FROM THE HEART
Relevant blogs about living as a Christian in the world today.
I believe the Lord has a Word for many of us in the church today. The call is out for us to return to our first love. It is much like the call from the Lord to the church of Ephesus, in His first letter to the seven churches of Revelation 2:1-7. Consider the following portion of what the Lord had to say to them.
Some might say, oh what difference does it make, I am not turning my back on the Lord completely. I am still not running off with the world. Well, if we continue to go cold on the Lord, we will only grow colder. There may be some that believe we are under so much grace that we do not have to have a respectful relationship with the Lord. Jesus has said that if His correction is not heeded, one’s light will be removed.
Hopefully we are not like the ones in the church of the Laodiceans, the ones of the last of the seven churches.
The amazing thing about the Laodiceans, is that they did not even know how bad their condition was. If they did not listen to the Lord's warning, the harshest outcome awaited them: they were going to be spewed out of the Lord's mouth! None of us want to lose your relationship with Jesus. We must pay attention to our spiritual condition and love our Lord sincerely and totally. Jesus said that those who love Him keep His commandments (John 14:21).
Letting the world come between us and the Lord is like allowing the devil to put a little brick of a wall here and there. The Lord does not want any bricks between He and us. And if we let it continue, a wall starts to form and then one day, a whole wall is there. We go through the religious motions, but our heart is not in it. We lose our intimacy with the Lord. We start to seriously grieve the Holy Spirit, our hearts begin to get calloused, and our spiritual hearing gets worse and worse. The cure is in what the Lord said: “Remember from where we have fallen from, repent and do the first works.”
So where did we fall from? When we first became Christians, we were so thankful that God loved us and that Jesus died for us. Most of us were exuberant and wanted others to come to the Lord also. We had intimacy with the Lord. We had joy. We longed to please Him. We were so thankful to be delivered from the bondage of sin and its consequences. We had integrity and served and worshiped the Lord in sincerity and truth.
But in time, the world and its pressures can creep back in. Our focus can slip from the Lord and on whatever supersedes His importance, whether it is job pressure, money, children, relationships, etc. or the great common one in America, distraction by pleasure. We start to look more upon the gift than the giver.
Father God longs to bless us but often we allow the blessing to come between us and Him. Can you imagine that as a parent you want to bless your children by buying them a nice phone and then that phone steals their time with you? The phone may also lead to their harm by the ugly things they find there.
Or you buy them a computer and it consumes their time and attention. Or there is the common scenario that happens with parents and their children. The child who once just wanted their parents’ attention, now would rather be with their friends than you. Your love and desire did not change, but circumstances led them away.
A scary situation happens for many believers. Some of us get more caught up in servanthood, than the One we are supposed to be serving. Or we get caught up in religiosity rather than grace. We let self-righteousness and pride rule us, and become critical of all those around us and their actions, declaring that we have all the answers and know what everyone’s true motive is. We are not God or the Holy Spirit. Who have many of us allowed ourselves to become? Praise the Lord He does not give up on us.
No one wants to be in a one-sided relationship. It is not fun to try to eat dinner with someone who prefers to be on their phone. Or take a trip, with a dear friend or spouse, and then for them to be constantly on their phone or always have their mind in another place. And when one says to the other that they are not paying attention to them anymore, the other placates them with insincere attention, but not from the heart.
The Lord wants us to belong to Him with all our hearts, and in sincerity and truth. He will not be insincerely placated. He will work with us to help us get back on track, but it is up to us to do it. We must do so out of love and respect for the Lord, as well as for our own sake. It is not He who built the wall or went down the wrong road. We must repent for allowing whatever came between us and our patient and loving Savior, Jesus. We must die to self once again. And return to cherishing the Lord and listening for the Holy Spirit’s voice, and seeking to honor whatever He directs. Without intimacy with the Lord, there is no real life.
Break us if you have to Lord, but please help us get back to where we first began.
Here is a collection of verses for further thought to help us return to, or stay in, right relationship with the Lord.
Matthew 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 10:37-39 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”
James 1:23-27 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
2 Peter 1:5-11 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 12:3-6 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives."
Hebrews 12:12-13 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? --unless indeed you are disqualified.
John 14:21a “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me."
Galatians 4:9 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?
Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Revelation 2:1-7 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.'”
Revelation 3:14-22 "And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
READING THE BIBLE
STUDYING THE BIBLE
THE BIBLE WORKING IN US
HAVING THE BIBLE IN OUR HEARTS
Have you ever wondered why reading the Bible daily is so important? As you already know, the Bible is the inspired Word of God, directed by the Holy Spirit, through those who wrote it. God reveals Himself to us throughout the Bible, and teaches us everything we need to know, so that we can have the abundant life He has for us, through Jesus Christ, His Son.
The motivation and the way we read the Bible, reveal whether we are being religious or truly hungering for God’s Word. If we read the Bible as a duty, reading a certain number of chapters, according to a certain plan, just because we know we must or because we are asked to do so, then we are doing so religiously. But if we read the Scripture out of hunger to know His will, from a heart of love, wanting to know God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit more, then it is done because of having a real relationship with the Lord.
The depth of any relationship is directly proportional to the time spent together. If we only spend a certain amount of time a day reading the Bible, praying and praising the Lord, even if that interval is even an hour or two, and then forget about the Lord, for the rest of the day, doing whatever we want, then in reality we are not allowing the Word to become part of us and change us. The Lord wants us to be personal and intimate with Him all day, and to meditate on what we have read, so that we can be transformed by the truth of Scripture.
Why consider this topic? As the darkness of this world intensifies around us, it is up to us to get the Bible deeper into our hearts. If we know the truth about who God is, what His will is, what His promises are, what the Lord does and doesn’t like, we will not be deceived by some of the current watered-down versions of the Bible and likely twisted ones that may be coming soon. There really may come a day when true Bibles will be confiscated and outlawed, and only the “allowed versions” will be permitted. And it could happen sooner than some of us might expect.
Many recent news headlines have said that creating a new version of the Bible was discussed by the World Economic Forum (who then denied it). At the bottom of this article, a link can be found where you can read more about it. One of their top officials, Yuval Noah Harari, gave a speech where he discussed how amazing AI, artificial intelligence, is and how it could rewrite the Bible and all other religious books to create the perfect “globalist vision of “equity and inclusivism.”
Also seen in recent headlines, the Communist party in China, is out to do the same. Though their mission to do so was publicly reported as far back as 2016, lately there has been more talk about their new version, which will be the only one allowed for the people of China when complete.
Back in 2016, at a national conference of religious leaders, Chinese leader Xi Jinping decreed that religion in China needed to be “Sinicized.” The term literally means to make something more Chinese.
Consider the following involving the new Chinese edition. First know that in every authentically translated version of the Bible, in John chapter 8, when asked about the woman caught in adultery, Jesus responded, “Let him who is without sin among you, be the first to throw a stone at her.” These words disperse the angry crowd, and Jesus tells the woman, “Go, and from now on sin no more” (ESV).
The Chinese Communist Party’s version makes a different and blasphemous change. It says, “the crowd leaves, but Jesus tells the woman, “I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.” Then Jesus proceeds to stone the woman.”
We believe that just about anyone who is a true believer and knows their Bible even a little, knows that Jesus never sinned and would never claim to be a sinner and would have never stoned the adulterous woman brought before Him.
Here is the question: If all true Bibles were confiscated and no longer allowed, would you have enough of God’s written Word in your heart to make it?
As stated earlier, the darkness of this world is intensifying all around us. We must know and have the truth of God’s Word working in us to live as a believer. From the Garden of Eden and certainly through today, the devil knows God’s Word and he and his forces work to hide it, twist it, and misuse it any way they can. We must have the Word of the Lord securely and effectively working in us, and consider what might lie on the road ahead for us, even in America, and the rest of the world.
From Genesis to Revelation, the heart of God can be seen. He created Adam and Eve so that He could be their God and they be His people. He walked with them and talked with them. He set before them a great life giving them dominion over the earth. All He asked for was simple obedience. When Eve fell to the devil’s deception and Adam chose to listen to the devil instead of God, consequences happened. And just as God had warned.
The price of free will is expensive for both mankind and God. For our privilege to honor God or not, means the allowance of pain and suffering. Before the fall in the Garden, there were no thorns or thistles, no backbiting or hurting each other. It was a world of innocence. As Adam lost the dominion, and the devil gained it. Only when Jesus came and sacrificed His innocent life for us, was the devil’s dominion broken. And only for those who choose to fear the Lord and accept the pardon Jesus acquired for us.
With free will, we can hurt ourselves and each other. And many do not realize it, but it hurts God also. Recently, I had to watch someone I love suffer greatly and there was nothing I could do to help. It was horrible. Have you ever suffered because someone you loved was suffering? It is a bad feeling. And God suffers for us continuously. And while God can handle it, it does not mean that it does not hurt. Just read the book of Jeremiah. God’s heart is clearly seen there, breaking for the people of Israel. Read the book of Judges and see how He had to let His people go with their bad decisions and work to help them get back on the right path.
God loves every single person ever created. Whether they ever love Him back or not. Does rejection of your love bother you? It is a bad hurt when you love someone, and your love is rejected. Or you love someone, and you believe that they love you back and then they betray you. God deals with it 24 hours a day, with millions of people and He never, ever, ever stops loving them. Never. It is too big for comprehension. He does everything He can to help us all, within the confines set forth. And it goes on all day and night, beyond our sight and understanding. And then people have the audacity, to blame what we do to each other or ourselves on Him. Free will is expensive for God’s heart.
Why bring this up? Simply because it needs to be said. God loves us. He wants to be our God and for us to be His people. And He does all He can to help us. It may not seem like it from our perspectives at the time, but His perspective is all-knowing and He is working to help us with love and wisdom from His position. If only people could realize His love and care. Sending Jesus to pay the price and build a bridge over the gap, was expensive. Our sin and the price of His love to save us, is love beyond comprehension and His love is in action 24 hours a day still. Loving the lovable and unlovable. Loving the ones who love Him back and those who will never even respect Him, much less love Him.
Our story is His story and it is the greatest love story ever told. As the Book of Revelation starts to conclude, we see our future in the following verses.
Revelation 21:3-4 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Forgiveness is vital to one’s eternal salvation. Without being forgiven and forgiving others, we cannot be real Christians and enter heaven. As our Lord spoke in Matthew 6:15 with a slight paraphrase, “if we do not forgive others, Father God will not forgive us.” Ministers can give message after message trying to coddle people into forgiving those who they feel or know did them wrong, but in all honesty, it is not a matter to be gentle with. It is a matter of eternal life and death.
Common sayings such as, unforgivenesss is like drinking a cup of poison, hoping it hurts the other person, have great value. And bitterness does consume a person internally. But the fact of the matter is that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others.
Here are some other strong verses on the subject.
Colossians 3:12-13 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Mark 11:25-26 "And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 18:32-35 “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
I believe unforgiveness is a form of pride and self-righteousness. As in, “I should be forgiven but the other one should be held accountable” and this is a grave mistake. To the Lord, as shown in Matthew 18, He forgives each of us a multitude of sins and yet if we cannot forgive someone else of even an inkling of how much we have been forgiven, then our forgiveness is revoked. If we refuse to forgive, then the Lord will still hold us accountable. I personally believe it comes down to this: If I receive mercy, then I must give mercy. But if I demand justice against another who did me wrong, then I must receive justice for my wrongs also.
So I plead to anyone still holding on to another’s offense to: let it go. And from the heart. We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. My Bible tells me that, the Lord loved me even when sin was my master and died for me when I was living in complete rebellion to Him. So, whether another person is sorry for how they did me wrong or not, it does not matter. Love forgives.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins.
1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
Human love is a very selfish love. We love someone else as long as they are lovable. But God’s kind of love is unselfish love. It loves even when the other one does not love back or is even hateful. This is agape love. This is the kind of love we are recipients of. And as such, we are to love with the same kind of love. It is not always a feeling as much as it is a choice. We choose agape love, even if our carnal nature would choose the opposite. This is being Christlike. Remember when Jesus was on the cross and cried out, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Some might have had an idea of what they were doing with their hearts full of hatred, but if they would have truly known the mistake and consequences of their actions, it might have all been very different. And I believe Jesus was praying for all of us, not just those there that day. And Jesus was also showing us the way. He could have prayed it quietly within Himself. But by the manner He chose to pray it, we can all follow His lead.
Remember the young rich man who came to Jesus and asked what he had to do to be saved? It is found in Mark 10:17-27. And the Lord told him about following the commandments and he said that he had been doing it all right. And then the Lord told him: “Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." And the young rich man went away sad. Even if this young man’s problem was riches and not unforgiveness, the principle is the same. Whatever we have in our heart that occupies space from what should belong to the Lord, which holding a grudge and having unforgiveness does, we must not let that happen. We must give our all to the Lord 100%. Ninety nine percent is still not enough. This includes forgiving others. And we may all struggle in doing it sometimes. But if our heart is one hundred percent to the Lord, He will help us overcome, even if we struggle some. As long as we keep getting back up when we fail, and keep trying, we will make it.
In closing, I believe if a person insists on holding the grudge of unforgiveness, they should plan on spending eternity in hell. They can claim to be a Christian all day long, but a true Christian forgives, even as they have been forgiven. And how can we forgive as we have been forgiven? By choice and the grace of God. Even if it is a battle for a while with the carnal nature. After a while, the habit of choosing love and forgiveness will become stronger and natural. This is biblical forgiveness.
Important note: Forgiving does not mean to remain in abuse. We must forgive the abuser but the Bible does not say to continue letting someone abuse us.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
The physical eye, like the spiritual eye, reflects the state of the heart, respectively of the spirit. If we keep our hearts full of the peace and love of Jesus, living in obedience to the Lord, our eyes are full of light. When we have healthy, perfectly functioning eyes, they flood our entire body with the light of truth. And if our body is led by light, it means that our actions will also be pleasing to God. But if someone has sins for which they have not asked for forgiveness and love what is bad, not what pleases God, it means that the light of Jesus is no longer in their heart, and darkness has taken over. The physical eye, which does not aim at what pleases the Lord and seeks the pleasures of this world, also begins to see what belongs to the kingdom of darkness, and as a result, the light begins to diminish until only darkness remains. Jesus even said, "how great is that darkness!" Why? Because the heart of the one who has had the light of the Lord, knows the truth, and yet has renounced the light, ends up in complete darkness. Next, the Lord explains more clearly that no one can serve or love Him and sin at the same time. When someone sins, they are actually serving the devil.
Every person chooses what they like to watch. Everyone's eyes are drawn to what they love and enjoy. If our hearts are full of Jesus and the desire to do the Lord's will, we avoid going where the Lord does not want us to go and looking at things that promote sin. We avoid magazines, books, pictures, TV programs, or Internet sites that are not clean and look for what Jesus would look at. The eyes of those who do not choose to behave this way will become "bad" because they look at what leads to evil and the price will be high. As the light in the heart fades and darkness takes over, the behavior and vocabulary of those who have chosen darkness over light will reflect their choices.
The word “breath” in the original Hebrew language means the “breath from God” that is in man, which is the “spirit” of man. So if the spirit is no longer a light of the Lord, because someone chose to let all kinds of bad things enter their heart through the eyes, the darkness reaches the “inner depths of their heart,” meaning that, it affects the whole body and there will be consequences.
In conclusion, the eye can be interpreted as representing man's reasoning, judgment or his mindset on life. If we think soundly, according to biblical principles, without thinking about what our fallen human nature prompts, we can say that we have healthy or good eyes and live in the Kingdom of light. Thoughts centered on the truth, on the values of heaven, create a real state of well-being. It is true that living in this world we have many reasons to be upset and we must also think about what we don't like when we have to solve everyday problems. But we can choose to approach issues from a biblical perspective and ask God's counsel in prayer to make decisions that will keep us in the light.
Whenever we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we think rightly, love what is good, and choose what is beneficial to us and those around us. Thus, the Lord finds His pleasure in us and we can be truly happy, because we do not serve the darkness, but only the true Light, Jesus Christ.
Through His sacrifice, Jesus opened the way for us to have a blessed and victorious life. If we are redeemed from sin and reconciled to our heavenly Father, and we realize and understand what we have and who we are in Jesus Christ, we can reign in life. Those of us who have received Jesus as Lord and live to please God, have everything needed to enjoy life. (If you have not yet experienced being born-again and want to follow Jesus, you can find out more in the "Salvation" article).
When Adam ate of the forbidden fruit he died spiritually and all future mankind inherited his sinful, fallen nature. If death through sin, had such great power to rule over man, how much more true life which comes from God, “zóé,” may make us reign through Jesus Christ! But we cannot reign or rise above problems or circumstances, if we do not understand and receive all the grace that the Lord has for us and know that we are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.
Only through the Lord's grace, through His unmerited favor for us, can we be righteous. It is a divine righteousness that could only come from the Son of God, who was made sin for us, paying in full for mankind’s sin. Only after we truly understand that because of Jesus we are forgiven and have favor with God, can we fully obey the will of God. Whenever we submit to the Lord, we reign in life as we conquer sin and the many problems and issues we face daily. Our Lord wants us to enjoy His presence and continually communicate with Him, never doubt His love and know that He will always see us through.
We reign in life when we live led by the Holy Spirit, fulfilling God's plan for our lives. The more we live pleasing the Lord, the happier we are. When we ask for God's direction and do as the Holy Spirit leads us, we spare ourselves of the pain of bad decisions and sin. Our time is also used more efficiently, and we gather real treasure in heaven, which no one can steal from us.
God's sovereignty is often misunderstood. Many errantly say that everything that happens is God's will and He has a reason for all things and that we cannot expect anything good. While it is absolutely true that God is sovereign and there is no one and nothing above Him, He has given us free will and tells us through His Word that His permissive will can be changed through prayer. Would the Lord ask us to pray if He did not want to change situations for us? What good would prayer do if God overrules everything that happens in our lives? The truth is that if what we ask in prayer is according to His will, the Lord does it for us and changes bad situations into something good.
The Lord would not say that we can reign in life, if He did not want us to, and He did not equip us with the right weapons to fight against the enemy and all that is evil. To "reign in life" means "to exercise dominion, the highest influence over one's own life." The dedicated Christian is not driven by what happens to him, but through Jesus he has authority over the life he lives on earth. Let us not forget that we can only reign through Jesus, because of what we have in Him and through Him. When we allow the fruit of the Holy Spirit to manifest in our lives, through love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, longsuffering, self-discipline, we have authority and dominion over hatred, anxiety, fear, malice, impatience, lust, and all their bad effects.
As we seek "the kingdom of God and His righteousness more than anything else” (Matthew 6:33), the Lord will take care of all our needs. God is full of goodness, faithfulness and truth, and He fulfills what He promises us in His Word. We can be on top of our problems and not under them, when we know that the Lord knows what we are going through, and He has prepared what it takes for us to be victorious. We know all too well that we have never solved any problem by worrying and focusing on the bad that could’ve happened, and in so doing, we only made things worse. But whenever we choose to give the Lord our problems and worries, we can have the peace and assurance that He will solve them in whatever way is best. The real reign of Jesus in our hearts results in us truly reigning in life. As we fulfill God’s plan for our lives, we find the most blessed life and true success!
Whenever we go through physical, mental, and spiritually demanding events during the day, if we fail to really calm down before going to bed, it can be very difficult to have a peaceful night. For some of us it is challenging to stop our brain from processing thoughts to be able to fall asleep. Others may fall asleep much easier and sleep deep, but even for them, life in this chaotic world may keep them awake at times. So, what do we do?
We can have the Lord’s true peace if we give Him our thoughts, worries, anxieties, frustrations, and everything that bothered us during the day and can disturb our sleep. We can sleep better if we make it a habit to give these thoughts to the Lord before bed and take time to read the Bible to feed our spirits and minds with God’s truth. During the deep sleep, without dreams, the brain is cleansing itself of toxins produced by nerve cells as a result of their activity during the day. But for this cleansing process to take place effectively, we need about 7 to 8 hours of good sleep. Lack of sleep makes us grumpy, lack energy, and if we don't get enough sleep for long periods of time, the brain cannot eliminate toxins and we may expose ourselves to diseases with serious consequences.
When we wake up in the morning feeling tired, most likely we didn't sleep deeply long enough. Thoughts are formed by connections (synapses) between neurons (nerve cells), which during the night loosen and form other connections becoming dreams. If during the day we think about a lot of negative thoughts, painful and unpleasant memories, the chances of having a restful sleep at night are very slim. Whatever other connections would the nerve cells form between them, they cannot produce beautiful and pleasant dreams, if we do not take the time to cleanse our minds through the Word of God before going to sleep. Jesus tells us to give Him our burdens and even our fatigue and take His rest. When we do everything together with our Lord, following His directions, we are not handling the problems alone, but "yoked" together with Jesus. This means that He will bear the heavy loads for us and teach us how to deal with all of life situations. Also, Jesus is the perfect example of meekness and humility and if we choose to be like Him, we will live better lives and rest better.
Sometimes it may be hard to identify if a directional thought is coming from the Lord or not, but we can ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do in my place?” and then act based on what we know the Bible says about God's character. Meekness helps us not to act harshly based on first reactions, and humility helps us not to have a higher opinion of ourselves than we should. When we make decisions calmly and objectively, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can have more peace, and no longer lose sleep over bad decisions or suffer from their effects. When we do everything together with Jesus, respecting His values and principles, it is much easier to fulfill His will, because He is “yoked” together with us.
What we think, feel, speak, and decide during the day influences our sleep at night. We were created by God for love, joy and peace. But because we live in a fallen world, more often the natural response to what happens to us is the opposite of love, joy, and peace. In order to change our human way of reacting to negative situations, with the spiritual one, we must be transformed “by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2). A transformed mind will continue to transform a person's emotions, decisions, speech, and even character. The mind is made up of the totality of a person’s thoughts, feelings and choices. We are called to think, feel and choose based on the truth of God’s Word, and by doing so, we can reign in life. A renewed mind changes our character too. Integrity and good behavior increase the quality of our lives and we become a positive influence on those around us as well. The more seriously and deeply we study the Word of God, the more we enter in the presence of the Lord, we hear Him more clearly and as we change, we become more like Jesus.
The sooner we get our peace after being disturbed or hurt, the better we will rest at night. The quicker we give our problems and frustrations to God, the less time we will spend during the night being frustrated and searching for solutions.
By forming the habit before going to bed of giving the Lord what happened during the day to Him in prayer, we can relax our minds and sleep peacefully, trusting that the Lord will work all things out for good. If you do not know how to pray, you can develop and adapt the prayer below to your situation.
Dear Lord, please help me remember what has troubled me during the day and I have not yet given unto You. Please forgive me for... and please show me if there is anything else I have done wrong without realizing it. Please cleanse me of all my sins and help me keep a pure heart and my mind free from bad thoughts. Please help me to recognize the thoughts that come from You and give me the wisdom and strength to follow your guidance step by step. I am giving You my thoughts, emotions, and dreams and please help me rest deep and wake up refreshed. Thank You Lord, for in You alone I can lie down in peace, sleep, and truly rest. Glory and honor to You forever, in the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
From Genesis to Revelation, we see how wonderful God's heart is and that everything He asks of us is actually for our good, even if sometimes it may not seem like it. In Genesis 1:31b, after completing the act of creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Everything the Lord created was for people to enjoy their life on earth and rule over His creation. There was nothing harmful to man in all that God had made, until Adam and Eve chose to obey the devil, and break the only command that God had given, by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Before the fall, there was no evil in the world, no sickness or suffering, and Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect health. They had no fear of getting sick, because they did not even know what it meant to be sick or to suffer. But after the fall, sin damaged the perfect balance of creation and produced sickness, suffering, and all that is evil. Nevertheless, even if man chose to sin, in His love, God prepared the way to save humanity, as from the beginning He wanted His own special people that would be forever with Him (1 Peter 2:9).
In His perfect redemption plan, God gave His Son to pay the penalty for our sins and restore us to what He created us to be in the first place. Everything that Adam lost when he had fallen into sin, Jesus restored for us. We find many examples of healings, miracles and resurrections throughout the Bible, proving God’s heart for us and that He always healed the sick. And towards the end of the book, in Revelation 7:16-17 we read that after we get to heaven we will no longer be hungry or thirsty, “the sun will not strike us nor any heat” and Jesus will lead us “to springs of living water” and “God will wipe away all tears” from our eyes. The Lord has prepared for us a perfect place where we will live the most beautiful and abundant life. We will spend our eternity in perfectly healthy glory bodies, with perfect spirits and souls, free from all that is evil and painful.
Jesus went to prepare a place for us, so that where He is, we will be also (John 14:3). There is no evil or sickness and when Jesus gave us the “Lord's prayer,” He taught us to ask: “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord wants us to have the best while we live in this world and to enjoy health, reigning in life through Jesus Christ. The Lord also told us that “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12b). The original Greek word for “violence” is “biastḗs” which means «positive assertiveness; used of the believer living in faith. “God's inworked persuasions” guiding and empowering the believer to act forcefully – i.e. “fired up” by God to act by His revelation.» So this verse says that “believers strive to obtain the privileges of the kingdom of God with the utmost eagerness and effort.” (according to “HELPS Word-studies” and "Thayer's Greek Lexicon").
Sustained effort and ardent zeal are necessary for receiving all that pertains to the kingdom of heaven, including entering into the possession of any healing we need because Jesus already acquired it for us in His sacrifice at the cross. Why? Because it is up to us to resist the devil, not accept sickness, not speak words that bring death upon ourselves or others and overcome doubt by knowing and proclaiming the promises of God.
God healed the sick including during the Old Testament times, through His prophets whom He anointed with the Holy Spirit and continued to perform healings and miracles through Jesus and the believers of the New Testament. The Lord has healed and will continue to heal as long as His children are in this world. After we will leave the earth at the rapture, those living and those who died previously in the Lord, will receive glorified bodies and will never need healing again.
In His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus saved us from sin, as well as from all sickness and suffering. Jesus does not expect us to have perfect faith and to do everything right, to help us. He knows our hearts and meets us where we are at. That's what the Lord did during His ministry on earth and that is what He does today when we cry out to Him.
Whenever we consider and meditate on the Scripture in the four Gospels about the individual healings that Jesus did, we clearly see God's love, mercy and desire to heal the sick. Upon careful analysis, it can be seen that out of the 3 1/2 years of Christ’s ministry, we only have recorded information from a maximum of 27 days, and of those days, none are fully recorded with everything that Jesus did. With Jesus healing all who came to Him including many big crowds and only such a few days recorded, who can know the vast number of healings that Jesus actually did? The truth is that Jesus' life was full of healings and miracles. And since He returned to heaven, the Lord prays and intercedes for us. Can we doubt that Jesus wants us to be healed when we realize what He did daily during in His ministry on earth?
Jesus is the same, He has not changed and will never change just as our heavenly Father will never change. How wonderful it is to know that our Lord sits at the right hand of our heavenly Father and intercedes for us. Through His sacrifice, He has already done everything for the forgiveness of our sins and of all mankind, the healing of all sicknesses and sufferings, and everything we need to live abundant lives. Since Jesus did miracles and healed all who came to Him, and He never changes, we can know and trust that He does the same. We can have faith our Lord that He wants to heal us if we ask Him to. The heart of our Lord is always full of love because He is and will always be love. Also, His mercy, kindness, goodness and long suffering will endure forever! Hallelujah!
“The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.”
When we understand that our true identity comes from our relationship with Jesus and that it does not change with circumstances, we are successful and prosper in whatever we do. We are who God's Word says we are and not what we feel based upon what we have, where we are at any given time, or what others say about us. The only thing that matters is what God says about us because we are His children and our identity comes from Him.
As we find our delight in the Lord, in knowing and understanding His Word, we can reign in life through Jesus and live as we read in the verses below.
As we get our strength from the Lord, by having our roots deeply planted in His Word and the Holy Spirit constantly supplying us with living water, we are prosperous in everything we do.
The supply of living water our heavenly Father has for us is not limited. He has rivers of living water that never run dry and does not want us to thrive only from time to time. God has given us all we need to be continuously well supplied and hydrated, living in healthy bodies. He wants us to have abundant, fruitful lives and to know that we have a well-defined purpose in this world. When we know what our true identity is, everything will follow that truth, because we are the result of who we think we are. If we know that through Jesus we are prosperous, rooted in the love of the Lord and fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit, meant to bless others, we will praise God more, sin less and be much happier.
In God's economy we first give and then receive. Let's not forget that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7b). Charity helps us not to attach our heart to possessions and not to rely on our wealth. If we trust that our Lord is Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, we can give with joy, because we know that the Lord takes care of our needs.
God does not simply want us to become financially rich so that we will have more worries, spend all our time making more money and thinking that we are self-sufficient. On the contrary, He wants to teach us to do everything from the position of being His children, who love Him, glorify Him for everything and bless others. God did not create us to dedicate all our time to our career and work, but to be "God's fellow workers," communicating and being in permanent contact with Him. He blesses us and prospers us to live according to His will, fulfilling the plan He has prepared for the life of each one of us. Additionally, when we live under the Lord’s direction, we do what He wants us to do and He helps us finish everything we start. When we are led by the Lord and strengthened by the Holy Spirit we do not waste time, resources or energy, and we can enjoy life to the fullest.
The Bible does not say that blessings fall from heaven while we do nothing. On the contrary, the Bible says many times that Father God blesses and prospers the work of our hands. If we do our part, the Lord does His. The Lord is Omniscient and rewards all that we do for His glory, with the right heart.
The righteous have their sins forgiven, are clean before God and can enter into His presence. If our deeds are pleasing to the Lord, we will do well, we will prosper and we will lack nothing, as the Lord promises us in His Word.
With His death, Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins and to save us from poverty. Jesus became a curse for us on the cross, to free us from the curse we inherited from Adam’s fall. Jesus became poor for us, taking our poverty upon Himself that we might become rich in Him. He took our sicknesses so that we could be healed through Him. He took all our sufferings so that we could live an abundant life through Him. Jesus told us that if we know the Father and Him, we have eternal life, His life, the true life.
Being prosperous does not mean that we no longer go through hard times. It means that the source of our strength is the Lord not us. He is a source that never fails and is there to always help us overcome every difficulty and obstacle we face.
God sets no limits to our faith or to the infilling of the Holy Spirit. We impose limits by what we believe. God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us.” We must allow His full power to work in us without doubt and limitations. the Holy Spirit The more we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, the more He can do for us. The level of our prosperity is relational to the limits we place on the Holy Spirit as well as the faith we have in what God wants for us.
As we pass from one year to the next, it seems natural to reflect on the past year’s achievements and make plans for the coming year. But how much attention do we pay to our spiritual state? Do we think more about material or spiritual achievements? If we are happy in our relationship with Jesus, it means that we had a good year and that all the challenges, difficulties and “light affliction, which are for but a moment, are working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," (2 Corinthians 4:17).
The Christian life is not without suffering or failure, but if we choose to put things in the right perspective, we can find something good in every trial or pain. There are many verses that urge us to set our eyes upon Jesus, so that we “do not lose heart,” and become discouraged and fall into the trap of the evil one. There are also several verses that show us that the Lord brings something good for us even out of suffering. One of the most wonderful examples is seen in the way Paul talks about suffering, calling it “our light affliction, which is but for a moment,” in the second epistle to the Corinthians. Then to the Romans he wrote “that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18). The list of sufferings and trials that Paul went through, from 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 show that he put everything in the perspective of eternity, which means even decades count only as a moment. It was certainly not easy for him, but his love for Jesus and his desire to help as many as possible become saved, made him consider all the achievements and gains of this world as “loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus His Lord.” Then Paul goes even further by saying, that for the Lord “I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8).
When we understand that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) we can “set our minds on things above, not on things on the earth. For we died, and our life is hidden with Christ in God.” And by doing so, we can “seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.” (Colossians 3:1-3).
How often do we get upset, sad, and frustrated by so many things that will not matter in a few months, or sometimes even in a few days or hours? If we get into the habit of thinking that all our frustrations will mean nothing a thousand years from now, we can get over the little things much easier and have more peace and joy.
Our heavenly Father has called us to His eternal glory, through His Son, and to get there He gives us grace after grace. The Lord does not enjoy seeing us suffering, but if we trust Him, He uses any suffering to help us become more and more like Jesus, He establishes us and gives us the strength to handle trials and helps us able to stand no matter what. God wants us to succeed and if we continue the good fight of faith, He helps us finish the race and be with Him forever. What a wonderful future we have waiting for us in heaven and by keeping it in perspective, we can choose to rejoice in our Lord every moment of our journey on earth, even in the hard times. And as Paul says, we know that if we leave this world, we will receive the heavenly, glorious body that is eternal, and we want to be found worthy to be clothed with our “heavenly habitation.” If we are too comfortable in our physical bodies, we are not close to the Lord, because our hearts are full of the things of this world. But if we walk by faith, we are happy and full of confidence, waiting to leave this world to be truly at home with our Lord. The believer seeks to be pleasing to God while they live in this world, in order to arrive where his eternal home is, with the heavenly Father.