A Life with Hope

Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised will come true and faith is the assurance that what He promised He is able and will also perform. We hope for what we can not see.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval.

Only the Lord can give us hope. However, our hope must be in the Lord and not in the object of our desire. We can go through anything if we have hope. However, life never turns out the way you think it will but if your hope is in the Lord then He will not disappoint you and your disappointments will be His appointments. You will see His purposes and His love if your eyes are on Him and your hope is in Him.

Job 13:15 “Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him.

Hope gives us strength and the courage to go on.

Psalm 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord.

Life will get better when you feel that there is not much hope. Don’t give up but turn to the Lord and ask Him to help you.

Psalm 27:13,14 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.

His eye is on those who hope for His lovingkindness.

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

Hope will not disappoint if your hope is in the Lord. Do not get discouraged for each trial that you go through only strengthens you in your faith in the Lord and brings about perseverance and proven character. Your faith is tested and you will see how much He loves you if you will hope in Him and His lovingkindness.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Strengthen you faith and hope in Him through the incredible stories of His faithfulness that are preserved for us through the Old Testament.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

The Lord is the God of hope and He will strengthen you as you seek Him.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Life that Overcomes Bitterness

Bitterness is one of the most damaging emotions. Bitterness can be an unresolved hurt in our hearts. Someone hurt us and we can still feel it as if it just happened yesterday. Bitterness can be a wound that has never been healed. It will cause you trouble and poison many.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

When sin abounds then God’s grace abounds also but unless we receive His grace and are healed from the hurt and pain of wounds from others we will become bitter.

Romans 5:20,21 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life which is through Jesus Christ our Lord. When you do what is right after someone has done you wrong, and you can only do this through God’s grace, then you will be set free from the bitterness which would result from not experiencing His grace. If you will turn to Him in your pain then He will heal you and restore you.

Exodus 15:26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

The opposite of bitterness is thankfulness. He will remove the bitterness and fill your heart with gratitude and joy. Only the Lord can do this but He can and He wants to.

I Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Bitterness also comes from forsaking the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:19 Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter
For you to forsake the Lord your God,
And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.

Bitterness can come from the misfortune of bereavement.

Ruth 1:20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.

The Lord healed Naomi and she became the great great grandmother of King David. The Lord restored her joy. She trusted the Lord and He was faithful to her.

Ruth 4:16,17 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Bitterness can come from unfulfilled desires and longings. Hannah was greatly sorrowful that she could not have any children.

I Samuel 1:10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.

Hannah turned to the Lord and the Lord heard her prayer and gave her a son, who became the last judge and first prophet in Israel. Her prayer that is recorded became Mary’s prayer when she found out that she was going to bear a Son and His name would be Jesus, the Son of God.

I Samuel 2:1,2 Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is no one holy like the Lord,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

When you experience great loss then you might feel bitter. Job lost everything but his wife and then she also tried to get him to forsake the Lord.

Job 3:20 Why is light given to him who suffers,
And life to the bitter of soul,

Job was faithful to the Lord and the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him even more.

Job 42:10 The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.

Great sorrow and pain comes to all of us at some time in our life. How we respond to it will determine whether our life becomes bitter or sweet. If we turn to Him, He is faithful and will not disappoint you, for that is the promise He has made to us.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

If you don’t turn to Him then your bitterness will eat you up and destroy you from the inside and will make it’s way out through your countenance and your tongue. Not only will it destroy you but it will defile those around you, as mentioned earlier. Don’t substitute what the Lord wants to give to you. His plan for you is sweet. It is the devil who wants to rob you through bitterness.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Turn to the Lord in you sorrow, loss, disappointment and unfulfilled desires and longings. He will give to you even more than what you can imagine and He has a plan for your life that is good for you and sweet.

 

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.

 

A Life that Listens

A life that listens to the voice of the Good Shepherd is a life that lives in tranquility. The Lord speaks to us in different ways. He says that His sheep hear His voice. This is what He wants. He wants to speak to you through His Holy Spirit that He has made to dwell within you. He speaks to your spirit when you become spiritually alive. You become spiritually alive when you become born again. You become one of His sheep and He becomes your Shepherd. As your Good Shepherd, who lays down His life for the sheep, He will protect you and guide your steps to keep you out of harm.

John10:11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

He knows you by name and calls to you. He will communicate His love for you in many different ways. You will see His hand and hear His voice.

John 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

He has sheep throughout the world and all through the ages. We belong to the Shepherd and He makes us one, regardless of color or race. He is the good Shepherd. The word “good” means the highest form of love. He has an unconditional love for each one of us. There is nothing that we can do to cause Him to love us more.

Proverbs 6:22 When you walk about, they will guide you;  When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you.

He speaks to you through His Word. You must be faithful to put it in your heart so that when the time comes that you need comfort or guidance or whatever your need is, He can talk to you as you walk about and even when you are asleep or awake.

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

The word “beloved” means just what it says, “be loved”. The Lord calls you beloved because He wants you to be loved by Him. Let Him love you as He longs to do. Let your striving be your seeking after Him so that you can hear His voice. He will give to you even in your sleep.

 

 

A Life of Understanding

A life of understanding is a very exciting life. Could you imagine understanding matters that the world wonders about and yet never come to know? They are ever seeking but never coming to the knowledge of the truth.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

The beginning of true understanding is to not lean on your own understanding. We look and perceive with our eyes and ears. All we can do is observe but not know about the inner workings of many matters in life. When we look to Him then He gives us insight into the “why”. The creator of the universe who made it all not only understands but will give to His children great understanding. For example, “why do men behave the way they do?” We know a man’s wants but what are his needs? The Lord who made men knows them better than anyone and will give you insight. The Bible says that the eyes of man are never satisfied. Once a man’s wants are satisfied then he will often go elsewhere. There are certain things that a man needs and he will generally go, stay and return to where his needs are met. The same is true for all of us. We will go where our needs are met but our wants are constantly changing.

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

If you want to understand then rather than study the desired object get to know the One who is the Creator of all things.

Exodus 35:31 And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in knowledge and in all craftsmanship;

Keeping God’s commandments will give you understanding. Obedience comes before understanding. Often we want to understand and then obey but faith is obeying first and then He rewards us with understanding.

Deuteronomy 4:6 So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

God’s Word is what gives understanding.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

The fear of the Lord and understanding go together.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;

Ask the Lord for understanding. King Solomon asked for understanding and it pleased the Lord so much that He gave him riches, honor and life.

I Kings 3:9 So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”

He gives understanding and along with understanding comes blessing.

Job 12:13 With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding.

To depart from evil is understanding.

Job 28:28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’ “

Apart from understanding, which is the knowledge of the Lord, we are like the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:20 Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.

One who seeks understanding has a heart to obey the Lord.

Psalm 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law And keep it with all my heart.

Do you struggle with confusion? The opposite of confusion is understanding. The Lord says that He is not a God of confusion. When you find yourself saying, “I am so confused,” then stop what you are doing and ask the Lord to give you understanding and seek Him in His Word. He wants to give you the knowledge of Him and show you understanding.

I Corinthians 2:9, 14-16 but just as it is written, Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

The truly spiritual Christian appraises all things yet he himself is appraised by no one. The non Christian, or natural man, does not accept nor understand the things of the Lord.

 

A Life that Knows the Will of God

Often people will ask, “How do I know what is God’s will for my life?”.  Is it possible to know His will? There are several ways to help you know the will of the Lord for your life.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

There are three aspects of God’s will. The will of God will always be good and acceptable and perfect.

Mark 10:18 No one is good except God alone.

God is good. The word good means the highest form of love. God’s will for you will be loving for others. If something you want to do does not express the love of God then it is not God’s will for you to do it. There are many things that are not a sin but they are not loving because the activity may make someone stumble. If you think then that you will do it in secret then it will be okay because it will not make anyone stumble then you are not acting wisely.

Proverbs 18:1 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.

God’s will is always wise because He is the fullness of wisdom.

Colossians 2:2,3 a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

God’s will is perfect. You will know what is God’s will when there is nothing to add to it and nothing to take from it. If you ever find yourself saying, “I really like him “but”…” or “I really want to do this “but”…” then you find that the “but” is what will come back to bite you later on and will bring great frustration and sometimes torment. The Lord has give you authority to help you in your desire to know God’s will. Go to the ones over you and ask them what they think. Often the Lord will speak through them. Maybe that particular thing that you want is His will but not His timing yet. Until there is nothing to add to it and nothing to take away do not do it but wait on the Lord and ask Him to help you.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.

the will of the Lord will always be acceptable. God is holy and He has commanded us to be holy.

I Peter 1;15,16 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

God’s will can be seen in His commandments. His commandments are holy and He has called us to be holy so His will will never violate what He has said in His Word. His will for your life will always be acceptable to Him.

James 1:17 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.

So ask yourself concerning something that you are wondering if it is His will…”Is this person I want to be with, this place I want to go or this thing I want to do” good and acceptable and perfect? If it does not meet these three criteria then do not do it. The Bible says that you will lie down in torment if you “light your own fire” rather than trust in the Lord and rely on Him.

Isaiah 50:10,11 Who is among you that fears the Lord,
That obeys the voice of His servant,
That walks in darkness and has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
Behold, all you who kindle a fire,
Who encircle yourselves with firebrands,
Walk in the light of your fire
And among the brands you have set ablaze.
This you will have from My hand:
You will lie down in torment.

One more thing, is there something already in your life that you know that you should be doing that you are not doing? You need to do what He has already shown you before you will receive more light concerning something else. Obedience brings light.

 

 

 

A Life Free of Guilt

One of the things that man can not live with is guilt. Guilt is a horrible thing that will cause us to do anything to get rid of it. The love of God draws us to Him and it is the guilt of man that drives us to Him. If we refuse to come to Him for forgiveness then we will either try to deny the guilt, bury the guilt, hide the guilt, forget the guilt or try to deny the existence of God in hopes of being free of guilt.

Genesis 3:9-11 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.” 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 Lord told Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but man ate of it. He knew that he had done wrong and felt guilty.

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

The Lord made man upright and to have fellowship with Him but man chose to go his own way. The word for wanting to go your own way is iniquity. It basically means that you want to run your own life, or in other words, this is what man says in his heart, “nobody is going to tell me what to do”. We see this in toddlers as soon as they can exert their own will. We sometimes will call it the “terrible twos” but really it is our “terrible lives”. A toddler just has not learned to cover it up yet.

Proverbs 21:8 The way of a guilty man is crooked, But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.

It does not say the way of a crooked man is guilty but the way of a guilty man is crooked. We are all crooked in our ways. When we see someone that makes us feel guilty then we will change our path to avoid them. Our path is no longer straight but crooked.

Psalm 18:26 With the pure You show Yourself pure,
And with the crooked You show Yourself twisted.

When we are crooked because of our guilt then we will have a twisted view of God. He will seem harsh or mean or unfair. We will not want to come to Him or obey Him. However, your view of God is not a revelation of who He is but an indication of the state of your heart. If you disagree with the Bible and your view of God is, “My God would not…” then you do not know Him correctly. He is who He is and He is a just and loving God. Sin and guilt has distorted the correct view of God in man’s eyes. How can we see who He is clearly? Everything we do is a response to our view of God. Our biggest need is to have the right view of God.

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

We need a pure heart. The Lord is the only One who can cleanse our hearts.

Psalm 51: 1-4 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

It is against the Lord first of all that we have sinned. He can and wants to cleanse us from our iniquity, that is, wanting to be our own God, and then from our particular sins, that is, the particular sins that we have committed against ourselves or others. Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who took away our sin and His death on the cross paid the price for our sins. It is because of His blood that we can have total forgiveness of our sins but we need to ask Him to forgive us. He wants to forgive us and cleanse us and restore us.

Psalm 51:10-13 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.

Are you struggling with guilt? Go to Him and receive His forgiveness and by faith claim what He has done for you on the cross. If you have given your life to Him then He has forgiven you of all of your sins and longs to have fellowship with you once again. Once we become His child then we are always His child but our fellowship with Him can be broken. Allow Him to restore it. After you have been restored and know the joy of your salvation once again then you will want to share Him with others for you will again see that He is good and loving and kind.

A Life that is Restored

The Lord is the only One who can restore us. He first restores us to a right relationship with Himself and then He starts restoring us and our relationships. He also restores us to a right relationship with His creation.

Psalm 23 1-3 The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

The Lord knows what we need for restoration. Notice that He says here that He makes you lie down in green pastures. Sometimes He will cause circumstances to allow us to be still and lie down in green pastures where it is safe and He will lead us beside quiet waters where we will find refreshment. He is your Shepherd and He says that you will not be in want, that means that He knows your needs and you will not be lacking anything that you need so don’t struggle against the circumstances but learn to accept what you can not change. He will guide you on your journey in paths of righteousness so that you will have peace, quietness and confidence, but first you need restoration. The sheep were never intended to stay in the same place.

Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness will be peace, And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever.

As a Christian we can experience death to our soul when we sin and continue in a particular sin. Restoration comes when we confess our sins to Him, turn from our sins and He cleanses us.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

After confession when we pray to Him we are drawing near to Him and we will experience His restoration. As He says in His Word, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Psalm 80:3 O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved.

The Lord is the One who restores us in our fellowship with Him.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;

The Word of God is what the Lord uses to restore our soul. It is the power of God. It cleanses us.

John 15:3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

Prayer and the Word of God brings restoration to our soul. Go to an older woman who you know is in a right relationship with the Lord and ask her to pray for you also if you are still struggling with a particular sin.

James 5:15,16 and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

If you are walking with the Lord and have been doing so on a consistent basis and growing in your relationship with Him then you have a responsibility to restore others in their relationship with the Lord if they are struggling with being enslaved to a sin.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

The Lord has given all of us responsibility to help each other. We need each other to help one another stay close to the Lord. We are not sinless when we become Christians but we do sin less.

James 5:19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

 

A Life of Joy

Generosity and joy go hand and hand. The Lord Himself said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving gets your eyes off of yourself and your interests and needs and causes you to become aware of the needs of others around you. The ore yo give, the more your cup of joy will overflow.

Acts20:35 In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Giving gives you a heart for the Lord, for where your treasure is there will your heat be also. Your heart will follow your treasure. Time and money are two of your treasures that you can give away.

Matthew 6:21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The generous person will be prosperous or successful.

Proverbs 11:25 The generous man will be prosperous,

Give to those who can not pay you back. The Lord says that even sinners give to those from whom they will receive something back. When you give to the needy of His people you are giving to the Lord.

Matthew 25:35-40  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

The person who gives to the rich will come to poverty. Give to a person in need and they will give you their heart.  When you meet the need of the needy then you are removing the obstacle in their life so that they can hear the Gospel. You are allowing them to see the love and truth of God so that they can hear the love and truth of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

Give to the poor and the Lord says that He Himself will pay you back. It is the only time in Scripture where the Lord says that He will become man’s debtor. His payment is in full and more. He remains no man’s debtor.

Proverbs 19:17 One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord,  And He will repay him for his good deed.

Give to those who have helped you spiritually.

Galatians 6:6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him.

Your cup of joy will overflow as you give to the Lord by giving to His people, the needy and to reach others for Christ.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

A Life of a Beautiful Character

There is no real beauty without a beautiful character. Character is what defines who we are and all that we do is an outward expression of our inward character. When one has a beautiful character, which can only come through the person of Jesus Christ living within them, then their life is a manifestation of God on earth. He walks and He talks through men and women today and makes Himself known on earth. You must first have the Lord Jesus Christ within you to walk and talk with Him and for Christ to make Himself known to others.

Revelation 3:20 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 stands at the door of every person’s heart and asks to come in. Have you heard His voice but not asked Him to come in yet? Do not delay any longer. You do not know if you will have another chance. If you block out His voice then the day will come that you will no longer hear it.

Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

If you are aware of the Lord and want to know Him then come now while your heart is still tender.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning
That they may hear?
Behold, their ears are closed
And they cannot listen.
Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them;
They have no delight in it.

All you need to do to walk with the Lord and let Him talk to you is that you must receive Him into your life. Ask Him to come in. He will come in and make you into the person and character that you long to be.

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,

He will begin a good work in you and He will complete it.

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.

His thoughts toward you are only good and He has your best interests at heart. You can trust Him completely.

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.”

Forsake your thoughts and let Him fill your life with His thoughts. As a person thinks in their heart so they will become. Your thoughts originate in your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.

Character is formed first through thoughts and then through actions. Actions form habits and habits become character.

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.

When your character is formed then it will rule over your feelings and you will no longer be tossed here and there through the ups and downs of your emotions. Your emotions will submit to your will which has been surrendered to the One whose will for your life is good. You will experience the freedom of a disciplined life and will know what it means to be truly one of His disciples. Your life will exhibit the Lord in all that you do and you will be beautiful to the world as you will bring hope because the love of God has been poured out within your heart.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.