Believe

You don’t have to see to believe.

37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has The Arm of The Lord been revealed?” (John 12)

So much of who we are is shaped by our beliefs. With all the information we get, we can choose what to believe and what to discount. Our attitude, lifestyle, religion, relationships and routines are patterned after our beliefs. Everyone believes in some facts, ideas or someone. Once we are convinced about something, it becomes difficult to change our thinking or behavior. So we should ensure that our convictions are founded on time-tested truth. 

“When God speaks that settles it.”

After these things the Word of The Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I Am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” 2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”

4 And behold, the Word of The Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in The Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15).

Abram received the Word from The Lord, spoken directly to him by God, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I Am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” When God speaks that settles it. Ask God to establish this promise to you as He did Abram. God is your shield so no fiery darts can get to you, before they go through Him; don’t fear weapons that are trained at you. God is your great reward, not just any reward, but a princely, handsome reward. He is more than all the  accolades and achievements you can attain. As He was to Abram then, He is to us today. You have a great reward that is matchless to everything this world can offer.

Upon hearing this, Abram wanted God to do something about his lineage. He was advancing in his years and had no children. He had given up hope of having descendants. He asked God to bless him through his servant’s heir. God is not limited by age or time; He promised Abram innumerable descendants, even at his old age. Abram believed God and it became his righteousness. Believe God with expectancy and gratitude. Believe in all that He has spoken even though there’s still no evidence of it. Righteousness is believing God’s Truth and living by it. 

2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. 3 And the Angel of The Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Now therefore, please be careful not to drink wine or similar drinks, and not to eat anything unclean. 5 For behold, you shall conceive and bear a son. And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”

22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!” 23 But his wife said to him, “If The Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have told us such things as these at this time.” 24 So the woman bore a son and called his name Samson; and the child grew, and The Lord blessed him. 25 And The Spirit of The Lord began to move upon him at Mahaneh Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol (Judges 13).

The Angel of The Lord spoke to Manoah’s wife while she was by herself. He told her, who had been barren, that she would conceive a son. He set the scene for her and she believed. The Angel appeared a second time in the presence of her husband, who did not believe his wife, when she had retailed the encounter. The Angel of The Lord told Manoah to do as He had directed his wife. He then went up in the flame of the sacrifice that they had offered to God. 

Manoah was more convinced of his death than the life that was promised through him. Are you more convinced of your pessimism than the Will of God? We are probably not going to run into The Angel of God, but God can plant clues, goals, and ideas in our thoughts that may seem impossible. If a door of opportunity opens, we must enter it in prayer and faith, and trust God to order our steps. Just as Manoah’s wife was instructed, we too must seek God’s Wisdom at every turn. She was able to see what was promised even when Manoah couldn’t. Sometimes, we don’t need validation from those we trust; we only need to cling to the hope of God’s Word. She bore Samson, who was filled with The Spirit of God, for God’s Purpose—to deliver the Israelites from their enemies, the Philistines. Every belief has an established purpose. Hold firm and don’t let another’s misgivings detract from the hope of realizing God’s Will. 

“Those who believe allow God to do marvelous works through them.” 

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and The Power of The Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One Who is to be born will be called The Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of The Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told to her from The Lord.” (Luke 1)

Those who choose to believe what God tells them choose to be used by God to fulfill what He has declared. If Mary had doubted that she would carry The Son of God in her and bring Him into the world, what would have become of Israel, and the world? Those who believe allow God to do marvelous works through them. For nothing is impossible with God to those who believe. They have no doubts about God’s Word or His capacity to accomplish it. To prove to Mary that what she was told would come to pass, the angel revealed to her that her cousin Elizabeth, who’s clock had run out, was six months pregnant. Mary surrendered to God’s Will. Blessed are those who believe what God has revealed to them. They will see the fulfillment of those things because they have not doubted. Only those who have faith will be used to do wonders that change the course of history, for generations to come. God blesses those who are willing to conceive His Promise. 

14 How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? 

As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by The Word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “Their sound has gone out to all the Earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” (Romans 10)

Again and again, we see it is all about the Word of God, and not the acts of God that prevail on the hearts of people. The Word of God spoken by His angels, prophets, and ordinary people is the only evidence of The True God. Miracles, signs and wonders do not stimulate faith. People only call on the One they have believed. They will only believe what is spoken of God, by God and those He sends. Preachers, be diligent to do one thing: speak The Word of God. Nothing else you present on the pulpit will change the hearts and minds of the people. No flowery displays on screens, or regaling with stories will do. Faith only comes from hearing The Word of God. God’s Word has already gone out to many parts of the world, and those who choose to believe will receive the Gospel that transforms their thinking, life and soul, for eternity. 

“Righteousness is believing God’s Truth and living by it.” 

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received The Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men (Acts 17).

Those who preach are not responsible for how others hear and what they do with The Word. They are responsible for what they preach. Good listeners are apt to listen and learn. The people of Berea received The Word with all readiness, that is with avid expectancy. Not only did they receive it, but they verified it for themselves, to be as written. Don’t just take the preacher’s words for it, read The Scriptures for yourself and make sure that you have the full context and understanding. The Spirit of God, The Spirit of Truth, will open your spiritual understanding, and illuminate the relevance of God’s Word to life’s issues. Many from Berea believed because they searched The Scripture daily for themselves. Read The Word daily, as if searching for treasure, with the intention of gaining something valuable for your life.  

“Doubt is offensive to God.”

44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him Who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him Who sent Me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me, and does not receive My Words, has that which judges him—the Word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.” (John 12)

The Lord Jesus said categorically that whoever believes in God must believe in Him. The two are not mutually exclusive. No one can claim to believe in God and deny The Son, Jesus, Who came as The Son of Man. He and The Father are One. He said if they saw Him, they saw The Father. God’s Word is as Good as The Words of The Lord Jesus. Christ came to die for our sins; He came to save us. He will come again as The Judge, because He is The Word of God—The One sent to speak, teach and compel all to be reconciled to God.  He is The Word that will judge everyone who has rejected Him and His Words on the day of judgment. If you believe in The Lord, and are obedient to His Words, you are acknowledging the existence of The True God and Heavenly Father.

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen The Lord. ”So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20)

Here’s a command from The Lord: Do not be unbelieving, but believing. What evidence do you need to believe in The Savior, Lord and God? Thomas denied Christ’s resurrection, even though Christ had told them He would rise on the third day. These disciples lived at a momentous time; they walked with The Lord, were taught by Him, watched Him heal the sick and raise the dead. Yet they could not believe that He could rise from the dead. 

We have not seen The Lord as Thomas saw, nor touched His scars from the nails and the side that was pierced. We have believed, yet we have not seen The Lord. Blessed are those who don’t need signs or evidence to believe. Take Scripture for all that it is and believe it, all of it. Don’t believe, like Thomas, dribs and drabs—the miracles which you can only see. All that has been written about God from Genesis to Revelations is Gospel Truth. 

19 He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.

21 So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9)

This father’s son was tormented and afflicted by a demonic spirit. The disciples were unable to cast out the spirit, when the father came to The Lord. The Lord rebuked His disciples for being faithless. How long does The Lord have to put up with followers who have no faith in His Power! Feel the grief and frustration in The Lord’s Words. Doubt is offensive to God. 

The father of the boy asked The Lord, if He could do anything, to have compassion. He wasn’t sure Christ could do anything that His disciples were incapable of; if His disciplines were unable to heal the man’s son, then how could The Lord? Just because a fellow Christian doesn’t get their prayer answered doesn’t mean your similar prayer is not going to be answered, having petitioned God for a long while. If there’s an ounce of doubt, call out to God and ask Him to help you to fully believe. Like this father, some may believe in God, but they have a hard time believing He can do great things. If you and I can believe in God for anything, all things will be possible because we believe. 

“Pray by believing you have already received.”

22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11)

When we have faith in God and believe that He can move great mountains for us—He can do what no human can do for us— we will have what we have asked. Pray by believing you have already received. This verse is not telling us that we have the ability to command creation to do our bidding. The Lord said that when we ask, in prayer, with boldness, confidence and faith for the humanly impossible, we will receive because we have believed. Ask according to God’s Power and His Will. Nothing, as The Lord said, will be impossible for those who ask God in faith; not because of their own abilities, but God’s. 

22 “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the Earth! For I Am God, and there is no other. 23 I have sworn by Myself; The Word has gone out of My Mouth in Righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. 24 He shall say, ‘Surely in The Lord I have righteousness and strength.’ To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him.” (Isaiah 45)

God beckons everyone on the face of the Earth to believe in Him, for their Salvation. Those who believe in The Lord are made righteous in Him, and in Him they have strength. He affirms that He is The Only True God and there’s none else that compares to Him. He speaks and accomplishes what He declares. He has promised that everyone will fall on their knees before Him and proclaim Him to be God. Whether we learn to do that now or deny Him, we will all fall prostrate before Almighty God. We must as well get with the program now. All those who are offended by Him will never succeed in their attempts to deny Him.

10 “You are My witnesses,” says The Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I Am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. 11 I, even I, Am The Lord, and besides Me there is no savior. 12 I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, and there was no foreign god among you. Therefore, you are My witnesses,” says The Lord, “that I Am God.” (Isaiah 43)

If you believe in God, it’s because He has chosen you as His servant to know Him and to understand that He is God. It is no work of your own, but His Divine Will that those who He chooses will become His witnesses. This is our calling: to know God, believe in Him and to become witnesses of Who He is. Take this to heart and grasp the significance of your very existence. We live out our roles daily as witnesses and servants of God. No one can preach about one that they have not believed in. No one gets to live life without a set of beliefs.

“Every belief has an established purpose.”

Believe in God and The Lord Jesus Christ. Believe in His Words and do not be one who needs signs to believe. Blessed is the one who has believed because they will conceive God’s Promise. Do not be unbelieving; but put your faith in God and pray with gratitude and expectation. It will be done for you as you have believed in God’s Power and Faithfulness. Don’t depend on others’ validation to believe what God has revealed to you. 

We are His witnesses because we have been chosen to believe and to live according to His Truth and Righteousness in Christ, The Lord. We look forward each day to see God use us for His Marvelous works that will change the future generations, as we become part of His Plan. He is God and there is no other savior. 

8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men (Titus 3).

SUSTENANCE IN THE WORD: SECOND QUARTER, 2022

Before you read the Word: Put away all distractions; find a quiet place; pray for The Holy Spirit to take control of all your being; ask for a seat at the foot of the throne of God for this fellowship; plead for spiritual understanding and your cleansing by His Holy Word.

Read the Word as prayer and as a two-way communication between you and The Lord. You read as you evoke His Character and ask what you seek according to His Truth. Allow His Word to correct, comfort, convict, and restore you.

This week’s challenge: Lying lips are an abomination to The Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight (Proverbs 12:22).

WEEK 1

Psalm 97

Joshua 22

Revelations 3

1 Kings 19

John 3

Jonah 3

2 Corinthians 3

Practice: 16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver (Proverbs 16).

WEEK 2

Isaiah 51

2 Samuel 12

2 Corinthians 1

Job 4

Jeremiah 8

Matthew 5

Hebrews 1

Practice: 18 Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction (Proverbs 19).

WEEK 3

Psalm chapter 123 and 124

1 Thessalonians 4

Jeremiah 31

Revelations 11

Ezekiel 13

Daniel 6

Isaiah 51

Practice: Every Word of God is pure;
He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30).

WEEK 4

1 Corinthians 9

Exodus 15

Isaiah 38

1 Timothy 1

Jeremiah 6

Genesis 20

Daniel 4

Practice: Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, for anger rests in the bosom of fools (Ecclesiastes 7).

WEEK 5

Hosea 4

Job 41

Exodus 9

Psalm chapter 15 and 16

Isaiah 9

John 8

Deuteronomy 12

Practice: 17 He who has pity on the poor lends to The Lord, and He will pay back what he has given (Proverbs 19).

WEEK 6

Deuteronomy 7

Luke 3:1-23

2 Kings 17

2 Chronicles 20

2 Timothy 2

Hosea 2

Ezekiel 29

Practice: Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman (Proverbs 21).

WEEK 7

Genesis 3

1 John 5

Jeremiah 7

Romans 3

Ezekiel 39

Psalm 33

Colossians 2

Practice: 11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (Proverbs 25).

WEEK 8

2 Corinthians 3

Proverbs 11

Genesis 4

John 12

Psalm chapter 39 and 68

Deuteronomy 3

Luke 12

Practice: 16 A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident (Proverbs 14).

WEEK 9

Isaiah 53

Matthew 6

Micah 7

Romans 12

Job 16

Nehemiah 9

Psalm chapter 126 and 135

Practice: 27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live (Proverbs 15).

WEEK 10

Exodus 13

1 Samuel 15

Romans 3

Job 36

1 Kings 19

Galatians 6

Hosea 5

Practice: In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of The Lord one departs from evil (Proverbs 16).

WEEK 11

1 Samuel 16

Psalm chapter 82 and 92

Hebrews 13

Jeremiah 26

Mark 9

2 Kings 18

1 Thessalonians 5

Practice: 17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of The Lord all the day; 18 For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 23).

WEEK 12

1 Samuel 9

Psalm 104

Genesis 8

Exodus 32

Colossians 1

Isaiah 10

Ruth 1

Practice: 23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor (Proverbs 29).

Longevity

Add years to your life.

29 “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My Commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5) 

There have been many ideas, food supplements, diets, therapies, and exercises that have been recommended to improve life expectancy: a good night sleep, laughter, eating less fat and sugars, superfoods, physical exercise, music, and many others. These are essential for our overall health and wellness. We only live this life once, so we might as well try to live as long as we can, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We want to be able to carry out our responsibilities, accomplish goals, and be there for those we love.  If we want to live long, fulfilling lives, we need to apply the best principles. God is the only Source of life because He is our Creator. God gives us the best wisdom to live for eternity. 

“God’s Word keeps us in good stead through every season of life.”

32 “Therefore you shall be careful to do as The Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the ways which The Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” (Deuteronomy 5)

If we want to prolong our days, and truly live as God intends, we must hang on every Word God speaks and commands. With eager willingness we are to obey and walk in all His Ways. It seems impossible, but as long as we have the desire to please Him, we will make strides with each passing day. We have to be steadfast, pliable and submissive to do what He has already commanded us in The Scriptures. He promises that we will prosper in this life, and we will prolong our days. 

The Lord will supply everything we need that facilitates living a life that honors Him. Be diligent to not just eat right and exercise; but to do as The Lord has commanded. He gives us each breath and commands every cell to do as He commands. He controls our entire body system, and He teaches us how to maintain our mind, soul and spirit for eternity. He ensures that everything is working in tandem with His Purpose and Will for us. 

Then Jesus was led up by The Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are The Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the Mouth of God.’ ”(Matthew 4)

The Lord Jesus is The Son of God, Who came as The Son of Man; He took the form of our likeness. The Spirit led Him to the wilderness to be tempted, just as we are led into trials to test our faith, while we are serving God. He held His own by not trying to convince the devil that He was The Son of God. We must be vigilant, especially during hardship, to not get tripped up by doubting God’s Love for us as His children. We live through good times, but we are often thrust into the ebb and flow of life’s struggles. Food only sustains us physically, but every Word that proceeds from the Mouth of God bolsters our convictions, steels us through adversity, and reassures us of God’s Faithfulness. God’s Word keeps us in good stead through every season of  life. Our lives are not preserved by bread alone; but by every Word that proceeds from the Mouth of God.

“Eternal life is life preserved in Christ—The Word of God”

10 But the day of The Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the Heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the Earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the Heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new Heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless (2 Peter 3).

It’s hard to imagine that everything in the galaxies and here on Earth is destined for incineration. God Who created it all can do as He pleases with it, and no one can restrain Him. If all these will be consumed, then we must live for what will last. We are created in God’s Image to live for eternity. Our bodies are for this Earth, but our souls will live in perpetuity. As we wait for the new Heavens and Earth, we should have an eternal perspective.

Be diligent to be found in Christ—robbed in His Righteousness—because the new Earth will abound with righteousness. No diet, cosmetics, wealth, workout, or technology will prevail on the day when The Lord brings down the curtains. Only righteousness will endure forever. Be spotless and blameless, by abiding in Christ; and be found at peace with Him. He is coming in Righteousness and Judgment to destroy the habitation of wickedness, injustice, pride and ungodliness. He will create a new place where He will dwell forever with His people.

“Only righteousness will endure forever.”

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments which The Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son: ‘We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, and The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a Mighty Hand; 22 and The Lord showed signs and wonders before our eyes, great and severe, against Egypt, Pharaoh, and all his household. 23 Then He brought us out from there, that He might bring us in, to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. 24 And The Lord commanded us to observe all these statutes, to fear The Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is this day. 25 Then it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these commandments before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.’ (Deuteronomy 6)

If righteousness endures forever then we must understand what it is: It is the fear of God that compels us to obey Him, even as we love Him with all our being. His Righteousness is earned by obedience. As He promised the Israelites land, He has promised us His Kingdom. As He took the Israelites out of Egypt, as slaves of Pharaoh, He has brought us out of the kingdom of darkness; where we were slaves to sin. He brought us out so that He might bring us in. He commands us to observe His Ways, and fear Him for our good. He will preserve our lives for the eternal dwelling He has created us for. We will not perish in the new life we have in Christ. He Who led us out, by His death, has given us new life by His resurrection. 

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes in Him Who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5)

It is those who hear His Word, believe it and observe to do it that have everlasting life. These are those who live not by bread alone. Bread sustains only for a time; but the Word of God nourishes us for an everlasting life. The life we now live is The Risen Life of Christ. He is our righteousness, if we submit to His Spirit to do The Will of The Father. Those who believe allow Christ to live through them, by submitting to His Word. Those who are obedient do not come into judgment; they pass from physical death to everlasting life. We will not die, but will live because He lives in us. Eternal life is life preserved in Christ—The Word of God. 

25 “Of old You laid the foundation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of Your Hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure. Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, and Your years will have no end. 28  The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.” (Psalm 102)

The Lord is from everlasting to everlasting. He will change the Earth and Heavens, but He remains the same.  He never changes; His years have no end. The Creator of all things seen and unseen will do His pleasure. His children will continue to live and be established before Him. As their Father is Eternal, so are they because they have His Spirit. They are complete in Him in this life and the next. 

“Those who hope in The Lord are kept in His constant supply of provision.”

“Blessed is the man who trusts in The Lord, and whose hope is The Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17)

The tree planted by the river will have a constant supply of nourishment; the one who trusts in The Lord will never run out of resources. Regardless of how much the surrounding environment changes, the source is unaffected. Those who trust in God will not fail to be productive, fruitful and effective in all they endeavor to do. They will not fear in time of scarcity because The Lord is all they need and live on. Those who hope in The Lord are kept in His constant supply of provision. Though they go through adversity, they will overcome, by being fruitful where they are planted. The Lord will use them as His vessels of purpose, for every good work, and will equip them with what they need to perform it.

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7)

The wise one will build their lives by hearing and doing what The Lord Jesus has taught. They build on the rock—on The Lord’s Wisdom. They are established on truth that stands the test of time and never fails. When the storms come, obey; when the winds hurl, obey. No temptation or pressure will topple the one who hangs on Christ’s Words. You will not crumble under the strain of sin, temptation, hardship, if you shift your focus to pleasing The Lord. Obedience is the foundation we lay on the Words of Christ. The wise will build their lives on Wisdom of The Lord.

Everyone who hears is everyone who is mulls over Christ’s Words and digests it. Some come eagerly to hear what He says, but they discount it as irrelevant to their lives. Those who hear and do not do what He says are foolish for disregarding The Wisdom of The Lord. Disobedience is foolishness that fails those who practice it. They are like those who build their lives on sand, by depending on their own understanding, acting on their fleshly desires, and trusting on their own resources. When temptation, sin and adversity buffet them, they will not be able to stand. What they built their hopes on will collapse with a great fall. 

Choose to prolong your days by living on every Word that proceeds from The Mouth of God. Resources, diets, exercise and relationships don’t guarantee a long life. Life is preserved in the Giver of life. Those who put their hope in The Lord have provision that is impervious to changing circumstances; they are like a tree planted by the waters. They will not be in want, as they are fruitful by serving God. Righteousness will preserve us alive. We were created to live forever. We have a place promised to us, where righteousness abounds because God dwells among His people.

19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love The Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which The Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30)

Reserve

Store up for the future.

There’s a sense of security when we think we have a cushion of resources set aside for a rainy day. We put aside a certain amount of money we can use in a pinch. This reserve is only utilized when we have run out of other options. What we set aside should come through for us when we need it. So we should ensure that we have a dependable supply at all times. 

“Store up on Earth what you will gain for eternity.”

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6).”

Worldly riches are like a mist that’s for a moment and then gets blown away. The Lord Jesus cautions us to not lay up for ourselves riches that are fleeting. The true riches, those of greatest value, are not susceptible to corruption and decay. Real riches are not stored here on Earth where moths, fire, rust, floods, and thieves can consume. When we set our sights on worldly riches, we waste our efforts on the ephemera. The Lord urges us to lay our treasures in Heaven where they are kept for eternity and are a surety.

Our heart’s passions and ambitions are in line with the things we value most. If we set our hearts on heavenly riches, we will not be overwhelmed by uncertainty.  Heavenly treasures are an inheritance for those who live to serve God and His Purposes here on Earth. Our treasure is what we spend the better part of our lives achieving; it is our most valuable possession. Let your treasure be the sum of your life’s value. Where you lay up your treasure becomes the destiny you seek.

“The upright sow righteousness and reap God’s Goodness for future generations.”

Praise The Lord! Blessed is the man who fears The Lord, who delights greatly in His Commandments. 2 His descendants will be mighty on Earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man deals graciously and lends. He will guide his affairs with discretion. 6 Surely he will never be shaken. The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in The Lord (Psalm 112).

Those who delight in The Lord are those who also greatly delight in His Commandments. They fear God with eager willingness to please Him. They are blessed with riches that will not fail them or their children. They have God’s Favor and Goodness enfolding the course of their lives. Riches and wealth are not based on the amount of possessions, but the insurmountable Grace and Love God bestows. Those who are blessed are generous with what belongs to God. They are gracious and compassionate to those who are in need. They are stewards of God’s Goodness to them. They are steadfast to entrust Him with all their affairs, in every season. Their righteousness is expressed by generosity, obedience, and trust in God. They will not be moved by adversity because they have placed their hope in God alone. The upright sow righteousness and reap God’s Goodness for future generations.

17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in The Living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1 Timothy 6).

Lay up a foundation that will not fail in the storms of life. Do not trust in uncertain riches, and do not become conceited because of the things you own. Become rich in good deeds. Give willingly to those in need, use your resources for good and not for works of darkness. The Living God gives us richly all these to enjoy: the ability and knowledge to make a living, good health, family, shelter, safety, laughter, peace, His Mercy and The Presence of Christ in us—The Holy Spirit. These are the true riches. Be grateful for all that you have today. Remember to be rich in godliness. Store up on Earth what you will gain for eternity.

“Reserve the best portions for The Lord.” 

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in The Lord. 6 There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” Lord, lift up the Light of Your Countenance upon us. 7 You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. 8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety (Psalm 4).

Where is your hope for the future? Put your trust in The Lord. When God’s Face is shining upon you, you will be radiant with His Glory; He is the only source of joy and peace. No amount of wealth or food can guarantee peace, safety, health and joy. God is our shield, help and strength in times of trouble. Offer Him righteousness, thanksgiving and praise. God’s Presence should satiate us with more joy than any other form of bliss. May the Light of God’s Countenance be upon you and satisfy your heart with complete joy. Trusting God keeps us from being anxious about tomorrow; only He can guarantee our safety and peace. 

9 Honor The Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; 10 so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine (Proverbs 3).

Remember to set aside a token of honor and gratitude to God when you receive your earnings. Honor The Lord with the best fruit of your labor. He will bless all the work of your hands and supply you with plenty. By giving to God what we have worked hard to attain we acknowledge He facilitates our ability to work. Our health, knowledge, safety, strength and agility are all God’s enabling. Reserve the best portions for The Lord. The best is what we give Him wholeheartedly. 

10  If you extend your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones. You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58).

What if our store of resources never failed? When we are concerned about the needs of those who lack, we extend the kindness we have received from God. In times of darkness and adversity, we can bring light by being a spark of hope for others, in their dark times. The best restorative during hardship is compassion for others. Our own darkness can become our light when we redirect our focus to the needs of those who are suffering. We take out what we are willing to put into God’s account. The Lord will ensure we have more than we need to cater to our needs when we satisfy the hungry and afflicted. 

God gives us the stamina and ability to earn a living, not only to meet our needs but those of others. We become like a well-watered garden, whose fruit never fails to yield. He will guide us continually and sustain us, even during times that we don’t have enough. When we no longer focus on how much we can continue to store, but how much we are willing to give for God’s Honor, we will lack nothing good. Become a spring of water that waters others. 

Blessed is he who considers the poor. The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. 2 The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive, and he will be blessed on the Earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. 3 The Lord will strengthen him on his bed of illness; You will sustain him on his sickbed (Psalm 41).

We squirrel away money for a possible rainy day. We should save what we can so that we are prepared for any contingencies. God also stores up for those who set aside for the needs of others. The Lord comes to their aid when they are in dire straits or are facing adversity. He will preserve their lives and they will be blessed by God. God protects them from their adversaries, as He hides them under His Wings. Though they may fall ill and not be able to perform their responsibilities God will carry them day and night. He is their strength in health and in sickness. God’s blessings for those who are compassionate to the poor stretches far beyond what we can amass for ourselves. He will also use others to meet us at every point of our needs. 

“Let your treasure be the sum of your life’s value.”

15 Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil—16 they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them (Isaiah 33).

Wealth gained from bribes, violence, theft or fraud is abominable to God. Honest gain is a reward for the diligent and industrious. No true Christian should arrogate to themselves wealth or possessions that rightfully belong to someone else. Those whose lives are defined by righteousness speak what is right; and what they speak becomes their very walk. They will reject fraud, deceit, violence, and have no association with evil. They will be kept in good stead by their commitment to do what is right. They will find refuge in God and their nourishment will be supplied without fail. 

“We take out what we are willing to put into God’s account.” 

Our security is not in how much we store up in investments, homes, possessions or our bank accounts. Saving is a good practice that keeps us from living extravagantly and spending money frivolously. We can determine the value of our income by what we spend it on. Our energy and time are resources we don’t want to waste on futility. We should set our minds on accumulating treasures that will endure this life and eternity. We must leave behind, for the next generation, riches that are not prone to corruption or theft.

When we honor God with our best, He reserves His unfailing provision for our needs. Wealth and riches are not the amount of material things we can have, but God’s Goodness and Favor lavished on those who fear Him and walk uprightly. He daily blesses us with joy, peace, health, strength, our loved ones, food, shelter, and above all else, His Presence. We are stewards of all the good things God gives us to enjoy. We can live a more fulfilled life by honoring God with what we have and sharing with those in need. Our Heavenly Father has more good in store for us than what we can store for ourselves. He will protect us and keep us in adversity, sickness and times of uncertainty. We must not take what is not ours by fraud, bribery and deceit. The best reserve we can have is the one that is sowed in righteousness. 

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the Heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12).”

Wisdom

Acquire wisdom and retain it

15  He has made the Earth by His Power; He has established the world by His Wisdom, and stretched out Heaven by His Understanding (Jeremiah 51).

Growing up we were taught to listen to our elders because they had more knowledge from their life experiences; the older they were the more wisdom they had. Those of advanced years have much to teach us about life, and we can take a page from the lessons they have learned. Wisdom guides everyone, regardless of age, to make informed decisions, do what is right, use discretion, and treat others with equity. Foolishness is deterred by wisdom and understanding. Even adults can sometimes behave like children when they thrust wisdom aside. We all need wisdom, and we must acquire it from the best source. 

“The fear of God is the gateway to wisdom.”

2 To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, 3 to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; 4 to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, 6 to understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1).

The value of wisdom exceeds any amount of wealth. Wisdom gives understanding to the simple and imperceptible, teaching judgment, concepts, ideas, and revealing thoughts and intentions. Wisdom is accessible to all who desire it. It is available to those who are avid and attentive readers and listeners—those who are willing receive it through instruction, correction, riddles, the wise, parables, and from God.  The fear of God is the gateway to wisdom. God teaches us knowledge because He is the source of wisdom. Those who do not fear God despise His Wisdom. God instructs us by His Commandments, Instructions, Scripture and Truth. He has compiled the best way to live life, as He is the Author of Life. No other wisdom supersedes God’s. 

A wise man will, therefore, listen, learn and take to heart God’s Words, and will endeavor to live by them. Fools despise correction and instruction. They live on a whim, with no regard for consequences. They trust their own understanding and are driven by their desires. Those who fear God will be wise in their conduct, interactions with others, and commit to do what is acceptable to God. Those who are wise will also seek wise counsel from those with integrity. Fear God and understand His Ways. Apply God’s Wisdom to your life and you will have wisdom beyond your years. Wisdom will instruct you to be prudent, just, righteous, and perspicacious.

22  “For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” (Jeremiah 4)

God calls those who do not know Him “foolish”.  They have no understanding, they are silly children, because they have not learned how to do what is good. How can they know what is good when they have not known The One Who is Good? They are foolish for being crafty and diligent to do what is evil. If they knew God, they would understand knowledge and become wise to do good. Do you know God? Determine this day whether you are foolish or wise.

“The wise will be kept in God’s Wisdom and Providence.”

So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding. 3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 then you will understand the fear of The Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For The Lord gives wisdom; from His Mouth comes knowledge and understanding; 7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to those who walk upright; 8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints (Proverbs 2).

If you seek understanding and wisdom as you would seek out treasures, longing insatiably for them, you will ultimately come to find them in God. You will search earnestly and wind up at God’s doorstep. You will understand knowledge by knowing God. You will learn wisdom by fearing God. He knows the upright and He gives them fountains of wisdom to draw out from. From His Mouth comes knowledge and understanding; heed diligently—this is your greatest treasure. He will uphold the upright who continually seek Him; who open their ears to listen and their hearts to understand. He will preserve their justice, so that no one distorts justice for the upright. He preserves His saints and no one will prevail against them; God is their shield. The wise will be kept in God’s Wisdom and Providence.

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3).

Those who live according to the wisdom of God are not haughty, envious or selfish. They conduct themselves with modesty in their words and actions. Pride exalts oneself above others, while begrudging others’ success. Arrogance has no room for others and their well-being. Where there is envy there are lies, spite, confusion and wickedness. 

God’s Wisdom instills purity in our thoughts and motives. We learn to be peacekeepers, gentle, merciful, equitable in how we view others, and righteous without hypocrisy. Wisdom from above does not make us puffed up with knowledge; but humble, receptive to correction, and altruistic towards others. 

“Desire wisdom more than riches.”

13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; 14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gains more than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her (Proverbs 3).

Those who find wisdom and understanding should be elated because they have discovered a priceless possession. Wisdom can’t be bought, and yet it profits more than gold and silver. Desire wisdom more than riches. Wisdom prolongs the life of those who live by it. They become astute and nimble in discerning life choices; life decisions that could cost them dearly, if they were irrational. By applying wisdom to our tasks, roles, relationships and lifestyles we are less likely to falter; wisdom honors those who esteem her with great regard. Wisdom trains us how to make a sustainable living. The path of wisdom is marked with kindness and peace with others. Wisdom gives us a superior perspective on life. Those who embrace and retain wisdom will live fulfilled and honorable lives.

11 For the Grace of God that brings Salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 2).

God lavishes on us Grace that we all don’t deserve. When we become aware of our sins, we know we have fallen short of God’s Standards. We expect judgment, punishment, and wrath. But when we receive Grace, we become prostrate with gratitude and awe. God’s Grace has been extended to everyone, regardless of their past. Those who embrace His Grace, with contrition, learn to live in fear and love for God. They are receptive to learning how to live godly, righteously, chary of the deceptive lusts of this world, and attuned to God’s Ways. 

God’s Grace trains us to be spiritually enlightened. We are being transformed by The Life of Christ, The Great God and Savior, Who lives in us. He has redeemed as His chosen, sanctified and justified people, by purifying us for Himself. We are not just being wise for this present life, but we are being groomed for His return. We should no longer live as those who have no sense of direction, but those who are instructed by God’s Wisdom and Grace, for His Glory. Our life that is hidden in Christ is intended for godliness and good deeds, as those who have been redeemed from this present world. 

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, without doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from The Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1).

Anyone who lacks wisdom in any area of their life can boldly go before God and ask Him for it. God will give wisdom freely and generously to those who ask of Him; He will not castigate them for their failures. Wisdom is found by those who earnestly desire it. When we seek God for wisdom, we should not question or doubt its relevance and value. Those who ask must believe that they will receive what no one else can give them. They must approach God in faith and confidence. Those who doubt will not receive from God. They are double-minded because they trust in their own understanding and knowledge, and are not willing to fully submit to God’s Wisdom. If we want God to be our source of knowledge, we must set aside our own understanding. 

“Wisdom will keep you from bad company.”

10 When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, 11  discretion will preserve you. Understanding will keep you, 12 to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, 13 from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; 14 who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; 15 whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths (Proverbs).

How much do you relish wisdom and knowledge? If your soul delights in wisdom, it will be the essence of your life. How rewarding it is when discretion deters from folly! You will learn to choose friends that are a good influence on you, you will shun evil and those who are entertained by it. Wisdom will keep you out of trouble; it will divert you from a dissipated lifestyle and paths of wickedness. 

20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (Proverbs 13).

Understanding will keep you from those who are perverse and reckless; whose lives are warped in darkness and obscenity. Wisdom will keep you from bad company. Make a fool your friend and trouble will find you. Make the wise your friend and you will be refined and judicious. 

31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise. 32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding. 33 The fear of The Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility (Proverbs 15).

A true and faithful friend will not just watch as you go to the dogs. A wise person will be honest with you when you are messing up. They will rebuke, correct, and counsel you when no one else is bold enough to do so. Learn from the wise by not taking criticism, correction, or rebuke with a bad grace. As difficult as it is to listen to others disclose our negative attributes, it is important to take what we are told into consideration. We can gain more understanding by being receptive to others’ views. We are wiser when we address an issue that will benefit us. Fear God as He speaks to you and be humble before His Counsel. He honors those who are malleable to His Instructions. 

“Wisdom gives us a superior perspective on life.”

Wisdom is not just reserved for seniors or our elders. Wisdom calls out to those who long for knowledge and understanding. God is the fountain of wisdom and the source of all knowledge. Those who fear God will learn wisdom; and those who know God will gain knowledge. Wisdom is more valuable than gold or riches. Wisdom teaches us discretion, justice, righteousness, peace, purity, and keeps us from harmful relationships. God will continue to supply wisdom as long as we seek it in faith. Wisdom will prolong our life here and prepare us for eternity with The Lord Jesus. We must learn to embrace rebuke, correction and instruction from those who are wise, and are looking out for our well-being. We can learn to see ourselves as those who are wise in our conduct, relationships and responsibilities. Fools despise God’s Instructions. We have God’s Word, and He uses others to counsel, instruct and open our understanding. Wisdom is found in God and it is the best of God’s Riches to those who fear Him. 

1 I will sing of Your Love and Justice, to You, Lord, I will sing praise. 2 I will be careful to lead a blameless life. When will You come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. 3 I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. 4 The perverse of heart shall be far from me. I will have nothing to do with what is evil (Psalm 101).

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