A Life of Making Disciples

If you are a Christian then the Lord has called you and given you a commandment to make disciples. This is an incredible privilege and joy. Jesus Christ went before us and showed us how.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and earth. He will be exalted whether you or I exalt Him or not because He is God. The amazing thing is that He has called us to be a part of what He is doing in history. Since history is really “His story” it makes since that it is all about Him. He alone is worthy of all honor and glory and power. He promises to be with us even to the end of the age. His kingdom came down to earth when He came the first time.

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

His kingdom is coming again when He comes to rule. He is our King and we are His people. He wants us to pray that His kingdom will come and to look for the coming of His kingdom.

Matthew 6:9,10 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

He wants us to seek first His kingdom.

Matthew 6:33a But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness,

The way we learn to be obedient to Him and build His kingdom is first learning to walk with Him and follow Him. We can not lead others if we are not being led. Jesus Christ chose His disciples first to be with Him and then to do ministry.

Mark 3:14 And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach,

The way we make disciples is first by learning what it means to be a disciple.

John 8:31,32 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

You must first believe in Jesus to be His disciple and then if you continue in believing in His Word then you are truly His disciples. As you continue in His Word then you will experience true freedom that begins on the inside. He came to set us free. Once free then you can share with others how they too, can be free. A disciple of Jesus Christ leads others to Jesus Christ.

John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Others will know that you are His disciple if you have love for others.

John 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

When you bear much fruit then that is the proof that you are His disciple.

Acts 6:7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

As the Word of God spreads then so will the number of His disciples. The Lord has called us to make disciples by sowing the seed of the Word of God, loving others and teaching them to obey our Lord Jesus Christ in all that He has taught us to do. Those who are found faithful will have no regrets when they see the Lord.

Matthew 25:21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’

Do you ever hear the voice of the Lord? He says that those who belong to Him will hear Him talking to them. He has something for all of us to do. When we are all faithful in whatever it is that He has called each one of us to do then His kingdom will be built. May we all be found faithful.

Revelation 3:20,21 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

A Life of Belief

Blessed is the one who believes. We came into the world believing in God. There is something within us that affirms there is a God. However, unless we are told, we don’t know how to come to Him. There is only one way to God and that is through Jesus Christ. He had to die and be raised again so that we would believe in Him.

John 20:1-8 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed

The disciples who walked with Jesus on earth struggled also with believing in Jesus Christ. It was not until they came to the tomb and found it empty did they believe. When John, the disciple who Jesus loved, (He loved them all but this disciple did not want to reference his own name so he referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved) saw the empty tomb then He believed.

John 20:24,25 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

Thomas, who had not yet seen Jesus, did not yet believe. He said that he needed to see the imprint of the nails and put his hand into His side in order for him to believe that Jesus had really risen from the dead.

John 20:26-28 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus understood Thomas and his need to see and touch for himself in order to believe. Jesus also understands each one of us. Each of us comes to believe Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in different manners but the important fact is that we all are believers. You may be struggling with your belief in Jesus Christ. He understands your struggle. Pray to Him and tell Him that you want to believe and ask Him to help you in your unbelief. He does not judge you and is more than willing to help you.

Mark 9:23,24 And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”

Often our prayer may be like this man in this account in one of the Gospels. He believed but still had some unbelief. The Lord will help you in your unbelief and help you believe in Him, if you ask Him for help.

Romans 3:3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?

You may have family or friends who want to remain in their unbelief. Don’t let someone else’s unbelief keep you from believing and experiencing the faithfulness of God. He is good and He is faithful and will make Himself known to the one who believes.

I Timothy 1:3 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

The Lord is a merciful God and if you turn to Him then he will show you mercy. Your past will not hinder you if you come to Him and want to believe in Him.

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

Sometimes it may seem difficult to continue to believe in the Lord. We don’t always understand His ways. However, believing is trusting without seeing and believing is knowing that God is true to His Word. He is faithful and He loves you even when you can not feel His love. In time, you will again see His love and faithfulness if you continue to believe in Him.

I Thessalonians 5:23,24 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

When you first came to belief in Jesus Christ then the Lord began a good work in you. He will complete what He began and He will perfect it in you until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

 

 

A Life that Makes Disciples

If you are a Christian then the Lord has called you to make disciples. It was one of the last commands that Jesus Christ gave to His disciples, and that was to go  into all the world and make disciples.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

What does it mean to make disciples and how do we do it? It is very simple and yet not so easy. It means that we show people how to live according to God’s Word by teaching them and by letting them see how God’s Word is lived out in our lives.

Proverbs 29:19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.

People can not be taught by words alone in how to live out the Christian life. They must see it. This is what it means to be a disciple and to make disciples. We can read God’s Word and know what we are supposed to do, but we struggle with how to do it. There is nothing more powerful than an example. Discipleship is inviting other people into your life so that they can see Christ in you. How did Jesus learn on earth?

Hebrews 5:8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

Jesus had to learn obedience. We have to learn obedience. It is a struggle because often our flesh does not want to obey but we are to die to our flesh and live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

A more accurate meaning of this verse is that we are to live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for us. He is faithful and when we look to Him then He will keep us faithful. We are to feed on His faithfulness and we too, are to learn obedience to His Word.

Philippians 2:3-8 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Jesus Christ laid aside His God powers and lived a life of obedience to the Father. He had to learn the Word of God. He had to learn obedience. He had to be faithful. He emptied Himself and took the form of a bond servant, being made in the likeness of men, He humbled Himself continually before the Father and became obedient to the point of death, death on a cross. He did not raise Himself from the dead, but the Father raised Him from the dead. He had to trust that the Father would not abandon Him to death but would raise Him up…and the Father kept His promise to His Son and raised Him up on the third day. Jesus not only died for us but He also showed us how to live a life of faith in the promises of God. This is what true discipleship is…allowing others to see you entrust yourself to the Lord and becoming obedient to the point of death, because He is faithful and will raise you up that you may live forever with Him.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

This is what it means to follow the Lord as one of His disciples. You follow Him in obedience, by denying yourself and doing exactly as He has commanded. Is it easy? No. Is is worth it? Yes.

Hebrews 10:36-39 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

A Life of Devotion

One of the greatest illustrations of true devotion was done by a single woman who gave her all to express her love. Even though it was criticized by another who did not have the same devotion it was praised and received by the One who matters…and that One is the only One who is worthy of our total devotion.

Luke 12:3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

Mary loved Jesus and expressed it at a great cost to herself. She was a single woman, whether she had ever been married we do not know. She lived with her brother and sister and no parents are ever mentioned. Whether they were alive or not we do not know. So, she really did not have much security that she could depend on in her old age. However, she gave what was precious to her, and what she may have been counting on to help her in her time of need, to express her love to her Lord. The Lord was so touched that He said that what she had done would be remembered and mentioned wherever the Gospel is preached.

Mark 14:3-9 While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Mary did what she could to show her love for Jesus. She knew that He loved her and was giving her all that He had and she gave all that she could to show her love. Her love for Jesus cost her something. The gift that she poured over Him and anointed Him with was worth about a year’s wages. Her love for Him was a fragrant aroma that filled the house where He was. When He went through His crucifixion He had the fragrant aroma of her love for Him. When we love Jesus then the world will be filled with the fragrant aroma of our devotion to Him. Those who don’t have the same devotion may be critical or indignant but that does not deter the one who is devoted nor does it take away from the gift of devotion to the recipient. Mary need not have worried about her security or being ashamed.

Psalm 34:5 They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed.

Mary was radiant in her love for Jesus. Jesus will never let those be ashamed who put their trust in Him. Others, who do not have the same devotion to Jesus Christ, may try to shame them but He is the One who honors and allows shame. Jesus stood by her and would not let her be ashamed.

Psalm 25:1-3 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

Indeed, none who wait for the Lord and put their trust and devotion in Him will be ashamed.

A Life that Does the Necessary

Most lives get messed up when their priorities are out of line. The only way our priorities will be what they ought to be is if Jesus Christ is our Lord. We can not run our own lives without problems. If you want to be happy then you must have Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and do what He says. He is good and He loves you. He will remove your guilt and fears and will give you the stability, purpose and meaning in life that you desire. He created you and knows all about you even more than you know about yourself.

Psalm 139:1-3 O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

If you will let Him be Lord in your life and allow Him to direct your steps then He will take you where you want to go. Deep within us there is a longing to belong and to be in our niche and yet most people do not know what they want or where they belong until they get there and then there is a sweet contentment that comes from being where He designed for us to fit. However, the contentment comes from Him being first in our lives and then our place in life being second. He chose His disciples first to be with Him and then to preach. He has chosen you first to be with Him in a relationship.

Mark 3:13,14 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him.And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach

The Lord has called us to first be with Him and then to serve Him. Our service for Him should be an overflow of our fellowship with Him. No matter what He has called you to do it is service to Him. He wants us to do our work as unto Him. Service to Him is not just for those who are in a Christian ministry. Many of the godly men and women that God used in the Bible did other vocations that were not necessarily spiritual, but He used them because their heart was right with Him and their priorities were in order.

Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

If we don’t have our priorities in order, in spending time with the Lord, sitting at His feet and listening to His Word then we can easily start becoming anxious and bothered about unnecessary things. The Lord said that only one thing is necessary and that is spending time with Him and listening to His Word. This may sound simple but if you have not tried it then why don’t you try it? Try spending more time with the Lord than what you thought you could. You will find great joy if you soak up His Words into your heart. Your heart will become His more than ever before and you will see Him act on your behalf.

II Chronicles 16:9a For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.

He will accomplish what concerns you and He will use you to accomplish what concerns Him.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

 

A Life with A Home

The Lord makes a home for the lonely. Loneliness is devastating and can bring us low with no one to life us up. The Lord wants all of us to have a home where we are loved and where we can love. Even if we live alone we do not have to be lonely.

Psalm 68:6 God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

The Lord will fill your home with love and joy if you allow Him to be magnified and exalted in your home. He will come to you and show you how He can use you so that He can come to others through your home. People love to come to other people’s homes. Hospitality is a ministry that is given to those who give themselves to the Lord.

Romans 12:10-13 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

You will find that as you open your home to others then the Lord will bless you and fill your home with great joy and His presence. Not only that, but you may even entertain angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

As you water the lives of others then the Lord will water your life. Be generous with what the Lord has given to you. Your abundance is someone else’s need.

Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.

Your home may even be one of the hundred homes that the Lord has promised those who would leave everything to follow Him.

Mark 10:29,30 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.

Wherever you are in life the Lord will meet you. He is a restorer of the paths that lead home. Often when Jesus walked on earth He sent people home once they were forgiven, healed or cleansed. You may need to go home and tell those who know you best what great things the Lord has done for you.

Mark 5:19 …but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

As much as possible you need to be reconciled to your family. If you have been the prodigal child then go home and be restored to your parents or if a family member has something against you then go to them and be reconciled.

Matthew 5:23,24 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

Be at peace with all men as much as it is in your ability to do so. This includes your family. You will find that broken relationships will bring emotional baggage into any future relationships and will make it more difficult to have the home that you long for.

Romans 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

If your life has been restored to the Lord and as much as possible with others then give your home to the Lord and ask Him to use it for His glory and His purposes. Ask Him to make Himself known to others through your home and life. Ask Him to cause His name to be remembered in you and your home.

Exodus 20:24b in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Life with a Relationship with God

The Lord first designed us to be in relationship with Himself. All other relationships must flow out of this relationship so that they will flourish as He designed. Sin messed us up and we will have messed up relationships apart from Him. We must be in a loving relationship with God to have loving relationships with others. God is love and the source of all love. The Lord is the One who shows us and teaches us about unconditional love.

I John 4:7-10 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God is love and love is from God. The Lord made known His love to us by sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins and to take the punishment for what mankind had done in the garden of Eden by going His own way. God sent His Son to be the Savior of all of mankind.

I Timothy 4:10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

Jesus Christ came to be the Savior of all but only those who believe in Him will receive that salvation.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Jesus Christ was the perfect Lamb of God who came as the sacrifice for our sins which He took upon Himself on the cross.

John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Jesus Christ loved us when we were at enmity with God. He died for us while we were sinners. He loved us just the way we were and accepts us where we are.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

His salvation is available to any who will receive Him. Whoever puts their trust in Jesus Christ will come into a personal relationship with God. They will become His child and will be restored to a relationship with Him and fellowship with Him, they they might walk with God.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

Once restored to a right relationship with God the child of God will experience the incredible and unfathomable riches of the the love of God. Nothing will be able to separate you from His love.

Romans 8:38,39 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You will also know the unsearchable depths of the ways and the knowledge of God.

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

 

 

A Life with Relationships

Relationships help keep us from being lonely and give us worth, purpose and meaning in life. They also keep us balanced and accountable. We were made for relationships and yet many struggle with few meaningful relationships. Relationships teach us how to receive and give love and it is through relationships that the world is changed. Even if you missed out on certain relationships earlier in life it does not define your life or your ability to make relationships. Relationships must be built on the One who designed us to be in relationships.

Genesis 2:8 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

The Lord God made man and gave him life. Man became a living being because God gave him life and God is the source of all life. When God is absent in a person’s life then he only exists, rather than thrive and life life to the fullest.

Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Everything that God had done up to this point He said that it was good. However, after He formed man then He said that it is not good for man to be alone. It was not good then and it is not good now for man to be alone. Man had God but man still needed to be in a relationship with another human being. Through another human being man would find companionship, help and love. The word “helper” means literally savior and is the only time in the Bible that it is used in reference to a person. Every other time it is used in reference to God. The word “suitable” means corresponding to. God made a helper who would respond to Adam’s heart and bring him companionship. Even though Adam lived in a perfect environment and had a job to do, which was to cultivate the earth and name the animals, he still needed a helper and companion, who would respond to his heart. God made man and woman because He wanted them but God made Eve for Adam because they needed each other. Man was not made to live alone. God loved man and woman from the beginning and gave them instructions on life because He wanted them to live life to the fullest.

Genesis 2:15-18 Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

The Lord knew what man needed and as long as man listened to and obeyed God then man and woman would live happily ever after. As long as they lived in their relationship with their Creator then they would be safe from any grief and the pain of death.

Genesis 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

Woman did not listen to the one whom God had given to protect her and Adam chose also to not obey what he knew was right and so both chose to go their own way and do their own thing apart from what God had commanded. Their relationship with God was changed and they became estranged and separated. The Lord came and they hid.

Genesis 3:8-10 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”

Separation, death and guilt came into the world and with it fear, grief, pain and blame. When trust is gone in relationships then the relationship is changed and not the same. With broken relationships come broken hearts. With broken hearts there comes blame. Someone is responsible for the brokenness. Often we want to transfer the blame.

Genesis 3:11-13 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

With broken relationships come consequences which bring more sadness.

Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said,
“I will greatly multiply
Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you.”

Woman sinned first and the Lord spoke to her first. The consequences of her sin was pain in childbirth and she would desire her husband but he would rule over her.

Genesis 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
“Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”

Man sinned by doing what his wife wanted him to do rather than what God wanted him to do. He disobeyed God. His consequences were that the ground would be cursed because of him and there would be thorns and thistles that would make his work more difficult. He would now have to sweat things out in his work and it would not be as pleasant and enjoyable as God had designed. Man still struggles with the thorns and thistles in his occupation.

Genesis 3:22-24 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

It was God’s mercy that sent Adam and Eve out of the garden lest they eat of the tree of life and live forever in their now sinful state. Before God sent them out of the garden the Lord also gave Adam and Eve a promise of a Savior so that they might have hope and not despair.

Genesis 3:14a,15  The Lord God said to the serpent,
And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

There would come from the seed of the woman a Savior who would destroy the tempter, Satan, who had brought grief to Adam and Eve. Mankind came into an awful cycle that only God could straighten out, a cycle of sin and death and with it a cycle of grief and despair. Man became brokenhearted with broken relationships.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, Because the Lord has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

The promised One who would destroy the works of the devil would also bind up the brokenhearted and heal them and heal their relationships.

 

 

 

A Life with Victory

Victory is sweet to those who experience it and when we have victory we want to keep it. How do we live a victorious life? There are three things that we must have victory over or we will end up being defeated no matter what we achieve or accomplish in this life. We must have victory over sin, self and Satan. These three things will pull us down and keep us down.

Proverbs 5:22 His own iniquities will capture the wicked,
And he will be held with the cords of his sin.

Sin ensnares and holds us captive through its cords. Sin controls and defeats us. The wicked person, who does not seek the Lord and fear Him, will be his biggest enemy and he will be held with the cords of his own sin.

Psalm 36:1-4 Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart;
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
For it flatters him in his own eyes
Concerning the discovery of his iniquity and the hatred of it.
The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
He plans wickedness upon his bed;
He sets himself on a path that is not good;
He does not despise evil.

The wicked person is one who believes in God but does not despise sin. He even flatters himself in his own eyes concerning the discovery of his sin and the “hatred” of it. However, he does not hate it enough to turn to the Lord and repent. He does not really want to quit. The wicked is often someone who used to have a “sensitivity to God”.

Romans 8:2,3 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

Jesus Christ is the only One who can give us victory over sin. He condemned sin in His flesh by going to the cross for those who had sinned and are worthy of death. This includes all of mankind. We have all sinned and need a Savior to save us from our sin.

I John 2:15-17 Do not love the world nor 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 lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

Our fleshly self will defeat us. This is also a constant battle but brings freedom to the one who has victory. Jesus Christ is the only One who can give us victory in this area. If you have received Christ then your “self” has been crucified with Him.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

You will find that as you feed your spirit and starve your flesh then the spirit will have the victory and you will do the things that are pleasing to God.

Romans 8:5-8 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Finally, Satan has been defeated through Jesus Christ and what He accomplished on the cross.

Colossians 2:13b-15 He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Now live in the victory that Jesus Christ has accomplished for you. He came to set you free and to give you life.

I John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

He made you to be an overcomer through Him. Sin, self and Satan are in the world but Jesus Christ came so that we could experience victory through faith in Him.

 

 

A Life with Blessing

The word “blessed” means happy so the life that is filled with blessing is a life that is happy. Since most want to be happy then most of us want to be blessed. Life was meant to be blessed. In the beginning God blessed mankind when He created them.

Genesis 5:2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.

The Lord intended for all the families of the earth to be blessed.

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

The Lord instructs us on how to live a blessed life. You will be blessed if you observe His testimonies. You will be blessed if you seek Him with all of your heart.

Psalm 119:2 How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart.

You will be blessed if you fear the Lord and walk in His ways.

Psalm 128:1 How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways.

How blessed are the people who have chosen the Lord to be their God.

Psalm 144:15 How blessed are the people who are so situated;
How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!

Blessed are the ones who hope in the Lord and look to Him to be their help.

Psalm 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,

Blessed is the person who finds wisdom and gains understanding.

Proverbs 3:13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding.

Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord.

Proverbs 16:20 He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

The generous person will be blessed.

Proverbs 22:9 He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor.

Jesus taught the people who would be blessed.

Matthew 5:3-12

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus summed up the blessed person in one of His teachings.

Luke 11:28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

Do you struggle with being happy. Start with one of these disciplines and ask the Lord for wisdom what He would have you to do. The Lord wants to bless you and He wants you to be a blessing to others. It all begins with Him. The Lord is the One who blesses and He can make you to be a blessing to others. You will know when you have been blessed with the true blessings because your response will be of one who wants to bless the Lord.

Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.