Be Generous

Be Generous

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  (Lk 6:35 NIV, underscoring added)

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.  (Pro 19:17 ESV, underscoring added)

It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice.  (Ps 112:5 ESV, underscoring added)

Justice means fair play, impartiality, objectivity or neutrality.  The Scripture verse shown above (Ps 112:5) talks about a person who deals generously, lends to others, and conducts his affairs with justice.  All of these character traits are traits of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our example.  (See Phil 2:5; 1 Pet 2:21)

The Lord challenges us to test Him with our generosity just so that we will learn that we cannot out-give God!  (Mal 3:10-12)  It is the only area in which the Lord has instructed us to test Him.  Just ponder that for a little while . . .

The Lord demonstrated His love for mankind by GIVING His only begotten Son to become our Savior.  That was sacrificial love and sacrificial giving on God’s part, and anyone who is a parent understands that completely.

The focus of this article is about the call to believers to be generous—to live a generous lifestyle.  And it’s crucial for us to understand that God the Father gave generously, and Jesus Christ gave generously, also. 

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’  (Ac 20:35)

When we live a generous lifestyle while here on earth, in obedience to our heavenly Father, the Lord sees it and He places treasure in heaven aside for us as a reward.  (Mt 6:19-21)  God is most pleased when we share what we have with others, especially with those who are needy.  (Mt 10:8; Heb 13:16)

Live generously and with joy!  We believers are being transformed daily into the image of Christ, and this is simply one way in which we may cooperate with the Lord in our own transformation.  (See Rom 8:29-30; Phil 2:13; 3:21; Col 3:10; 2 Cor 3:18)  Blessings upon you!

How Do You Value Your Soul?

How Do You Value Your Soul?

When all is said and done—when we all reach the end of our lives—what value do we place upon our own soul?  How can we each understand right now, in the present, what we will realize at the end of our life?

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  (Mt 16:26 ESV)

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  (Lk 12:20 NKJV)

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  (Mk 8:36-37)

For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?  (Lk 9:25)

As these Bible passages point out, what good is it to be wealthy, influential, highly educated or well-traveled if, after it’s all finished, we lose our own soul in eternity?  If we think that’s okay, then we do NOT place any value whatsoever on our soul or upon our very self.  God values human beings and we need to learn from Him to value ourselves very highly.  Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for each and every soul who accepts Him as Savior.

God created man in His own image!  What great value God places upon each one of us.  Another verse says that God gave mankind dominion or authority over all of the earth.  (Gen 1:26-27)  He put mankind in a place of authority over the planet.

God says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Ps 139:14)  God Himself forms each and every newborn baby.  (Ps 139:13 ESV)  Having a child is accurately thought to be a reward from God.  (Ps 127:3) 

God so loved and valued each one of us that He sent His only Son to redeem all of us.  (Joh 3:16)  This precious gift of redemption must be accepted and received, individually, to be able to take effect in our lives.  The Lord warns us to be fearful of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  (Mt 10:28)  The Lord is talking about the enemy of our souls, Satan.

The advice the Lord gives us concerning our souls is this:

  • The law of the Lord (God’s Word) refreshes the soul (Ps 19:7) – read, study, and meditate upon the Word of God, the Bible.
  • Pleasant words, like honey, gives sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. (Pro 16:24)  Speak pleasant words to others and over your family and over yourself.  These words will truly bless everyone.
  • The Holy Spirit inspired the Bible passage in 3 John 2: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.  (emphasis added)  We need to pursue those habits that contribute to the prosperity of our immortal souls!

We should live our lives in close relationship with Jesus, and obey His Word in order to be blessed.  We reveal that we value our souls very highly by this lifestyle, and God will bless each one of us for it.  Praise God!

Preparation for Glory

Preparation for Glory

One of the purposes of our lives here on earth, aside from sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is to prepare us believers for future glory.  At times, our preparation will seem very difficult to bear up under.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. . . (2 Cor 4:17)

The apostle and his fellow sufferers compared their current light suffering with the reward that, by faith, they knew awaited them in heaven.  They considered the heavenly crown awaiting them to be far more significant than their current afflictions. 

 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  (Rom 8:18)

According to the verse above, our earthly problems will seem mild and temporary when we view them from the safe haven of eternity with Jesus.  At times, it will help us to endure when we focus upon unseen realities that exist in the spiritual realm.

. . . knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.  (Jas 1:3-4)

When our faith is put to the test, the Word reminds us to patiently endure—or to cling to the truth of God’s Word.  Remaining steadfast in faith through a time of suffering will result in our faith becoming more mature, deep and strong.  When we live in this way, we are following Christ’s example.

. . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.  (Heb 5:8) 

This verse is referring to Jesus Christ, our Savior.  This passage reminds us that our Savior learned, through suffering, all about the unique obedience needed to qualify Him as our High Priest.  (See Commentary on Hebrews 5 by A. R. Fausset, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

The point of this article is to meditate upon the fact that Jesus—the Savior of mankind—endured great suffering for our sake.  He didn’t grumble about it but focused upon His love for His Father and the end result of His obedience which was the reconciliation of mankind to God the Father.  At the cross, Jesus could say, “It is finished.”

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials . . . (Jas 1:2)

Food for Meditation

Food for Meditation

Our last article was on the topic of meditation, which included a biblical promise with it.  Today, I’m going to give you suggested food or topics for meditation.  I hope that they will bless you.

The Lord is my:

  • Exceedingly great reward (Gen 15:1)
  • Rock (Ps 18:2; 31:3; 71:3)
  • Rock that is Higher than I (Ps 61:2)
  • High Tower (Ps 144:2)
  • Hiding Place (Ps 32:7;119:114)
  • Very present help in the time of trouble (Ps 46:1)
  • Intercessor (Job 16:19-21 NIV1984; Isa 59:16-17)
  • Mediator (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24)
  • Advocate (1 Joh 2:1)
  • Teacher (Lk 12:12; Joh 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13)
  • Healer (Ex 15:26; Ps 103:3; Mt 4:23)
  • Open Heaven (Joh 1:51)
  • Comfort, Comforter (Ps 86:17; 2 Cor 1:3-4)
  • Strength (Ps 18:1; 32)
  • Fortress (Ps 18:2; 31:3; 71:3; 144:2)
  • Deliverer (Ps 18:2; 40:17; 70:5)
  • Shield (Ps 3:3; 18:2; 28:7; 144:2)
  • Horn of my salvation (Ps 18:2)
  • Stronghold (Ps 18:2)
  • Redeemer (Ps 19:14; 78:35; Pro 23:11)
  • Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6)
  • Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2)
  • Bright, Morning Star (Rev 22:16)

May God bless your meditations.

Be Merciful

Be Merciful

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.  (Lk 6:35-36)

But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.  (Ps 41:10)

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  (Ps 103:8)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.  (Heb 8:12)

These passages of Scripture talk of God being merciful.  The verse from Hebrews reminds us that we have received the mercy of God ourselves, and without it, would not be saved. 

God wants us to be merciful, even as Jesus (our example) is merciful.  In what ways is mercy expressed?  In these passages, we are shown some ideas on this topic.

  • Love your enemies;
  • Do good;
  • Lend to the needy, expecting no repayment;
  • Show kindness to the unthankful and evil; (Wow! Really, Lord?)
  • Be slow to anger;
  • Forget the sins of other people against you and against your loved ones;
  • Raise others up.

These are all very challenging things to accomplish, and they are difficult, if not to say impossible, without God’s grace working in us to energize us.

How may we “raise others up”?  We can help others by being encouraging, understanding, humble, and positive with our words.  We can share information with them that was helpful to us or to someone that we love.  We will receive grace to empower us to show them respect and the love of God, and never be judgmental.   

In short, we see them as Jesus sees them:  beloved,  victorious and blessed—and treat them accordingly.