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!

His Unfailing Mercy

His Unfailing Mercy

Our God is a God of unfailing mercy.  Hallelujah!

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. (Lam 3:22-23)

Nevertheless in Your great mercy, You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them;
for You are God, gracious and merciful.
  (Neh 9:31)

Has His mercy ceased forever?  Has His promise failed forevermore?  (Ps 77:8)

And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.  (Lk 1:50)

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  (Eph 2:4-7)

All of the Bible verses shown above attest to this truth; and there are many, many more Scriptures concerning God’s mercy than those that I’ve chosen to share with you here.

This is extremely important to us (human beings) because we tend to fail frequently in our efforts to live holy, obedient, godly lives.  When we sin, we know that we can confess our sins, and God will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (1 Joh 1:9) 

By the unfailing mercy of God, His perfect salvation covers and obliterates ALL of our sins:  past, present, and future.  The only requirements on our part are that we live obediently to the Lord and His Word; continue in a loving relationship with our Savior; and that we never renounce Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

Despite the distractions of daily life, we must remember to focus on the goodness of God and His continuing, unfailing mercy upon us.  By His mercy and grace, we are enabled and empowered to bring Him glory and honor through our testimonies and our lives.  May His Name be exalted forever.

Beautiful Feet

Beautiful Feet

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:  “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!”  (Rom 10:14-15)

Another version of the final line in the above Bible verse is:  “Beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!” 

We’re not talking about just any old type of good news, but specifically about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  This is the good news that tells how Jesus purchased salvation for all who accept Him as their Savior and Lord!  Hallelujah!

This is the “almost too good to be true” kind of news that no one readily believes in this cynical, unbelieving world. 

This very genuine good news MUST be passed on and accepted before its power can take effect.  When we each accepted Jesus as our own Lord and Savior, one of the main assignments we were given was to share our testimony of God’s love and forgiveness.  Consider this passage:

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.  (2 Cor 5:18-19, emphasis added)

Jesus fulfilled His mission of reconciling mankind to His Father, and has committed the same ministry to us.  We are called to the Ministry of Reconciliation through Jesus Christ.  However, we don’t need to die as Jesus did but to simply tell our own testimony to everyone who will listen to our story.  As the Scriptures say, “Freely you have received, freely give.”  (Mt 10:8)

While we are still able, while a measure of freedom of speech remains, we must endeavor to fulfill this honored calling and mission entrusted to every believer by Jesus..

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!

Feet of a Deer: Hind’s Feet

Feet of a Deer: Hind’s Feet

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.  (Hab 3:19 NIV)

The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.  (Hab 3:19 KJV)

In Habakkuk 3:17-18, the prophet says:

17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Verses 17 and 18 show us that Habakkuk chooses to praise the Lord and to be joyful in Him in spite of life’s challenging circumstances. 

He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.  (2 Sam 22:34 & Ps 18:33 KJV)

So what is the significance of hind’s feet?  A hind is a female deer (or a gazelle) who is able to place her back feet unerringly where her front feet have walked.  Because of this, a hind is able to run unreservedly on the roughest terrain.  In times of peril, the hind can run securely and stay on course.  Because the hind can scale high places, it can elude predators.

The spiritual lesson for us is that, despite our circumstances, when we are truly anchored by faith in Jesus, we’ll be able to run with joy the race that is set before us.  The Word reminds us that God Himself is our strength, and in Him our spiritual feet have become as sure-footed, nimble, and fast as the hind. 

The strength that God gives to us is an inward strength—confidence and assurance and courageousness in the face of all external afflictions and trials.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Phil 4:13 NKJV) 

. . . that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man . . .  (Eph 3:16 NKJV)

We are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19), and the strength of the Lord is within each one of us.  Glory to God!

He Remembers that We Are Dust

He Remembers that We Are Dust

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.  (Ps 103:13-14 NIV)

The Lord knows all about our frailties, and that our earthly bodies—formed from the earth—will one day decay and die.  We are compared to the grass which rises from the earth, and eventually wastes away and returns to it.

As human beings, we grow and mature and become strong and healthy.  We may be blessed with robust health, and even grow to be quite tall and attractive to others.  If we blossom in health and beauty, and riches and honor; even then we are destined to live only a certain number of years and then pass away, certain to be buried in the earth.

However, in spite of all of that, because the Lord made us in His own image, He has created us to be eternally valuable.  (Gen 1:27)  He calls mankind His special treasure. (Ps 135:4)

But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them.  Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath; 39 for He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.  (Ps 78:38-39)

Because God is full of compassion, He never turned His full anger upon mankind.  Instead, He demonstrated His great love for us by sending Jesus, His Son, as our Savior and Redeemer.  (Joh 3:16; Rom 5:8)

God has poured His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  (Rom 5:2-5)  The Holy Spirit is our teacher and our guide.  (Joh 14:26; 16:13)

God has even made us conquerors through Jesus Christ, and nothing will ever be able to separate us from His powerful, unending love.  (Rom 8:37-39)  You are special in God’s sight, and you’re the apple of His eye!  (Zech 2:8)

The Lord calls you CHOSEN and PRECIOUS.  (1 Pet 2:4)  Glory to 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)