A Life with Understanding

The Lord is good and there is nothing twisted in His ways. However, if you do not know Him then you may think that He is not fair or that He may even be twisted in what He does. Not so, He is just and He is good all of the time. This is His nature and who He is. All of the utterances of His mouth are right and there is nothing crooked or perverted in them. Those who have understanding know this.

Proverbs 8:8,9 “All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness;
There is nothing crooked or perverted in them.
“They are all straightforward to him who understands,
And right to those who find knowledge.

A person who has understanding will come to Him daily and even moment by moment will commune with Him. They will want to live in His presence and will not have to be like the horse or mule that requires something to make them come to God.

Psalm 32:9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.

The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and it is sweeter than honey to the soul. There is no comparison to knowing Him and when you learn to live in His presence and in the knowledge of Him then you will truly know that nothing compares with the knowledge of Him.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

The way to get more understanding is to keep his commandments. Many people want to understand His commandments before they do them but actually the obedience comes first and then the understanding. The Lord tells us to “not speak in the hearing of a fool lest he despise the wisdom of our words” so if He tells us to be that way then how much more will He not teach a fool His ways. It is foolish to not obey Him and do what He says.

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.

Understanding is what is supposed to characterize the people of God.

Deuteronomy 4:6 So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’

What characterizes a person who understands and knows the Lord is that they will keep His commandments. To the degree that you keep His commandments is to the degree that you know Him.

I Chronicles 22:12 Only the Lord give you discretion and understanding, and give you charge over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God.

To depart from evil is understanding. If you tolerate sin in your life then not only does the Lord not “understand” or excuse it but it is you who does not understand and know Him. How easy it is to say when we sin, “God will understand”. That is a lie from the devil.

Job 28:28 “And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

The Lord loves you and He wants you to depart from evil because He knows that is for your good and for the good of everyone else. The Lord hates evil and wants us to hate it as well. Evil causes grief and He sent His Son to save us from evil. He has compassion on all.

Job 36:5 “Behold, God is mighty but does not despise any; He is mighty in strength of understanding.

Do you know Him and have understanding? Go to the Lord and ask Him for understanding that you might know Him. Read His Word and pray that you might understand it. He loves you and has come to give you light, life and understanding, which is the knowledge of Him. He makes your life sweet and brings life to the spirit and healing to the soul.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

 

A Life that Receives Instruction

The Bible describes a fool as one who will not receive instruction. A wise person receives instruction, benefits from it and is blessed. A wise person seeks out instruction and is grateful for it. A wise person’s life is saved through instruction. The Lord wants to give us instruction on how to live that we may truly experience life and not death.

Psalm 78:1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

He will become your gold and your treasure when you learn to receive His instruction. Good will come to you and you will be at peace with God. He will restore you where you are broken. You will find delight in Him and He will hear your prayers. He will become your Savior and your Deliverer. Return to Him if you have strayed from Him and receive His instruction.

Job 22:21-30 “Yield now and be at peace with Him;
Thereby good will come to you.
“Please receive instruction from His mouth
And establish His words in your heart.
“If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored;
If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent,
And place your gold in the dust,
And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks,
Then the Almighty will be your gold
And choice silver to you.
“For then you will delight in the Almighty
And lift up your face to God.
“You will pray to Him, and He will hear you;
And you will pay your vows.
“You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you;
And light will shine on your ways.
“When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence,
And the humble person He will save.
“He will deliver one who is not innocent,
And he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Don’t be a fool but learn to fear the Lord. He is good and He loves you. He will forgive you of any wrong doing and He will instruct you in the way you should go.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.

When He gives you instruction then do it, exactly as He says.

Proverbs 4:13 Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life.

Don’t neglect your time in His Word for it is through His Word that He will give you instruction.

Proverbs 8:33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it.

He came that you might have life and His instruction will keep you on the path of life. Is there something that He has been trying to tell you?

Proverbs 10:17 He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, But he who ignores reproof goes astray.

Don’t ignore what the Old Testament has to say for it was written for our instruction so that through perseverance and the encouragement of His Word we might have hope.

Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

The Lord has put people in our lives to give us instruction. Listen to them. For they will give an account to the Lord.

I Thessalonians 5:12 But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction,

Finally, as the Lord has called all of us to instruct others, let it be done according to God’s Word, with great patience.

II Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Always, let the goal of our instruction be love…that others might love the Lord and excel in loving others. That the world might know that we are Christians by our love for one another.

I Timothy 1:5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

 

 

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 that Resists

The devil has already been defeated but he is still trying to cause as much grief as he can. For this reason he is called the evil one. The word evil means to cause grief and the Bible says that hell is one of the things that is never satisfied. Sheol is another word for hell.

Proverbs 27:20a Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,

Satan is going to be cast into hell with all the demons and he is trying to take as many people as possible.

Matthew 25:41 Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;

As mentioned earlier the devil was defeated when Christ went to the cross. This was spoken of in Genesis and is the first reference to Jesus Christ coming. He came to bruise the devil on the head.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”

The Bible says that the devil roams to and fro throughout the earth looking for someone to destroy.

I Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Satan comes like a thief, when you least expect him and when you are at a weak moment. If he can not rob you of salvation then he will seek to rob you of your joy and cause you to be a defeated Christian. Christians are defeated when they compromise.

John 10:10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

Christians are useless in the kingdom of God when they compromise. A stream that has been trampled by animals is worthless to drink out of and so is a polluted well.

Proverbs 25:26 Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.

However, the Lord tells us to resist the devil and he will flee.

I Peter 5:9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

We resist the devil through the Word of God. It is the sword of the Spirit and Jesus Himself used the Word of God when He was tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:3-10 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will command His angels concerning You’; and‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

After you have suffered a little while then the Lord Himself will come to you and comfort you. Resist the devil by keeping firm in your faith and standing on the Word of God. Don’t compromise. Cry out to the Lord to help you. Quote the Word of God out loud or read it out loud.

I Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

After you have seen His love and faithfulness you will be strengthened in your faith and now you are to strengthen and encourage other Christians. We need each other.

Luke 22:31,32 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus is praying for you that your faith will not fail.

 

 

 

 

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 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 that is Victorious

We all want to be victorious. It is the way the Lord made us. He made us to win. No one wants to lose or feel like a loser. How can we live a victorious life? There is only one way to live that kind of life.

I John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

The first prerequisite to being an overcomer is that you must be born again. Have you been born again?

John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 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.’The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

You must be born again of the Spirit. You will fail over and over again in the flesh. The only way that you can have the victory is in the Spirit because Jesus overcame and He lives in you if you have been born again. How do you become born again?

John 1:12,13 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, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

If you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then He gives you the incredible gift of becoming His child. You become born of God into His family. It is by faith that we receive Him and call upon Him.

Romans 10:9-13 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

You call on Him in faith and He will save you and you will become His child. How do you get the faith to believe? You receive the faith from hearing God’s Word.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

It only takes a little bit of faith. Your faith will grow as you grow in your relationship with Him. Call on Him. Come to Him. He says that you will not be disappointed. As you grow in your faith then you will see victory in your life. Victory over discouragement. Victory over depression. Victory over sin and sinful habits. You will not only be sorry for the consequences but the Lord will give you a sorrow over your sin. That sorrow will lead to repentance, which is a turning away from your sin and a turning to Him, over and over again until you have been changed and see the victory. This is God’s will for you.

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

He is patient and He is kind. Come to Him with your struggles and your burdens. He will take them and give you His peace and His joy.

Romans 2:4 Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?