations on earth to serve the Lord.  Read and meditate upon God’s praiseworthy Word every day.

Glorify the Lord

Glorify the Lord

One of our assignments, as believers in Christ, is to glorify the Lord.  Let’s look at what the Scripture says.

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .  (Lk 1:46-47 NIV)

I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 12 I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds.  (Ps 77:11-12)

I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.  (Ps 86:12)

Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands.  (Isa 42:12)

Glorifying God means to acknowledge His impressiveness and to give Him respect by praising and worshiping Him.  We do this mainly because He alone deserves to be praised, honored and worshiped.

God’s glory is the core of His nature, and we give glory to Him by recognizing it.  In glorifying God, we exalt Him; we recognize and honor His deity; and we elevate Him above all else in our lives and in our thoughts.

Adoration [devotion, high regard, esteem] is also a component of glorifying God.  When we have this type of respect for God, our reverence is shown in ways that we can’t even perceive.  However, other people do notice it, and hopefully it will lead them to ask us for the reasons that we have for the hope that lies within us!

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

God’s Standard Against the Enemy

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.  (Isa 59:19 NKJV)

In the New King James Version, the word STANDARD represents a force, like a narrow flood, that flows with great speed and force, and carries away everything before it.  By the word of the Lord and by His power, the attack of the enemy shall be broken.

Here’s the same Scripture from two other versions of the Bible. 

From the west, people will fear the name of the Lord, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory.  (Isa 59:19 NIV)

So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives.  (Isa 59:19 ESV)

The Lord’s power shall come like a rushing stream driven along by the wind of the Lord.  The WIND OF THE LORD signifies the power and might of the Holy Spirit. This word image allows us to image the majestic power and authority of our God.  He is worthy of all praise!

How appropriate is the passage in Jeremiah:

There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?  For this is your due; for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you.  (Jer 10:6-7 ESV)

Whenever the Lord drives the enemy to flight as described in the verses above, it will trigger a wave of humanity glorifying God and giving Him thanks, praise and honor.

If your church, community or family comes under an unprecedented campaign against you, meditate upon Isaiah 59:19 and ask the Lord to bring it to pass in your situation.

Meditation

Meditation

The Bible has a fair amount to say about meditation and the types of things that we, as followers of Christ, should set our thoughts upon.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  (Josh 1:8)

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  (Ps 1:2)

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.  (Ps 119:15)

May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.  (Ps 104:34)

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  (Phil 4:8)

Suggested topics for our meditations:

  • The Scriptures (Book of the Law; law of the Lord; precepts);
  • God’s ways;
  • The Lord; and
  • All things that are truthful, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

The Bible tells us that as we meditate upon and talk about these themes that we will have a successful and prosperous life.  What a blessed promise!

Beauty

Beauty

“Beauty will save the world.”  ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.  (Ps 50:2)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
  (Isa 52:7)

What is Zion and why is it important to Christians? 

Jerusalem and Zion are one and the same city.  Zion was the place of God’s special presence among His people, and the place where they turned for help and deliverance.  Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE (before Common Era).  During classical antiquity, Jerusalem was considered the center of the world, where God resided.

What does all of this have to do with our topic of beauty?  Because God promises to shine forth out of Zion, which is called the perfection of beauty

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.  (Ps 33:1)

The Word of God reminds us that praise is beautiful—not only in the sight of God but in the sight of men, as well.  If I happen to find a television program that is broadcasting a praise and worship service, I find it so beautiful to see that I’m moved to tears.

. . . rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.  (1 Pet 3:4, emphasis added)

In this verse from first Peter, the Word of God tells us that a gentle and quiet spirit is indestructibly beautiful!  It is also very treasured by our God.  So, we see that God considers salvation to be a beautiful thing, along with our praises to Him.

It is this inner quality of beauty that God commends and which the entire world unerringly recognizes!  We will achieve this level of beauty as we obey God and seek to follow Him.  He is the only One who transforms lives because He is the glory and the lifter of our heads!  (Ps 3:3)  Because His Spirit lives within each one of us, His beauty will shine forth through us.

This is why Isaiah 52:7 (at top of this article) calls the feet of those who spread the Gospel “beautiful feet”!  We all may confidently pursue this beauty that shines forth from our inner man.

 

The Wells of Salvation

The Wells of Salvation

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.  (Isa 12:3)

This Scripture has always fascinated and intrigued me.  This is beautiful language from the heart of our Savior God.

Here is what I hear when I read this passage:

“With great jubilation and rejoicing, I shall pull forth the knowledge of God’s love, goodness, and power from the never-ending source of blessings within me. (That source is Jesus Christ, the Lord.)”  Wow!  What a powerful confession and testimony!

Deep within God’s wells of salvation, we shall experience the cool water of God’s grace, strength and joy.  This will refresh and strengthen our hearts and motivate us to praise and give thanks to our God.

On another level, we all know that water is necessary to sustain life.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  (Joh 14:6)  We cannot have eternal life without Him.  We can’t experience the blessings of God upon the righteous except through Jesus.  He is the mediator and connection between God the Father and mankind.  (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6)  The Word reminds us that Jesus lives to make intercession for us!  (Heb 7:25)

The term “wells of salvation” indicate an ever-flowing, enduring, and unfailing supply of water.  Jesus is not only the fountain but the water of life itself!

“. . . but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  (John 4:14)

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  (John 7:38)

Take a little time to think about the “wells of salvation” that Christ has placed within you. Consider that they were put there to not only bless, heal, and to prosper YOU; but also to bless, heal, and to prosper ALL with whom you come in contact!  You are a Christ-carrier so allow Him to operate through you.