A Life that Overcomes Bitterness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bitterness also comes from forsaking the Lord.

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

Bitterness can come from the misfortune of bereavement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Life that Does What is Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Life that Knows the Creator

When one comes into a relationship with Jesus Christ then they come into a relationship with the Creator of the universe. For the Lord created the earth, the heavens and all that is in them. His creation includes the moon, the stars, the sun and the effects of all of these, including the changes in climate. He is Lord of all and the Creator of everything.

Genesis 1:1-5 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

The Lord also created the heavens and the earth in one day. He does not live in time for He is eternal and a day is the same to Him as a thousand years. If He wants to create something in a day then it is nothing to Him to do this for He is God.

Genesis 2:4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.

God is the only One who can create something out of nothing. He spoke and it was done. Man can only use what has already been created to create something.

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

What God created was good and He established the earth so that it will not totter.

Psalm 104:5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.

The earth is the Lord’s and all that it contains.

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.

He is in control of the climate and even holds the water in the clouds. The clouds are His and He controls them also. He controls the rains, the storms and all the other aspects of the climate. He is God.

Job 26:7-9 He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
He wraps up the waters in His clouds,
And the cloud does not burst under them.
He obscures the face of the full moon
And spreads His cloud over it.

The Lord is the One who made the seasons and they also belong to Him. All the boundaries of the earth belong to Him.

Psalm 74:17 You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter.

He made the nations from one man and sets the boundaries of the nations. He also appointed the times for the nations.

Acts 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation,

The Lord set the boundaries of the seas. He is the One that says they can go so far and no farther than what He has decreed.

Job 38:10,11 And I placed boundaries on it
And set a bolt and doors,
And I said, ‘Thus far you shall come, but no farther;
And here shall your proud waves stop’?

The earth is the Lord’s and He does as He pleases.

Exodus 19:5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;

The Lord is coming back one day and will create new heavens and a new earth. He says that the earth will wear out like a garment. Do not fear those who do not fear God and think that they can control the weather or anything else in God’s creation. Rather fear God who is the Creator of all things so that you may be ready when he comes back again.

Isaiah 51:6-8 Lift up your eyes to the sky,
Then look to the earth beneath;
For the sky will vanish like smoke,
And the earth will wear out like a garment
And its inhabitants will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not wane.
Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
A people in whose heart is My law;
Do not fear the reproach of man,
Nor be dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them like a garment,
And the grub will eat them like wool.
But My righteousness will be forever,
And My salvation to all generations.”

He coming again because His Word says so and even though heaven and earth may pass away His Word never changes.

II Peter 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Are you ready for His coming? Blessed will be those who are prepared, ready and looking forward to his coming again!

A Life with No Regrets

There are two things that are eternal and they are the Word of God and the souls of people. You will never regret investing your life in eternal values. Everything else will soon perish.

Luke 12:15-21 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

We all will die and leave whatever we have to others. We might spend our life accumulating more and more and more. It is endless because the eyes of man are never satisfied. You will never have enough to satisfy you. Once you get what you want then you will only want more. Contentment comes from being satisfied with what the Lord has given you.

Psalm 49:10-13 For he sees that even wise men die; The stupid and the senseless alike perish And leave their wealth to others. Their inner thought is that their houses are forever And their dwelling places to all generations; They have called their lands after their own names. But man in his pomp will not endure;  He is like the beasts that perish. This is the way of those who are foolish, And of those after them who approve their words.

Be careful that you don’t hoard what the Lord has given you but give back to the Giver of all good gifts. The Lord wants us to be a channel of blessings. If He has blessed you it is so you might be a blessing.

Ecclesiastes 5:13 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt.

Do you want a heart for the Lord? Then give to Him. He will bless you with the greatest treasure and that is a heart for Him. For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Lord clearly instructs us not to store up treasures on earth but to store up treasures in heaven. How do we do this? Well, it is what you give that will determine your treasure in heaven. He wants us to experience the joy of doing good. He wants us to be rich in good works.

I Timothy 6:17-19 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

What you do and what you give will determine the treasure of your good foundation for the future. He will take what you have done for eternity to determine your treasure in heaven. Your work will be tested.

I Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

If you were to die today and the Lord were to take what you have done  and tested it for eternal values and then taken the result to “build your mansion” in heaven then what would it look like? Would your life works be of wood, hay and straw that would be burned up beforehand or would it be gold, silver and precious stones? It is not too late to live for the Lord and invest in eternity for He has given you today. He has promised you that you will not regret storing up treasure in heaven, but even the Lord says that you would be a fool to store up treasure for yourself and not to be rich towards God. The Lord says that He will take care of His children. Are you trusting Him or are you trusting yourself?

Matthew 6:31-34 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

He will never leave you or forsake you. He has promised that if you will seek first His kingdom and His righteousness then He will take care of all of your needs. This is what it means to live by faith. Faith is believing the Lord and living by His promises.

 

A Life of Character

There are five characteristics that should be evidenced in a Christian. These should be spoken of and made manifest in their life.

Psalm 40:10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.

We are not to hide His righteousness within our hearts. We are to live a righteous life which means that we are to do what is right. The opposite of righteousness is wickedness and that is doing what is wrong. It is not our righteousness, which is self righteousness, but it is His righteousness. When we become a Christian we start learning His ways and living by them. Do we fail at times? Yes, but it should grieve us and cause us to want to please Him even more.

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

A life of faith will be characterized by His faithfulness. We are to cultivate faithfulness and feed on His faithfulness. Our faithfulness to Him and His faithfulness to us should be one of the hallmarks of a Christian. Do you speak of His faithfulness to others?

I Chronicles 16:23-25 Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.

When we become a Christian, He not only saves us for all eternity but He saves us everyday. Are you proclaiming His salvation?

Lamentations 3:22,23 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

His lovingkindnesses indeed never cease! When someone loves someone then it can’t be concealed. They talk about the one they love and that person’s love is their delight. The Lord loves you so much and His love for you never ceases. Do you ever cease talking about His love?

John 14:6,7 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Jesus is the Truth and when we are filled with Jesus then we will be filled with truth. His truth should characterize all that we do and say. His truth should fill our heart. We should love and long for His truth. Do you conceal His truth from others? Are you afraid at times to speak God’s truth?

Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

A Christian should be characterized by His righteousness, His faithfulness, His salvation, His lovingkindness and His truth because these are the things that fill his heart.

A Life of Persecution

When you live according to God’s Word and seek to do what is pleasing in His sight and turn away from evil sometimes you will become a prey for others to laugh at or mock.

Isaiah 59:15 Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.

If you are not being persecuted for the way that you live you need to ask yourself if you are truly living a godly life. The Bible says that you will be persecuted.

II Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

However, the Lord tells us that we are blessed if we are persecuted for being a Christian and for righteousness sake, which means, for living by God’s Word. Great is our reward in heaven.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Lord’s presence will come to you and rest on you. The sweetest time in your Christian life will be when you sense His presence. You will know then that it is all worth it if you know Him more and are drawn closer to Him through the fellowship of His sufferings, not to mention what He has in store in heaven for you.

I Peter 4:14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

He Himself will come to you and perfect you in your faith and confirm your relationship with Him. He will strengthen you and establish you when you may feel the weakest. After it is over then you will be more like Him and more holy in your behavior.

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

There are three characteristics that the Lord said would prove to the world that He is Lord, that Jesus is God and that we are His disciples. It is through our holiness that the world is convinced that He is Lord, it is love for one another that we are His disciples and unity with other believers that Jesus Christ was sent from God.

John 17:23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me.

What do you do if you are persecuted? You pray for your persecutors. This is what our Lord commanded us to do.

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Who is one of the most famous people that was a great persecutor but became a great Christian? Was it because the Christians prayed for him? Paul, the Apostle was zealous in His persecution of Christians and yet he became even more zealous for the Lord after his conversion.

Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;

God was glorified through the conversion of one who was once a destroyer of the church. Is there anyone who is persecuting you for being a Christian? Pray for them.

Galatians 1:23,24 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me.

 

 

A Life that is Rich in Faith

We often value the wrong things in this life. If we value riches in this present age we will end up being poor in the age to come. The Lord wants us to be rich in faith. If we value experiences but not the greatest experience of all and that is experiencing God’s love and faithfulness then we will have missed it again. The Lord values faith and showing you His love and faithfulness. Do you live by faith and experience His love and faithfulness on a daily basis? He wants you to declare His lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness every night of your life.

Psalm 92:1,2 It is good to give thanks to the Lord
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,

Are you living by faith? If God is the only explanation for your life then you are living by faith. If you can explain your life by your own strength, intellect or ability then the Lord is not who is getting the glory.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Are you living on His promises? Are you trusting Him to meet your needs and provide for you or, do you have your back up plan just in case? Whatever you are trusting in is your god. In the Bible, God’s people have always worshiped Him but it is idolatry if it is God plus a backup plan. When you live by faith then you will always feel needy. It is a humbling feeling but you are right where you need to be.

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

The Lord never makes mistake. If you are lacking in an area of your life it is because the Lord wants you to be poor in that area so that you will look to Him. It may be in finances or it may be in relationships or child bearing(if you are married) or whatever it is that makes you feel lacking. The Lord is testing you to see if you will trust Him and wait for 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.

It is only by His grace that we can rest in Him when we feel needy and humble. Resting is trusting. Waiting is resting. Do not take things into your own hands or fret because “others” have or are even getting by their own means what you “need” or want.

Psalm 37:28,29 For the Lord loves justice
And does not forsake His godly ones;
They are preserved forever,
But the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.
The righteous will inherit the land
And dwell in it forever.

The Old Testament word for the promises of God is the “land”, which was the promised land. The Lord will give to you what you need if you will trust Him. In a little while you will see it but first you must walk by faith and not by sight. You will inherit the promises of God and you will dwell with Him forever.

Psalm 37:34 Wait for the Lord and keep His way,
And He will exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

Most importantly of all you will have pleased Him for “without faith it is impossible to please Him…”.