A Life of Grace

Grace does not excuse you from your sin or give you the freedom to do what you want. Grace is what the Lord gives to the humble that allows that person to do what is right. In the Bible grace was a blessing that came before or after the commands of what the Lord wants His people to do or be.

James 4:4-6 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Grace is not something that we give ourselves when we mess up and sin. God gives grace to the humble and His grace is what enables us to not be crushed by our guilt but to be able to get back up and do what He has called us to do. God gives grace to the humble. Humility is confessing your sin to the Lord and your need for Him. Grace allows us to be faithful to the Lord so that we will not be called an adulteress by our flirting with and friendship with the world. He gives a greater grace than what the world has to offer. Grace is what sets you free from your bondage to sin.

Ezra 9:8 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.

You were in bondage to sin before you became a Christian. He saved you from your sin and sins and the consequences of them. Your sin is your desire to be your own god and the sins are all of the snares that you became caught in by trying to be your own god.

Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Again, our redemption is through His blood and forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace towards us. God is gracious towards us because of what Christ did on the cross. He took our sin.

Ephesians 1:7,8a In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.

Grace increases when we sin. This means that there is nothing that is beyond His grace to allow you to come back to Him. His grace is what allows us to come back when we have fallen so that we can be restored in our fellowship with Him.

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. Eternal life is knowing the Lord. If you are growing in grace then you will be growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Grace is with those who love the Lord Jesus Christ with a pure love. A love that obeys Him and keeps His commandments.

Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

Are you growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord? Is your love for Him incorruptible and pure? Or are you still struggling with friendship with the world? He loves you and jealousy desires the Spirit that He has made to dwell in you. Ask the Lord to help you be faithful to Him. Put yourself around Christians who love Him rather than the world. The Lord will help you and give you more grace to be faithful to Him if you will humble yourself before Him.

 

A Life with Desires Fulfilled

Will the Lord really fulfill your desires or will He only give you what you need but not really desire? These are questions that people ask. What does His Word say about our desires? The Lord may fulfill your desires but the sooner you realize that your desires will never fulfill you the more content and satisfied you will be in life. Jesus Christ is the only who can fulfill you. He is enough. However He delights in giving us gifts.

Psalm 20:4,5 May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your purpose!
We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your purpose. May He also fulfill all of your petitions. He does want you to ask Him for what is on your heart. The fact is though, most of us don’t really know what we want. We think that a lot of things will make us happy and so we long for those things. However, once you realize that He loves you perfectly and has a purpose for your life then you can learn to rest in Him and wait on Him. Don’t focus on your desires but focus on Him. That is the only way to be free from our desires controlling us.

Psalm 84:11,12 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Seek Him with all of your heart and seek to walk in His ways and obey Him. He will not withhold any good thing from you. How blessed is the person who will rest in His love for them. Do not fret. He says that He will not disappoint the one who trusts in Him.

Psalm 22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

If He withholds something from you it is because at this time it is not good for you. You must trust Him. Learn to delight yourself in Him as you learn to trust Him.

Psalm 37:3,4 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

This phrase “cultivate faithfulness” means to feed on His faithfulness. He is faithful even when we are not. You can trust him. If you will only trust Him completely then He will give you far more than your desires. Learn to do what is right and learn His ways. He will act on your behalf and meet you.

Isaiah 64:4,5a 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.

He is able to do far more than what we ask or think. Trust Him.

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

Be glad in Him and let your joy be in Him. Let Him be your glory and the One is whom you rejoice. He will meet you with the blessings of good things and then you will know that He is God and does what He pleases. He is the One who gives life.

Psalm 21:1-6 O Lord, in Your strength the king will be glad,
And in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice!
You have given him his heart’s desire,
And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.
For You meet him with the blessings of good things;
You set a crown of fine gold on his head.
He asked life of You,
You gave it to him,
Length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great through Your salvation,
Splendor and majesty You place upon him.
For You make him most blessed forever;
You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.

Only the Lord can do this in a person’s life. He can satisfy you and He can bring you to the place of total surrender of your desires and your will. Ask Him to help you and to do His work in your life. He wants to bless you but He knows that you need to delight in the Blessor rather than the blessing. He wants you to worship Him and to not have any other idols. If He is not first in our life then whatever else is first is what we worship. And if He is not first then it does not matter if he is second or forty second. He must be first in our life and we must seek Him before anything else.

A Life that Is Joyful

A life that is joyful is a life that is full of joy. The Lord wants us to be full of joy and He tells us how to have that kind of life. When He walked on earth He said to His disciples that He spoke these things to them that their joy may be made full. What are these things?

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

When we learn to abide, which means live, in His love then our joy will be made full and His joy will be in us. How do we learn to live in His love? He tells us in His Word.

John 15:9-10 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

The way we learn to keep His commandments is to abide in His Word. The one who abides in His Word and His Words abide in him will also abide in His love. He wants you to abide in Him and His Words abide in you. The Lord has some amazing promises for the people who abide in His Word and His Words abide in them. He says that they can ask whatever they wish! Who among us would not love to see our prayers answered and also to be able to ask whatever we wish? When the reward is great then it puts a greater value on the command.

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Do you believe that if you abide in Him and His words abide in you that you can ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you? Do you have any unfulfilled wishes? You might say that it must be according to His will but that phrase is not in this promise. It says that you can ask what you wish and it will be done for you. The Lord also says that if you do this then you will bear much fruit and the Father will be glorified.

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

To abide in His Word and His Words abide in you means that you live in His Word and His Words live in you. When they live in you then you and His Word become one and His Word is expressed through your life. In other words, since the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus will dwell among others through you. You will keep His commandments because they are so much a part of you. This is how Jesus lived when He was on earth.

Psalm 40:7,8 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

When His Word is in you and you abide in His Word then it will be your delight to do His will. When you delight in something then it becomes the joy of your heart and your joy is made full when you do it. Are your wishes filled and is your joy full? Take the Lord at His Word and do exactly as He has commanded us and you will see your prayers answered and your joy full.

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

Jesus came to do the Father’s will and He wants us to do His will.

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

When you live this way then His desires will become your desires and your desire will be to fulfill His desire for your life. Your life will overflow with great joy even in the midst of trials and suffering.

Hebrews 12:2 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.

Jesus knew what it meant to have joy. Joy comes from living in His presence and His life being lived through you.

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

Jesus lived a joyful life and this is His will for you.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

 

 

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 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 with Love Brings Satisfaction

Love brings satisfaction to others by helping them to become the person that God designed them to be and to do the things that God wants them to do. A person can only do this if they have the love of God abiding in them. When Eve disobeyed God she no longer was a helpmate to Adam but she became his mate who hurt him. Her life no longer helped him grow closer to God but she hurt his relationship with the Lord by wanting him to sin just as she had sinned. Sin has a ripple effect and will always bring hurt to the people around the one doing the sinning.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate. Genesis 3:6

If you love someone then you will not want to be a stumbling block to them but will want to help them grow in their relationship with the Lord. You are either pointing people to the Lord through your life or you are pointing them away from the Lord. A person who is disobedient to what the Lord says will not only stumble themselves but they will put a stumbling block before others. God’s Word is offensive to the one who does not want to obey it. The disobedient person will often want others to do the same as they have done. It does not lessen their guilt but only increases it.

For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed. I Peter 2:6-8

“Indeed, did God say…” is what the devil said to Eve. He caused her to question God’s Word and then she twisted what the Lord said and then she disobeyed God’s Word. She disobeyed God’s Word to her own destruction, to the destruction of her marriage and home and to the destruction of her relationship with God. The Lord had given Adam and Eve everything that man and woman could possibly want. Yet, they were not satisfied. You will never be satisfied if you look elsewhere for satisfaction, other than to the Lord. There will always be something prettier, better, more advantageous and anything else that we think would bring us happiness.

Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied. Proverbs 27:20

Sheol and Abaddon are other names for hell. The devil is never satisfied as to how many people he can get to go to hell with him. He is never satisfied with how many marriages he can destroy or how many lives he has destroyed. When your marriage is destroyed and dies then something within you also dies. You will never be the same. In the same way, the eyes of men and women are never satisfied. They will always want more.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

As you learn to hunger and thirst for the Lord and to hunger and thirst after righteousness then you will be satisfied. Righteousness is believing what God said by faith and acting on it by obeying His Word. It may seem impossible but it is true. The word “blessed” means happy. You will be happy and satisfied in life, in your marriage and you will be a blessing to your spouse and to others.

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,