God’s Comforts

God’s Comforts

What are God’s ‘comforts’ as mentioned in Psalm 94:19?  From my study of this passage, the word refers to the promises of God, and the ability to remember and to mentally reenact our prior experiences of God’s care and kindnesses to us.  Such thoughts give us consolation, and they revitalize our minds and our thoughts.

In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.  (Ps 94:19 NKJV, emphasis added)

As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.  (Isa 66:13 NRSV)  The Lord promises to comfort us when we are distressed.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  (Ps 61:2 NASB)  During tribulations, we must allow our hearts to turn to the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ.

Just as I am satisfied with the choicest of foods, so my lips will praise you joyfully.  When I think of you in bed, I will meditate on you in the night watches.  (Ps 63:5-6 ISB) 

A good life habit to cultivate is to praise the Lord joyfully AT ALL TIMES, under all circumstances.  It will bring us joy and it will strengthen our faith.  When we can’t sleep in the night, we should meditate upon the Lord and upon His Word.  God promises in many places in the Bible that He will comfort us and that the Holy Spirit is our comforter. 

Turn to the Lord and trust Him to soothe and to encourage you when painful life experiences threaten to sink you.  He will not fail you.

The Sad State of Our World

The Sad State of Our World

I am grieved by what is happening in the world now.  It is full of chaos and confusion and conflict.

Families typically share a worldview:  common beliefs that they hold in common at least while the children are young.  As the youngsters mature and grow into adulthood, they will evaluate their worldview and either accept it or reject it.  Then when children marry, new and unfamiliar opinions get mixed in.  This can bring harmony and unity, if these viewpoints should agree, but they can bring chaos and turmoil when they don’t.

Micah is an Old Testament prophet who said this about his own time, and also about what will happen when Messiah comes to earth.

Sons refuse to respect their own fathers, daughters rebel against their own mothers, and daughters-in-law despise their mothers-in-law.  Your family is now your enemy.  (Mic 7:6 CEV)

During those days, even within one family there would be breakdowns and strife.  Neighbors no longer trusted one another.  Families were in crisis.

What Micah said in Micah 7, was also Jesus’ argument a few hundred years later!  Jesus even says that He came to turn people against one another—even among families.

For I came to turn a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a person’s enemies will be the members of his household.  (Mt 10:35-36 NASB)

“Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  (Lk 12:53 NKJV)

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  (Lk 21:16 NIV)

These are difficult things to hear from the Lord.  No one wants the very people that he deeply loves to turn against him.  But the Lord is warning all of His followers to expect persecution—even from those whom we have nurtured and loved and known deeply.

The enemy loves to use family pressure—even the threat of family violence—to drive us away from our faith in Jesus.  How many of us believers have raised our children and watched them grow up, get married and later turn away from their faith in Jesus Christ?  Too many, and it always brings devastating pain, and too often, broken relationships.

Our only consolation is to know that Jesus loves each one of us.  He will not stop working to bring back His lost sheep into His sheepfold.  Pray faithfully for those whom you love who have wandered away from their faith in Jesus and in the true gospel of Jesus Christ. 

It is good to understand and remember that the Lord has engraved each of us on the palms of His hands.  (Isa 49:16) Praise God!

The Deep Things of God

The Deep Things of God

What is meant by the phrase ‘the deep things of God’? 

These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  (1 Cor 2:10 NIV)

In the verse of Scripture shown above, the word “depths” translates the Greek noun βάθη, which is the Accusative, Plural of βάθος (bathos). In this context, Paul is using a word that refers to “deep water” to portray a parallel idea in an attempt to describe the complexities of and the secret and careful plans of our God.

This word that represents the depths of God (the deep things of God), refers to greatness, immensity, profoundness, impenetrability, and mysteriousness.  It goes beyond surface considerations and into the serious, innermost study of God’s nature, His purposes and His love.

Let’s continue looking at the Bible:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.  (Joh 14:26 NIV)

The Holy Spirit was given to every believer at the moment of salvation.  (See Ac 2:38; Eph 1:13)  The Holy Spirit teaches us all things and helps us to remember everything that He has taught us.  As we obey the Word and walk in faith, our relationship with the Lord grows stronger and more mature.

In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.  (Lk 10:21 NIV)

“For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.”  (Amos 3:7 NIV)

The two verses immediately above mention that God reveals hidden thing to His people.  These are clearly deep things of God that the Holy Spirit shares with the children of God.  The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom, insight, and revelation knowledge.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  (1 Cor 2:11 NIV)

No one can know the thoughts of God other than the Holy Spirit who dwells within every believer.  (See 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16)  This same Holy Spirit will teach us about the profound, loving, and merciful God whom we are blessed to serve.  The longer that we are in relationship with the Lord, the more deeply we mature in the faith, and the more familiar we become with the deep things of God.  Glory to God!

Life is About Much More Than Possessions

Life is About Much More Than Possessions

Life on earth is comprised of human beings, needs, wants/desires, relationships, jobs/callings, accomplishments, and many more categories.  It would be a challenge to try to list everything that is included in day to day human life because it can be very broad and very detailed.  It would cover too much to be able to list, in reality.

One trait that is negative that is sometimes a part of human life is greed.  Thankfully, it isn’t everywhere or in all people, but it is certainly there and it is definitely negative.

The Lord has been teaching humanity various lessons since the beginning of creation.  Here are some samples from His Word.

But He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one is affluent does his life consist of his possessions.”  (Lk 12:15 NASB)  This is a warning against greed and an inordinate affection for possessions.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  (Col 3:5 NKJV)  Covetousness (another word for greed) is named among a list of sins in the Bible.

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  (Heb 13:5 NKJV)  This passage in the Bible instructs us to be free of greed, and to be content with what we have. 

Rather, we are told to remember what is TRULY important:  that Jesus has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. 

What a beautiful and meaningful promise from our Savior!

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Some Bible verses discuss the lifespan of human beings.  Why is this important to followers and servants of Jesus Christ?  That’s what we’re considering today.

Our time on earth is brief; the number of our days is already decided by you.  (Job 14:15 CEV)

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.  (Ps 90:12)

I am gone like a shadow when it lengthens; I am shaken off like a locust.  (Ps 109:23)

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  (Ps 144:4)

One thing that we have to remember is that our time on earth is limited, and so it’s good to learn to value each day enormously.  Once we accept the brevity of life, we will be more inclined to seek God’s wisdom, leading and guidance for living rich, meaningful, and eternally significant lives that will bring glory to God.

We don’t want to take the gift of life for granted.  We don’t want to waste our days on foolish, selfish pursuits that have no real value.  Those would be pursuits that eventually, at their conclusion, can bless no one else but ourselves and that bring pleasure to and minister to no one other than ourselves. Some such ventures might even be sinful or evil.

Once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our savior and Lord, all that we need for daily sustenance will be given to us by the Lord according to Matthew 6:33. 

The Lord wants His people to learn, to grow, and to seek His wisdom. 

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.  Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.  Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.  (Pro 2:1-11 NIV) As we learn to number our days, we regard each day as a precious gift as well as an opportunity to store up treasure in heaven that will please God.  Glory!

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

BRIGHTEN SOMEONE’S DAY

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.  (Pro 12:25 NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine . . . (Pro 17:22a NIV)

We all experience days when we feel a little down or maybe worried or stressed out.  On days like those, we all appreciate a cheerful word or a phone call from a friend.  We all need encouragement, and we need other believers to come alongside of us occasionally to strengthen us.

We need a fellow believer to encourage our faith, to remind us of God’s goodness and glorious attributes, and to let us know that we are loved by God.  Only another person who follows Jesus, and has experienced life’s challenges and victories is able to help us in this way.  I encourage us all to cultivate friends who are fellow believers and who have been serving the Lord longer than we, ourselves, have.

Jesus taught us to love one another, and to be kind to one another.  He gave us His own example of how to live like this.

Offering hope, support, and cheer to one another is a wonderful and practical way to spread God’s love in this stress-laden world.  It’s important to encourage yourself first, in the Word of God. Another way to encourage yourself in the Lord is to remember all of the answered prayers you have experienced, and to remember all of the miracles that God has performed in the past in answer to your prayers. Rejoice! Thank and praise the Lord for these past testimonies and victories. Once you have done these things, you will have the strength to minister to others.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.  (Joh 16:33 NIV)

The Good News is still true.  The Lord is always reliable, and we can depend upon His Word and His matchless love.  He has overcome! 

So take a little time every day to share joy and cheer with everyone around you—with your family, friends, and co-workers.  Hallelujah!

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!

A Good Name

A Good Name

What exactly is a “good name”?  It means having a good reputation, or being known as a person with a good character.  The Bible speaks most favorably about having a good name.

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.  (Pro 22:1 NIV)

Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  (Pro 3:4 NIV)

A good name is better than fine perfume . . . (Eccl 7:1a NIV)

Ecclesiastes asserts that a good reputation is better than fine perfume!  Does that surprise you?  Let’s think about this for a little time.  Your good name is all about your integrity—your very character.

When people hear your name, what do they think about you?  Do they associate your name with timeliness, honesty, and hard work?  Or do they think several negative things instead?

Here are some valuable reasons why a good reputation can be considered better than riches.

  • A good name provides steadiness – A person with a good name means that there are positive character traits the person has. When you’re known for having a good character, it causes other people to trust you and to want to deal with you.  Trust is a stabilizing factor in life.  In business, people will want to hire you or affiliate themselves with you.  In personal life, you will have many trusted friends who will remain friends.  A person with a good character is easy to love.
  • A good name is endless – Think about the many people in history that are spoken of in our time with respect and awe. A good character stays behind when we have gone ahead into eternity.  Once we have lived our lives and passed on, what kind of legacy will we have we left behind?  How will our children, our family and friends remember us?  If we followed Jesus’ example and lived our lives by faith, we can be assured that we will have made a positive contribution to our world.
  • God bestows loving favor on those who have a good name. – When a person has a good name (a good character), they receive the favor of God and man. (Ps 84:11; Pro 3:1-4; 33-35)  People enjoy interactions with those who make them feel good and who interact honorably with them.  People will love you for your honesty; they will appreciate your work ethic; and they will respect your sense of integrity.  When a person of good character is assaulted, their friends and associates will choose to defend and protect them.  People love to unite together to help a person with a good name. 

It’s good to stop and take stock, occasionally, of the state of our reputation.  Is it in good shape?  If not, there’s still time to make changes in your life in order to repair your good name.

The Importance of Remembering

The Importance of Remembering

Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and judgments of His mouth . . .   (Ps 105:5)

The Lord is telling us to do something in this verse.  He tells us to remember the goodness of God. 

Remembering is of great consequence to God!  That’s why He instructed the Israelites to pile up stones in places where He did mighty works on their behalf.  That’s also why He instituted the many feasts that He wanted the Israelites to observe—so they wouldn’t forget Him and His mighty works on their behalf.  It also motivated them to share their testimonies about God with their children and grandchildren whenever they passed these memorial stones and celebrated their feasts.

Remembering and meditating upon: 1) the attributes of the Lord; 2) the miracles and blessings we’ve received from Him; 3) His Word; and 4) God’s personality deepens our relationship with God, and nurtures our faith.  It invigorates and galvanizes our faith!

David strengthened himself in the Lord by remembering all of the miracles that God had performed for David previously.  (1 Sam 30:6)

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (Psalm 37:3)  We feed on His faithfulness by remembering and sharing testimonies of His power and greatness.  This nurtures our faith and the faith of those around us.

That they may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments . . . (Psalm 78:7 NKJV) This passage asks us to remember the works and wonders that God has performed for us in the past.  We’re also prompted to live a Kingdom lifestyle.  Jesus kept all of the commandments so that we wouldn’t need to be law-keepers, and we would have the privilege of living by grace through faith.  (Eph 2:8)

Rejoice in your blessings, and remember God’s past supernatural acts on your behalf.  You faith will be energized!