A Life that Overcomes Bitterness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bitterness also comes from forsaking the Lord.

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

Bitterness can come from the misfortune of bereavement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Life that Is Loved

The Lord wants to bless us. He longs to be gracious to us and to show us His great love.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

He is a God of love and if we will only allow Him to love us with His perfect love then we will truly ride on the heights of the earth. That is, we will live above circumstances and soar in life because we will be secure in the arms of the only One who can love with a perfect love.

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

Underneath you will be the everlasting arms and He will hold you up. He will drive out your enemies before you.

Deuteronomy 33:26,27 There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
And He drove out the enemy from before you,
And said, ‘Destroy!’

He has enclosed you behind and before and laid His hand on you.

Psalm 139:5 You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.

There is nothing too difficult for Him. There is nothing that you have done that makes it too difficult for Him to love you. He loves you and wants you to belong to Him.

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,

As high as the heavens are above the earth so great will His love be for those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:11-14 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust.

Does He love those who do not fear Him? Yes, but they will not experience His love until they come to know Him. When you know Him then you fear Him, which means you stand in awe of Him and want to fall at His feet and worship Him, because you see that He is God. He invites all to come into a relationship with Him.

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

Put your name in the place of the word world. For God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son so that you might be called by His name and belong to Him for all eternity. He invites you into His family, to become His child.

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,

If you have not yet received Him then do so today so that you might begin the incredible journey of experiencing His love and walking with Him. You will realize that there is none to compare with it.

 

 

 

A Life that is Loving to Enemies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Life that Remembers His Name

One of the most powerful promises that the Lord gives to His people is that in every place where His name is remembered He will come to the people and bless them.

Exodus 20:24 …in every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.

One of the most frightening consequences is when the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is removed from a place or people. When you see His name removed then you will see the removable of His blessing from a place and people. The Lord wants us to remember His name in all that we do and wherever we go.

Daniel 2:20 Daniel said, “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.

The Lord wants us to bless His name. He says that those who use His name in cursing will be punished.

Exodus 20:7 You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.

Remember His name every time you can and wherever you go, night and day. In other words, you can not talk about His great name too much or call on His name too often. Sing praises to Him as you go through the day. Put His Word in your heart so that He will captivate your heart and thoughts. Give thanks to His name, not only when you eat but in everything give thanks to Him.

Isaiah 12:4 And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name.
Make known His deeds among the peoples;
Make them remember that His name is exalted.”

His name is worthy of all glory and He wants us to praise His name and ascribe the glory that is due His name.

I Chronicles 16:29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him;
Worship the Lord in holy array.

We can either worship Him and call on His name now or we will honor Him who is worthy when He comes in judgment but it will not be the same. He wants our mouths and hearts now to praise Him.

Psalm 145:21 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.

The Lord alone is exalted and He mercy is towards those who give glory to His name and who fear Him.

Luke 1:49,50 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.

When we go after other gods or if we do not listen to spiritual leaders who will teach and preach His word then we will forget His name. Make sure that the Bible teachers and preachers that you sit under preach and teach the Word of God and proclaim His name lest you forget the name of the Lord. They need to be sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him.

Jeremiah 23:25-30 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal? The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the Lord.“Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the Lord, “who steal My words from each other.

There is none like the Lord our God. He is to be honored and feared by all.

Jeremiah 10:6,7 There is none like You, O Lord;
You are great, and great is Your name in might.
Who would not fear You, O King of the nations?
Indeed it is Your due!
For among all the wise men of the nations
And in all their kingdoms,
There is none like You.

A Life that Is Not Ashamed

We all hate to be shamed. There is something very demeaning about being shamed especially in front of others. Basically the less we sin the less shame there will be in our life. The Bible says that sin is a disgrace or shame to any person. Sin shows no partiality.

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

If we will trust in the Lord then He will not allow us to be put to shame.

Psalm 25:1-3 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none of those who wait for You will be ashamed;
Those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.

Waiting on the Lord and acting treacherously are opposites. If we wait on the Lord then we will not do something stupid that will bring us shame. He teaches the humble His ways.

Psalm 25:4,5 Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

He will remember you because He is compassionate. He has forgiven you of the sins of your youth if you have asked Him so don’t let the devil keep bringing them up.

Psalm 25:6,7 Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.

The Lord wants to teach you His ways so that you will not be put to shame. He is good and will even teach sinners His ways when they acknowledge that they can not do it on their own.

Psalm 25:8-10 Good and upright is the Lord;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.

His will for your life is that you will walk in His ways on His paths. His ways are loving, kind and true. They are peaceful paths and you will not be put to shame.

Psalm 25:12-15 Who is the man who fears the Lord?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity,
And his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
My eyes are continually toward the Lord,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

Learn to fear the Lord and He will teach you His ways and instruct you in the way you should choose. He will also pluck your feet out of the traps that others have set for you so that you will not be put to shame.

Psalm 25:16-20 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
For I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged;
Bring me out of my distresses.
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins.
Look upon my enemies, for they are many,
And they hate me with violent hatred.
Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.

Some of your biggest troubles will come when you are lonely and afflicted with some kind of struggle. Your troubles also will seem much bigger than they really are, they will be enlarged in your own heart and you will feel stressed out. However, look to the Lord. Ask Him to forgive you of any wrong doing so that you will have a clear conscience. He will guard your soul and deliver you so that you will not be put to shame. Take refuge in Him.

Psalm 25:21,22 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me,
For I wait for You.
Redeem Israel, O God,
Out of all his troubles.

As you walk in His ways they will preserve you. Learn to wait on the Lord and not act treacherously without cause. Put your name in this prayer, “Redeem ______, O God, out of all her troubles.” He will answer you and rescue you and set you on high.

Psalm 2:12b How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

And again…

Psalm 20:1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high!

A Life of Marriage Prep

The best time to prepare for marriage is before you get married. It is a God given desire for a young lady to want to get married. However, the more you are prepared for marriage the easier it will be for you. The seeds that you sow before you get married determines the fruit that you reap after you are married. You will reap either good fruit or bad fruit.

Galatians 6:7-10 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Do not use the flesh to attract a man because then you will seek to use your flesh to keep him. This will bring great insecurity to you because a man’s eyes are never satisfied.

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

However, it is important to do your best to look your best because man does look on the outward appearance.

I Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

However, you want the inner beauty of the Lord to be greater than any outward appearance. Your outward appearance is decaying but the inner man is being renewed day by day.

II Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

The Lord will strengthen you through His Spirit in the inner man to become a godly woman who fears the Lord. You must learn to walk in the Spirit on a daily moment by moment basis. This is the greatest preparation for marriage.

Ephesians 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

A man will never fulfill you or make you happy. The sooner you learn this lesson the happier you will be. Young ladies have a tendency to live in the “if” or “when ” world. “If I were …” or “if I had …” or “when I …” and the truth of the matter is that the “if” and “when” does not change the contentment of your soul. You must learn to be content in Jesus Christ. He must be your desire. The more you learn to be content in Him then the more content you will be in whatever state He has you, whether married or single.

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.

Contentment, gratefulness and joy all go together. The greatest gift that you can give to yourself and to others and especially to the man you marry is an attitude of gratitude. No one likes to be around a complainer or someone who is never happy. Someone once said that an unhappy wife is a public rebuke to her husband. Cultivate a grateful spirit and begin now by expressing thanks to your parents and those who have helped you in life. Not only do you quench the Spirit when you do not give thanks but you will quench your husband’s spirit and what he once wanted to do for you he will no longer do because it isn’t “exactly the way you like it”.

Ephesians 5:16-19 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit;

Learn to compliment a man. A man longs for praise. The Lord made him this way and most men are starved for praise and they will gravitate to the people who praise them. This is crucial because the Lord made a man to conquer and he needs the praise of his wife to go out and conquer the world in his job. Also, if you do not praise him then other women will. Even if you do praise him other women will still do it. This is one of the ways that an immoral woman gets a man to commit adultery. She flatters him with her tongue. He does not know that it is flattery and the aim of flattery is to manipulate so you want to make sure that he is filled with your praises if you are his wife. Learn now to praise. You can begin by learning to praise your brothers and your brothers in Christ. Look for Christlikeness and then point it out to him how you see the Lord in him.

Proverbs 2:16 To deliver you from the strange woman, From the adulteress who flatters with her words;

Learn to dress in a modest manner so that a godly man will be attracted to you. If you dress in such a way that stimulates a man by stirring up desires that can not be fulfilled righteously then you are a stumbling block. Why should the Lord give you to a godly man who is seeking Him. No, rather, if you dress in a provocative manner then a man who is “all about himself” will be drawn to you and since you dressed in a deceptive manner you will be the one who will end up being deceived. He will deceive you into you believing that he actually cares for you when he does not care for you but loves himself.

Proverbs 23:6,7 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.

Finally, do dress in a modest manner, as is fitting for one who seeks to please the Lord. Learn to fear the Lord and obey Him. Honor you parents, as the Lord has commanded. If you do not honor your parents then you will struggle with honoring and respecting your husband. The Lord gives the woman to the man, not the man to the woman. You need to ask yourself if you want to serve, desire, submit to and respect a man and consider him more important than yourself. If you are not ready for that then ask the Lord to help you and go to older women who have a good marriage and ask them to teach you. Marriage can be a sweet fellowship and relationship between a man and a woman if it is done God’s way. It is supposed to be a picture of Christ and the church. Just as Christ died for the church, the husband is the love His wife in a sacrificial way and be willing to die for her. In the same way, a wife is to live for her husband (as the church is to live for Christ) and the way that she learns to serve and love Him in this Christlike manner is to die to herself. Marriage is a dying of two selves so that the Lord can raise up one (in body, soul and spirit) to glorify Him.

Ephesians 5:31-33 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

It is a mystery but it is a beautiful mystery and the most intimate relationship on earth when done God’s way. To love and be loved is what we all long for but it is only when we are surrendered to the Lord and learn His ways will we ever know what it means to live in intimate fellowship in marriage.

 

 

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.