A Life that is Morally Upright

Morality and immorality are opposites. Immorality is exchanging eternal values for  temporal values. Esau was immoral by trading his birthright for a meal. His birthright was his so why was his action immoral? His birthright was what had eternal value and the meal had temporal value.

Hebrews 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

If we do not wait for God’s timing then we are also godless. Esau would have gotten some food but he could not wait.

Isaiah 64:4 For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.

The Lord has far more for you than what you can see or have heard of if you will only wait for Him.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

He can even do more than what you can think of if you will only trust Him and wait for Him.

James 1:16,17 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

Do not be deceived and listen to the lies of the devil that come out of the world or that even come into your thoughts. The Lord wants to give you good things and perfect gifts.

Isaiah 55:8,9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Learn to think His thoughts and learn His ways. His thoughts are revealed to us in His Word and that is also how we learn His ways. He has given His Word to us. It is His revelation of who He is. It is the only way that we know the only true God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us through Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

He wants to teach us His ways and He wants us to observe His Words, by observing He means to study, know and obey them.

Psalm 25:4 Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

Are you thinking His thoughts and learning His ways. It is a lifelong process and the more we know His ways then the more we will know Him and experience His good gifts. That is why the Lord says over and over again in His Word that the ones who keep His commandments and follow His ways are blessed. Morality is keeping His ways and being obedient to His Words, which are eternal values. Immorality is doing what you want to do and satisfying your flesh, which are temporal values. You can be morally pure today if you will turn to the Jesus Christ with all of your heart. It is the state of your heart today and has nothing to do with your past. If you have blown it morally then confess your sins to Him and He will cleanse you and give you a new start and make you a new person. The old things pass away and all things become new.

II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

 

A Life that Receives Instruction

The severest consequences are for those who reject God’s instructions. Not only will their lives be the most miserable and filled with pain and bitterness but the end of those lives is eternal death.

Proverbs 8:32-36 “Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.
“Heed instruction and be wise,
And do not neglect it.
“Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at my doorposts.
“For he who finds me finds life
And obtains favor from the Lord.
“But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate me love death.”

Since no one is annihilated it means that they will live in an eternal state of death where the worm does not die and the flame is never quenched.

Mark 9:44 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

Man was never designed for this destiny but chooses it for himself when he rejects God’s instructions.

Matthew 25:41,46 Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angelsThese will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Man’s rebellion against God’s instructions began in the garden. He did not heed what the Lord had told him and he was sent out of the garden and experienced curses and ultimately death.

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.”

The Lord says that the person is blessed who will heed instruction and be wise. Life on this earth is either a taste of hell or a taste of heaven. If you will do exactly as the Lord says to do in His Word then you will be blessed. Heaven is eternal life and blessings forever. If you neglect what He says then you will experience curses. Hell is eternal death and curses forever. (The person who curses is usually the person who will spend eternity in hell because the Bible says that the one who loves to curse that curses will come to him.)

Isaiah 55:6,7 Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

Do you want to avoid a life that rejects instruction? Accept God’s instructions and live. The Bible says that the person who finds the Lord and His instructions finds life and obtains favor from the Lord. The Christian life is sweet and those who live in His kingdom love it because they have found the Giver of life and experience life rather than death on a daily, moment by moment basis as they follow His instructions.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The first instruction that He gives those who want to experience life is that they believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him into their life to be their Lord and Savior. Once He is our King then He instructs us in the way we should live. He will guide us until we see Him face to face and live in His presence forever.

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid an Unstable Life

The Bible says that a double minded person is unstable in all of their ways. What does it mean to be double minded? It means just that you can not make up your mind as to what you should do. So, often the double minded person will seek out others and ask them what they should do. However, often it is the bling leading the blind. Not a good situation and especially when it comes to decisions. The double minded person is unstable in everything that they do.

James 1:6a-8 …for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

The double minded person is unstable but what does the double minded person need to do so that they will not be doubting and double minded. The Lord tells us through His Word.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Double mindedness is not the problem but it is the symptom of a deeper issue. The root problem that needs to be addressed is the fact that the double minded person does not have a pure heart. A pure heart is a heart that is fully surrendered to the Lord and has no will of its own but the attitude that Jesus had which was always, “Not My will, but Thy will be done.” A person with a pure heart is one that has fully surrendered its will to the Lord. They have no will of their own.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

When you see the Lord then you will also see clearly and know what to do. You will not need to ask others what to do, you will be able to understand righteousness, justice and discern every good course.

Proverbs 2:1-9 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.

If you will learn to receive God’s sayings and treasure His commandments within your heart. If you will make your ear attentive to wisdom and incline your heart to understanding. If you will cry for discernment and lift your voice for understanding. If you will seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will discern the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. You will also discern righteousness, justice, equity and every good course. Your life will not only be stable but your life will be a light to others.

Psalm 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel,
To those who are pure in heart!

The Lord is good and those who have a pure heart will see His goodness. Not only will you experience and see His goodness but you will see the Lord. The Lord is our stability and when our lives are built on Him then there is nothing that can shake us.

Psalm 46:1,2 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;

No matter what the situation is and no matter what happens you will not fear if the Lord is your refuge and strength. He is a present help in trouble and wants to show Himself strong on your behalf. He will be the stability of your times.

Isaiah 33:6 And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure.

 

How to Have A Life that is Successful

Everyone longs to be successful. We don’t want to fail in school, in relationships, on our job, at home or when and if we get married and have children. These next few promises are some of the most amazing promises in the Bible. It shows the heart of the Lord. He wants you to be successful in every area of your life. Incredible that we have a God who not only loves us perfectly but desires our best!

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Some people may not believe this promise but don’t let someone else’s unbelief pull you down because this verse is very true. The Bible says that it is impossible for God to lie. However, He makes it very clear what you must do to be successful. You must meditate on God’s Word day and night to that you may be careful to follow it exactly as He says. Sometimes it may not make sense to you but do it anyway. Meditate means that you think about His Word. We meditate all of the time. Worry is meditating on your problems and the outcome. If you will replace those thoughts with His Word then you will receive insight that you never saw before and He will show you what to do to avoid failure and to succeed.

Psalm 1:1-3 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

Again, this is amazing. The Lord says that if you will meditate on His Word day and night then your life will be fruitful, you will not wither up during the dry seasons of life and in whatever you do…you will prosper. We spend so much time trying to be successful in our own efforts and even reading books on how to be successful in different areas but IF we will only do this one thing then the Lord promises us success. This shows how much He longs for you to spend time with Him. Just like parents want to reward their children big when they do something really big in their eyes even more does the Lord want to reward you IF you will take His Word, meditate on it and then do what He says to do in His Word. However, one of the instructions for learning to meditate on His Word is that you must stop listening to the many voices in the world…voices of the wicked, scoffers and sinners. Do not walk with them nor stand with them not sit with them.

James 1:25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Again, in the New Testament our Lord repeats this truth. Blessing and success are closely related just as curses and failure. The Lord wants to bless you and He wants you to be successful. If you do not follow His instructions then you will experience curses and failure.

Hebrews 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

The only part of God’s Word that will profit you is what you believe enough to do. Begin by taking a verse and memorizing it and then thinking about every way that verse can apply to your life and then do it. After you have done this then take another verse. You will see as time goes on that your life is being transformed into a beautiful Christlike life.

How to Avoid The Life of a Fool

Sometimes it is easier to understand a truth when we see the opposite. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness and so the opposite of being a wise person is being a fool. What is the life of a fool like and what is its end? The Bible says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. In other words, we come into life with foolishness being a part of our heart.

Proverbs 22:15a Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;

The foolish person engages in folly. The word folly literally means stupidity. We clearly see it in others but it is not so clear in ourselves, that is, until it is too late.

Proverbs 14:24 The crown of the wise is their riches, But the folly of fools is foolishness.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. The Bible also says that the fool is deceived. When we refuse to listen to the truth then we become deceived and deception only leads to more deception.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

A fool begins being a fool by setting themselves up as their own authority and letting themselves be the judge of what is right and what is wrong. Everyone has a standard of right and wrong even if the standard is not correct. The fool usually will keep changing the standard so that they will not have to deal with guilt. However, a fool becomes this way, by living as if there is no God.

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

The fool does his best to live as if there is no God. However, this “philosophy” only brings more pain and the fool will ultimately be mad at God. Typical of a fool are the words, “If there is a God, then why would He…”. The fool is completely without understanding and will never understand the ways of God. God will seem unfair to him, that is, when he is finally honest enough to admit there is a God.

Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord.

The fool destroys his own life and then he gets mad at God.

Proverbs 10:14 Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.

The fool messes his life up by his own mouth. Also, the Bible says that the fool multiplies words and is quick to show their anger. The fool will also display dishonor. Not only does the fool hurt themselves but they also hurt the people around them.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

If you choose to be with a fool then plan to be hurt and dishonored.

Proverbs 3:35 The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.

An entire book could be written on the fool. However, we can sum up the life of a fool by saying that it will be a life of pain, regret, shame, anger, rage, ignorance, destruction to themselves and others, despising knowledge and lacking in understanding. Unfortunately, the foolishness of man began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve decided to live without the Lord by going their own way and doing their own thing. They did not submit to the Lord but chose to “make their own decisions”, in other words, “to be their own lord”. That tendency is within all of us.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.

If you will learn to seek out the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than many other ways to God, and to allow Him to be your Lord then you can be saved from being a fool. He will give you wisdom and understanding. The Bible says that the meaning of understanding is to know the Lord.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Wisdom is everything that is the opposite being a fool. A wise person is slow to anger and considers their words. Rather than destroy they build their life, marriage and family. They are a joy to be around because they are a blessing to their friends and not only that, but just by being with a wise person you will see and hear wisdom. The wise person’s life will be filled with peace, love and great joy as they seek to follow the One who gave His life for a world of fools, who wanted nothing to do with Him. All we have to do is come to Him and surrender our life and will to Him and He truly takes the foolish things of the world and does something great and glorious. Jesus Christ is amazing Savior and Lord who came to redeem man from all of the destruction that he brought on himself. It is no wonder that those who know Him will spend all eternity praising Him. Will you choose to be wise and come to Him or will you continue on in your foolish ways?

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

This is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ because in Him does all the fullness of wisdom dwell.

Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

This is God’s will for you…that your heart may be encouraged, having been knit together in love and filled with the wealth that comes from knowing Jesus Christ, who is the true knowledge of God and in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

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 Receives Their Heart’s Desires

The Lord has amazing promises for those who seek Him and delight themselves in Him. There is none to compare with Him for He delights in giving to His children. He knows our needs and that we need to learn to delight ourselves in Him first. If He is not our chief delight then the desires of our heart can easily become an idol in our lives. If our desires become an idol then something that could be good for us becomes a snare.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

The Lord loves to give to us and He does not withhold from us what is good and what we need. As you learn to trust Him and walk with Him you will see that the dis-appointments in life are really His-appointments. He is wise and loving and when there is a disappointment then it means that there is something you don’t know and you need to trust Him. You don’t need to understand Him in everything but you need to trust Him in everything.

Psalm 84:10-12 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

When the Lord is your delight then you would rather stand at the threshold of the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. There is no comparison to being with Him and in His presence. It truly is the fullness of joy.

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

How do you learn to delight yourself in Him? There are a few principles that help you do this. First of all, if you will learn to love God’s Word then He will become your delight. How do you learn to love God’s Word? It is by spending time in it and seeking Him through his Word.

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.

If you will read and meditate on God’s Word then in time He will speak to you through your spirit. He will be very real to you and you will want to spend more time with Him. There is a wonderful cycle of the more time you spend in God’s Word then the more time you want to spend in His Word. He Himself will teach you and His Word becomes sweeter than honey to you.

Psalm 119:102,103 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

There is another wonderful principle that helps you take delight in the Lord. This principle is a precious truth found in His Word of keeping His day holy to Him. The Lord set aside one day a week as His day and He says that day is holy to Him.

Isaiah 58:13,14 “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the Lord,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

In the book of Revelation the Lord’s day is mentioned as Sunday, the day Jesus was resurrected.

Revelation 1:10a I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,

Since Sunday is usually the day that Christians get together to worship the Lord in community with each other then that is usually the day to honor the Lord in keeping His commandment of “keeping the Sabbath day holy”. Back in the days of the early church some people considered every day to be the Lord’s day and therefore holy and some people only considered one day to be the Lord’s day. Either way, if you want to learn to delight in Him, then this promise is for you if you will honor Him on His day.

Romans 14:5,6a One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord,

When the Lord becomes your delight then He also will be the love of your life and you will grow more “in love” with Him as you see and hear His love a thousand times a day. All of life looks different when you are “in love” and you will find that you will want to talk about Him, as well as talk to Him more and more each day. Your life truly becomes an overflow of your love relationship with the Lord. Your longing will be for Him.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

If you belong to Him then He wants you to “be longing” for Him. He, on His part, longs to be gracious to you. Long for Him and see what a blessed life it is when you do so.

A Life that Can Do All Things

A life that can do all thing is only a life that can do all things through the strength and ability that God provides. The Christian life is the sweetest life ever known but it only comes from a dynamic relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

There is a prayer that expresses it well and it is “I can’t, You never said I could. You can, You always said You would.” He lives the life through you in the power of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the gift He gives us when we receive Him. He said that, “He would never leave us or forsake us.” He is a present help. If some things seem hard to do or hard to understand then give these matters to Him and ask Him to help you.

Matthew 11:29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

If something seems too hard in the Christian life then maybe you are taking a burden that He never intended you to have. This is the only time in Scripture where Jesus describes Himself. He is gentle and humble of heart. If you truly follow Him then you will find rest for your soul.

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.

These verses reveal one of the principles of the victorious Christian life. If you are living in the flesh then you will experience death to your soul, which is the defeat you feel and the regret and remorse. If you are living according to the Spirit then you will want to obey and please Him. The flesh is hostile to the Lord and the things of God but the Spirit is alive to the Lord and the things  of God. Ask your self if there is anything that is feeding your flesh. There are so many things today that feed our flesh and when we feed our flesh we will not desire the Lord and it will be impossible to obey Him. After a while often the result is doubting our salvation. It is the Spirit that gives us assurance of our salvation.

Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

The word lusts in the Greek literally means desires. Our flesh has desires that want to be satisfied. The only problem is that they don’t satisfy but leave the Christian feeling empty. They may get for a moment what they want but then once that moment passes then they are lonely on the inside and the temptation is to fill that emptiness comes again but it only increases the emptiness.

James 1:14-17 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

If one will only flee from temptation and call on the Lord for help then in time they will receive the good gift that the Lord has for them. We are often tempted right before the Lord gives His good gifts. He wants to fulfill your desires.

Psalm 34:10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.

A Life in Secret

There are three things that the Lord says that we need to do in secret. Again, He loves to reward His children when they do what pleases Him so He offers great rewards for these three matters of obedience. The Lord says that He sees in secret and He knows what we do in secret. He says that He will reward us openly. If you read the lives of the great men and women that God has used you will learn that they had their secret life with the Lord. Those who are not faithful in their secret life with the Lord eventually fall just as a tree whose roots are shallow or whose inside is rotten will fall. Your roots must go deep into his Word and into the soil of His love. If they do then your spiritual life will be nourished and you will prosper.

Jeremiah 17:7,8 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.

First, when you give, you are to give in secret. You are to give to those who can not pay you back. You are to give to the poor.

Matthew 6:3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Second, when you pray, you are to pray in secret.

Matthew 6:6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Third, when you fast, you are to fast in secret.

Matthew 6:17,18 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Just as roots are not seen but produce the fruit on the tree for all to see, so you too, when your roots go deep with the Lord, the Lord will be glorified by the fruit of your life as you bear His fruit.

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

May your trust in the Lord grow through maintaining your secret life with the Lord through prayer and meditation, fasting and giving.

Psalm 1:2,3 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

 

 

A Life that Understands Suffering

There is no question that with suffering there is pain but if we can understand more of God’s perspective on suffering then it helps us endure it and remain faithful. It is in our suffering that not only are we made more like Jesus Christ but the devil will tempt us. There are two kinds of suffering. First, is the suffering we bring on ourselves by either not knowing or not doing the will of God. Ignorance does not exclude us from the consequences therefore the more knowledge we have of God’s ways then the less of this kind of suffering we will have in our life.

I Peter 2:21 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

If you sin and the consequences seem harsh then it is your due recompense.

Colossians 3:25 For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

The second kind of suffering is the suffering that God has allowed for His glory. You may not understand the reason here on earth but if you learn to respond to this kind of suffering then you will experience some of His glory here on earth. If you do not sin but do what is right and suffer for it then this suffering allows you to find favor with God. Favor with God is that He has turned His face toward you and will bless you. He says that the Spirit of God and glory will rest on you. You will know His presence and it is the sweetest feeling in the world. Words can not explain the comfort and peace you will feel and it will greatly minimize your suffering.

I Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

One of the purposes of testing is to test your faith and to strengthen your faith. You might feel very weak during the testing but what the testing is showing you is where your weakness is so that you can strengthen yourself even more in the Lord. Also, so that you might be able to strengthen others when they experience similar testing of their faith.

I Peter 4:1,2 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

Another reason for your suffering is it sets you free from sin so that you will no longer live for the desires of the flesh but for the will of God. Suffering is part of the Christian life but if you know His promises then it is much easier to endure. The Lord Himself has promised to come to you.

I Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Finally, what do you do when you are going through a time of trials and suffering? You are to thank Him for the trial and then the Lord says to ask Him for wisdom. This wonderful promise is for anyone who is suffering, whether you have caused it yourself or it is a part of His will for you and you did not do anything wrong. He says that He will give you wisdom and without reproach. Without reproach means that the Lord does not say to us, “I told you so!”. Rather, what it means, is that He is saying is that He promises to give wisdom to anyone who will ask Him and He will give it generously.

James 1:2-5 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Thanking the Lord is an expression of faith and keeps the devil from getting a foothold in your thought life by bringing the Lord into your thoughts. As mentioned earlier it is when we go through trials that we struggle the most in our thought life because we can not see clearly because of the suffering. The Lord wants to get your focus off of the pain and hurt and onto Him. He will bring you through this suffering and afterwards you will from the heart give thanks, either in this life or in the life to come. Faith comes before feeling.

James 1:6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.

However, the ultimate purpose of suffering is to make us like Jesus. We become like Jesus when we learn to obey Him. The pathway of obedience is suffering.

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

The pathway of Christlikeness is obedience.

I Peter 2:21-24 For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.