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 Stands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Life Fulfilling the Great Commission

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

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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 with Gladness

Gladness is different than joy. Gladness is that great feeling in your heart that makes you happy. Joy comes from the presence of God but gladness comes from loving what God loves. Gladness is the secret of the happy Christian. Jesus had more gladness than all of His companions. What was His secret?

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”

Jesus loved righteousness, in other words, He loved doing what was right in God’s eyes. He did not do what was right in His own sight. He always submitted Himself to the will of the Father.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Everyone has a different standard of what is right and when people live by their own standards of right and wrong then there is a lack of gladness among the people because there is a lack of God’s righteousness. There is a lack of righteousness because there is a lack of Christ being King in our hearts. Jesus came to restore us to God and His Lordship and to the only true standard, which is what He said in His Word. When the Lord is our King the He helps us do what is right in his sight. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Psalm 30:10-12 “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

The Lord replaces our sadness with gladness and He makes us want to sing. Singing is an expression of what is in your heart. Often the songs of the world are sad songs because they have sad and broken hearts even though they may put on a happy face. Christians have joy and gladness and want to sing praises to our God.

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.

We can hope for gladness and expect it when we love righteousness because we have done what we needed to do. The expectation of the wicked perishes because it is a “false” hope, such as, “I hope that I do well on my test” or “I hope that I will go to heaven”. The right thing is to study for your tests or the right thing is to repent and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior and then you know that you are going to heaven.

Ecclesiastes 5:20 For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

The Christian’s life is full and the years fly by because the Lord keeps the Christian occupied with gladness of heart. His life is full of joy and gladness because he has followed the Lord with all of his heart and sought to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Acts 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

The early Christians were filled with gladness because they were sharing with one another and fellowshipping together in the Lord. Jesus Christ was their Lord and they were doing what He wanted them to do.

Psalm 45:7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Jesus had more gladness than all of His companions. He had the “oil of gladness”. The Lord wants to anoint us also with the oil of gladness so that people might be drawn to Christ in us. We need to love righteousness and hate wickedness.

 

 

 

 

A Life that Comes

Grace is God’s invitation to come to Him. This is the kindest and most loving aspect of the Lord. He has invited us to come to Him. He will not turn away anyone who comes to Him.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you carrying burdens that are too big for you? Come to Him. You will find rest for your soul. He will yoke you to Himself and your burdens will become much lighter because He will carry your burdens and give you His burden which is light. Whenever two animals were yoked together the farmer would always put a stronger one with a weaker one so that the stronger one would carry the load or burden of the work. Take His yoke and learn from the Lord. He is gentle and humble of heart.

Psalm 40:6-8 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is prescribed of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

Has He opened your ears yet? He is not interested in your religion. He wants a relationship with you. He is not interested in your sacrifices and that is not what He desires. He wants you and wants a relationship with you. Come to Him today. This is His prescription for a weary soul. He will give you rest.

John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.

There is no one who has gotten too far from the Lord or done too much for Jesus not to love them. Jesus will receive them when they come to Him. He has offered you this invitation, “Come to Me…”. He wants you and loves you. You don’t need to bring anything other than yourself and He wants you to come as you are. Don’t try to clean up your life or feel the need to change yourself before you can come to Him. Come just as you are to Him.

 

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.