Purify Yourself as Unto the Lord

Purify Yourself as Unto the Lord

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  (1 Joh 3:2-3 NKJV)

Just as the Lord is holy, He desires His children to live morally clean, wholesome lives guided by obedience to the Word of God. 

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  (Col 3:4)

If we live a life of Christian purity and devotion now, ‘when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory.’  This is a promise from God that shall absolutely be fulfilled. 

That’s why it’s crucial that we keep our relationship with the Lord Jesus in good shape and current by reviewing ourselves daily.  If we slip and commit sin, turn to the Lord in repentance, knowing that He forgives and provides repentance and the grace that we need to renew our commitment to holiness.

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)

Living obediently for the Lord has its certain rewards.  One day, we won’t even remember the pain and suffering that is a consequence of living on this sin-filled planet!  All of the pains that we receive from human frailties, betrayal, abuse or wickedness will be as nothing when compared with the glories that will be revealed in the future to all who believe in Christ.  Such glory is incomprehensible to us now but God promises that we will surely experience it.  Glory to God!

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

Don’t Be a Stumbling Stone

This study is about causing people to stumble spiritually, and it is a serious matter in God’s sight. 

As followers of Jesus, we have a grave responsibility to expose people to the light of the true gospel of Jesus Christ as outlined throughout the entire scriptures.  The gospel of salvation sets people free and makes the promises of God available to them.  It also gives them the blessing of an eternity in heaven.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!  (Mt 18:7 NIV, emphasis added)

My reading of the verse above is this –

This present world is an evil and dangerous place. It’s full of attacks, sins, traps, and sorrows.  We all recognize that it’s a treacherous road that we must travel through life, full of stumbling-blocks, precipices, and false guides.  But God forbid that any one of us should be the cause of spiritual or moral stumbling on the part of another person.

Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!  (Lk 17:1 NIV)

Here a similar idea to that of Matthew, above.  The truth of Luke 17:1 is that God is warning that a great wretchedness shall come upon anyone who causes injury or harm—in word or deed—to one of His little lambs.  Who qualifies for God’s punishment?   

  • 1. Anyone who has in some way discouraged a believer in serving Christ and in fulfilling their calling.  Or anyone who has discouraged a Christian so deeply that the believer is in danger of being driven away from serving Christ completely. DO NOT discourage other people in any way that would undermine them or discourage them from achieving their goals.
  • 2. Those who corrupt the truths of Christ and His Word, and so distress and hassle the minds of believers. This is an evil practice of planting seeds of doubt into the hearts and minds of those who have faith. WE ARE NOT CALLED TO hassle or distress brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • 3. Those who profess to be Christians, but who live scandalously (shamefully, sinfully), and thereby weaken the connections between and sadden the souls of God’s people. We must live in OBEDIENCE to and in agreement with the Word of God.

May each one of us live in harmony with the standards of God’s holy Word. Blessings upon you.

Jesus Reveals the Father

Jesus Reveals the Father

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father.  Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Mt 11:27)

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.  (Lk 10:22)

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  (Joh 10:15)

Jesus has a distinctive and unmatched relationship with the Father.  Since His relationship with the Father is personal and direct, ONLY Jesus can accurately disclose God the Father to us. 

How has Jesus revealed the Father to us?  Through His life and through His acts, He has displayed His Father’s character and heart for all to see and understand.  Here are just a handful of gifts that the Father has given to believers:

  • Love (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 3:1)
  • Freedom from Guilt (Rom 8:1)
  • Health, healing (Ex 15:26; Isa 53:5; Mt 12:15;Lk 5:17)
  • Daily benefits [blessings]  (Ps 68:19)
  • God hears and answers our prayers  (1 Joh 5:14-15)

As we study the Word of God and think deeply about it, we gradually learn more and more about the character and nature of God.  And the more we learn of Him, the more confident that we can be in the fact that He loves us; that He enjoys blessing us; and that He’s always with us.  Have a wonderful day!

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!

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

Make Every Effort to Do Good to All

The Bible invites us to do good to everyone.

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.  (1 Thes 5:15 NIV)

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Gal 6:10)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord . . .  (Heb 12:14)

Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.  (3 Joh 1:11)

As children of the most High God, we desire to live holy lives that obey the Word of God.  We serve a good God who is full of mercy, forgiveness, and love.  God has given every believer the blessing of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who leads us and teaches us. 

We should:

  • Strive to do whatever is good—for each other and everyone else;
  • Never pay back a wrong; never seek revenge;
  • As we have opportunity, do noble, virtuous, kind things for everyone—especially other believers;
  • Seek to be at peace with ALL; and
  • Pursue holiness always.

Jesus, our Good Shepherd, demonstrated “doing good” to all.  If we follow His example, and emulate our Prince of Peace, we will be blessed.

Two Things That Can Never Be Changed

Two Things That Can Never Be Changed

God’s promises and God’s vows are two things that can never be changed.  What a firm foundation for faith this fact provides for us!

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.  (Ps 33:11 NKJV)

So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18 God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.  We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us.  (Heb 6:17-18 CEV, emphasis added)

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.  (Isa 14:24 NKJV)

The Bible tells us in various passages and in different language that God cannot and will not lie.  (Tit 1:2; Isa 40:8)  You can count upon and rely upon the promises of God.  His Word is tested and true.  Let’s see what else the Bible says about this.

Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  (Pro 30:5 NASB)

Your word has been tried and tested; your servant loves your word!  (Ps 119:140 CEB)

Your kingdom will never end, and you will rule forever.  Our Lord, you keep your word and do everything you say.  (Ps 145:13 CEV)

We must stand upon the truth of the Word of God and rely upon His promises to us.  God is the One who guarantees that His Word will most certainly come to pass, and all that we need is faith and perseverance.  Don’t give up and don’t watch the clock or the calendar!  Focus upon God’s nature and His faithfulness.  Focus upon His love for you and upon His past blessings upon you.  Meditate upon all of the answered prayer that you have received, and remember that God hasn’t changed. 

God is the only Being who is the very definition of reliable.  Praise the Lord most High!

Obedience to God’s Will

Obedience to God’s Will

The Bible says that all those who obey God’s will (which is His Word) live forever and are members of His family. 

And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.  (1 Joh 2:17)

For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.  (Mk 3:35)

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”  (Mt 7:21)

Clearly this an important subject to the Lord, and it should be important to us, as well.  The Lord says that obedience is better than sacrifice.  (1 Sam 15:22)  Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth to become the Savior of the world.  And we are all the beneficiaries of Jesus’ obedience.

Let’s look at the Bible again:

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.  (Pro 21:3 ESV)

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him . . .   (1 Joh 2:4 ESV)

There is no way to follow Jesus without obedience to the Word of God.  This is an ongoing choice that we make daily—even moment by moment—as we continue to live by faith.  Blessings upon you.

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

Our Weakness Reveals God’s Strength

How can weakness or challenges in life reveal God’s strength to us? 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  (2 Cor 12:9)

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Cor 12:10, emphasis added)

For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.  (2 Cor 13:4)

Whenever we are weak in an area, it presents an opportunity for God’s strength to be discovered by us.  Our weaknesses, when exposed and humbly given to God, invite God’s love and strength to work powerfully in our situations.

Our weaknesses help us to see that there isn’t much that we can do in ourselves and by ourselves.  We comprehend our utter helplessness.  Problems and weaknesses compel us to turn to the true source of ALL help and power:  to the Lord Jesus Christ.  We must learn to rely upon God’s grace and mercy, both of which are abundantly available to us according to the Word of God.

In times of need, trial, or crisis, we reach a point where we are ready and willing to yield to God’s will in our lives.  Praise God!  As the Scriptures shown at the top of this article demonstrate, God is ready and able to meet our needs and to help us.  And when He does, it is a testimony to His love and mercy.

He loves to bless us and to solve our problems because He loves us.  (Joh 3:16; 1 Joh 4:19; Ps 37:40; 46:1; 63:7)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (Rom 8:26, emphasis added)  The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.

After we turn to the Lord and pray about our area of weakness and need, His power will flow into the situation and turn it around.  We then have gained genuine, first-hand experience of the love and mercy of God.  This, in turn, enables us to comfort and to minister to other people who are in similar situations.  (2 Cor 1:4)  It also deepens and matures our faith.

Rejoice in the strength and power of God that is available to you!

Know Jesus & You’ll Know the Father

Know Jesus & You’ll Know the Father

The Scriptures below remind us that when we know Jesus, then we also know our heavenly Father. 

But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.  (Joh 15:21)

Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”  Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”  (Joh 8:19)

And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.  (Joh 16:3)

It’s our honor and our privilege to come to fully know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  We do that by reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God.  In the Bible, we see verse upon verse explaining to us the nature and personality of the Lord.  The knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ is entry into eternal life.

But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight,” says the Lord.  (Jer 9:24)

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (Joh 17:3)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  (1 Joh 4:7-8)

According to 1 John, God is love.  And everyone who loves is born of God and KNOWS GOD! 

Do you want to know God?  Then learn of His perfect love for YOU; study and meditate upon His love for you. Search out and meditate upon the Bible verses that discuss the love of God, and how His love has been manifested. Once you have received and fully understood His perfect love for you, turn around and shower that love upon everyone in your life, beginning with yourself.  As Matthew 19:19 reminds us, we can only love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

Learn about God through His magnificent, matchless love.

What Are Idols?

What Are Idols?

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.  (Deu 6:14)

Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish.  (Deu 8:19)

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  (1 Joh 5:21)

What is an idol?  An idol can be a statue, a god or deity, a symbol, a hero, or an obsession.  Hollywood and movie industry stars can be idols for people, as can a certain model of a car, or a favorite brand of watch or any number of other things.

The key is, what is the most important thing in life to you?  What do you talk about the most?  What do you think about and dream of daily?  Around what are your goals centered?  Are you determined to achieve riches and fame?  Influence?  Do you dream of becoming a political influencer? 

Any of these things, and more, can become idols in a person’s life.  But God’s Word warns us strongly to stay away from these things.  Therefore, we need to take stock of our thoughts and to acknowledge what we value in our hearts. 

A follower of Jesus would value their relationship with their Savior more highly than any other thing in their lives.  Equally, Jesus’ followers would highly value the Word of God.  And of course, we also choose to honor and to consistently obey the teachings of the Bible. 

We may each joyfully pursue our relationship with our Lord, and endeavor to mature in faith in our Redeemer.  Life is all about Him—not about us.  Our true hero is Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Glory to God!