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 Does What is Right

One aspect of the meaning of righteousness is doing what is right. Jesus walked in perfect righteousness, which means that He did what was right all of the time. Righteousness is the opposite of sin. One of the definitions of the word righteousness in the Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament, is literally “do not destroy”. When we sin and do not do what is right then we are destroying something, whether it is our family, our reputation, our relationships, our marriage or whatever else that is a part of us.

Psalm 58:1,2 Do you indeed speak righteousness, O mighty ones?
Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?
No, in heart you work unrighteousness;
On earth you weigh out the violence of your hands.

In our hearts all of us are guilty of unrighteousness. We deceive our selves by rationalizing or saying something is not that bad, in other words, we weigh out the degree of our sin to determine if it is that bad. Violence is violating the Word of God and in the end we are the ones who are violated. The word violate means to change. When we sin, then something in us is changed. When we sin we lose our innocence in that area and have come into the knowledge of evil. We are no longer the same and it has taken us away from the image of God. When we sin then a part of us is destroyed.

Deuteronomy 6:25 It will be righteousness for us if we are careful to observe all this commandment before the Lord our God, just as He commanded us.

When we do what is right then it keeps us from being destroyed. It is not the kind of righteousness that saves us but it is the righteousness that preserves us. The righteousness that comes from God that saves us is the righteousness that is based on faith. When we believe God then our faith is reckoned to us as righteousness. However, we can be a Christian and still experience destruction if we do not live according to His Word.

I Samuel 26:23a The Lord will repay each man for his righteousenss and his faithfulness;

The Lord rewards each man according to his righteousness. This is a reference to the blessings that he receives, whether it is rewards on earth or in heaven. When you do what is right in God’s eyes then He rewards you.

I Kings 3:6a Then Solomon said, “You have shown great lovingkindness to Your servant David my father, according as he walked before You in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward You;

He gives us the righteousness of Christ when we become a Christian but then He wants us to walk in His righteousness after we have come to know Him. He wants us to put on His righteousness, in other words, He wants us to walk in a manner pleasing Him, that is, doing what is right. You are to put on the new self. When you put on the new self the outcome will be righteousness.

Ephesians 4:22-24 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

You are to wear the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate is what guards your heart. When you do what is right then you will guard yourself from much pain in your heart.

Ephesians 6:14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

This is the righteousness that the Lord spoke of in Ezekiel when He mentioned Noah, Job and Daniel, that they could only save themselves by their own righteousness. He is not talking about eternal salvation, for all have sinned and fall short of God’s standard of righteousness. However, they preserved their own lives from destruction on earth because they sought to live out God’s standard of righteousness and while others were destroyed their lives were not destroyed. Let them be our examples of living a godly life in a godless world. God’s judgments are coming and He will judge the world in righteousness.

Ezekiel 14:12-20 Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it and cut off from it both man and beast, even though these three men, Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,” declares the Lord God. “If I were to cause wild beasts to pass through the land and they depopulated it, and it became desolate so that no one would pass through it because of the beasts, though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters. They alone would be delivered, but the country would be desolate. Or if I should bring a sword on that country and say, ‘Let the sword pass through the country and cut off man and beast from it,’ even though these three men were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their sons or their daughters, but they alone would be delivered. Or if I should send a plague against that country and pour out My wrath in blood on it to cut off man and beast from it, even though Noah, Daniel and Job were in its midst, as I live,” declares the Lord God, “they could not deliver either their son or their daughter. They would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

To sum up, you are not responsible for the wrongs done to you by others but you are responsible for doing the right thing in your relationships with others. The devil is the destroyer and the way he destroys is by deceiving us into believing a lie that it is okay to do certain things. Don’t let him destroy you by doing what is wrong. Learn the right way to do life so that you will experience life as the Lord designed and came to give you.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

 

A Life that Is Compensated

The Lord is fair and He is just. He does all things right and well. He is also love. He also says that He recompenses a man according to his work.

Psalm 62:11,12 Once God has spoken;
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God;
And lovingkindness is Yours, O Lord,
For You recompense a man according to his work.

Apart from the Lord our hearts are proud and everything we do is tainted with that pride. If we are good it may be because we want the praise of others or we want to feel good about ourselves. When we do wrong we will still think that we are not that bad because we can always find someone who has done things worse than us, at least in our own eyes. All of this is apart from the new heart that the Lord gives to us when we give our old heart to Him. He can not reform our old heart and so He gives us a new one.

Psalm 31:23 O love the Lord, all you His godly ones! The Lord preserves the faithful And fully recompenses the proud doer.

When we receive a new heart then we become godly in His eyes because now we have God in us. He came to save us and to make us into the image of Jesus Christ.

Ezekiel 36:26,27 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

The evidence of a new heart is that you will want to walk in His ways and you will want to obey His Word. You will also be compensated but your compensation will come from walking in His ways and obeying Him. When you walk with Him then He leads you into good works that He has already prepared for you to do. You just have to obey Him and when you do, then you will enter into His joy and will know that you have done what He desired.

II Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

We will all appear before the Lord and be recompensed for the deeds we have done to other Christians. All they good or are they bad? Have you loved as the Lord has loved you? Have you withheld good from someone when it was in your power to do it? Are you ready to see the Lord?

Galatians 6:9,10 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

 

A Life that Praises

The Bible says that praise is becoming to the upright.

Psalm 33:1 Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.

What you praise is what you will become. You will praise what you put your trust in.

Psalm 115:8 Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.

What you praise is what you trust in and what you trust in is your idol and your idol is what you worship.

Psalm 115:4-7 Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.

Praise and worship go together. The Lord calls it wickedness if you worship what you have made, whether it is your home, business, career, savings account or anything else that would tempt you to trust in rather than to trust in the Lord.

Jeremiah 1:16 I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

Have you sacrificed your children to build your career if you are married? Have you sacrificed your standards to try to get that relationship you desire? Have you forsaken the Lord by not having your quiet times with Him because you are too busy?

Deuteronomy 5:8-10 You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

If you have been trusting in anything other than the Lord then repent and turn to Him with all of your heart. Fear Him and keep His commandments. He will show His lovingkindness to you who love Him and obey Him.

Hebrews 13:15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.

It is through Jesus Christ that we offer up a sacrifice of praise to the Lord. We are to thank Him for all of the great things that He has done. This is one of the ways that you become more like Him. When you praise Him then He is your focus and you become what you fix your eyes on.

Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones,
And give thanks to His holy name.

When He is your trust then He will be your Savior. He will deliver you, save you, protect you, provide for you and whatever else you need. His name is Jehovah and His name means “the becoming One”. He will become what you need and your praise will be becoming to Him.

A Life that Stands

The Lord told His disciples that they need to be able to stand when He comes back. It is going to be so terrifying and awesome that we will fall on our faces before Him when He comes again. Only those who have stood for Him and walked with Him on earth will be able to stand before Him when He comes again.

Luke 21:36 But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

There are times when you will have to stand for Him. Don’t shrink back or be afraid for He will stand with you.

Mark 13:9 “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.

Be faithful to the end and He will stand for you. When Stephen was being stoned to death, he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God.

Acts 7:54-57 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at him. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse.

We stand in His grace. You will keep standing throughout this journey on earth as you learn to stand on His Word in His grace.

Romans 5:1,2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

If you fall, get back up and keep standing strong in His grace. Your standing before the Lord is not based on your goodness or not falling but on Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.

He considers you righteous even when you fall and He holds your hand.

Psalm 37:23,24 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.

The Lord is the One who keeps us standing so that we may stand before Him. Don’t worry if someone else judges you because the Lord will keep you standing and that is all that matters.

Romans 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

He will deliver your soul your soul from death and keep your feet from stumbling, not only in this life but in the life to come, so that you may walk before Him in the light of the living.

Psalm 56:13 For You have delivered my soul from death,
Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living.

 

A Life that Calls

One of the definitions of a wicked person is that they do not call upon the Lord.

Psalm 53:4 Have the workers of wickedness no knowledge,
Who eat up My people as though they ate bread
And have not called upon God?

A life that lives as the Lord calls us to live is one who calls upon the Lord. He says over and over again in His Word, “call on Me”. It is the wise young lady who gives heed to this admonition. Are you ever in trouble? Call on Him. He has promised that He will rescue you but you need to be careful to give Him the honor.

Psalm 50:15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.

Do you need boldness? Call on Him.

Psalm 138:3 On the day I called, You answered me;
You made me bold with strength in my soul.

Do you need to know what to do? Call on Him.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’

An expression of true repentance is when people call on the Lord. Is there something in your life that you know that you should not be doing? Call on the Lord and turn from your wicked ways. The Lord meets the one who delights in doing righteousness.

Jonah 3:8 But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

The greatest invitation that has ever been given has been given to all of us.  Whoever will call upon the Lord will be saved!

Romans 10:8-13 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Let it not be said of you that you did not call on the Lord or that you became weary of Him. Call on Him today, while you have the opportunity.

Isaiah 43:22 Yet you have not called on Me, O Jacob;
But you have become weary of Me, O Israel.

If you do not call upon Him while you can then the day will come when you will wish that you had done so when you had the opportunity. He is calling to you. Do not refuse Him.

Proverbs 1:28,29 Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.

 

 

 

A Life Fulfilling the Great Commission

When the Lord takes you home to be with Him then what will you leave behind? The Lord wants us to fill the earth with disciples. He wants us to go to the ends of the earth if necessary to make disciples. His command is to make disciples as we are going through life. Who are you teaching the ways of the Lord and pouring into them what the Lord has taught you?

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.”

The Lord says that He has gone before you and all He has called you to do is follow Him. He will show you as you step out in faith, in obedience to Him, how to make disciples. It is His will and He wants you to follow Him.

John 12:26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

He created you for a purpose and as you seek to follow and obey Him then you will find your purpose in life. You are His workmanship for good works which He has prepared beforehand for you.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

What are you to teach and who are you to disciple? You are to teach the things that the Lord has taught you to those who are teachable and faithful and who will be able to teach others also.

II Timothy 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

The Lord has been given the nations as His inheritance and the very ends of the earth as His possession. On His authority we go and do what He has commanded us.

Psalm 2:7,8 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.

Jesus Christ has been given the nations and the ends of the earth as His possession and He wants us to ask Him and He will give them to you to make disciples. Who are you asking Him for, that they might know Him and be His disciple? What doors are you knocking on that the Gospel might be heard by others? And are you seeking His kingdom as He commanded you?

Matthew 7:7,8 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.