Monday, June 29, 2015

Hope and Comfort

We have unchanging hope because our God is faithful and unchanging. God's promises preserve our lives. Knowing that He always keeps His promises gives us comfort in our affliction/suffering and helps us stand firm in our faith & in His Word amidst ridicule/insolence. We read the last chapter of the Bible and we know how it's all going to end.
The world seeks hope and comfort in all the wrong places such as drugs, alcohol, money, fame, pleasures, government, etc. These can only deliver false, failing hope and superficial, temporary comfort. We find eternal, living hope and real, lasting comfort in God and His Word. I know Whom I have believed! God's Word relieves me in my distress, revives me, cheers me up, & encourages me; I will not turn away from His Word.

If we stand up for God's truths, we cannot expect to escape the mockery and even hatred of the ungodly/unbelievers. They love to deride us, especially when we are in affliction. Pay no attention to them; we must focus our hearts and mind on God's Word, instead. Stay faithful and true to God  & His holy Word in the face of contempt and persecution, come what may. Never compromise God's truths!

"God has not promised peace without pain, joy without sorrow, nor sun without rain. But He promised strength for the day, grace for the trials. and light for the way." (Annie Johnson Flint)

Prayer: "Loving Father, show me the mercy of afflictions. Cleanse me from earthly and sensual desires--and strengthen me with trust and heavenly rest. Graciously accept my prayers, O heavenly Father, and help me with true thankfulness to praise You. For Your dear Son Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."(William Purton)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I Trust in Your Word

- God's unfailing love (mercy) for us and salvation as revealed in His Word give us hope and security. Because of this and because we trust in God's word, we can face anything. No one can ever take away what we have in Christ. We can undauntedly answer those who taunt us with what we believe according to God's Word. It is wise to arm ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. We have proofs (our own testimonies) of God's love, grace, mercy, and faithfulness for those who make fun of our faith. We can show them that God has kept His promises, answered our prayers, and supplied our needs. Trials and sufferings don't destroy us or make us despair because we know we are eternally loved and eternally saved.

- Obeying God's Word is walking in freedom (free from that which is evil and corrupted, free from spiritual slavery/bondage of sin). Walking in a wide place as "unconfined by affliction or oppression" (from the NIV Study Bible's commentary). Roaming without fear and without falsehood. "Jesus said, 'If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (John 8:31-32)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Turn My Heart and My Eyes

- This is a prayer we all should pray. We all struggle with selfishness more or less. The natural inclination of our heart is self-gain. Pray against covetousness and self-centeredness. "For the love of money is a root of all kind of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10) Ask God to incline our heart (the center of the human spirit which dictates emotions, thoughts, motivations, and actions) to His statutes.

- We also need God to help us turn our eyes (the window to external influences) from looking at worthless things (the vain things of this world, idols), from looking at things that tempt us, lead us astray, and/or cause us to have discontent, envy, greed, covetousness, and lust. "If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." (Matthew 5:29) "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness." (Matthew 6:22-23) Keep Christ in view at all times! Ask God to preserve our lives according to His Word in His ways. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teach Me and Lead Me, Lord!

- We must recognize our need for wisdom and understanding from God and ask for it. Spiritual discernment is a gracious gift from God. Understanding is very important as Jesus points out in Matthew 13:24, "But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the Word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." Without understanding, the result is tragic: "When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path." (Matthew 13:19) We also need God to help us keep His law as we ought to and obey it with all our heart. Undivided heart's devotion to Him and His Word is what God desires. 

- Pray and ask God to lead (direct, guide) us in the path of His commandments. Leaving it to ourselves, we are prone to wander off track and get distracted by all sorts of things. An enlightened heart and mind delight in God's Word and desire to observe & obey it. He who teaches us the way also gives us the grace to walk in it. 

- Prayer: Father, please give me wisdom, understanding, and insight that I may keep Your law and obey it with my whole heart. Please teach me Your way and lead me in the path of Your commandments, the path of holiness and do not let me stray from it. Please guard my heart and mind from being enticed by the things of the world. Please keep me away from anything that may weaken my delight in Your Word and zeal for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Way of Faithfulness

- We need God to help us understand His Word. Ask God to give us knowledge, wisdom, and a deep insight into the practical meaning of Scriptures. The more we understand God's precepts, the more we admire, appreciate, and want to meditate on His wondrous works and the more ready & equipped we are to tell others about His Word & works. 

- When our soul is weary with sorrow, God's Word can strengthen us and comfort us.
- Choose the way of faithfulness by setting your heart on God's truths and principles. Be intentional. The way of godliness/holiness doesn't just happen by itself. "God made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us." (Jerry Bridges) "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'" (Isaiah 30:21) We must choose to walk in this narrow way of truth, governed by God's Word. Each day is filled with choices. We can choose to walk in God's way or our own way or the world's way. If we do not set God's Word before us at all times, we will start drifting away from it. "I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart." (Psalm 40:8)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Behold Wondrous Things in God's Word

- We need to pray and ask God to open our spiritual eyes so that we may see wonderful things in His Word and comprehend spiritual truths. The eyes of our hearts must be opened/enlightened in order that the beauty, benefits, wisdom, and glory of God's Word may be fully perceived, appreciated, and enjoyed. God's Word is a world of wonders! 

- Do you care more about what people say or what God says? We should not get discouraged or distressed when others slander us or plot against us. Stay calm and focus on God's Word, instead. Resolve to spend time meditating on His promises. God is our Defender! Pay no attention to slanderers. Don't let them distract you from your communion with God. Their words are not worth our time and thoughts. Those who feed upon God's Word grow strong, wise, content, and immovable. When you are unjustly slandered, accused, or mistreated even by those in authorities, go to God in prayer and ponder His Word. When your hearts and minds are overwhelmed with trouble, turn to the Scriptures for guidance and comfort. And keep walking uprightly with integrity and purity according to God's Word. When we humbly submit to God's will and entrust ourselves to His care, we are less concerned with what others say about us or say to us. We can be still/silent and know that God will take care of us and the situations. It is best to look over offenses and look to the One who loves us with infinite love and watches over us with perfect wisdom.

 - God's statutes are our delight and counselors. God's Word is joy in our sorrows and guide in our difficulties. God's Word is a balm to our aching hearts and wisdom to our wandering minds.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rejoice In and Meditate On God's Word

- When we value God's Word as treasure, it is our joy and delight to read, study, ponder, and apply God's Word/His precepts. It is as if one rejoices in great riches. God's Word is indeed incomparable wealth. 
- Meditation in eastern religions is about emptying one's mind but meditation in the Bible is about filling one's mind with God's Word. It is profitable/nourishing to our soul to meditate on God's Word which helps us to know God more. His heart, attributes, and will are revealed in His Word. The more we meditate on God's Word, the more we think God's thoughts. God uses His Word to renew/remold our mind and transform our hearts. Meditating on the Scriptures takes time. We don't read the Bible just so we can check off a to-do item on our list. Do you delight in spending time with God in prayer and in His Word? We must fix our eyes on God's ways so that we won't be wandering off the narrow path, be led astray, or be troubled by the worries of this world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Path of Purity

- How can a young person stay pure (free from immorality)? By living according to God's Word. God's Word will guide young (and old) people on the narrow road of righteousness, help them navigate when they face obstacles and/or temptations, and teach them how to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. The Bible must be our life's manual and map. If you don't want to get lost in this life's journey, take heed to God's directions. We all need strength and wisdom from God and He provides them through His Word. The sooner the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom begins in a person, the better. "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16) "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity...Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching." (1 Timothy 4:12-13)

- We need to seek God with all our heart and ask Him to help us not stray from His commands. God does the enabling part; we do the obeying part. We cannot live pure & holy lives apart from fellowship with God. Seek Him first.

- It's beneficial for us to study and memorize God's Word (hide it in our heart). God's Word occupying our heart and mind and permeating our soul will help us abhor sin and keep us from sinning against God. It will serve as a constant reminder and guideline for our thoughts, motives, words, and actions. Bibles may be taken away from us but this treasure (God's Word hidden in our heart) can never be taken away from us. The Scripture we've learned and memorized will be readily available whenever we need it. Remember what God says and practice it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Blessed Are the Obedient!

Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is an acrostic poem. Each of the 22 stanza begins with letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the 8 lines of each stanza begin with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

Those who obey God's Word and seek Him with all their hearts are blessed. God's instruction is given to us for our own good. God shows us the right path to follow/the blessed way to live. To be blameless/ undefiled is to walk in faith and obedience to the law of the Lord. This requires action. Be doers of the Word, not just hearers or knowers. Happy/joyful are people who faithfully follow the instructions of the Lord. They don't walk in the way of the world or in their own way. They diligently seek God and seek to glorify Him, not selves. They wholeheartedly devote themselves to the Word of God and to God of the Word. The joyful make God's will, God's Word, God's way the rule/standard of all their actions. In return, they shall be guided, comforted, refreshed, strengthened, and encouraged. Very blessed, indeed!

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