My mother used to say, “You are what you eat”; and she was right. What you fill up on will show on your face, body and mood. Food can make you feel energetic or sluggish. Feast your soul on what is good for you: what will empower you, increase longevity, and lower your risk for adverse events.
O God, You are my God. Early will I seek You. My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your Power and Your Glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your Name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips (Psalm 63).
Morning routines affect the start of the day. Early in the morning, there are some things we do habitually: have breakfast, do a workout, pray, pack lunch, or go for a run. These are necessary, for some of us, to ensure we begin the day on a positive note.
Who better to start the day with and seek after than our God? The very thought of Him should make us yearn for Him, as that cup of beverage we seek. Early in the morning, we are famished because we haven’t had a meal for several hours; we need nourishment. We seek God to quench the thirst and satisfy the hunger of our souls. We pursue Him in prayer, so that we may indulge in His Glory and Power. Nothing can satisfy our souls as The One Who longs to fill us with His Love.
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42)
We can find peace in the ambience of His Presence. He is everything we need to get us through the day. When we seek Him in prayer, we have high expectations of what He will do. How exhilarating it is to be filled with God’s best! Like the best cut of meat or the icing on the cake, it is invigorating to be in The Presence of The Most High God. The thrill can’t be contained: we are compelled to praise with joyful lips; we lift our hands in His Name; surrendering our senses to the aroma and taste of His Glory. While we have our being, we can exult in His praise, as we embrace each new day because there’s no praise in the grave.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His Will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of The Lord: fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His Glorious Power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father Who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light (Colossians 1).
Be filled with the knowledge of God’s Will. Knowing what pleases Him makes us fruitful and equipped to do good work—work that pleases Him. Throughout our day, we need wisdom and spiritual understanding, to make the right decisions. We increase our understanding and knowledge of God by submitting to His Ways. Knowing God’s Will with spiritual wisdom and understanding requires us to depend on His Spirit, Who is already in us. When we walk worthy of Him, to fully please Him, we will be less likely to fail.
3 His Divine Power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him, Who called us by His own Glory and Goodness (2 Peter 1).
He strengthens us with all might, according to His Power. We need our strength replenished throughout the day, so that we can overcome challenges with endurance and patience. We need His Power to give us joy and patience, while we are plugging away at our tasks. We are privileged to have all this within our reach because we have His Spirit. He has called us by His own Glory and Goodness—it is His delight to make us His Own. Being filled with the knowledge of God’s Will is key to success. In this priceless treasure of knowledge, we have God’s Power to equip us with everything we need for this life.
15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s Will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with The Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from The Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to The Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God The Father for everything, in The Name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5).
Wisdom teaches us to make the most of our time by doing what is good. And doing what is good is doing God’s Will. Each day we can choose to be wise or foolish, even in the things we indulge in. Instead of seeking joy in drunkenness or debauchery, we should desire to be filled with The Spirit. He is the Presence of God in us. He satiates the true longing of our soul. The circumstances of our lives will often weigh us down with pain, hurt and disappointment. Being filled with The Spirit will cause us to depend on God’s Wisdom and Power to sustain us. We can choose to have joy, by praising Him with songs from His Spirit; and still give thanks for everything, in The Name of Christ.
10 “If you keep My Commandments, you will abide in My Love, just as I have kept My Father’s Commandments and abide in His Love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My Joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 15).
The Lord Jesus gives the real and true Joy—Joy that remains and doesn’t run out. When He is pleased with us, He beams with Joy because we are obedient to His Commandments. Real joy comes from The Joy of Christ. When we are obedient, He promises that we will abide in His Love. Just as The Son was obedient to His Father’s Commandments, we are not exempt. Understand that nothing in this world can offer anything more meaningful than abiding in God’s Love.
The Commandment is to love others as He has loved us. Loving others causes us to abide in Christ’s Love. Loving others gives Him great Joy. Our joy is filled from the fountain of The Lord’s own Joy; when He sees our love for others. This joy is the fruit of loving others; just as Christ loves us, when we least deserve it.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over (Psalm 23).
If the Lord is your Shepherd, you shall not fear the scheming and planning that your adversaries are plotting against you. When we trust in our Shepherd, we are protected and provided for. The Lord will bless you, when others are cursing at you. He will cover you with His Goodness and will do so publicly. You will be able to have peace and security, in place of fear. The Lord will anoint you as His. He will fill your cup till it runs over, so that you have more than enough. Those who belong to the Shepherd are kept in His Provision.
14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from Whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His Glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the Love of Christ— which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the Fullness of God.
20 Now to Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen (Ephesians 3).
The strength that we need is not our own. The strength that sustains us is not just physical stamina, but the strength that comes from our inner well-being. A man can be lusty, yet still be anxious or hopeless. May God grant us, according to His Glorious riches, the strength that is through His Spirit. His Holy Spirit is His Power in us to overcome fear, evil, despondency, pain and worry. This is not small fry; this is strength that comes from His Glorious Riches.
When we let Christ dwell in us by His Spirit, we will abide in His Love. We will understand God’s Love so that we are grounded and unmovable in His Love. We will love God and others with the Love of Christ. We are incapable of loving unconditionally with the love that we give on our own terms. To be filled with the Fullness of God is to be satiated with Christ’s Love. God’s Fullness offers us His Love to truly love others.
According to His Power in us—through Christ—He will do exceedingly above all we ask for or imagine, in our time of need. He doesn’t do the bare minimum—He exceeds all our expectations of Him. He works out all things according to His Power in us, and not according to our strength. God empowers us from His Glory. We are vessels that are intended to be filled with God’s Glory; and not that of our own.
15 Let the Peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts (Colossians 3).
What does God’s Glory look like in us? It is His Love, Peace, Grace, Goodness, Wisdom, His Word and Power of The Spirit of Christ. These are the true riches our souls need. If we allow the Peace of Christ to rule our hearts, we will restrain strife, envy, discontentment and the occasional animosity we have toward others. When we become Christ’s followers, we become part of The Body of Christ—a family of Christians who are united by The Spirit of God.
Moreover, He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So, I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness (Ezekiel 3).
We are called to live in peace with others. The Word of God, the message of Christ, becomes the core-values by which we live. When we are richly nourished by the message of Christ, we learn how to speak to others as He would want us. We will be able to edify each other according to Scripture and have true fellowship with others.
God has given us everything we need to live godly lives— every spiritual meal—to strengthen, encourage, protect and empower us. We have His Truth in Scripture to know His Will. We have His Love that enables us to love others and be filled with His enduring Joy. We have The Spirit of Christ in us to exhort us to be obedient and wise. We can’t afford to spend our lives indulging in the things that harm us. God’s Presence offers us what money can’t buy and it is guaranteed to bring us victory in every area of our lives. With other followers of Christ living off The Bread of Life—His Word, we become a unified Body of Christ that lives up to God’s Will for us, in The Love of Christ.
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the Grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 Who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is Faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians1).
13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28).
The true son and daughter of God loves their Father and Lord, and will be troubled by their rebellion against Him. Sin is rebellion against God. He is not just God, but He is our Everlasting Father, Savior, and Lord. A father’s relationship with their child is founded on love. Any rebellion threatens that relationship because it creates a rift. The guilt we feel about sin is innately purposed to restore a broken relationship; it is not meant to destroy our relationship with our Loving Father. Love admits the truth that engenders reconciliation.
18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the Presence of The Lord. 20 And that He may send Jesus Christ, Who was preached to you before, 21 Who Heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3).
Is there a remedy for our sin? What is the price we can pay to be reconciled to God? He is Holy and He created us for a relationship with Him. But we can never be holy at all times. He has saddled all our sins on His Beloved Son so that we don’t have to incur the consequence of our sins: which is eternal separation from Him. Christ suffered for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to. So the recourse is Christ. Repentance acknowledges our sin before God, and our need for Christ to live through us. Repent and be converted into the likeness of The Savior, by living in Him, and not on fleshly lusts. Begin by ardently listening and learning about Who He is and who you are. Repentance must be accompanied by a conversion or transformation, that becomes a new, daily lifestyle.
To be converted, we must be trained in righteousness by abiding in the Presence of The Lord—in a perpetual fellowship with Him. Times of refreshing are times when we can bask in the ambience of the Presence of our Father and Lord, in communion with Him, without shame or guilt. When we are reconciled to our Lord, His Mercy, Grace and Love comfort us with peace. Peace with God gives us peace within. We repent so that we are converted in Christ. We come boldly to receive Mercy because we believe that we will be forgiven in Christ. We confess and turn away from our sins so that we can spend all our days in the joy of His Presence.
1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your Lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender Mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge (Psalm 51).
Repentance is humbly imploring God to forgive us, while we come clean about our sin. We plead for His Mercy even as we admit that He is well within His right to judge us according to the sin. We repent so that we will not repeat the offense. We must first be forthright about what we have done or failed to do. Forgiveness is granted when we are truthful. Against God and He only have we sinned because we don’t live by anyone else’s standards. God forgives us according to the multitude of His Mercies and not according to the multitude of our sins. He will wash us thoroughly with His Grace and will not remind us of our sins. When He sets us free, we are free indeed.
40 Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to The Lord. 41 Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in Heaven (Lamentations 3).
We sin by doing what is evil in His sight. We might think our sin is just a “small sin” but sin is abominable in the sight of The Holy One. He is Merciful to those who understand Who He is. He must judge sin because He is God; whether we like to admit it or not, God does not brook or wink at our sin. Everyone will come before the judgment seat of God and will give account of their ways; whether they do it now or later, they will bow before Him and confess. We should repent daily because we want to be righteous, and continue in an unbroken relationship with God our Father.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18 Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the Name of God’s One and Only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed (John 3).
Whoever does not believe that Christ came to die on their behalf will not accept God’s Love and Mercy. The one who rejects Christ will not make repentance a necessity. Christ died so that He could save us through Himself. The penalty for sin is death. In order to receive Grace, we must come to the light so that our deeds are exposed. We must allow God to show us our sin, and be earnest to be saved through Christ.
Those who are condemned are not the ones who repent, but the ones who have rebuffed God’s One and Only Son, Who takes away their sins. They have denied the truth about their sin: by not coming to the light, they embrace their rebellious ways. But God loved the world so much that He wanted to offer all of us, sinners, a new life in Christ—eternal life. There’s hell and there’s eternal life in Christ. You must make your choice. Eternal life is life that begins here on Earth by exchanging our sinful nature for Christ’s Nature.
1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God…10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to Salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death (2 Corinthians 7).
Godly sorrow is brought on by the heaviness of guilt and shame because of our sin. It gravitates us to The Mercy Seat for forgiveness. Godly sorrow causes us to grieve over our sin, and even be repulsed by it. We find hope in God’s promises that reassure us of His Love and Mercy, when we repent.
Worldly sorrow leads to guilt and shame, with no hope of forgiveness and reconciliation. It enshrouds us with darkness, hopelessness, and loneliness. Beloved, as one loved by God, be cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and inner passions by learning to fear God. Holiness is nurtured by fearing God. Fear of God should cause us to steer away from the unclean, and want to be cleansed of it. Fear of God should not cause us to hide from Him. Godly sorrow should lead us to repentance that restores and renews us by His Grace.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5).
When we repent and ask The Lord to forgive us, He gives us a new nature; we become a new creation in Him. This is only if we are willing to turn away from sin and be saved through Him. We become completely new. The old nature is done away with because we now abide in Christ. His Spirit becomes our new nature. His Spirit becomes our guide, and access to God. Now all things are of God; our identity, roles, responsibilities, and passions become patterned after God’s Ways.
Repentance reconciles us to God, Who was already reconciling us to Himself. He initiated it all through Christ. God’s intention was not to consume us with wrath because of His displeasure for our sins. No, He was reconciling the world to Himself. He was willing to completely wipe the slate clean and start over our relationship with Him. So why is it that so many have turned their backs on Him, and spurned His Kindness and Love? Because rather than see His Love, they focus on their iniquities; yet He is calling them to be reconciled and not imputing all their sin to them. He has not meted to us what we deserve. He is still reaching out with Grace. But when the clock runs out, He will be justified to deal with sinners who have opted out of His Son’s offer.
16 “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4).
Blessed are those who were in the darkness of sin and saw the light that drew them to repentance. Blessed are those, who, in the heaviness of their guilt, came to the light, saw their sin for what it was, and understood the Power of God’s Grace to make them new and whole. They were enlightened and the light was the hope of their Salvation. So repent and don’t wallow in the shadow of death, but see The Great Light, The Lord Jesus, who drives out the darkness.
12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. 13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19).
We don’t know how much we have offended God and how. So we repent by asking Him to cleanse us of all sin, whether we know of it or not. We should not be so enslaved to sin that we can never break free. When we desire to be righteous and blameless before God, we submit to Him to show us the error of our ways. Sin is not just what we do; it is what we feel, desire and meditate on. It is also what we say. So we confess our words, thoughts and actions so that we remain in God’s good graces. He is our strength to motivate us and our Redeemer, Who continually forgives us.
For any relationship to last there must be love, honesty, loyalty and honor. We learn about God and we begin to do what pleases Him. Our Heavenly Father and Lord created us for a relationship with Him. If we love Him, we will allow Him to reveal to us our sin. We will be truthful and sorrowful about what we have failed to do, and repent. God wants us to be reconciled to Him. In Christ, we are forgiven and converted. He makes us a new creation in Him. We resolve and commit to be acceptable before God through daily repentance and obedience. His Spirit becomes our new nature. He will continue to teach us and bring us into The Presence of The Holy One, Our Savior and Redeemer. Fellowship with God is a companionship that should never be broken. Our relationship with Him guarantees us eternal life in Christ.
5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us ((1 John 1).
Everyone should be treated fairly, with respect and dignity, regardless of their race, age, gender, appearance or socioeconomic status. God created us all in His Image, and He wants us to coexist with each other. He wants us to be considerate, without putting our own ambitions or desires ahead of others. Being just ensures that no one is exploited, mistreated, or disenfranchised even by those in power or authority. Justice protects and defends the vulnerable. God commands us all to be just because He is Just.
11 Therefore, because you tread down the poor and take grain taxes from him, though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall not dwell in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink wine from them. 12 For I know your manifold transgression, and your mighty sins: afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate (Amos 5).
There’s nothing hidden from God; He sees all that is done in secret. He knows of all the riches that have been gained by extortion and fraud. It is sinful for leaders to lavish on themselves what is not theirs. Those entrusted to hold and manage the purse strings should not use taxes for personal gain. They collect what is needed to meet the needs of the people, and the community includes the poor and less fortunate, whom they take from. God abhors all who despise justice, who take bribes while depriving the poor of what is just. Though they may glory in their stolen riches they will not escape God’s Judgment. Their great sins have been recorded by God.
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of The Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the Earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; yet he does not resist you (James 5).
The rich who have kept back the fair wages of their laborers will succeed to live in pleasure and luxury, but for a time. They will continue to increase, while those who work for them struggle to make ends meet. They fatten themselves and amass all sorts of wealth, while they oppress those who depend on them for a living. Venal leaders will do anything to hold on to their power and wealth, even kill those who get in their way. God hears the cry of the afflicted. The Lord of hosts will prevail against the corrupt and greedy. Their wealth will not sustain their health. The money and possessions will not deliver them on the day of their calamity; it will be a witness against them to testify of their wickedness. In the end, misery will become their portion. They are God’s enemies. He will do what is just for those who can’t defend themselves.
Now these are the last words of David. Thus says David the son of Jesse; thus says the man raised up on high, the anointed of The God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel: 2 “The Spirit of The Lord spoke by me, and His Word was on my tongue. 3 The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, like the tender grass springing out of the Earth, by clear shining after rain’ (2 Samuel 23).
The God of Israel spoke by His Spirit to David, by putting His Word on David’s tongue. The God, and Rock, of Israel gave David his parting shot as the king was being succeeded by his son, Solomon. The most consequential words are those of The Spirit, when we are beginning or are ending our journey. David spoke of the qualifications that God wanted of all leaders. Those who take the responsibility to rule and lead others must be just, and must do so out of the fear of God. Their rule should not be driven by fear of losing their grip on power or the support of the masses. They must rule in the fear of God so that they can do what is just. Those who rule with justice, by keeping God’s Ways, will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of others. They will be unimpeded in executing the duties that benefit others; they will be like the light shining in the morning with no clouds to obscure it.
22 “Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. 23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. 24 But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5).
Those who are unjust are apathetic about the needs of others. They are callous because they are full of their own importance. They think that they can worship God with false humility by appeasing Him with their offerings. God will have none of it.
Thus says The Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for My Salvation is about to come, and My Righteousness to be revealed. 2 Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it. Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil” (Isaiah 56).
Blessed is the one who executes justice and does what is righteous. The Lord will reward them with His Salvation and clothe them with His Righteousness. The one who practices justice and righteousness worships God with a heart that is undefiled. Justice gives others what is acceptable to God. Justice is doing what God would do for others. God wants justice to abound to others like water. Being just is being motivated by the fear of God to do the right thing. Righteousness and justice put us in right standing with God.
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, The Lord of Glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2)
Are you unjust in your thoughts about others? How often do you form an opinion of others based on their appearance? As those who have faith in The Lord of Glory, we must remember He loves all people, from all walks of life. We should not approach or treat others with disdain merely because of their appearance or status. God knows our thoughts before we act upon them. Evil thoughts are hatched by a misconceived perception of others. We should be kind and helpful to everyone as best as we know how. Our faith in The Lord is put to practice by how we relate to others.
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out. When you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you. The Glory of The Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and The Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I Am’”(Isaiah 58).
The fast that God desires is not just one that deprives us of our pleasure, but deprives us so that someone else can have what they need. God also wants us to let go of the wickedness that holds others under a weight that is too heavy to bear. What might this wickedness be? Bitterness, pride, resentment, and begrudging the good that we know we should do. Relieve the oppressed and the afflicted of their troubles. Give to the poor and provide for the less fortunate. This is true fasting: doing what is just and right, that mitigates the suffering of others, and lightens their heavy burdens.
When we do what is just, it becomes our righteousness. God will give our life direction and purpose. He will heal our diseases so that we can continue to be effective and productive. His Glory will be our protection to guard us at every turn. Most Christians fast so that God can hear their prayers for a pressing issue. When we give sacrificially for the needs of others, we will call and God will answer. We will cry out to The Lord and He will say, “Here I Am”. Why? Because we have not just been concerned about our needs, but those of others.
6 With what shall I come before The Lord, and bow myself before The High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will The Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you: But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6)
What fasting, offerings, songs, and prayers are most pleasing to God? What does God require of us? What is good and acceptable as a token of honor in His Presence? He has shown us Who He is: The Lord, The Most High God. So we must not just approach Him or live before Him so flippantly. He has also shown us what He requires of us: to do what is just, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him all the days of our lives. What else is there to do? but to be humble, just, merciful and compassionate, and spend all our days with God?
39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But rather give alms of such things as you have; then indeed all things are clean to you.m42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass by justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone” (Luke 11).
God is the Supreme Ruler of the Heavens and Earth. He expects rulers of people to be just and righteous in reverence to Him. Leaders who are corrupt and unjust are imperious, and apathetic to the needs of the people. They impoverish their people, while they amass wealth by fraud and violence. Their days are numbered, as God has recorded all their deeds. We must show compassion and mercy by not putting heavy burdens on others. We should be just in our thoughts about others, and be faithful to Christ, by offering others what is acceptable to God. True worship is not just defined by our church offerings, songs or fasting; it is also honoring God daily, by fearing Him, being just and righteous. When we lay this to heart, we prevail upon God to hear us when we call upon Him, and to answer, “Here I Am”.
23 Thus says The Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I Am The Lord, exercising loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the Earth. For in these I delight,” says The Lord (Jeremiah 9).
17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one (Adam), much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense (Adam’s sin) judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous (Romans 5).
God is Holy. He is The Only Holy One, Who is justified to mete out His Judgment on sinners like you and me. He is the One Who is equitable to reward or condemn everyone according to what they have done because He knows all the truth, at all times. He is The True Judge. He will have mercy on whomever He desires, and will punish as He deems fit. We have sinned and fallen short of God’s Holy Standard. But thanks be to God, because of His Great Mercy, He has not dealt us what we deserve—wrath, judgment and eternal death.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
4 But God, Who is rich in Mercy, because of His Great Love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by Grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His Grace in His Kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2).
We all walked and sometimes continue to walk in the lusts of our sinful nature, our flesh, to do what is against God’s Will. Our passions for sin make us vulnerable subjects to the prince of the air, Satan. Everyone is controlled by someone or some impulse. Disobedience to God is the hallmark of one who is not subservient to Him. We were all by our nature children deserving God’s Wrath because no one is innately righteous. Look at your children from the time they learn how to walk and talk, and you will see that they need to be taught righteousness, and to be disciplined often.
But God, Who is so rich in Mercy, saw our irremediable state and did what no one else could do for us. He took our sins and laid them on His Son, and gave Him the punishment of death that we deserved. He was crucified so that we would die in Him. God’s Grace made us whole and forgiven in the resurrection of The Lord Jesus. We are justified for sins we could not be pardoned for. It was His desire to wipe the slate clean. The Love of God compelled Him to lavish us with His Grace. While we were yet in our sin, He demonstrated His Love. By His Grace we have been saved from eternal judgement.
The Lord Jesus Christ took our place of death so that we would not have to die spiritually. Our souls would have been condemned to eternal death. When a person dies, their soul departs their body. Christ came as a human, born of The Holy Spirit. He was fully God and Man, yet He never sinned; He is Holy. He crucified our sinful flesh with His and raised our spirit with His. The spirit is the life of the soul. He has raised us up with Him to sit in the heavenly places. Our souls and spirit have been resurrected to eternal life in Heaven, and are hidden in Christ our Savior. Therefore, no sin should have dominion over you. You should no longer satiate the desires of your flesh and mind. Resist the lusts of sin. You have been ransomed to a life that is above the things of this world, in The Kingdom of God. Your life and identity is in The Lord Jesus.
10 Yet it pleased The Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His Soul an offering for sin, He shall see His Seed, He shall prolong His days. And the pleasure of The Lord shall prosper in His Hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His Soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My Righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities (Isaiah 53).
He, Christ The Lamb of God, offered His Soul as an offering. In the ancient days, the Jews offered an animal for their sins. They would place a hand on the head of an animal, placing their sins on it, and then killing it. The animal took the place of the Jewish people as a propitiation for the sins committed against God. But Christ offered His Soul for yours and mine. His offering was pleasing and acceptable to God because it was one out of obedience and love. The Father saw the labor of Christ’s Soul and was satisfied. The sacrifice of The Lamb, without blemish, was the only acceptable sacrifice made by The High Priest Himself, The Son of God. The priests would offer sacrifices for themselves and the people. They were sinners just as everyone else. But This High Priest is Holy, and offered a perfect sacrifice—The Perfect Lamb—sinless and without a spot. He was The Righteous Servant Who would justify many, not like the ordained priests. He justified many of us by bearing our sins. God gloried in His Purpose and it fully pleased Him. He was content to bruise Him and subject Him to grief, so that we would not have to suffer under His Hand. Never forget the price that was paid for your redemption.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1).
The Lord Jesus, came to the World and those He created. But they did not know Him nor did they accept Him. He came to Israel, the chosen nation of God, but they denied His Deity and crucified Him for claiming to be The Son of God, equal with The Father. But to those who believed and received Him, regardless of their nationality, He gave the right to become children of God. Those who worship and give their lives to The Son of God become sons and daughters of God. Those who come to know Christ and worship Him as Lord obtain a divine nature as children of God. Those who believe in His Name are born of God. You don’t have to be an Israelite to be a child of God. Know The Lord Jesus, trust in Him by worshiping Him with your life, and forsake a life of sin. Commit your life to the One Who gave you life, and you will dwell in the House of God, as His child, all the days of your life.
9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18)
Are you more justified than another before God? Righteousness is not something we impute on ourselves. We stand as individuals, on our own, before God. God doesn’t see us juxtaposed to others; He only sees us in our humility and in Christ. The Pharisee was arrogant before God, claiming his right to God’s approval for giving tithes of all that he possessed, and not sinning like those around him. The tax collector on the other hand, would not even raise his head; he felt unworthy to be in the Presence of God. He was consumed by grief for his sin. He wanted God’s Mercy more than anything else. He acknowledged he was a sinner. He left the temple justified. God exalts those who humble themselves. We are not justified by the good things we do. We are justified when we are contrite and honest about our sins. Justification is for those who are truly repentant. Good works are evidence of our faith and a demonstration of our love for The Lord. But repentance reconciles us to God, by admitting that no good works can ever make up for where we fall short of His Righteousness.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the Image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8).
Those who love God are those who know God and delight in Him. Those who honor God are those who are called according to His Purpose. God created them to worship, obey, love and serve Him. They were known by God before they were born, and were created to be conformed to the Image of His Son, The Lord Jesus. This was God’s intention: He created mankind, in the beginning, in His Image and Likeness, for a covenant relationship and unbroken fellowship with God. Christ is the Image and Likeness that God intended in the Book of Genesis. He is the firstborn among many—those who were foreknown, predestined, called and chosen. Those God called responded by repenting and submitting their lives to Christ; they became one with Him in His death and resurrection. They are now living by His Spirit—in His Likeness. These have been justified and been glorified by God. Those He justified, He has conformed to be in the Likeness of His Son, in righteousness, by His Spirit. They were created for His Glory and called according to His Purpose. He will work out everything for their good, because they are children of The Most High God.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law. 29 Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, 30 since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then make void the Law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the Law (Romans 3).
We are justified by faith, that is there are no works that can make us right with God, but the work of Christ on The Cross. The Jews received the Law of God, yet they could not keep it. The Gentiles did not have the Law given to them, yet they still fell short of God’s Standards. All have sinned before The Holy God, except One, The Lord Jesus. Those who abide in Christ, by faith, are justified apart from the deeds of the Law. They now live by The Spirit of Christ and no longer satisfy the deeds of sinful lusts. They establish that the Law is righteous and holy because it reveals God’s Righteous requirements. By acknowledging the Law, they accept culpability for not keeping it, by repentance. They allow Christ, the only sinless One, to live through them. Faith in Christ justifies us to live in obedience to His Spirit and Word. Living by The Spirit is living by the law of faith.
3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the Love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His Mercy He saved us; through the washing of regeneration and renewing of The Holy Spirit, 6 Whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His Grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3).
Do you think that your good nature could win you brownie points with God? We don’t need to keep a tally of the good things we do, when there’s sin to confess. We also don’t need to keep record of the sins we commit, when there’s no debt left to pay. Christ’s death is all the good works and sins forgiven, all rolled into one. God’s Grace is the only justification we need to live for His Glory. Today you may feel righteous, tomorrow you may offend or hurt someone, and sin against God. What then? He has already poured out His Spirit to renew and regenerate you, as you acknowledge your sin and turn away from it. Grace is the justification we need to go forward and keep the past in its place. Being justified by His Grace, renewed each day by His Spirit, we have eternal life in Christ. Make it your routine to repent each day and to be transformed in your thinking, evaluate your desires and actions, and be in conformity with The Spirit.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through Whom also we have access by faith into this Grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the Love of God has been poured out in our hearts by The Holy Spirit Who was given to us (Romans 5).
We stand in the Grace of God so that our identity is no longer in the sins we have repented of. We have access to this Grace by faith alone, not by our good works. God only sees us in Christ or apart from Him. What could be more meaningful in life than having peace with God? Let nothing snuff out your joy, when you are at peace with God. Rejoice in tribulations that limber you up to persevere. Perseverance will build your inner stamina and bolster your character, as you keep your faith in God. Cling to Him and remember you have made peace with Him. He works out everything for your good, as you are called to His Purpose because you have set your love on Him. God has poured His Love into our hearts, evidenced by The Presence of His Holy Spirit Who dwells in us. We are never alone. Peace with God gives us peace of mind, even in the trials of life.
8 But God demonstrates His Own Love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His Life (Romans 8).
While we rejected God, disobeyed Him and lived in sin, He loved us. By Christ’s shed blood, we were given a new lease on life. Blood gives life. Think of blood donors who save lives. His Blood was the evidence of the life given for a new creation; now justified by His Life in us. And by His Life through us, we are saved from the wrath of God. Only through Christ are we saved from wrath. While we were sinners, we were reconciled by His death, and now, as those reconciled, we will be saved from the coming Judgment of God, by the very Life of Christ in us. God sees the Blood of Christ, The Life of His Son, in us. It is no longer our life but Christ in us. We are justified so that we will be saved through Him.
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My Word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8).
Just as the Law of God revealed the truth about what is right and acceptable before God, Christ’s Words reveal the truth about righteousness and sin. If we abide in His Word, we will know the truth about sin and how to please God. The truth causes us to admit we are in need of The Savior. We can not be set free from our sins until Christ sets us free. When we practice sin consistently, we become slaves to sin. We can not fellowship with God, when we are enslaved to sin. Do you want to abide in God’s Presence forever? Then you must be set free from the shackles of sin. Only The Son of God can grant you access to The Father, as only The Son can set you free. When you are free, you are absolutely free from your sins. Sin will never define you nor will it have dominion over you because you are under a new Master. You will be His child and disciple if you abide in His Word.
Thanks be to God who by His Great Mercy and Grace has heard our confession and accepted our repentance. He has loved us while we were sinners and reconciled us to Himself by the death and resurrection of The Lord Jesus. We will not see God’s Wrath, because we are one with Christ. The law of faith has justified us from all that we could not be justified, in the Law of God. The Blood Christ shed has given us new life in Him. His Spirit is teaching us to do what is acceptable before God. We have been given the right to become God’s children. We are justified to be conformed in the Image and Likeness of The Son of God. Grace abounds to us each day. We are renewed by His Spirit through our obedience, to love, worship, serve and honor God in an unbroken fellowship with Him. Sin no longer defines us and it will have no power over us. We have been forgiven, justified and set free from all the penalty of sin.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom The Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit (Psalm 32).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in The Lord, and whose hope is The Lord. 8 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)