The Lord is Faithful & Upright

<strong>The Lord is Faithful & Upright</strong>

The Bible tells us in many different verses that God is not only faithful, but that He is upright.  What do these terms means to us?

Faithful means the fact or quality of being true to one’s word or commitments, as to what one has pledged to do, professes to believe, etc.  Titus 1:2 reminds us that God cannot lie!  This tells us that we may trust whatever He says.

Upright means morally erect; honest; just; conforming to high, moral standards. 

Now let’s look at these Scriptures:

For the word of the Lord is upright; and all his works are done in faithfulness.  He loves righteousness and justice; the world is filled with the gracious love of the Lord.  (Ps 33:4-5 ISV) 

According to this passage, God’s Word is upright, honest, and just.  All of God’s works are done in faithfulness, according to what He has promised.  Glory to God!

Our Lord, you are true to your promises, and your word is like silver heated seven times in a fiery furnace.  (Ps 12:6 CEV)

This Bible verse reminds us that God’s promises are true (genuine, valid, sincere), and that they have been tried and tested—just like fine silver.

The Lord is your mighty defender, perfect and just in all his ways; your God is faithful and true; he does what is right and fair.  (Deu 32:4 GNT)

How reassuring to read this Bible passage above!  God is declared to be our mighty Defender who is perfect and just (good, fair, honest, honorable) in all of His ways. 

For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will see His face.  (Ps 11:7 NASB)

According to the Scripture shown above, all who are upright (honest, respectable, righteous) will see God’s face.  Hallelujah!

The earth, O Lord, is full of thy steadfast love; teach me thy statutes!  (Ps 119:64 RSV)

Lastly, we see the Lord’s love described as steadfast which is just another word for faithful, reliable and trustworthy.

As you can see, based upon what we have just studied, God is indeed faithful and upright!  He is worthy to be praised!

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!

What Does God Do for His Glory?

What Does God Do for His Glory?
  1. God created the world for His glory.  – The heavens tell of the glory of God;
    and their expanse declares the work of His hands.
      (Ps 19:1 NASB)
  2. God helps not only ALL people, but He helps, delivers, and forgives believers, for His own glory. –  Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.  (Ps 79:9 NIV) 
  3. God will not share His glory with idols, so we must be diligent in ascribing glory to God alone for all of His blessings upon us.  – ‘I am the Lord; that is my name!  I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.’  (Isa 42:8 NIV)
  4. God will not allow Himself to be insulted, and He will not relinquish His glory to others. –  For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.  How can I let myself be defamed?  I will not yield my glory to another.  (Isa 48:11 NIV)
  5. Because we are called by the name of the Lord and we are His children, the listens, forgives, and acts on our behalf.  It is all for the glory of His name.  –  ‘Lord, listen!  Lord, forgive!  Lord, take note and take action!  For your own sake, don’t delay, my God, because your city and your people are called by your name.’  (Dan 9:19 ISV)

We belong to our Creator, and it is our created function to bring Him glory and honor. We are the children of God, called by His name and created for God’s own glory—as the Scriptures teach us: 

Bring My sons from afar, and My daughters from the ends of the earth, even everyone who is called by My name, for I have created him for My glory; I have formed him, and I have made him.  (Isa 43:6-7 MEV)

So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory.  (Ps 63:2 CSB) 

We are called to worship and glorify the Lord. Let us praise and worship the Lord in the sanctuary as we recognize His strength and His glory.  Praise the Lord!

Stay in the Love of God

Stay in the Love of God

There are practical ways to stay spiritually strong despite the enemy’s efforts to destroy our faith.  We will stay strong if we remain focused on God’s love for us and continue to do His will.  John 15:10 reminds us that we will abide in His love if we keep His commandments.

Let’s read God’s Word on this topic:

. . . keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  (Jude 1:21 NKJV)

“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 NKJV)

. . . and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.  (Rom 5:5 NIV)

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?  (1 Joh 3:16-17 NIV)

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  (1 Joh 4:16 NIV)

Our God is love.  His love is perfect, endless, and unfailing.  When we’re secure in the knowledge of God’s love, we then can trust in His goodness and mercy.  God manifests Himself in various ways to people who trust Him and are sure of His love for them.  He hears and answers their prayers; he surrounds them with favor and protection; and He fights for them.

God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  Because of the reality of this truth, we are enabled to reach out in love and mercy to help others.  This also motivates us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who are lost and hurting. In whatever way that we are able, we are called and given the gift of grace to show God’s love to all whom we encounter.  In so doing, we share the love of God and shine forth the light of God’s goodness into the world and remain in the love of God.  God bless you.

God Calls Us to Love Our Christian Family, Pt. 2

God Calls Us to Love Our Christian Family, Pt. 2

This is part two on this topic of loving our Christian brothers and sisters.  This is a very important subject to the Lord.  He has included so much information in His Word for us about this very thing.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  (1 Joh 4:11-12 NKJV)

As we demonstrate and live in a helpful, loving way toward our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are revealing to the world, and to anyone who cares to notice, that God abides in us.  It is His life in us that enables and empowers us to serve one another in love.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  (Joh 15:12)  Jesus modeled loving service in His life on earth.  He showed love to His followers and to all those who came to Him for help or for teaching.  The Lord Jesus is completely entitled to tell us to follow His example.

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.  (1 Joh 3:10)  This says it quite baldly:  an unrighteous life and an unloving attitude to a brother is proof that we are NOT ‘of God.’  Wow!  The only alternative to being ‘of God’ is to be a child of the devil, and we absolutely do NOT WANT to be identified as that.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?  (1 Joh 4:20 NKJV)  How can we possibly say that we love God if we can’t show love and helpfulness to people with whom we can interact, communicate, and see!  God is being completely reasonable here.

Here are some hints on ways to show love to others:

  • Be kind
  • Be open-minded, friendly, and able to make the first move
  • Empathize
  • Be genuine
  • Expect nothing in return
  • Be a good listener
  • Allow others to make their own decisions
  • Love in small ways
  • Keep showing up, and
  • Look for ways that you can be of help to the individual or family.

We can do this because God has said that we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS!  (Rom 8:37)  Hallelujah!

Be Steadfast

Be Steadfast

Be steadfast in your spiritual life.  Steadfast means unwavering, unfaltering, loyal, devoted, or constant.  So how can we be steadfast and in what ways?

. . . rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer . . .  (Rom 12:12)  Continue in daily prayer interceding for yourself and for other people and for our leaders—both spiritual and national.

For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.  (Gal 5:5)  As we eagerly wait for the return of Jesus (or to arrive in heaven ourselves), wait with a sense of anticipation, eagerness and joy. 

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  (Joh 16:33)  The Lord warns us that we’ll experience tribulation somehow, at some point in our lives, but that we should be cheered up knowing that Jesus has already overcome the world.  So be loyal and stalwart in believing the truth of this Scripture.  Remember that the Lord is with you and that He fights FOR you.  (Deu 3:22; Josh 23:10)

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.  (1 Cor 15:58)  Be devoted to thriving in the work of the Lord, knowing that one day you WILL receive your reward.  The “work of the Lord” involves ministering to others (by prayer, service, or helps); sharing the gospel with others; and baptizing new believers or bringing them to church so that they can be baptized in water.

And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.  (Ac 2:42)  Be unwavering in having fellowship with other believers; in sharing meals with them; in taking communion with other believers, and in prayers with them and for them. 

Above all, rejoice in hope! 

Upright Living

Upright Living

We are strongly encouraged to live holy, upright lives in the Scriptures.  Here are several instances:

In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.  (Tit 2:7-8 NIV)

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  (1 Tim 4:12 NKJV)

. . . having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.  (1 Pet 3:16)

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—  (1 Pet 2:15)

Why is this so important to the Lord that He would repeat it many times throughout the Bible?  It’s because the Lord has designed us to be His light in this ever-darkening world.  His plan is that through our upright and holy lives, we may silence all who try to defame us and vilify us in public. 

Our Lord Jesus was our example.  He lived a holy, sinless life on this earth and went about teaching the people about God and the Kingdom.  Jesus also performed signs, wonders and miracles continually.  It is such good works as His that we should yearn to imitate. 

I encourage us all to follow our loving Savior’s example of a righteous life.  God bless you.

How Can We Overcome?

How Can We Overcome?

How can a human being overcome in the manner discussed in the Bible?

To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  (Rev 3:21)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  (1 Joh 5:4-5)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.  (Rev 12:11 NIV)

Overcome means to conquer, defeat, triumph over, or annihilate.  They triumphed over the enemy of our souls, satan. 

I believe the key verses that tell us how to overcome are shown above:  1 John 5:4-5 and Revelation 12:11.

  • Our faith in God, which is a gift from God, is one of our weapons designed to carry us to victory.  Our faith in Christ as our Savior, who is the Son of God according to the Word, is a stabilizing factor throughout life.  Hold onto this truth and never let it go.
  • Acknowledging that the blood of the Lamb of God (Jesus) cleanses us from all sin is another tool of victory bestowed upon us by the gift of salvation.  Remain mindful of this truth, and thank and praise God for it.  It has purchased our righteousness.
  • The ‘word of our testimony’ is also mentioned as part of our armament against the enemy that will sustain us and transport us to victory.  A testimony is a declaration—even evidence—of our life experiences.  As we daily state and affirm (1) who we are in Christ Jesus; (b) what we have through Christ; and (c) all of the blessings that we have received through salvation, we deepen and strengthen our roots of faith.  As we maintain this continuous testimony, we firmly plant ourselves (our roots) in the realm of victory.

According to Romans 8:37, the Lord has made us MORE than conquerors (winners, victors, overcomers).  All overcomers will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus.  Glory to God!

The Message of the Cross

The Message of the Cross

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  (1 Cor 1:18 NIV, underlining and emphasis added) 

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.  (Rom 1:16, emphasis added)

 . . .  but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  (1 Cor 1:23-25, emphasis added)

. . . because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  (1 Thes 1:5 ESV, emphasis added)

The message of the cross is sometimes referred to as the:

  • Gospel of Christ (Rom 1:16)
  • Good News (1 Thes 3:6)
  • Power of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23-25)
  • Resurrection Gospel (1 Cor 15, entire chapter)

What is the message of the cross?  It is that God LOVES the world, and desires to be in RELATIONSHIP with each and every one of us.  Thanks to this truth, the Father God provided salvation to all mankind through Jesus Christ.

Jesus humbled himself in coming to earth as a newborn baby.  He grew up as a normal, human boy and learned the trade of carpentry.  He lived a sinless, perfect life serving His heavenly Father.  Jesus preached Good News, and demonstrated the love of His heavenly Father by performing signs, wonders, and miracles. 

Jesus displayed the need for continuous fellowship with His Father, as well as drawing apart for prayer.  He modeled forgiveness, wisdom, and walking in the Spirit for us all.

The symbol of the cross is an icon of grim human suffering and public humiliation.  Jesus’ suffering and subsequent death and resurrection are all part of the message of the cross.  In the light of Christ’s resurrection, there is restoration of hope, complete joy, and utter triumph.  Hallelujah!

Notice that the preaching of this gospel of salvation is always accompanied by the POWER of God.

The message of the cross proves the magnitude of the love that God has for mankind.

A Shield Called Faith

A Shield Called Faith

. . . above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  (Eph 6:16, emphasis added)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  (1 Joh 5:4, emphasis added)

We see that the Bible mentions a “shield of faith” in Ephesians chapter six.  This is quite an important concept, when you think and meditate upon it.  Shields were used to in ancient times to block attacks from hand-held weapons like swords as well as from projectile weapons such as arrows. 

The shield can also symbolize steadfast principles, commitment, loyalty and protection, which are afforded to us by taking up the spiritual “Shield of Faith” in Christ Jesus, our Savior.  This spiritual shield protects our hearts and minds from the attacks of the enemy which are designed to rob us of peace and joy.  Our spiritual shield also enables us to persevere in times of trials and crisis.

Cling to your confession of faith, brothers and sisters!  Heed Romans 10:8-9:

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.