A Life that Has Comfort

We all need comfort and yet we often feel without comfort.

Isaiah 40:1 “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.

In the world we will not have comfort but the Lord said He would not leave us comfortless.

John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but ye know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The Lord knows that we need comfort and another name for the Holy Spirit is that He is a Comforter. Are you lonely? Do you need comfort? Come to the Lord and let Him wrap His arms around you and comfort you.

Matthew 11:28,29 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.

The Lord is gentle with His children and He will come to them and comfort them. He is a Good Shepherd.

Isaiah 40:11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

He comforts us in our affliction and suffering so that we may be able to comfort others when they share in the same suffering.

II Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

The Lord is near to you and will come to you as you call on Him. He saves those who are crushed in spirit and He does not leave you alone.

psalm 34:18,19 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

The Lord will never leave you or forsake you. He loves you. Come to Him and give Him your broken heart and your pain. He will comfort you and heal you. He will bind up your heart and He will carry you through your time of suffering.

Hebrews 13:5b,6a …for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.

 

A Life with Love Gives Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

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

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

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. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32

A Life with Love is Being Accepted

All of us long to be accepted for who we are rather than for what we can accomplish or for what we have or for any other superficial reason. Deep down we know that we will ultimately lose sometime even if we have won a million times and that what we have gained we can lose. Everything that is temporal is superficial and most of which was beyond our control. We had no choice what country we were born in, who our parents are, our physical appearance or intelligence or talents or status in this world. If we focus on these attributes that we have been given then we become even more insecure because no matter how “whatever” someone is they know that someone will come along who is prettier, or smarter, or more athletic or “whatever” it is that we have been praised for or have sought after. Everyone is basically insecure on the inside and think that something more will make us “feel secure”. Eve thought that if she ate of the forbidden fruit then she would be wiser.

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

All of these temptations are illusions. They will not make you wiser nor will you feel more secure nor even feel better. They certainly will not make you accepted more. There have been many women who have fallen into the trap that “if only” they could change “this” or “that” then they would be accepted or “when” they get “this” or “that” then they will feel secure. It is not so and it will never be. However, there is something very attractive about a person who is secure in exactly who they are and that they do not need someone else to give them their security and that they have accepted themselves for what they have and are not constantly seeking for more. The person who is secure does not feel the need to control others or to manipulate. Blessed is the man who finds a wife who is secure.

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

One of the most amazing truths in the Scripture is that God, the Father loves His children, those who believe in Jesus Christ, with the same love that He loves Jesus. How can this be? Jesus never sinned and we have all sinned. The Bible says that our righteousness is as filthy rags. The filthy rag is one that stinks. Our sin stinks and we are sinners.

For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; Isaiah 64:6

However, when we become one of His sheep He loves us as His own. The only way this happens is because when we become a Christian we receive the righteousness of Christ. He takes our filthiness and He gives us His sweet fragrance.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10

This is best illustrated in the Shepherd who cares for the sheep. When a lamb becomes orphaned because it’s mother dies the Shepherd takes the lamb and finds a nursing ewe who has lost it’s little lamb and covers the orphaned lamb with the skin of the dead lamb. The nursing ewe, who normally will have nothing to do with a lamb not her own, smells the sweet smell of her own little lamb and adopts the live orphaned lamb as her own and cares for it and nurses it until it can survive on its own. In a similar way, Jesus covers us with His robe of righteousness and that is what God, the Father sees in us sinners, the righteousness of Jesus Christ and He fully accepts us as His own and loves us with the same love with which He loves Jesus.

Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. Romans 15:7

The only way that we can love another with perfect acceptance is when we realize that we are fully accepted by God. The only way that two people will feel secure in their relationship is when they are secure in their relationship with the Lord. There is nothing that we can do to be accepted by God other than to be “in Christ” and to be covered with His righteousness. Righteousness is doing it right all of the time and we have all failed. We have no righteousness of our own but those who belong to Jesus Christ have been declared righteous in the eyes of God because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ never failed to do what is right. We are loved with the same love that Jesus is loved with and we are accepted into the family of God and into heaven because of Jesus Christ and that He has given His righteousness to us and taken our filthy rags.

A Life with Love Does Not Hate

Love is an expression of everything that is good and hate is an expression of everything that is bad. If we love someone then we will do them good and build them up but if we hate someone then we will do what is bad towards them and will want to bring them grief. Love wants to be with someone and hate wants to do away with someone.

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. Matthew 5:21,22

Hate goes before abusive speech and actions and anger is the beginning of hate. Hate desires destruction to the one whom it is aimed towards but in actuality it destroys the one who has it within their heart. Cain hated Abel because God accepted Abel’s offering but not Cain’s offering.

Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:8

The Lord did not tell anyone but Cain that He did not accept Cain’s sacrifice. The Lord does not shame but we bring about our own shame when we do not do life right. When we do wrong we can seek forgiveness from God or we can continue in our shame and receive more shame. Sin never stands alone. Sin brings more sin.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9

Abel knew where his brother was. A dead man does not move. If someone will kill they will lie. If someone will steal they will lie. If someone will commit adultery they will lie. Do not be in a relationship with a liar. If you hear them lie then flee from that relationship. The person who lies can not be trusted and the one who lies will lie to you.

He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Genesis 4:10

The Lord asked Cain the same question that He asked Adam, “What have you done?”. Cain could not silence the dead nor could he do away with Abel. Whenever a person hates someone then they give the devil power over their lives. Whenever someone kills someone then they can not get away from the victim. They become a tormented person and the person whom they killed now lives within their thoughts. Hatred destroys the person who has it.

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. Hebrews 11:4

Cain was angry with God for not accepting his sacrifice. All anger is ultimately directed at God but it is taken out on someone else. Anger is not getting your way and what you want. Abel received what he wanted but Cain did not and so Cain killed Abel.

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. I John 3:11,12

Love is of God and the message that has been from the beginning is that we should love one another. The violence that comes from anger is from the devil and when it is carried out then the perpetrator has done the works of the devil. Violence is different from other sins in that some of the other sins are natural desires that are fulfilled in the wrong way. It is wrong to commit adultery but physical intimacy is a natural desire that becomes adultery when it is accomplished between two people not married. The Lord hates violence.

The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

When the Lord comes into our lives then He sets us free from our own selfish desires which lead to the anger, hatred, jealousy, envy and all the other feelings and attitudes that can control us that leads to death within our souls. He takes out of our lives the things that destroy us and replaces them with what is good. He also will do this with relationships when they are given to the Lord.

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. I John 3:14-16

Jesus Christ took our death, and all that dwells in death and causes death, to the cross that we might be set free. The anger, hatred, jealousy, strife and more are what characterizes the person who is still in death and separated from God. Love is what marks the person who has passed out of death into life. Jesus Christ died and rose again that He might bring us to God. He laid down His life for us.

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; I Peter 3:18

Abel loved God and Cain could not destroy Abel’s love for God nor could he silence Abel. Evil destroys the person who does it but God came to destroy the works of the devil.

The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8

The one who knows God will love others. The one who does not know God, their heart will have hatred. Those who love God will want to do what is right. Those who do not know God can not do what is right, for their hearts are wicked.

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. I John 3:10

The Lord loves you whether you belong to Him or not. He wants you to come to Him. God loved Cain. Cain did not choose to love God. Love is a choice. God’s wisdom is a mystery. We do not fully understand it but when we do come to Jesus Christ our lives are changed now and forever.

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. I Corinthians 15:51,52

The Lord says that if only those who crucified the Lord Jesus Christ had understood that He loved them then they would not have crucified Him. Jesus Christ loved even His enemies and those who hated Him.

but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:7-9

His plan for man from the beginning has always been love. God has always loved man but God has also given man a choice. Man can respond to that love through Jesus Christ or they can reject that love. When they reject that love then their hearts continue to stay darkened and what is wrong starts to seem right and what is right seems wrong to them. Those who crucified Jesus Christ hated Him and believed that they could silence Him. God raised Him from the dead and He still desires that all people come to Him and receive eternal life.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

There is no sin too great. We all are guilty of crucifying the Lord. It was for all of us and for all of our sin that He went to the cross. It is not too late to come to Him.

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. II Peter 3:9

A Life with Love Give Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

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

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

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. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32

A Life that Loves People

If you love God then you will love people because God loves people. He loves everyone. The Bible says that He is good to the evil and the good.

Matthew 5:45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

If you are His child then you will want to become like Him.

I John 3:1-3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

When we see Him we will be like Him but before that happens we are in the process of becoming like Him, which means we are being conformed into His likeness while on earth.

Romans 6:5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,

His destiny for us is to become like Him.

Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;

It is through knowing Him that we become conformed to His death, His resurrection and His life.

Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

Jesus is the Word and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God uses His Word to transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

His Word becomes alive in us and replaces our old though patterns and habits.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Just as Jesus did not come to do His own will but the will of the Father, in the same way, we also are not to do our will but the will of God.

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

Just as Jesus prayed in the garden, “not My will but Thy will be done”, we too are to pray the same and desire that His will would be done.

Luke 22:42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

Jesus also taught His disciples to pray in the same way, that His will would be done.

Matthew 6:10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

When you choose to follow Jesus. He will be your Lord and it is His will that becomes of utmost importance. This is what it means to die to yourself. You are dying to your will and living to do His will. This is truly the only way that you can love people. It is the way that Jesus loved you by going to the cross for you. He chose the will of the Father.

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.

God so loved you so that you too might love others with the same kind of love. What amazing love!

A Life Filled with Joy

We all want to have joy. Sometimes it may seem that joy is not possible all of the time but actually it can be. Is not it possible to have peace all of the time and also love? Yes, the Lord wants our lives to be filled with His fruit. Joy is not just an emotion even as love, peace, patience and kindness are not merely emotions either. Joy is a well being or satisfaction and pleasantness in the spirit. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit and comes with no guilt or regret. Emotions come and go and we are not to live by them but the fruit of the Spirit is an expression of Christ in us.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Joy is knowing His presence and having His favor on your life. Joy comes from the Lord. It is a security that comes from His presence and knowing that the Lord will be with you, will guide you and has a pleasing future for you. You can try to please yourself or you can have His pleasures which last for eternity.

Psalm 16:9 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

The Lord has also given us something special in this life which will give us great joy and that is the privilege of serving Him through the spiritual gift that He has given to you. There is no one like you and although others may have the same spiritual gift as you, it will not be expressed in the same unique way. The Lord has a job for you to do and only you can do it.

I Peter 4:10,11 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

There are two types of gifts, a speaking gift and a serving gift. If your gift is speaking then you are to speak the utterances of God, which is His Word. His Word has the power and you are the mouthpiece to speak it. If your gift is serving then He has given you supernatural strength though His Spirit. If you are filled with His Word and His Spirit then He will be glorified in your life and the church will be built up.

II Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

You must know His word if you want to be used by Him. He uses His Word. We are only His vessel through which He speaks. If we know His Word then we will be prepared for the goods works that he has planned for each of us.

II Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

You must keep a clear conscience so that the Holy Spirit is not quenched in your life. The Lord uses His Spirit and His Word. Sanctified means to be cleansed and set apart for a holy purpose.

II Timothy 2:21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Finally, we must continually humble ourselves before the Lord, for He give grace to the humble. Jesus was full of grace and truth. The Word of God is truth and grace allows us to live out the truth and therefore be full of truth through the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When you are prepared and set apart and obedient to His Word then the Word becomes flesh through you and Jesus Christ is glorified. You are a part of His body and the spiritual gift that He has given you is meant to be an expression of Him to others. The word joy has the same root as the word grace and gift. You will have great joy when you exercise your spiritual gift through the grace that He gives to you.

John 17:15-19 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus has sent us into the world. He has prayed that we would be cleansed and set apart through His Word. He wants to use you. When He uses you to fulfill His plan for the world then you will have great joy. When you are faithful to Him and obedient to Him and His will for your life then your life will overflow with joy. May you be blessed by entering into His joy and hearing His words to you, “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.” What has He called you to do?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Life that Loves

The greatest of all is love and love is the most powerful influence in the world. When we learn to love as Christ did then our world will be changed. We will be willing to die for each other even as Christ died for us.

Romans 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.

This word good means the highest form of love. What the Lord is saying is that someone would not be willing to give up their life for someone who does the right thing  but perhaps maybe someone would die for a person who loved them. Love is the greatest power in the world. We will always want to be around those who love us.

I John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We know that Jesus loves us. He died for us and He would do it again. He did not die for us because we were good but He died for us because He is good. Jesus Christ is the expression of the highest form of love.

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

The only way we can love with the love of Christ is if we die to ourselves first.

John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

We must deny ourselves and follow Him. It is a daily dying to ourselves and it is the path to freedom and to Christlikeness.

Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

This life is only possible through His Spirit and by His Spirit. He will only lead you where He has gone before you. There is no fear in a life of dying to self and following Him. In your dying you will begin living and in your death others will find life.

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Jesus went before us. He was crushed for our iniquities and by His scourging we are healed. He died for us.

Isaiah 53:5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

The Lord is pleased when we offer ourselves to Him as a living sacrifice. How is it seen by others? It is seen through our love for others as we are poured out as an offering to Him.

Isaiah 53:10-12 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.

You have the opportunity to be like Jesus when you intercede for those who have sinned against you. You may not be able to bear their sins as Jesus did on the cross but when you pray “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”, you will be more like Him than you will ever know and others will see Jesus in you.

Luke 23:24 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

The greatest is love and those who love are the greatest.

I Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

A Life that is Sweet and Good

The Lord has a plan for our lives and it is sweet and good. He wants us to live in and on His promises. We are to live by faith in the land of His promises. In the Old Testament when He described the promised land He said it was a land flowing with milk and honey. Milk is good for you and honey is sweet. That is how it is when we walk by faith with the Lord. Fellowship with Him is sweet and obedience to His Word is good for us.

Exodus 3:17 So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt…to a land flowing with milk and honey.

Egypt was symbolic of slavery and the land flowing with milk and honey was the land of promise which they were to possess by faith. Are you enslaved to sin or the flesh? Are their any habits that you are struggling with and know you need to be set free? He came to set you free.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

If you have been set free then don’t go back into the bondage of slavery. There are two things that will hold you back from your goals and desires. They are snares and snags. Snares are sins that have ensnared you and that Jesus can set you free and wants to set you free. Snags are things that you have no control over and they cause you to cry out to Him for help. Just as if you were walking down a path and a branch from a tree were to snag you and you could not free yourself. He allows obstacles and snags in our life to cause us to realize that we can not make it on our own. We need His help. By faith we look continually to Him.

Jude 1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

The Lord died for you and rose again so that you might be set free from the snares of the devil. However you must trust Him and learn to live by faith or you will end up being destroyed.

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 Lord made you to be an overcomer. He wants life to be sweet and good for you. It is possible only through Him. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

A Life with Love Gives Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

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

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

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. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32