All the words of my mouth are just; there is nothing twisted or perverse in them. – Proverbs 8:8
Psalm 34:13 tells us “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.” Our words, according to this proverb, should be “just” (ṣeḏeq) meaning what is right and true. Our words should not be “twisted” (pāṯal) meaning excessively lengthy and complex, difficult to deal with. Nor should they be “perverse” (ʿiqqēš) that which alters something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended. We are living in a time when the media, government, and trend-setters attempt to redefine the meaning of words on an almost daily basis. But when we “pervert” the meaning of words, we bring about confusion and are open to deception. But God’s word is steadfast. It is unchanging… just as He is unchanging. Matthew 24:35 says “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Words are not empty. They have meaning and power. God created the heavens and the earth by the power of His word. Scripture commands us to not use words lightly, but to make sure that they reflect the Holy Spirit who indwells in us. Guard carefully what comes out of your mouth today. Proverbs 18:21 tells us “The tongue has the power of life and death.” Speak life. Speak truth. Speak love.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
There are two things you need to know about God. Before I get to that, it is important that you know to whom I am referring when I say “God.” I am not referring to the god of your imagination or some non-personal mystical higher power. I am not referring to the god many so-called Christians claim to serve… the one who seemingly turns a blind eye to sin. I am not referring to Allah (the Muslim moon god), or Brahma (the Hindu deity), or any of the other demonic entities who lead millions of souls to hell. I am referring to the Creator and sustainer of the cosmos, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God who’s Spirit hovered over the waters, the God who said “let there be light,” the God who formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into his soul. I am referring to the One who was, and is, and is to come. I am referring to I AM.
Here are the two things you need to know about GOD: He is HOLY and He is LOVE.
Because God is Holy and we are not, we fear Him. Proverbs 9:10 tells us “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Isaiah the prophet recounts the terrifying vision of entering God’s presence in the book of Isaiah, chapter 6. Describing the scene, he tells of seraphim who are always in God’s presence declaring “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty.” Only a fool would fail to tremble at the thought of entering the presence of one such as this. Indeed Psalm 14 tells us “the fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” A wise person once told me “it is also a fool who knows there is a God and yet says in his heart “no, God.” Any attempt at religion, any strategy to draw near to God that lacks an understanding of God’s holiness is folly of the ultimate kind.
So, what of His love? 1 John 4:16 tells us “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Notice is says “God is love” not “love is God.” The Beatles famously sang “all you need is love.” But in fact, the truth is “all you need is God.” If you attempt to define love apart from God, you will have a distorted understanding of love – a perversion. This perverted kind of love, excuses sin. It is devoid of holiness. Likewise, there are some who claim to be holy... they don't drink, they don't curse, they don't cheat on their spouse. But they are greedy, uncaring of others, judgmental, harsh and aloof. But God is love. His holiness defines his love and his love defines his holiness. The two cannot be separated.
Romans 5:8 tells us “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And John 3:16 declares “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” My friends, before the foundation of the earth, God knew the wrong choices Adam and Eve would make, and he knew what it would cost him. He knew the wrong choices you and I would make, and he know what it would cost him. If you have heard some version of the gospel that tells you God doesn’t care about sin, you have heard a false gospel. If you think saying a "sinner's prayer" gets you a free pass to heaven, while continuing to live in sin, you are deceived. Likewise, if you have heard a version of the gospel that tells you that you have to somehow do enough good stuff to overcome the bad stuff… that God is mad at you all the time… that you had better try harder and do better or else… then you have heard a false gospel. Here is the truth. God is holy and he is very serious about sin. And he loves you enough to save you from that sin. He sent his own son to die for your sin and my sin. Jesus bore the penalty and the shame of our sin on the cross, and on the cross we see the perfect exemplification of God’s holiness and His love. For those of us who have repented of our sin (turned from it) and declared Jesus as Lord, we are comforted rather than terrified by God’s holiness. We are drawn to it. We glory in it. Indeed, we are clothed in it. And we walk in the reality of God’s love, having been made righteous by the blood of Jesus. And as followers of Christ, our lives should reflect these two things… God’s love and God’s holiness. This is the living way of the disciple of Jesus. These two things are the pillars of the children of God.
I encourage you to meditate on these two truths: God is Holy and God is Love.
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. -2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Do you love the truth? Eternity hangs in the balance on your answer. Are you like Pilate who asked “what is truth?” I have encountered many who profess to love the truth, who do not. The truth requires that we embrace He who is the Truth. It requires that we embrace His definition of good and evil. Do you consider yourself to be “pro-choice” – calling good that which God calls sin? Do you consider yourself “woke” or “progressive” calling homosexuality good when God calls it sin? Do you delight in the diversity of sexual preference, gender neutrality, or “racial pride?” These things are a stench in the nostrils of God. Oh, I know, you aren’t supposed to judge. Really? 1 Corinthians 2:15 tells us “The person with the Holy Spirit makes judgments about all things.” No, we do not “pass judgement” on anyone. That is God’s business. But we are clearly called to stand for righteousness and proclaim the truth. Do you love the truth? Do you love the truth of your own inability to please God… the truth of your need to humble yourself before him… and the truth of his salvation, made possible because of the shed blood of Jesus? Do you love the truth? Do you love the truth enough to be true?... To let go of false pretense?... enough to “confess your sins to one another?... enough to forgive one another?... enough to love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you? Do you love the truth enough to lay everything at the foot of the cross? Do you love the truth enough to say “not my will, but yours be done?” Do you love the truth enough to show mercy to your neighbor, your coworker, your boss, your husband of wife, your parents, your children… yourself? Jesus said “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” Call on his name today. Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. Jesus, son of man, have mercy on me. Jesus, Son of God… have mercy on me. Do you love the truth? I pray that you do.
The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – Romans 5:5
When we attempt in our own efforts to produce the love of God, we cannot. It can only originate in Him, for He is love. And His love is able to love our neighbor as our self. His love is able to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us. His love covers a multitude of sin. Oh, my friends, God’s love is powerful. It is life. And we can experience it, live in it, be saturated with it, and have it overflow onto others. I know this, because I have experienced it. I am experiencing it right now. As I turned my heart, my desires, my focus on Him this morning; He began to fill me to overflowing. What a blessed reality. What a complete freedom. Perfect love (and His love is so perfect) casts out all fear. Don’t focus on your sin or your shortcomings today. Yes, confess your sins and turn from them. But focus on His love. He loves you so much. He wants to wrap you in His embrace. He’ll keep you safe. He’ll give you peace through any storm. In His love, you can face the mountain of bills, your past mistakes, your current struggles, your difficult marriage, your wayward children, your responsibilities and obligations that seem overwhelming. In his love, you can face death without fear. The first commandment is Love the Lord your God. It is not some authoritarian dictate demanding that you bow to his selfish will. It is an invitation to enter into the realm of His love. I have tasted of His love and therein are rivers of delight. Come, my friends… taste and see that the Lord is good. Love the Lord your God with all of your being… it is the most blessed ecstasy. It is complete freedom and peace and joy. It is a taste, right here and now, of eternity.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. – John 14:1
The word “troubled” used here is (tarassō) meaning: To cause one inward commotion, to take away one’s calmness of mind, to disturb one’s psychological stability; to disquiet, make restless.
Let’s face it, we live in a very “troubled” world. There is so much going on that can cause inward commotion. There are unjust leaders, lies that are promulgated, and evil people doing evil things. People who should speak up are silent, those who do are attacked, and those who should be given no quarter are promoted to positions of power. It is enough to disturb one’s psychological stability. But, if we put our faith in Jesus, we can say “it is well with my soul.” To “believe” in Jesus is to put your life completely in his care, holding nothing back. The Greek word is (pisteuō), meaning: To entrust one’s self to another with absolute fidelity. 2nd Timothy 1:7 tells us “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a SOUND MIND.” The term “sound mind” comes from the Greek (sophron) meaning: In one's senses, curbing one's desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate.
Philippians 4:5-6 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Are you troubled today? Are you feeling anxious, agitated, worried, or afraid? Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Entrust yourself to him. We are told 360 times in Scripture not to be afraid. And if our hope and our confidence is in Jesus, we have nothing to fear. May you know his peace today and rest in the knowledge of his love.
May it be so in Jesus' name
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth. – 2 Timothy 2:24,25
What caught my attention this morning in reading this passage was… “if God will perhaps grant them repentance.” Is it possible that we, on some level, are of a mindset that repentance is in some way an offering from us to God ? Could it be that we have it backwards? The Greek word used here is (didōmi) meaning “of one's own accord to give one something, to his advantage.” God chooses to "grant us" repentance... of His own accord... for our advantage. In Exodus 33:19 God declares “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” And Jesus (the Way, the Truth, and the Life) said "no man comes to me unless the Father draws him." In the Sermon on the Mount, the first of the beatitudes is “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” To be poor is spirit is to become aware of one’s sinful state, to be aware of one’s inability to change that state, and to cry out for mercy. We live in a culture that says “you’re basically good.” But that is completely contrary to God’s word and it is contrary to the way of salvation. Until we become aware of our desperate need for God’s mercy, we cannot receive His mercy… and yet it is His mercy that causes us to become aware of our need.
The message God is increasingly stirring in my soul is a message of repentance. Just as John the Baptist preached “repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” and Jesus, coming out of the desert, being baptized by John, began his ministry with the same message. Jesus, the King of kings, was in their midst. He was to establish his kingdom from the ground up, beginning with his disciples. For those of us who are followers of Christ (Christians), we are born again… into his kingdom. And our message of hope, our message of salvation, is a message of God’s Kingdom. And his kingdom is, indeed, at hand. He is coming again to claim his own and to judge with wicked. Our message is, more than ever: Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. If we are truly followers of Christ, if he is Lord and King of our lives, we will preach this message. And it is in the hands of God as to whom he grants that repentance. Many will reject it. Many will become angry with us for declaring it. But God has an elect. He has a chosen people from all nations.
So, to my fellow followers of Christ, I encourage you to share the gospel of the good news. I encourage you to live, move, and have your being in Jesus. I encourage you to daily commit ALL your ways to him and he will direct your paths. Let your light so shine before men... some will hate you for it, but others will be drawn to it. We must warn those God puts in our path of the coming judgement and the chance here and now to cry out to God, that he might grant them repentance.
If you have never yielded your life to the Lordship of Jesus, you can do it today. Romans 10:9 tells us “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” My friends, Jesus is returning to judge the living and the dead.
Are you ready?
No one can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him.” – John 6:44
What is keeping you from Jesus? Are you afraid of what he’ll ask of you? Have you been turned off by those who claim to represent him, but act nothing like him? Or do you believe all that Jesus stuff is a bunch of nonsense? The fact is, the only way you’ll ever come to Jesus is if the Father draws you. So, what does that mean? The word “draw” is translated from the Greek “helkō” which means to take for oneself, to prefer, choose. In Exodus 33:19 God declared to Moses “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” And in John 15:16 Jesus said to his followers “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Do you see? No one comes to Jesus unless the Father “draws” him. And no one gets to the Father, except through Jesus. For Jesus said “I and the Father are ONE (Echad) and “whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Whatever has kept you from Jesus, lay it aside. If you are feeling drawn to him, it is the Father’s doing. It means He has chosen you. And if you will come… if you will call on his name, he will do something amazing:
Listen to what he says: “The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Furthermore, he says “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
As for me, I have surrendered my life to Jesus. I do so with absolute abandon and delight. He is Lord of my life and I trust him completely. What will keep me from Jesus? Absolutely nothing. And more importantly, nothing will keep him from me. He would lay aside heaven and descend into hell for me. He would suffer ridicule and shame and unimaginable pain for me. He would even die for me. I know this, because he did. And I also know he rose from the dead that he holds the keys of hell and death. He has all authority and he is coming again. He is coming to take me away. In fact, he’s been preparing a place for me. It’s going to be amazing.
Here’s some great news... He told me I could invite you too. Won’t you join us?
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:2-8
Are you tired? Are you worn out from the rat race? Are you feeling overwhelmed with all you need to do?
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” – What a statement. What does this mean? Let this mind… “phroneō” in the Greek, meaning “to seek one's interest or advantage.” To seek the interest or advantage… not of yourself, but of others. In lowliness of mind – here “mind” is “tapeinophrosynē” meaning “humbleness of mind, humility.”
This, my dear bothers and sisters is the mind of Christ. It is his disposition and inclination. In Matthew 11:29 we read Jesus’ words… “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” God promises, if you will allow him to do this work in you, that you will “find rest for your soul.” Oh, my friends; my Savior – my Lord… He is gentle and lowly in heart. The King of kings and Lord of lords came to serve. To have His heart… To have His mind… this is what He desires for us. This is what pleases the Father. And this is what will bring rest to our soul.
As I was praying this morning, the Holy Spirit began to lead my thoughts towards needs and desires of people I know. Men I know who don’t feel appreciated by their wives, brothers and sisters who are going through financial difficulties, health problems, and emotional issues. Friends, family members, and neighbors who are spiritually dead - lost in sin and need their eyes, ears, and hearts to be opened to the truth of the gospel. As I began to pray… starting from a place of need for myself; I began to pray, not only for others needs, but for their desires. I began to pray that God would turn wives’ hearts towards their husbands and husbands’ hearts towards their wives, that he would heal their sicknesses, that He would meet their needs and give them the desires of their hearts... and most importantly, save those who are lost. It is a marvelous experience, to have the Holy Spirit speak through you - to the Father, on behalf of others. To feel a sense of their hurts, their needs, and their desires. And to be able to bring those to the Lord in prayer. It does something to you. It gives you a kinder heart… more compassionate, less condemning, and more gracious. And believe me, I need that. Left to my own devises, I can find fault with everyone and plenty of excuses for my own shortcomings. But that is not God’s heart. His heart is one of compassion, long suffering, kindness, mercy, and grace.
And so, I exhort you today to come to the Lord in prayer. Make your petitions known to him. Pour out your heart for yourself, your family, and your own needs. But allow the Holy Spirit time, give Him room; and He will begin to pour through you - prayers that are from God’s own heart. And in so doing, a thankful heart will emerge within you. As you experience God’s compassionate heart, you will find praises welling up inside of you. You will see, as you pray for others, how faithful, and loving, and merciful He is. And you will fall more in love with God… After all, that’s what this is all about. We were created to love God and be loved by Him. This whole thing… life, creation, all of it… it’s about love. For God, who is love, loved the world so much that He gave his one and only Son… what an amazing love. May the Lord fill your heart with his love today and give you peace that passed human understanding… in the name of the Prince of Peace.
May it be so in Jesus’ name.
Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. – Psalm 119:11
If we love God, we don’t want to sin against Him. Because we fear God, we don’t want to sin against Him. David, who wrote this Psalm, was certainly familiar with sin. Boy, he went all the way with it. Committing adultery and then killing the woman’s husband. And the Bible doesn’t cover any of it up for us – it’s all out there in the open. And yet, this horrific sinner is a towering figure in God’s kingdom. Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords – Son of God… is of the line of David. David knew about sin. But here is what we must not miss… He knew what it meant to have his heart broken over sin. He knew true repentance. He knew the power of God’s mercy and grace. He knew the power of forgiveness. David had a heart after God’s own heart. He loved God. And so, he says “Thy word have I hid in mine heart.” What does that mean? The word “word” here is from the Hebrew root word ('āmar) which means “to say, speak, utter.” The word “hid” is (ṣāp̄an) meaning “to treasure.” And the word “heart” is (lēḇ) referring to “the inclination, resolution, determination of will.” So, if we want to avoid sinning against God (because we love and fear Him), we will listen… you can’t hear his voice if you aren’t listening. And when He speaks, we will treasure what He says. We will “take it to heart.” And when God speaks into our life… our very inclination will change. Our resolution will be sure. And our determination will be unshaken.
What are you listening to today? Ask God to speak to you. His word does not return void. May He speak into your life today, and may you have ears to hear… that you may not sin against God.
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, `Abba.’” (Romans 8:15)
I recall one evening rocking my youngest daughter to sleep. She had been full of energy all day, running around and playing hard. As soon as I sat with her in the rocking chair, she laid her head on my chest and her arms dropped to her sides in a state of complete relaxation. She hummed softly as she drifted off to sleep. Long after she fell asleep, I continued to sit in that chair simply enjoying the moment with my sweet girl. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of my day. I have had the enormous blessing of many similar cherished moments with all of my children. It is those moments that speak to me more than any sermon, teaching, or book ever could of God’s real intention towards us. For those who accept his offer of adoption - He delights in us. We aren’t meant to serve Him as though He were a slave-driver or taskmaster. He is our Daddy who sets boundaries to keep us safe, disciplines us, comforts us, and ALWAYS loves us. I encourage you to spend some time with Him and rest in his love today.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)