A Life that Forgives

There are certain commands that carry much greater weight than others and the command to forgive seems to be one of the most important. A lack of forgiveness brings about one of the worse consequences that is mentioned in the Bible. The Lord said that if you do not forgive others then your sins will not be forgiven you.

Matthew 5:14,15 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Forgiveness also brings a great blessing from the Lord because He says that if you forgive others then your sins will be forgiven you. We are all sinners who have sinned greatly against the Lord and we desperately need forgiveness from God, the Father. In the same way, we need to desperately forgive others of their sins. You receive what you give away and what you withhold will be withheld from you.

Mark 11:25,26 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

The meaning of evil is to cause grief. It is hard to forgive when someone has caused us grief and especially great grief. However, when we see what a great debt that we have toward the Lord and the great grief that we have caused Him then we lean more toward forgiving. However, forgiving is impossible apart from the Lord. He has given you forgiveness and this is the forgiveness that you offer to others. Jesus has forgiven you and Jesus has forgiven them. We can only forgive by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22,23 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

We forgive by faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to Him, not by feeling. Our flesh will never want to forgive and does not have the power to do so.

Romans 8:6-8 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.

When you forgive then the Lord releases you from the bitterness and resentment of unforgiveness. You actually are the one who is set free. The person does not have to even be aware of their wrong towards you and they do not have to be sorry for what they did. If they are sorry and repentant then that is wonderful but it is not a prerequisite to you forgiving them. Healing for you comes after forgiveness. There is no pain so great that the Lord can not heal but first you must forgive. He does not hold your sin against you because He has forgiven you. Forgiveness is the promise never to bring it up again. How many times are we to forgive? That is a great question and Jesus answered it for us.

Matthew 18:21,22 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Forgiveness is so important that the Lord told a parable about forgiveness to allow His hearers to understand more clearly what He was saying about forgiveness.

Matthew 18:23-35 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. A day of accounting is coming and it will be too late to settle your accounts with your fellow man. For this reason it is of utmost importance to “keep your accounts up to date”. God declared the man wicked in this story because of his unwillingness to forgive someone else and therefore all of this wicked person’s sins were still on his account and were not wiped out and forgiven. Forgiveness is a matter of the will. It is letting it go and giving it to the Lord. You can’t, He never said you could, He can, He always said He would. Give the matter to the Lord and He will forgive that person through you by the power of His Holy Spirit. As long as you have unforgiveness in your heart then you are in a prison. However, you can settle the account with that person who owes you through your forgiveness by forgiving him. It is after this that you will be released from your prison.

Luke 7:47,48 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Did Jesus offer forgiveness to you? Yes, He did. Go and do likewise that you too may hear the words, “Your sins have been forgiven”.  Forgiveness begins with the prayer, “Lord, I forgive _________. Please forgive me of my unforgiveness and by faith I have forgiven _________. Then you will love much because you too will see how great a debt that you were forgiven by our Lord. Your slate will be wiped clean. You may have to forgive over and over again because the devil might continue to bring it up again but the devil hates to see you forgive and call on the Lord so he will quit bringing it up to you. It is hard to believe when you are in the pain but healing will come and the Lord will truly make something beautiful our of your life.

 

 

A Life that Has a Family

One of the highest honors given to us when we become a Christian, a born again believer in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, is that we come into the family of God. There is no higher honor that could be given to us than that we have God as our Father.

I John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

It is a such a great love that He allows us to call Him “Abba” which means Daddy. It is one of the most intimate of relationships and many great privileges and promises come with it.

Romans 8:15-17 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

We are adopted into His family and become his children. If we are His children then we are heirs and fellow heirs with Jesus Christ. He calls us brothers and sisters.

John 20:17 Jesus *said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.’”

Who does He call His brothers and sisters?

Luke 8:21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.”

The evidence that you are really in His family is that you want to do His will and you hear the word of God and do it. If you have no desire to obey His word or you find that, truth be told, you are not doing His will by obeying His word then you need to ask yourself if you are really His brother or sister. He says that those who are in His family will hear His word and do it.

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,

It is not too late to receive Him and surrender your life to His Lordship and call on Him. If you have doubts then maybe that is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart that now is the time to make sure that you are in His family.

John 3:4-7 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

Nicodemus was a spiritual leader in his day and yet he did not understand what it meant to become born again. Jesus makes it very clear, “you must be born again”. When you are born again you are born again into His family and it is for all eternity.

John 10:28,29 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

If we are a family then the Lord wants us to accept one another since Christ has accepted us.

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

As His family we are to love one another. This is the evidence that we are children of God.

I John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

Do you see your brother in need? Let us love one another as Christ has loved us.

I John 3:16,17 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Finally, not only will we have the assurance that we are in His family and belong to Him but others will know that we are Christians when they see us love each other.

John 13:34,35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Loving one another is what it means to belong to His family. This is His Word to us that He wants us to hear and do and then all men will know that we are His brothers and sisters.

A Life with a Citizenship

This is not our home nor is our citizenship in this world. From the beginning of those who lived by faith they made it clear that their citizenship is not of this world but they are looking forward to their heavenly city and home.

Hebrews 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

The Lord has prepared a city for us and He has described what a citizen of this city looks like in His word. He asks what this citizen looks like in Psalm 15.

Psalm 15:1 O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?

In other words, what does the person look like who will live with Him in His city?

Psalm 15:2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.

He does what is right and walks with integrity. He is honest in all of His dealings and the way this is done is that he speaks the truth to himself first within his own heart. The only way that he can do this is if God’s word is in his heart.

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.

So, not only does he love the Lord with all of his heart, soul and mind but he loves his neighbor with a Christlike love. His neighbor is every person that he comes in contact with, whether it is in a store or where he lives. The meaning of evil is to cause grief. He does not cause grief through bad mouthing someone or any other way. He is also loyal to his friends.

Psalm 15:3 He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

We are not to hate anyone but what this is saying is that we do not give honor to a reprobate but we honor those who fear the Lord. There are a lot of people who are reprobates and do not seek the Lord. What about the books you read and the songs you listen to…are the authors and composers men and women of God?

Psalm 15:4 In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the Lord;
He swears to his own hurt and does not change;

Also, another big thing to the Lord is that a citizen of His keeps their word even when it hurts. Have you made a commitment and then changed your mind? You keep the commitment. You swear to your own hurt so that you do not bring dishonor to our King.

Psalm 15:5 He does not put out his money at interest,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things will never be shaken.

The Lord gives those who live according to His laws a promise that they will never be shaken. You will find that there will be an amazing peace that comes over your life on a daily basis as you live according to His ways. When you violate His ways then you have not loved someone and you have brought grief to someone. Do not minimize your sin by saying that “we are under grace”. Grace was never meant to excuse your sin. Confess your shortcomings to Him. He will forgive you and help you learn to do what is right. He did not just save you so that you would become His child and a citizen of His kingdom but He saved you so that you would be able to live as a child of God and a citizen of His country. He wants you to represent Him to the world as His child and His ambassador.

Isaiah 33:15-17 He who walks righteously and speaks with sincerity,
He who rejects unjust gain
And shakes his hands so that they hold no bribe;
He who stops his ears from hearing about bloodshed
And shuts his eyes from looking upon evil;
He will dwell on the heights,
His refuge will be the impregnable rock;
His bread will be given him,
His water will be sure.

Your eyes will see the King in His beauty;
They will behold a far-distant land.

He wants you to see Him before you get to your heavenly home. He wants you to see the King in His beauty and wants you to behold that far distant land just as the great men and women of faith who have gone before us did.

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

To sum it up, the child of God and citizen of heaven has clean hands, a pure heart and a clear conscience.

A Life with Good Words

Someone once said that many of the people that we encounter during any given day are going through some sort of crisis. Whether that is true no one can say but we can say that most, if not all, of the people we encounter need a word of encouragement. They need a good word.

Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down,
But a good word makes it glad.

Life and death are in the power of your words and you will eat the fruit of the words you say. You will either give life and receive life or your words will give death and you will receive death. How many times have we regretted the words we said and we can never take them back.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Your words will give you great satisfaction if you use your tongue according to God’s ways.

Proverbs 12:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words,
And the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.

You will receive great joy when you give a good word in the right situation. Your words can make a difference in someone’s life. You can influence someone by a word of encouragement or comfort.

Proverbs 25:11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.

When someone strokes you with the a good word that word will go down into your innermost being. If someone believes in you, when it seems that no one else does, and expresses it in words then you will sometimes remember those words for years because they went down into your innermost parts.

Proverbs 20:30 Stripes that wound scour away evil,
And strokes reach the innermost parts.

A word of encouragement does wonders to a person. Your words can destroy or build up. When you have children your words are far more important than you realize and your children will remember nearly every word you say to them. Never speak in anger. Anger will never achieve what is right and will often cause great harm.

James 1:19,20 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

The words spoken in gentleness will often turn away anger.

Proverbs 15:1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.

The only way that we can give a gentle answer is if we have a gentle spirit. The mouth speaks from that which is on the inside and the spirit of a man communicates even more than his words.

I Peter 3:4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.

Finally, the only way that we will be able to give good words to others will be if we listen to the good Words of the Lord.

Joshua 23:14 “Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth, and you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one word of all the good words which the Lord your God spoke concerning you has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed.

If you have tasted the good word of the Lord then ask Him to help you give a good word to someone else. You can make a difference for the Lord by refreshing the hearts of those who you come in contact with by your words. Just as a cup of cold water refreshes the body of the quenched one so a good word refreshes the soul of one who is thirsty for encouragement.

Hebrews 5:4 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

A Life that Runs Well

The Lord has called us to run. One of the ways that He wants us to run is to run from temptation. People often will talk about resisting temptation but that is not what the Lord says, he says to flee from temptation.

II Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

The Lord says to flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who have a pure heart. The Bible says that those who have a pure heart will see God.

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

Those with a pure heart will not be deceived by the lusts of the heart. The word “lust” in the Greek means “desire”. A lust is a desire that is outside of the will of God. Many lusts are greater temptations in our youth because we don’t want to wait for the Lord to give us His gifts. We want them now and so we “give in” to temptation.

James 1:14-16 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.

However, when you get what you want and it is not God’s will then you also lose the ability to fully enjoy it, that is why, the Bible talks about the passing pleasure of sin. It is only for a moment and then the guilt comes. We were deceived. We are always deceived when we sin. However, if our friends have a pure heart then they will help us in our weakness. The Lord will also help you flee from temptation. He understands your weakness.

Hebrews 4:15,16 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

The other way that we are to run is that we are to run to Him and we are to run with endurance the race set before us.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The saints who have gone before us are watching and they are the cloud of witnesses. Therefore, lay aside the things that make it hard for you to run the race and strive to run hard after the Lord. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He is at the right hand of the Father and He is praying for you. He also had to endure and was found faithful. You can do it. This is what grace is all about. Grace is the power and strength to be faithful to the end. Don’t grow weary or lose heart. Ask others to pray for you if you find yourself struggling. We all struggle. Jesus struggled. It is in the struggling that our faith is strengthened. It may seem like forever but in view of eternity it is only a moment. You will never regret being faithful but you will have great regret if you are not faithful.

Psalm 144:4 Man is like a mere breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.

Our life is like a mere breath and our days are a passing shadow but eternity is forever.

 

 

A Life that Waits

Sometimes we need very clear instruction about what to do when we do not know what to do. The Bible gives us that clear instruction. Have you ever been in a situation and you did not know what to do? Has there ever been a time of spiritual darkness in your life? Have you ever wanted God to write something in the sky to tell you what to do? If you have ever struggled with not having “light” on a situation then listen carefully to God’s Word.

Isaiah 50:10 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.

The Lord says that if you know Him and obey His voice and follow Him but are in a time of darkness then you are to trust Him.Trust Him. Trusting Him means waiting on Him. He promised to lead you. Wait for His leading. Do not take matters into your own hands.

Isaiah 50:11 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.

You will lie down in torment if you make your own way and light your own fire. Trust Him. He will guide you and lead you in the way you should go.

Proverbs 3:5,6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Jesus really will show you His way. He is the Light and He is the Way. He wants you to walk by faith and trust Him.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

The Lord wants you to learn to wait on Him. Do not fret for it will only lead to you doing the wrong thing. Even when it seems like everyone else is getting what they want and taking matters into their own hands. Do not be like them but trust in the Lord and wait on Him.

Psalm 37:7,8 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.

In God’s perfect timing and according to His lovingkindness He will give you what you need and often what you desire. It will be a gift from 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.

Not only are His gifts good and perfect but they far exceed anything that you could ever bring about by your own doing. The Lord says that “It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it”. The gifts that He gives do not have drawbacks or sorrow with them. They are perfect and far more than what you could even imagine.

Isaiah 64:4,5 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.
You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.

The Lord will bless you and meet you if only you will remember Him in His ways and His ways are of faith. We walk by faith and not by sight. We trust in Him alone who does what He pleases and loves us perfectly.

Psalm 135:5,6 For I know that the Lord is great
And that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, He does,
In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.

And again…

Job 42:2 I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

He can do all things and if you will only allow His will to be done in your life you will not be disappointed. He wants you to believe in Him and trust Him.

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

A Life that Loves People

If you love God then you will love people because God loves people. He loves everyone. The Bible says that He is good to the evil and the good.

Matthew 5:45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

If you are His child then you will want to become like Him.

I John 3:1-3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

When we see Him we will be like Him but before that happens we are in the process of becoming like Him, which means we are being conformed into His likeness while on earth.

Romans 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,

His destiny for us is to become like Him.

Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

It is through knowing Him that we become conformed to His death, His resurrection and His life.

Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

Jesus is the Word and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God uses His Word to transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

His Word becomes alive in us and replaces our old though patterns and habits.

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.

Just as Jesus did not come to do His own will but the will of the Father, in the same way, we also are not to do our will but the will of God.

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Just as Jesus prayed in the garden, “not My will but Thy will be done”, we too are to pray the same and desire that His will would be done.

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

Jesus also taught His disciples to pray in the same way, that His will would be done.

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

When you choose to follow Jesus. He will be your Lord and it is His will that becomes of utmost importance. This is what it means to die to yourself. You are dying to your will and living to do His will. This is truly the only way that you can love people. It is the way that Jesus loved you by going to the cross for you. He chose the will of the Father.

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

God so loved you so that you too might love others with the same kind of love. What amazing love!

A Life that Overflows

Jesus said that He came to give us life and not just life but an abundant life that is overflowing.

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

Jesus is the only One who can give us life because He is the life.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

In Him is life and His life is the light of men.

John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

We can not live apart from Him. When we try to “do it on our own” then all we will experience is death. Someone may walk around on the outside but the inside of them is death. Everything is “blah” and they are not motivated and may struggle with depression. They have no light and therefor live in the darkness.

Isaiah 55:7 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.

The Lord is abundant in His grace and His forgiveness of our sins. Before we can walk in His way we must forsake our way and return to Him.

Matthew 7:14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

What is our hope? Our only hope is Christ. He is the way. He leads us into life. The early Christians were first called “the Way” because His way of life for them was so different than the world. They followed Jesus and lived according to His ways.

Acts 24:14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets;

His way is very different from “our way” but when we follow Him and walk in His ways we experience life and His life overflows through us.

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.

He came that 2we might have life and might have it abundantly.  He is the way. When we follow Him we will not walk in darkness but will have the “Light of Life” in us.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

When we look to Jesus Christ we experience life to the fullest and then He lifts us up and sets us on a high place so that we might give light to others.

Matthew 5:14,15 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

 

 

 

A Life with Love Does Not Disgrace

To disgrace someone is the opposite of giving someone grace. Love is gracious and so to disgrace someone is to not show them love but to shame them. To shame someone is to make their sins and shortcomings known but grace covers up the sin of others and their shame. God is gracious and showed Adam and Eve grace from the very beginning after they had sinned. Because of their sin they were filled with shame and were afraid so they did themselves from God.

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.” Genesis 3:9.10

Sin brings shame and disgrace.

Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to people. Proverbs 14:34

Our conscience bears witness against us when we sin and although we try to rationalize it or hide it we still know that what we have done is wrong. When the nonChristian appears before God for judgment then it will be their own conscience that will bear witness against them. The Lord knows not only everything that we have done but also the secrets of our heart. Nothing is hidden from Him.

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:14-16

Sin also brings fears and even though we may try to bury our fears and forget them they still will resurface at times. When the Lord takes away our sin then He also takes our fears. Adam and Eve were fearful and ashamed because of their sin.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

The Lord was gracious and full of compassion for Adam and Eve. He knew they were naked and afraid and so He spoke to them and provided for them by clothing them.

the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. James 5:11b

When Jesus came into the world, He came to show us what God was like and to show us God’s love. Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

Just as disgrace and shame are the same so grace and love are the same. Grace is the expression of love and love covers sin. God loved us by sending Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to take away our sin and to cover our sin through His death on the cross for us, which was the expression of God’s love and grace.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. I Peter 4:8

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior then all of our sins are taken away, even the secret sins of our hearts. We are forgiven and our sins are covered, never to be made known and our conscience is cleansed before God. This is how God has loved us and this is how He wants us to love one another.

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. I John 4:11

One aspect of the definition of righteousness is doing life right and living according to God’s ways. When Joseph thought that Mary had been unfaithful to him, he was hurt and could not take her as his wife, but Joseph, being a “righteous” man desired to send her away secretly, rather than shame her publicly.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. Matthew 1:18,19

Just as sin is a disgrace to any people so also righteousness exalts a person. When we live and love according to God’s ways then others will see Jesus Christ in us. When a marriage is filled with God’s love then there will be much grace shown to the other and sins will be covered up rather than made known to others. To love is to be like God and when we are like God then we will love. God is love and love is what defines the Christian and the Christ centered marriage and family.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34,35

A Life that is Wise

A life that is wise is spared much heartache and pain. A wise young lady does not have to learn from hindsight, which are her mistakes, but she has the foresight to avoid the pain that comes from mistakes. People are not better people because of the mistakes that they made but they are better people because of the knowledge that they learned from their mistakes. How much better it is to learn the knowledge beforehand so that we do not have the baggage of painful and broken relationships or habits and patterns that are difficult to change. Wisdom is having the knowledge to get the desired result. Prudence is the wisdom of how to avoid undesirable results. Wisdom and prudence go hand and hand.

Proverbs 16:16 How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!

Proverbs 8:12 I, wisdom, dwell with prudence.

No amount of money can heal a broken heart. Wisdom keeps a life of regrets from characterizing your life.