Reverence for the House of God

Reverence for the House of God

It pleases the Lord when we honor the place where He resides.  Since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the “house of God” is any building or gathering place where two or more people assemble to study the Word of God, to teach others spiritual truths from the Bible, and to praise and worship the Lord. 

 ‘You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.’  (Lev 19:30)

Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.  (Eccl 5:1)

And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Mt 21:13)

From these passages of Scripture we can recognize a number of truths.

The Lord tells us to reverence (respect; regard with awe) His sanctuary.  A sanctuary is a refuge, safe haven, or place of safety.  When we meet with fellow Christians to praise and worship God and to partake of His Word, we are in a place of safety and protection.  Our collective attitude of honor and respect contribute to the free flowing of the Holy Spirit to minister in our midst.

It isn’t a building that is the church—it is the people and the gathering of God’s people together that forms “the church.”  The sanctuary, the House of God, and the church are all synonymous terms.  Any place or building where God’s people gather together to give Him honor and praise can be understood to be “the church”; whether it’s an event room at a bowling alley, a rented meeting room in a hotel, or a family room in a private home.

The Word also reminds us to behave wisely as we enter into the meeting of the body of Christ.  How do we do that?  We “draw near to hear” with a heart full of obedience and true worship.

Lastly, the Scriptures remind us that the church is a “house of prayer” and that its main purpose is a spiritual one and not a monetary one.  God forbid that a body of believers would focus upon money instead of honoring God and His Holy Word.

It is very understandable that God would ask us to show honor and respect for any place where He meets with His people—all who call Him Savior and Lord.  Remember that GOD IS PRESENT when His people come together in His Name.  God bless 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!

Put Away Anger & Envy

Put Away Anger & Envy

For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.  (Job 5:2 KJV)

Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.  (Eccl 7:9 NKJV)

 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?  How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?  23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.”  (Pro 1:22-23 ESV)

Don’t be silly or foolish (as described in the Bible verses above), but put away anger and envy.  Anger gives a foothold to the devil in your life, so try to avoid it.  Envy is another word for bitterness, jealousy, resentment or spite.

Allow the Holy Spirit to teach you how to control your emotions as you study God’s Word.  The Lord wants to help you so that He may bless you.

The Bible tells us repeatedly not to envy other people.  You may study this by looking at these passages:  Proverbs 3:31; 23:17; 24:1, 19.  The Bible lists envy among a list of vile things in Mark 7:21-23.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.  (Pro 19:11 NLT)  When something happens that hurts or offends you, your first option is to ignore the aggression.  In other words, take no notice of another person’s attack.  Other people will respect you all the more when they see how you handle it.  And the Lord will be pleased with your response.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  (Eph 4:31 NIV)  Sometimes, due to the nature of the wrongdoing against you, it can’t be overlooked.  In that case, give yourself time to calm down and to gain control of your thoughts and feelings.  Plan out what needs to be said, and what you’d like to see happen.  Then take an objective, wise person along with you to speak with the person who offended you.  Try to resolve the issue between you and to restore peace.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”  Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.  (Eph 4:26-27 NLT)  Don’t allow your emotions to control you.  You are in control of them because you have the Holy Spirit living within you.  The Holy Spirit within you produces the fruit of self-control.  (Eph 5:22-23 NLT)

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.  (Pro 16:32 NLT)  As this Scripture reminds us, it’s better to be patient than powerful!  It’s far better to have self-control than to be in search of fame.

What Did You Want to See?

What Did You Want to See?

But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  (Mt 11:8)

When the messengers of John had departed, He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  (Lk 7:24)

Jesus talked about a “reed shaken by the wind” because in Bible days, reeds grew similar to sugar cane. The reeds bowed nearly to the ground during the hot daytime. At night, thanks to the cool breeze of the Mediterranean, the reeds would stand up again. This singularity was a crowd-gathering event. Groups of people came out to see the reeds rise in the cool breezes of the night. Then they would return home, unchanged by what they had witnessed. 

Jesus was telling the people that they did not follow John’s teachings, but that all they wanted was to see a spectacle (similar to the reeds).  They were not willing to repent and to be baptized.

They were also coming out to listen to Jesus in the same way—without a willingness or interest in changing their lives. Jesus was showing them how empty and frivolous they were.  They simply moved through the events of their lives without ever connecting with God or His power.

We must determine that in the course of our everyday lives, we must “see Jesus” and His power come alive in our own lives and in our own experiences.  How do we do that?  We study the Word of God and we allow it—INVITE IT—to cleanse us, transform us, and empower us to act. 

We are Christ’s disciples and we are meant to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  We are called to support the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to work in our own neighborhoods to be an influence for good and a witness of Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

Wisdom of this World

Wisdom of this World

Is there any true wisdom in this world?  Here’s what the Bible has to say about worldly wisdom: 

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.  For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness;” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”  (1 Cor 3:19-20)

Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  (1 Cor 1:20)

According to the Word, there is no true wisdom that exists in this world, apart from Godly wisdom.  How do we, as believers and disciples of Jesus, obtain God’s wisdom?

  1. Ask the Lord for it. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  (Jas 1:5)
  2. Grow up into Christ—speak the truth in love. So that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ . . . (Eph 4:14-15)
  3. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.  (Rom 12:2)
  4. Study the wisdom from above. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  (Jas 3:17)
  5. Understand and come to know the Lord—then boast in Him! Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”  (Jer 9:23-24)
  6. Set your minds on things that are above. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  (Col 3:2)  That means we need to think about heavenly, godly things.  Meditate upon the Scriptures and the goodness of God.
  7. Do not love the world or the things of the world. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:15-17)
  8. Fear the Lord. By “fear,” I mean to respect and reverence the Lord.  When we fear the Lord, we put His opinion about everything and His instruction to us in first place in our lives. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is  (Pro 9:10)  This fear of the Lord will establish us securely on the path to learning of and receiving the wisdom of God.

Getting Out of the Slump

Getting Out of the Slump

What is a slump?  It can be defined as:  sluggishness; lethargy; boredom; or stagnation.  Do you ever feel like you’ve gotten into a spiritual slump and have just been treading water?  We’re going to consider how to extricate ourselves from just such a slump.

Let’s look at the Bible:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  (Eph 3:14-21)

I was taught that this passage makes an excellent basis for prayer for ourselves and loved ones.  It’s also a great basis for prayer for spiritual disciples and spiritual children.

To get out of a slump, we need to pray this passage over ourselves.  So what is it that we’re asking for?  We’re asking God to give us:

  • Strength in our inner man through the Holy Spirit, (Ps 18:32)
  • Christ’s indwelling presence by faith, (1 Joh 4:13)
  • A foundation in His love, (1 Joh 4:8)
  • A deep comprehension of and experience of God’s perfect love, and
  • The fullness of God alive within us. (Eph 4:13; Col 2:9)

We receive everything from God by grace through faith.  Grace is God’s part and faith is our part of the process.  When we are born again (saved), Christ makes His home in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As we grow in our Christian walk, we study God’s word and obey it with joy and gladness.  This kind of obedient life causes us to gradually come to know the love of God more fully and completely; and we become filled with the fullness of God.  Love is the atmosphere in which God dwells, because GOD IS LOVE.  (1 John 4:8)

He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.  (Joh 14:21)

As the verse above says, our obedience to God’s word demonstrates our love for God.  And Jesus says that to such a person, He will manifest (reveal) Himself.  This is what being filled with the fullness of God is all about.  It will elevate you out of any slump anytime, and places you back in your seat in the heavenlies.  (Eph 2:6)  Blessings upon you!

Walking in God’s Truth

Walking in God’s Truth

For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, and I have walked in Your truth.  (Ps 26:3, emphasis added)

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  (3 Joh 1:4, emphasis added)

The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.  (Ps 119:160)

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  (Joh 17:17)

How do we “walk in God’s truth”? 

Let’s consider the Scripture verses shown above, and ponder the fact that Jesus told us in John 14:6 that He is the Truth. Elsewhere, the Scriptures inform us that Jesus is the Word made flesh.  (Joh 1:14)  The Bible also states in John 17:17 that God’s Word is truth.

After reflecting upon these points, we can understand that “walking in the truth” means:

  • living our lives in obedience to God’s Word;
  • making our decisions in agreement with the values of the Scriptures; and
  • living according to the wisdom of the Bible.
  • It suggests that we would highly value God’s Word, and that we would study it diligently. (2 Tim 2:15)

There are many passages of Scripture that remind us that when we seek and serve the Lord, He showers us with His protection, His favor, and His blessings.  Have a blessed day.

(Also see my article titled “Truth & Love Are Bound Up in Jesus” posted on 02/20/2017 in this blog.)