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 is Loving to Enemies

Since we have been so loved that God gave His only begotten Son for us we also ought to be loving in the same way that He has loved us.

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.

For God so loved He gave and He loved us when we were His enemies.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

In the same way, He has called us to give our lives and to love our enemies and those who do not love us as well as those who are more loving. If we only love those who love us then how are we any different than the rest of the world?

Matthew 5:44-46 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

God’s love is demonstrated to the world when we love sinners. His love is demonstrated to the world through us.

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

He reconciles people to Himself but uses us to share His love so that they can hear His Word, so that they might be saved.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Love your enemies and do good and your reward will be great. You will also be called a child of God.

Luke 6:35,36 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

A Life that is Be-Loved

You are the Lord’s beloved and He is your Beloved and the One whom you delight in if you belong to Him.

Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

Just as the shepherd loves the sheep and little lambs and would sometimes carry them on his shoulders so the Lord also, who is your Good Shepherd, carries you between His shoulders because you are His beloved. He wants you to be loved by Him.

Deuteronomy 33:12 …“May the beloved of the Lord dwell in security by Him, Who shields him all the day, And he dwells between His shoulders.”

The Lord wants you to know with all of your heart that He is your Savior and will save His beloved. He will save you and will answer you.

Psalm 108:6 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer me!

Just as Jesus was the Beloved of the Father so you are Jesus’ beloved.

Mark 1:11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Being is more important than doing. We need to be right with the Lord before we can do what is right. Doing what is right must come after being in a love relationship with the Lord, otherwise, we will seek to earn God’s love. Doing is a response to being. If you belong to Christ then you are His Beloved and He wants you to be-loved by Him before you do…whatever good works he has for you. The Father was well pleased with Jesus before Jesus began His earthly ministry. You too, must learn to be-loved by Him so that whatever you “do” is an overflow of who you are in Christ. If you belong to Him then there is nothing you can do to cause Him to love you more. He wants you to rest in His love and learn to be-loved by Him. If we struggle in believing that He really loves us then we will struggle in loving Him back.

I John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

All that we do should be in response to His love for us. All that we do is an expression of His great love. There is no greater love than this, to lay down your life for your friends. He laid down His life for you so that you can lay down your life for others so that others may see Christ in you.

John 15:12,13 This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Do you need to know His love more? To the degree that you love others is to the degree that you have experienced His love for you.

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?

 

A Life that is Holy

The Lord has made clear to us His command in that He wants us to be holy.

I Peter 1:14-16 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 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.”

As noted this command is only for His children for those who do not belong to Him can not be holy. You can only be holy if you have the Holy One dwelling within you. However, if you are His child, then He expects you to be holy. It is a testimony of your obedience to Him. Is there anything in your life that would be considered unholy? If Jesus returned at any moment would He find you doing something that you would be ashamed of or wearing clothes that were shameful, in other words, clothes that could cause a man to desire you physically? Is your speech holy? What about what you laugh at or the movies you watch or the music you listen to…would Jesus engage in these activities? The Lord is holy and wants His children to be holy. He told His people in the Old and the New testaments that they were to be holy.

Exodus 22:31a You shall be holy men to Me,

The only way that you can be holy is if you regard the Lord as holy. He is to be your fear and He is to be your dread. If He is these things to you then He will become your sanctuary. He will be a refuge for those who regard Him as holy. If you do not regard Him as holy then His Words will become a stumbling block to you.

Isaiah 8:13-15 “It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy.
And He shall be your fear,
And He shall be your dread.
“Then He shall become a sanctuary;
But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over,
And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
“Many will stumble over them,
Then they will fall and be broken;
They will even be snared and caught.”

God the Father is holy, Jesus is holy and the Spirit is called the Holy Spirit. Everything about God is holy. He wants you to be holy.

Luke 1:35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.

It is our unbelief that causes us to not treat God as holy. It is our unbelief that prevents us from entering and living in the promised land. However, regardless of how we treat the Lord, He still proves Himself to be holy amongst us.

Numbers 20:12,13 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Those were the waters of Meribah, because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.

For what reason does the Lord want us to be holy and why does He prove Himself to be holy amongst us in the sight of others? It is because he wants the world to know that He is the Lord. When you are not holy then the world can say that God must not be real because “they are no different than us who do not claim to follow God”.

Ezekiel 36:23 I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,” declares the Lord God, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.

When we are God’s people and represent Him as a holy people then we will be a soothing aroma to Him.

Ezekiel 20:41 As a soothing aroma I will accept you when I bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered; and I will prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.

Therefore, as an obedient child, do not be conformed to this world but present yourself to Him as a living and holy sacrifice, which He has promised to accept.

Romans 12:1,2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 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.

Now this is truly grace. For it is by grace that we have been saved through faith and not of ourselves. It is by grace through faith that we offer ourselves to Him. And He accepts us! What an incredible privilege and gift!

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

A Life that Meditates

The word meditate means “talk to oneself” in the Hebrew language which is what the Old Testament is written in. The Lord has told us to meditate on His Word day and night. He offers some of the greatest rewards on earth to the one who meditates on His Word and is careful to do according to all that is written in it. He promises success in whatever you do if you will do this one thing.

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

When we delight in His Word then it becomes our meditation day and night. We love it, we think about it , we seek to apply it to our lives and we let it talk to us. It is no wonder that the Lord calls this person blessed. One of the meanings of “blessed” is happy. Happy is the person who delights in the Lord and meditates on His Word.

Psalm 1:1,2 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Meditation is putting God’s Word in your heart so that you can think about it and apply it to your life every minute of every day. It teaches you the way in which you should walk. It makes the Lord’s Word become a reality to you all of the time. It removes the doubts of life.

Psalm 4:4-8 Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

The one who meditates on their bed will lie down and sleep and their sleep will be sweet because the Lord makes them dwell in safety. It can’t get any better than to wake up in the middle of the night and meditate on His Word. The Lord says that He will counsel you through the night and that His Word is His counsel.

Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

The spirit of man connects with the Spirit of the Lord and there is a oneness when one meditates on His Word.

Psalm 77:6 I will remember my song in the night;
I will meditate with my heart,
And my spirit ponders:

When one meditates on the Lord and His Word then he has a love for God’s Word and will want to praise Him and life up His hands to His commandments.

Psalm 119:48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.

You will want to regard His Ways and live according to them when you learn to meditate.

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.

You will have more insight than your teachers if His Word is your meditation.

Psalm 119:99 I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

Do you want to love His Word? If so, then make it your meditation. We meditate out of obedience to the Lord and desire to please Him and then it becomes our delight. Once you love it then it becomes the joy of your heart and just like you don’t have to discipline yourself to spend time with someone you love, neither will it be a discipline but the very thing that you long to do. It becomes the sweetest time of the day and when you do it day and night then your life really becomes sweet.

Psalm 119:97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

Beware of when the Word of God is no longer a delight. When church has become a burden and there is not much desire to have a quiet time with the Lord.

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.

Ask the Lord to help you if you no longer long for Him or have that excitement that you had when you first became a Christian. Ask Him to restore to you the joy of your salvation and that hunger to know Him that you had earlier. Then get into His Word and keep getting into it until He speaks to you. If you have been called by His name, that is, if you are a Christian then you know that He wants you to sit at His feet and listen to Him teach you from His Word.

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

He will restore you and sustain you if you turn to Him with all of your heart. He wants you to live in the promised land, that life that trusts in and sees His promises fulfilled every day. The promised land is a land of milk and honey. It is good for you and sweet. He loves you and He came that you might have an abundant life.

 

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.