When scripture says it’s a gift…

All throughout the New Testament there are times when the speaker or writer will mention a gift, and the fact that the gift came from God was meant to grab the listener’s or reader’s attention. For example: John 4:10; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 9:15; Ephesians 2:8 and 1 Peter 4:10.

In every context the listener or reader is being reminded that God is a giving God, and when he offers a gift it’s in our best interest to take it because a gift from God is a gift that we can’t get anywhere else. We can’t earn it, we can’t be good enough to deserve it, and if we’re not careful we can take it for granted, but at the same time we must remember that God will not force any of his gifts upon us.

When scripture says something is a gift we’d do well to take it to heart because when we forget this then we forget who it came from, and when we forget who it came from then we forget why it was given to begin with.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)

#gift, #god, #heart

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(#129) The Proverbs of Solomon 17:20-Whom Do You Trust?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 17:20: “He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.”

The “deceitful heart” knows how easily “truth” can be ignored, manipulated, changed into a lie, or kept back to deceive. Then the “deceitful heart” concludes that everyone else is doing the same, thus, concludes no one is to be trusted! Only God and His Truth can judge the waywardness in a heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). Even in the New Testament, Paul taught this: “This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:13-15). People who are dishonest with the truth are quick to assume the worst in everyone else! It’s difficult, or even impossible, for some people to believe that anyone can be truthful and pure in motive, but Christians are exactly that. “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another” (Ephesians 4:20-25).

However, even Christians can be misled by: those who “pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7); “preach Christ even from envy and strife” (Philippians 1:15); “false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1); “the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14); “the deceitful lusts” (Ephesians 4:22). Deceitfulness is a reality, but so, also, is truthfulness! Jesus said: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Pilate revealed his political dishonesty when he replied, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Conversion to Jesus Christ is the cure for the “deceitful heart.” “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23). “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12)

Do you believe this?

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#baptism, #bible-study, #deceitful, #defiled, #heart, #misled, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #pure, #purified, #truth, #unbelieving

Keeping our eyes on the horizon

While speaking of the great assurance that God’s people can have in the words of the gospel, Peter encourages his readers to do something so simple yet so profound – keep our eyes on the horizon!

And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” (2 Peter 1:19)

The storms of life will vary and they may be extreme at times even causing life itself to become surrounded by darkness and doubt, yet we are encouraged to look away from the direction of the setting sun and to follow the light of God’s word which directs our heart, through faith, toward the return of Jesus and the security and comfort that we will have with him.

When we keep our eyes on the horizon, the light of that morning star will come much sooner than we think.

#2-peter, #faith, #heart, #jesus-return, #return-of-christ

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(#103) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:1-2-What’s Wrong With Me?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:1-2: “The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.”

Verse 1: We all do what we plan to do, that is, we act according to the decisions of our heart. However, God reserves the right to oversee, overrule, or overtake our plans to let us see when our thinking is wrong. Other proverbs emphasize this fact: “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9); “There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’S counsel-that will stand” (Proverbs 19:21). Long after our plans have failed, God’s plan is still active and better. Saul of Tarsus (later the Apostle Paul) was persecuting Jesus’ church, and Jesus commented to him: “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:15). No spiritual salvation ever came by “the will of man” (John 1:12-13), nor has God’s prophecy come from “the will of man” (2 Peter 1:21), so for a person’s “will” to be right, there must be a dependence upon God’s revealed Will, for “the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17). “The answer of the tongue” means God will have the final say about all of our plans. Jesus said, “the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day” (John 12:48).

Verse 2: No one does what is right or can be saved by doing only what they think is right! In the days when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), sin abounded. The sad fact is, we are the worst judges of the morality of our own behavior! Another proverb says: “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). Hardly any human behavior begins without some “justification” in a person’s heart. Jesus condemned Pharisees with: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15). Even the Apostle Paul recognized this when he said, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:3-4). The Bible stresses that righteousness only comes by doing right as defined by God, Himself! “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7).

No one can “testify” to his or her own salvation and Christian character without heeding the Word of God on the subject. God’s plan throughout the Bible was “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:26-28). Are you saved by Jesus Christ? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #heart, #judgment-day, #justify-yourselves, #obedience, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #pure, #truth, #will-of-man

Around the corner or already here?

If you check out the calendar (America’s version) you’ll notice that Thanksgiving is already around the corner!

But the question for us, as Christians (no matter what country we’re living in), asks, “Is thanksgiving already in our hearts?”

Thanksgiving isn’t an attitude that just happens. It’s intentional. It goes beyond the physical to the spiritual. It remembers where our blessings come from and where they abide (Ephesians 1:3).

We may face unpleasant situations across the spectrum, but as Christians we can hold on to the root (Romans 15:12) that leads to a thanksgiving that sprouts out and bears the fruit in our heart that can be seen and heard continually – Jesus!

Therefore by [Jesus] let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15 – NKJV)

#christianity, #heart, #jesus, #thanksgiving

A Sanitizer For The Soul

I am looking at an eight ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. The kind you pump into your palm and then feel the cool sensation and smell the alcohol-like smell as it presumably kills millions of potentially life-threatening germs and bacteria living on your skin! The brand-name is “germ-X hand sanitizer.” In bold red letters at the bottom of the bottle are these words: “Kills 99.99% of germs.” The prevalence of such products reminds me we live in a dirty world. Several years ago a news report in Nashville revealed that bacteria was found on 50 of 51 public places and things examined, including telephones, computer keyboards, restaurant salad bars, etc. Believe it or not, one of the cleanest places found were commode seat lids! The news segment was entitled, “IT’S A DIRTY WORLD!” In our hyper-health-conscious age, Americans are more concerned about dirt than ever. We use cleaners, disinfectants, and antiseptics. Soap is big business. We scrub, clean, deodorize, sanitize, and sterilize because we know dirt can be dangerous and even deadly to physical life. So we wash and clean our clothes, cars, hands, heads, houses, bodies, and buildings. We filter our water and air and demand the food supply be kept pure. We wouldn’t want impurities in our lungs or livers. Or cholesterol in our veins, lead in the pipes and paint, asbestos in the walls, second-hand smoke in the room, or smog in the atmosphere. We even insist landfills be “sanitary,” and spend billions to insure waste is disposed of in a way that doesn’t pollute the water table or land!

I applaud our commitment to physical cleanness and purity. But our hands are not the only things that need sanitizing. On any given day in America, we are exposed to thousands of spiritual germs and bacteria. Spiritual toxins and impurities constantly seek to enter and pollute our spiritual hearts! Our culture is saturated with dirty words and images and sights and sounds. Dirt and germs seek entry into our hearts through our eyes and ears. These days TV could easily be taken to stand for “trashy values.” It’s getting harder and harder to find decent TV programming during prime-time viewing hours. Dirt also comes packaged in much of the music that fills the air and millions of iPods. Doug Stone released a song in 1992 that warned, “They ought to put warning labels on those sad country songs.” We might add on those sexually suggestive country songs, too. And not just country — also rock and pop and hip-hop! I could go on but don’t need to. You know I am telling you the truth. We live in sinful and morally dirty world that seeks to pollute our hearts. That’s why Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:8 are so critical — “Blessed are, the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” We don’t just need a hand sanitizer. Because of contact with sin, we need a heart sanitizer. Thank God we have one! “If we walk in the light as He is the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). We apply that sanitizer to our souls when we respond to Christ’s call to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). It is truly a dirty world, but the blood of Christ is powerful enough to sanitize our souls and make our hearts pure. Do you have a pure heart?

Dan Gulley –  Smithville church of Christ

#beattitudes, #christianity, #culture, #heart, #jesus, #purity, #sermon-on-the-mount

Red and Yellow, Black and White

For some reason a lot of people have no problem singing about the love of God for all the children of different races but things seem to change when they look at adults.

The truth of the matter is that the only “race” God is concerned about is the one we’re called to finish as his people! (2 Timothy 4:7)

Marshall Keeble once preached about the wonderful way that God could take a white egg and produce a black chicken. There’s a thought for you.

And I’ve often pointed out that cows of all colors have no problem living in and sharing the same field. It’s amazing to me how an ignorant animal can get past the color barrier but “intelligent” people run right into it!

Peter got it straight when he told a Roman solider, family man and truth seeker, “…In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” (Acts 10:34-35)

Red and yellow, black and white, Jesus died for all in his sight because he doesn’t only love all the little children of the world – he loves us stubborn adults too.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind,…” (Matthew 13:47)

#christianity, #heart, #love-of-god, #race, #racism, #the-gospel-is-for-all, #the-love-of-jesus

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(#28) The Proverbs of Solomon 10:19-22-A Fool And His Money

Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

10:19-21: It is truth that the mouth speaks what is in the heart, and the heart speaks through the mouth. The more words a person uses, generally, the easier it is to sin with the mouth, and, the greater effort is being put in to hide a sin. Not an earthen heart (dirty) but a “righteous” heart produces words as precious as “choice silver.” On the other hand, if the “heart” is “wicked,” the words it uses will be of “little” value. “Lips” speaking from a “righteous” heart “feed many” (produce much good), whereas, the heart that “lacks wisdom” speaks “foolishly” (has no worth). This is a theme carried out in other Proverbs: 12:17-words of “truth” from a heart of “righteousness,” or a heart of “deceit” speaks “false witness;” 14:5-a heart of “faithful witness” speaks “no lie,” or the heart of “false witness” will speak “lies;” 14:25-“true witness” in the heart “delivers (saves) souls,” but a “deceitful” heart speaks “lies.” Lying, falsifying information, comes from within. Those known for their lying are “liars,” not just slips of the tongue. All liars are children of the Devil (John 8:44) and bound for hell (Revelation 21:8) unless they repent. Jesus absolutely taught this: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil of the treasure brings forth evil things” (Matthew 12:34-35). There are occupations that are notoriously associated with lying, such as, lawyers, used car salesmen, politicians, contractors, advertisers and journalists. One wonders why people keep putting so much trust in them without thoroughly checking out their statements! Why depend upon lawyers to establish truth in legal matters? Why re-elect politicians who are deceitful? Why buy papers/magazines that misrepresent information so? Why spend time and money on shopping trips when the merchandise is not “as advertised?” Why buy cars from those whose claims cannot be trusted without a “second opinion?” Why let contractors sell their agreements to build to others who aren’t under the original contract? When lying is accepted as “the way everyone does business,” then whom can anyone trust?

10:22: True wealth come from the LORD’s “blessing,” and He “adds no sorrow with it.” When life is lived according to God’s Wisdom, blessings abound, and there is no regret. But sorrow comes with those who obtain wealth by their standards, not God’s: Proverbs 13:11: “Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase;” Proverbs 13:22: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous;” Proverbs 20:21: “An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning Will not be blessed at the end;” Proverbs 28:22: “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.” Dishonest wealth “will be diminished,” that is, easy come, easy go. The sinner’s wealth “is stored up for the righteous,” that is, it will not remain in the family’s hands for long, since righteous principles are not passed along with the wealth. It is criminal for all who make it difficult, or impossible, for “a good man” to leave his “inheritance to his children’s children.” Inheritance taxes, “death taxes,” are against God’s Will!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #deceit, #dishonesty, #fool, #heart, #inheritance-taxes, #journalists, #lawyers, #lying, #politicians, #proverbs, #wisdom, #words

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Studies in the Book of Proverbs #13

(#13) A Father’s Wisdom: Focus on What Is Right 4:20-27

Verses 20-22:  Son, pay “attention” to your father’s “words.” It is a heavy responsibility for a father to know something important enough to command total attention of his son. It is a grave responsibility for a son to know he needs to give his total attention to something his father has to say. This cannot be done while texting, MP3-ing, phoning, gaming, face timing, etc…nor even if the son is doing these things! The way to a son’s “heart” is through his “eyes” and “ears.” Lean your ear toward your father; keep your eyes focused on these sayings; center your heart (mind) on these thoughts. In other words, let these guide your thoughts and actions in your future. These wise thoughts will provide “life” and “health,” which means better living from now on. The healthiest sons are those who consume wisdom from their fathers.

Verses 23-27:

Verse 23: Heart-“Keep it” is a way of saying “guard, protect it,” “all diligence” means this should be a constant, daily effort. “The issues of life” are everything we think, say, see, and do, and who we are. Heart disease is the #1 killer of physical bodies, but heart disease is the #1 killer of souls, too! Jesus said, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man” (Matthew 15:18), but we may also act “as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6).

Verse 24: Mouth-The mouth is to the heart what Facebook is to the world: a detailed diary. We should be “slow to speak” (James 1:19) because “the tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body” (James 3:6), so “if anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 3:2). “Deceitful” describes words designed to avoid “truth,” and “perverse” indicates words that are out of control and without restraint, thus “an unruly evil” (James 3:8). This prompted Wisdom to say: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

Verse 25: Eyes-The eyes must maintain their focus “straight ahead,” meaning never take your eyes off of where you plan to go, or what you plan to do. Being distracted from God’s Wise Way has been the ruin of humanity, from Adam (Genesis 3:17) to Demas (2 Timothy 4:10). “Eyelids” must remain open to see, this of course, a figurative application to the awareness of where one is going.

Verse 26-27: Feet-“Ponder the path” means: “think, boy, think.” Think where this path is leading, who has taken this path, who is waiting to waylay you, and what you’ll be doing to yourself if you go this way. If we follow “established” ways, we will not spend our time and energies being rebellious, different, obstinate, or just plain “weird!” There are some wise things that have been proven wise for generations, and a wise son will learn them. Just because a father says them doesn’t make them wrong! Keeping on the right path, watching out for our feet, and never wavering or straying off the path is a formula for guaranteed success. In Ghana, West Africa, their saying is, “No bend, no curve.” Another quote on the subject is: The greatest compliment you can pay truth is to accept and apply it.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #eyes, #feet, #heart, #mouth, #obedience, #path, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #teaching, #wisdom

Only the Outside???

This morning I’m going to wash my daughter’s sippi-cups (or however you spell those things). But it may be that I’m going to be as good a dishwasher as I am a speller!

dirty dishes

(Photo credit: .imelda)

Why’s that? Because I’m only going to wash the outside her cups. After all, it’s the outside that has all of the pictures that she likes to look at. And no one else can see the inside so they’ll think I did a good job. And it’s only the outside that I have to touch so why would I bother with the inside??? Maybe because the inside is what she’s actually going to be drinking from!!!

What if we treated our lives the way I talked about treating my daughter’s dirty dishes? What if we only spent time cleaning up ourselves on the outside spiritually speaking? What if we made sure that we appeared to be spotless to the eyes of others but the inside of our heart acted, reacted and thought in a completely opposite way? If we did that then we’d hear:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26)

If it makes no sense to only wash the outside of dirty dishes then why would it make any sense to only have a desire to appear righteous? After all, isn’t it the inside that holds what’s important?

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:19-22)

#cleansing, #god, #heart, #hypocrisy, #outward-righteousness, #pharisee, #spiritual-analogies

Feelings Don’t Tell the Whole Story

Many people rely solely upon how they feel when it comes to their relationship with God and the salvation that is offered through Jesus. Feelings alone work no better than faith alone! One may say that’s not true, but I ask have you not read:

So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.” (Genesis 27:22-23 – NKJV)

What did Isaac rely upon in this situation? He relied upon his feelings! He knew the voice didn’t match, but he chose to rely upon the sense that could be tricked instead of the sense that knew better.

I don’t know about you but I’ve sat in Isaac’s shoes before. I still find myself in Isaac’s shoes from time to time when it comes to making an important decision. I may want to do this, but I know that. I want to have hope in something or someone, but I find that the facts get in the way. Feelings and facts don’t have to be opposed, but when we choose feelings over facts we choose the opposite of what we should.

In matters of the faith it matters what we rely upon. Doing what’s right in our eyes doesn’t always equate to doing what’s right in the eyes of God. If we were more willing to allow the facts of the faith to shape our feelings about faith then maybe our feelings about the faith wouldn’t try to change the facts (Romans 1:16-17, Galatians 1:6-9, Jude 3).

Why do we have the word of God to read? It’s because feelings don’t tell the whole story – the gospel does!

For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 – NKJV)

Related Article:

#faith, #feelings, #god, #head-knowledge, #heart, #heart-feelings, #isaac, #knowledge, #matters-of-the-faith, #religion

Why Does God Care About Your Money?

In no small part thanks to charlatans on TV and to thieves of the church treasury, finances stands large among the spiritual subjects that the world misunderstands. Some in the world view the church as a money hungry institution that has hypocritical stances concerning finances. They often confuse money itself being a root of all kinds of evil with the love of money being a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). And they confuse works being done with the aid of money with works done being done through money alone. One thing the world, and maybe even the church, must come to understand is that God doesn’t need our money. The God who created the heavens and the earth is the same God who purchased man’s salvation – and He did both without spending one penny! God doesn’t need our money, but He does want our heart, and the reason that God is concerned about money when it comes to His people is because of the possible negative effects that one’s material wealth can have one’s spiritual health. One can deny it all they want, but the fact that purse-strings and heart-strings are tied together is too obvious to miss. Even Ebenezer Scrooge figured that one out! So if anyone is convinced that an individual can show a heart full of gratitude toward God while carrying a full wallet and purse that doesn’t know how to properly give then that person cares more about money than they do finding out about why God cares so much about the topic. Praise God for the people who own their money without their money owning them.

Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.”

(2 Corinthians 9:5-11 – NKJV)

#finances, #giving, #god, #heart, #money, #religion

Poem: A Smile

Here’s a poem that’s been all over the internet for quite some time. It took me a second or two to find the author’s name because the vast majority of time credit is given to “unknown.” If you haven’t read or heard it, it’s worth the time.

A Smile

Smiling is infectious,

you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at me today,

I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner

and someone saw my grin

When he smiled, I realized

I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile

then I realized its worth,

A single smile, just like mine

could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,

don’t leave it undetected

Let’s start an epidemic quick,

and get the world infected!

(written by Matthew John Fraser)

I guess there’s such a thing as a healthy infection after all 🙂

#emotions, #friendliness, #health, #heart, #poetry

What’s in your bucket?

If you were walking back from a well carrying a bucket of water and someone jostled you, there could be spilled from that bucket only that which it contained.

As you walk along life’s way, people are constantly bumping you. If your heart is full of ill will, bad temper and ugly disposition, only those things will be spilled. However, if you are full of life, joy and happiness, then you will spill a smile or pleasant remark.

You can spill from your bucket only that which it contains. I heard a Gospel preacher say, “Whatever is in the well of your hearts will come up in the bucket of your lives.” That statement is very true.

Matt 5:43-45 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock

#heart, #thoughts

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Psalm 119 Daleth

It is fitting that the greatest tribute to the Word of God is IN the Word of God, itself, and is in the longest chapter of the Word of God! This Psalm has no author’s name, historical incident, or other distraction from its theme. It is divided into 22 sections (one for every letter in the Hebrew alphabet), each consisting of 8 lines, each line beginning with the alphabet letter of that section (aleph is the first letter of each line under the aleph section, for instance). The chapter uses some 8-10 different words to describe the Word of God, each bringing something extra to the total picture of the Word of Truth. In order to savor the depth and richness of teaching in this Psalm, we will examine each portion as if it were its own chapter.

Daleth Psalm 119:25-32                        Receiving New Life

Verse 25 shows how low we fall on our own;

Verses 26-29 give the determination it will take to change;

Verses 30-32 give the will to live.

Verse 25: When our life (“soul”) bottoms out (“clings to the dust”), if we are looking for a remedy, we should look up to God’s “word” (instruction, explanation). Sinners who try every way but God’s way either end up in prison, rehab, court, suicide, or slavery, and eventually—Hell! But that’s what it takes before we hurt so much we can’t take it anymore. How many people, and how often, have their lives turned around that have “crashed” first. It’s those who realize they have a “soul” who know their lives must be changed, not only for life here but hereafter. “Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18). “Revival” occurs only by a sinner’s acceptance of the Word of God, as Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

Verses 26-29: (Verse 26) To “declare my ways” is prayerful confession of the life-style that brought one down to dirt, morally, but God’s answers were in His Bible all along. Such a person becomes “teachable” to God’s “statutes” (lines marking limits).  (Verse 27) “Make me” is not asking God to force faith into a person’s heart, for He never has, but is an expression that shows the determination in the person’s heart to “understand” God’s “precepts” (things to notice). Since it is from “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34), there is little difference in “meditating” or “speaking” about God’s “wonderful works” recorded in the Bible. (Verse 28) The Gospel of Christ is God’s invitation to all who would be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29), and the “melting” process stems from “heaviness,” as life fills with “sorrows” (Job 14:1), then we need the “strength” that can only come from faith produced by and with the Word of God. (Verse 29) God truthfully speaks, and so must someone who would learn from God’s “law.” Lying to ourselves, others, or especially to God, fools no one, but destroys ourselves now and forever (Ephesians 4:20-25).

Verses 30-32: Notice the will to live: “I have chosen;” “I cling to;” “I will run;” AND notice the new rules that will make it so: “the way of truth;” “Your judgments;” “Your testimonies;” “Your commandments.” AND notice how much better the servant of God becomes, “You shall enlarge my heart.” People whose heart has become embittered, hateful, spiteful, twisted, deceitful, perverse, and coldly calculating have so shrunk their heart’s capacity that it cannot live life to the fullest. As one obeys God, that stretching sound may be scary, but when love for God tumbles in, the poison is driven out. No one ever died from this kind of “enlarged heart” (2 Corinthians 6:11). “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #christian-living, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #god, #heart, #life, #obedience, #sin