Author: Alice A. Anacioco

Important Biblical Principles On Giving

Important Biblical Principles On Giving

In chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians, we read that one of the most important ministries the apostle Paul had during his third journey was the gathering of a special “relief offering” for the poor believers in Jerusalem.

While this special offering was not the same as our Lord’s Day collection, it does give several important biblical principles on giving for believers today.

Giving is an Act of Worship

I believe it’s tragic when church members give only as a duty and forget that our offerings are to be spiritual “sacrifices” presented to the Lord (Philippians 4:18). Giving should be an act of worship to the resurrected and ascended Savior.

It’s interesting that Paul mentioned the offering just after his discussion about the resurrection. In the original manuscripts there were no chapter breaks, so the readers would go right from Paul’s hymn of victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-56) into his discussion about money.

Doctrine and duty go together, so do worship and works. Our giving is not in vain because our Lord is alive. It is His resurrection power that motivates us to give and to serve.

Giving Should be Systematic

Some Bible students suggested that many people were paid on the first day of the week during that time in history. But even if they were not, each believer was to set aside his offering at home and then bring it to the assembly on the first day. Paul did not want to have to take up a number of collections when he arrived in Corinth. He wanted the whole contribution to be ready (1 Corinthians 16:2).

If today’s church members were as systematic in their giving as they are in handling their other financial matters, the work of the Lord would not suffer as it sometimes does.

*Related Article: Biblical Principles of Tithing

Do you know that members of the Yoido Full Gospel Church, the largest Pentecostal Christian congregation in South Korea founded by Pastor David Yonggi Cho, would go to the bank days before worship day to exchange their old paper bills with new ones for their tithes and offering? And if they have no time to go to the bank they would iron them flat, making them crisp and looking new.

Preparing our tithes and offerings at home is a good practice to adapt. The word of God says, “Each one should give what he has decided in his heart to give …” (2 Corinthians 9:7). What better way to decide how much we should give than seeking God at home before going to church.

Giving is Personal and Individual

Paul expected each member to share in the offering, the rich and the poor alike. Anyone who had an income was privileged to share and to help those in need. He wanted all to share in the blessing.

Do not wait to get rich before you start giving to the Church. As someone once said, “Little can become a lot in the hands of Jesus.” Do you want God’s blessings? Be a blessing!

Giving is to be Proportionate

“A portion of the money you have earned” (1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT) suggests that believers who have more should give more. The Jewish believers in the church would have been accustomed to the tithe, but Paul did not mention any special proportion.

Certainly, the tithe (10% of one’s income) is a good idea to begin our stewardship, but we must not remain in that level. As the Lord gives us more, we should plan to give more.

Honor the Lord with your wealth - Proverbs 3:9-10

You must be familiar with the quote that says, “When God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living, raise your standard of giving.” But when Brother Jess Cortez (a guest author of this website) exhorted tithes and love offering at Church, he said that God’s principle is actually the complete opposite of this.

Based on Proverbs 3:9-10, the sequence is: 1) Do not raise your standard of living, 2) raise your standard of giving, 3) and then God will bless you to overflowing.

Final Thoughts

Christian giving is a grace, the outflow of the grace of God in our lives and not the result of promotion or pressure. An open heart cannot maintain a closed hand. If we appreciate the grace of God extended to us, we will want to express that grace by sharing with others.


*Create your own Christian website for free like I did and share the love of God to the world, His goodness and faithfulness in your life. My recommended training platform will show you how to do that step by step.

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Jesus, You are the Calm at the Center of My Storm

Jesus, You are the Calm at the Center of My Storm

Living in a country that is visited by an average of 20 typhoons every year, I can understand the fear that the disciples felt when a furious storm suddenly came up while they were inside a boat in the middle of the sea (Matthew 8:23-27 & Mark 4:35-41). It’s pretty scary because you never know if you’re going to make it after the storm is gone. But if Jesus calmed the storm by rebuking the wind and the waves, He can also calm whatever storm we are facing.

The Bible tells us that Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). So it’s no wonder that most of the time the world is in chaos. Living in a world that is ruled by the prince of darkness, we cannot expect things to get better, it could even get worse.

Every day we learn of terrible things that happen everywhere around the world and Christians wonder when this will ever end. But in the midst of all the troubles, we can always turn to Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) who will calm us even in the middle of a terrible storm.

Calm at the Center of my Storm Lyrics & Chords

It’s been a year since I published a post about how God sustained me physically, emotionally and spiritually. It was definitely one of the toughest times of my life in as far as my day job is concerned. It even came to a point where I thought I couldn’t take it anymore and all I could think about was quitting.

Praise the Lord Almighty for giving me the strength to keep on. I may be weak but God is strong and He will give me the grace to overcome every hurdle that I may have to face. I’m blessed to share with you that what I’ve been through has made me a lot stronger and taught me to trust God all the more.

*Here’s the article: Yes, I can Do All Things Through Christ Who Gives Me Strength

Another Year, Another Challenge

So I thought everything was going very well. Ministry is flourishing, my website is getting better with traffic (meaning visitors), I’m learning a lot more about and growing in His grace and knowledge and the extra working hours in my day job have been reduced.

There’s just one problem, a couple actually: I am in conflict with the head of my department (I call him Doc T) and my employers are having financial difficulties. In regard to the former issue, I’m not sure when and how things started to go south between me and Doc T.

We actually started out on a positive note; we were communicating very well, we were comfortable with each other. We even became friends while at the same time maintaining a professional relationship – that of a superior and subordinate. I very much appreciated how principled he was and wanted nothing more than equality among everyone in the team, regardless of race, nationality, and religion.

Romans 8:37

Then came that unfortunate day when my roommate/colleague and I got into some kind of conflict with a junior local staff, a big NONO, I must say! This is one thing a foreigner should never do in a country where discrimination is very common and rampant. Admittedly, it was a huge mistake for me to get involved and I had to learn my lesson the hard way.

In all fairness, Doc T tried his best to make it look like the problem is nothing more than a plain misunderstanding when we were called in for a department meeting with the HRO (Human Resource Officer). But after that, it became even more obvious that the management has sided with the junior staff, because she’s a local.

Well, Doc T got the message loud and clear from the HR: locals are privileged in this medical facility and you have to abide by that rule if you want things to go smoothly for you. And that’s when Doc T started treating me and other foreigners in our department differently.

How to Respond to People Who Do Not Treat You Well

Since then, Doc T would do anything just to please the locals, even at the expense of the foreigners (myself included). This was not only physically and mentally draining, but it was emotionally painful too. I tried to remain polite and respectful towards him, and so as my colleagues. But as they say, every person has his limit.

As a follower of Christ, I should know better than to get in conflict with anyone, especially with my superiors. And so I tried to keep my distance from Doc T, which he took as a sign of disrespect and animosity towards him. He even went as far as to accuse me of influencing our junior staffs to give him the “cold treatment.”

I was like, “What? Are you kidding me?” I was appalled, disappointed and troubled. I admit, I tend to overreact at times, especially when the attack is personal. Imagine being called “evil” (behind your back) by your superior just because you only talk to him when necessary, meaning, as it relates to work. I wonder if this is what they call “character assassination.”

Romans 12:18

Anyway, I thought it’s best to just let things subside, for now. I recognize that this is another bump on the road, which happened a week after I delivered God’s message in our local church on “The Christian’s Response to Trials.” If you are being used by God behind the pulpit, you know for certain that whatever sermon you preach, God will allow you to experience it firsthand. The word of God also exhorts us to live at peace with everyone, if it is possible (Romans 12:18 & Hebrews 12:14).

Choosing to Move Forward

Just because we’re followers of Christ doesn’t mean that we won’t have storms in our lives. But following Jesus faithfully will give us peace, even in the midst of those storms.

As for me, I could choose to wallow in despair or rejoice in tribulations. Bottom line is whatever storm I am facing right now, I am confident that God will help me through it, because you, Jesus my Lord, are the calm at the center of my storm.

Have you had experiences like this within your family circle, friends or colleagues? How did you handle the situation? Your testimony is very much welcome in the comments below.


*Create your own Christian website for free like I did and share the love of God to the world, His goodness and faithfulness in your life. My recommended training platform will show you how to do that step by step.

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Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: An Act of Love and Humility

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet: An Act of Love and Humility

We live in a society where it is the “norm” for the rich and powerful to be ordering people around, while the poor and the lowly people are the ones serving. In this article, we will delve into a passage where our Lord Jesus changed this standard through His example.

You must be familiar with the scene where Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, recorded in John 13:1-17. (See also Matthew 26:14-39 & Luke 22:24-27.) But for us to conclude this as an act of love and humility on the part of our Lord, a good grasp of the Jewish custom of those days is much-needed.

Background of the Passage

Prior to Jesus’ meeting His disciples at the Upper Room, we read that Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Sunday, and on Monday He had cleansed the Temple. Tuesday was a day of conflict with the religious leaders as they sought to trip Him up in order to get evidence to arrest Him. Wednesday was probably a day of rest, but on Thursday He met with His disciples in order to observe Passover.

*Note: If you’re wondering how I came up with this flow of events, they are recorded in Matthew 21-25.

And reading from Luke’s account (Luke 22:24), we see that while Jesus was nearing the time of His death, His disciples had been arguing who of them would be appointed to the highest cabinet post in Jesus’ coming government.

Jesus Loved His Disciples to the End

When Jesus asked to meet with His disciples, He recognized that it was the time for Him to be glorified through His death, resurrection, and ascension (John 13:1). From the human point of view, it meant suffering, but from the divine point of view, it meant glory.

Jesus knew He would soon leave this world and return to the Father who sent Him, having finished His work on earth (John 17:4). At the Last Supper, on the night before He was about to suffer and die and be betrayed by Judas, Jesus did something interesting for His disciples to show them that He loved them even to the end.

Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

Here’s the scenario: The evening meal was in progress and as the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot to betray Jesus and knowing that the Father had put all things under His power, Jesus got up from the meal, took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him (John 13:2-5).

Yes, the Savior did all that! So, what’s the big deal? It was customary in those days that whenever guests came to dinner, the house slave would wash the guest’s feet which were dirty from the dusty roads. There were even garbage and animal wastes on the roads because animals traveled up and down the same streets.

People in the olden times wore sandals

People wore sandals without socks in those days, making their feet very dirty. Take note that in the Jewish custom, people eat dinner around a low table so they didn’t sit on chairs. Instead, they leaned on pillows with their dirty feet exposed behind them. (This could be similar to Japanese or Korean dining today.) Isn’t it hard to enjoy a meal when there is a very bad smell?

However, at the last supper which was held at a private home, there was no slave present, and apparently, none of the disciples had offered to wash the feet of Jesus and the others. Then Jesus did something that must have almost seemed crazy; He began to do the job of the lowest household servant.

Imagine the reaction of the disciples. They must have been so shocked that there was stunning silence while Jesus was washing their feet one after the other. He comes to Peter who probably was able to regain his composure to echo what each of them must be thinking (John 13:6).

Customary Jewish or Japanese Dining
Photo Credits: Vix.com

Regarding the relationship between a teacher and his disciples, a teacher had no right whatsoever to demand or expect his disciples to wash his feet, in accordance with the Jewish laws and traditions. How much more unthinkable for the master to wash his disciples’ feet?

The Meaning & Significance of What Jesus Did

There are several reasons that prompted Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet. Apart from the obvious reason that their feet were dirty and needed washing, Jesus wanted to teach them humility and love. And as their Lord and teacher, He wanted to teach them by setting an example for them to follow.

Jesus knew better that actions speak louder than words. The disciples who had been following Jesus for 3 years must have heard Jesus preach multiple times about love and humility. Yet, they were still quarreling among themselves who should be greater.

And why was no one willing to humble himself and wash Jesus’ feet? Because they could not do this without having to wash the others’ feet as well – a clear admission of inferiority among their fellow competitors for the top position in their hierarchy.

Whoever wants to be great must be servant of all

It must be pride and feelings of animosity. Apparently, their sinful nature was still very much a part of them. So when Jesus wanted to teach His proud and arguing disciples about love and true humility, He didn’t just say it; He showed it.

In the succeeding verses (John 13:12-17), Jesus explains the reason behind His action and calls His disciples to follow His example. Jesus is saying we should serve others. If Jesus who is our master and Lord of all would choose to lower Himself to do the job of the lowest and least important servant by washing His friends’ feet, then we should always be willing to serve others.

Closing Thoughts

The servant (slave) is not greater than his master; so if the master becomes a slave, where does that put the slave? On the same level as the master! Jesus said “we ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14-16). This is the attitude that marks His followers, especially among church leaders.

While the foot-washing is a powerful lesson in humility, let us not overlook the truth behind it, which is that Jesus did all this out of love. Love was what motivated Jesus to wash His disciples’ feet and He is telling us today that when we humble ourselves and serve, it should be out of love, not out of a sense of duty or responsibility.

Although foot-washing during Bible times was very common, it’s not common today. However, there are many things we can do to serve others as an act of love and humility. What practical examples from your everyday life can you give where Jesus’ example should be followed?


*Recommended Resource:

Full Service: Moving From Self-Serve Christianity to Total Servanthood by Siang-Yang Tan

Is servanthood a way to lead or a way of life? Leadership has its place in Christian ministry, but God calls us, first and foremost, to servanthood. Servant is not a modifier for some other activity but the foundation of the Christian life.

Siang-Yang Tan calls the church back to its primary role of being servants of Christ and other people. This genuine Spirit-inspired servant attitude will enable you to enter more deeply into God’s rest and grace and will revolutionize your life and ministry.

The Christian’s Response to Trials

The Christian’s Response to Trials

I have yet to encounter someone who has been a Christian for many years and never experienced trials and difficulties. Trials are inevitable, and if you expect the Christian life to be smooth and easy, you’re in for a big surprise. But what should be the Christian’s response to trials?

When James, the half-brother of our Lord, wrote to the Jewish Christians, he told them to expect trials of many kinds, but they are to “count it all joy (James 1:1-2). What exactly did James mean? Should Christians rejoice and celebrate when faced with impossible situations?

Why Christians fall into trials

1) Some trials come simply because we are human.

Sickness or diseases, accidents, disappointments, even apparent tragedies are part of life. Everyone goes through any or all of these because it’s part of being human. The Christian might say, “But didn’t the Lord already conquer sickness and death?”

Yes, Jesus is the Great Physician; He is our healer (Exodus 15:26) and there is no doubt that He can heal not just some, but all diseases. Isaiah 53:5 also says, “… by his wounds, we are healed.” But that does not mean we can escape physical illness and death.

Although our soul and spirit are immaterial, our body isn’t. So while we are still living in this tent, our physical body (2 Corinthians 5:4), we are susceptible to pain, disappointments and any sickness or diseases. That is why we are to take really good care of our body and our health. We can do this by practicing healthy living.

*Read here: The Key Elements of a Healthy Lifestyle

2) Other trials come because we are Christians.

Before coming to faith in Christ, we belonged to the devil (John 8:44) and were part of his worldly kingdom (2 Corinthians 4:4). The very moment we repented of our sins and trusted in Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord, we became a part of God’s family (John 1:12) and became citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Being on God’s side made us enemies with Satan and the world. Satan fights with us and the world opposes us, resulting in a life of battle. Satan knows he can’t win against God so he goes after God’s children, the Christians.

How Christians should respond to trials

James tells his readers, “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). In other translations it says, “Consider it pure joy…” or “Consider it an opportunity for great joy…”

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”

In Philippians 3:4-8, the apostle Paul used the word “consider.” First, he warns the believers about evil workers who teach that salvation is by works (Philippians 3:2 NLT). He then goes on to say that if salvation is based on human effort; he has every reason to be confident of his salvation (Philippians 3:3-6)

But because salvation is based solely on what Christ has done for us, whatever Paul thinks are his advantages over others became worthless. Here’s what Paul says in Philippians 3:7-8 (NIV):

“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

When Paul became a Christian, he evaluated his life and set new goals and priorities. Things that were once important to him became garbage in light of his experience with Christ. In the same way, when we face the trials of life, we must evaluate them in light of what God is doing for us.

Look beyond what you see
Photo Credits: Lionking2013.blogspot.com

To count all trials as joy is not to deny the difficulties and pain that they bring. We can cry, weep, mourn or grieve whenever trials and difficulties come. But we see beyond the difficulties to the good results that might come through trials. If we live only for the present, then trials will make us bitter, not better.

In the movie “Lion King,” when Mufasa showed his young son Simba the kingdom that he is to rule someday when he grows up, He told his son, “look beyond what you see.” God is telling the same thing to the Christians. The trials and difficulties you maybe experiencing now are temporary and they are nothing compared to the glory of being with Christ.

Jesus and the Cross

Crucifixion as a means of capital punishment is the worst during those times that the Romans who came up with it would not even consider imposing it on their own people. Crucifixion was the most painful and most shameful way to die, reserved for the worst offenders.

And yet, the Bible tells us that Jesus endured the cross and disregarded the shame. Why? Because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus knew that His suffering and death on the cross would result into something far greater – the salvation of mankind and their reconciliation with God

Faith is tested through trials which will result in endurance

Just a reminder, trials will not produce faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). But faith is tested through trials and will reveal what kind of faith we have. Is our faith genuine or not?

*Related Article: Genuine Faith Saves

“Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance {endurance}. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God does not test our faith to prove if it’s the real deal or not because He already knows. There is nothing we can hide from God for He is all-knowing. Through trials, God wants to produce in us endurance, the same word used in Hebrews 12:1 when the writer exhorts the believers to “run with endurance the race that is set before them.”

In the Bible, endurance is not a passive acceptance of circumstances. It is the ability to remain steadfast in the face of suffering and difficulty. Endurance cannot be attained by simply reading the Bible, listening to sermons or even spending time on your knees. You must go through the difficulties of life, trust God and obey Him.

Endurance

The key theme of the book of James is spiritual maturity. God wants to build our character; He wants a finished product that is mature and complete. But He cannot do that without our cooperation. When we resist God, He chastens us into submission. But if we submit to Him, then He can accomplish His work in us.

Closing thoughts

They say that our values determine our evaluations. So if we value comfort rather than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to consider trials as “pure joy.”

“Blessed is the one who perseveres (remain steadfast) under trial, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).

Through trials, God wants to produce in us endurance and the ability to keep going even when things are tough. Knowing this, Christians can face trials joyfully because they know that the end result is endurance and spiritual maturity that will bring glory to God.

What kind of trials have you gone through and how did you respond to them? Please do share them by leaving a comment.


*Are you looking for Bibles, Christian books and reference materials, DVD’s, gift items and more? Visit Christian Books Distributors with their Bestsellers.

The Names of God Reflected in Psalm 23

The Names of God Reflected in Psalm 23

The Old Testament gives us the many names of God and each one of them has its own meaning. But do you know that Psalm 23 reflects the compound names of Yahweh God (or Jehovah God), the covenant-making God of Israel?

Jehovah – Jireh

means “The Lord will provide” (Genesis 22:14).

The name literally means “The Lord Who Sees,” or “The Lord Who Will See To It.” When we have a personal or special need, we long for the One who will provide. Jehovah-Jireh means the Lord who will see to it that all my needs and yours are met.

Jehovah-Jireh

Jehovah-Jireh knows our every need because He sees. If the Lord was able to meet Abraham’s need by providing a ram caught in the thicket that was offered in place of Isaac, He’s also able to meet our needs in just the right time. The name Jehovah-Jireh assures us that our Heavenly Father is able to provide any need we have.

Jehovah – Shalom

means “The Lord is peace” (Judges 6:24).

When Gideon thought that he would die because the Angel of the Lord visited him, God spoke to him and said, “Peace be with you; do not fear for you shall not die.” This made such a great impression on Gideon that he built an altar to the Lord and gave it the name “Jehovah Shalom” (Judges 6:22-24)

The Hebrew word “shalom” translated as “peace” does not only speak of the absence of noise, strife or conflict; it speaks of wholeness, completeness, soundness, and welfare (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

One of the many problems we encounter today is the problem of anxiety. Medical experts say that most major disorders of the mind are those related in some way to anxiety. In fact, people who suffer from chronic anxiety often end up physically ill.

Jehovah-Shalom

True and ultimate peace is found in God alone, and this comes to us when we focus our lives on God and trust Him. Are you weary and troubled? Why not place your trust in Jehovah-Shalom and He will keep you in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3)?

Jehovah – Rapha

means “The Lord who heals” (Exodus 15:26).

It was in the wilderness wanderings of the Israelites that God first revealed His name as Jehovah-Rapha. After crossing the Red Sea, Moses led them into the Wilderness of Shur where they went three days without water (Exodus 15:22). Apparently, the Lord was testing their faith.

Eventually, they came across the waters of Marah, but they could not drink them for they were bitter. So they complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we to drink?” Moses then cried to the Lord and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet (Exodus 15:23-25).

Jehovah-Rapha

The Lord does not only heal waters, He heals people too. If the Lord was able to heal the waters at Marah so the Israelites could drink, He is also able to heal us from any disease. When we’re weak, Jehovah-Rapha will renew our strength, the same way He did for David (Psalm 23:3 NLT).

Living in a stressful and chaotic world, the name Jehovah-Rapha speaks to us and our needs today. Yes, we are confronted with new problems every day that often times our body just wants to give up and give in. But we can count upon the Lord to heal and renew our strength. Jehovah is the Great Physician who not only heals the physical and emotional needs of His people; He also heals their spiritual needs.

Jehovah – Tsidkenu

means “The Lord is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16).

When the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were carried into captivity, it would seem that the promises of God would never be fulfilled. However, God spoke through Jeremiah of the day when a righteous king would return to set up His righteous kingdom on earth, and to reign and judge.

To call the Lord Jehovah-Tsidkenu is to say that all He does is righteous and He is the source of all that is righteous and good. This name applies not only to the Father but to Jesus as well. He is our Jehovah-Tsidkenu; He covers us with His righteousness that allows us to stand before His presence (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jehovah-Tsidkenu

The Lord led David down the paths of righteousness during his reign as king and He will do the same for us if we allow Him to shepherd us. It is God’s desires for His children to live a righteous and sanctified life.

Jehovah – Shamma

means “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35).

One of the purposes of the Millennial Kingdom is that God might fulfill His promises to His people. During this time, Israel will again trust the Lord, obey Him and worship in His Temple. And the city of Jerusalem will be given the name Jehovah-Shammah to indicate that the once-departed glory of the Lord had returned.

Jehovah-Shamma

In Psalm 23, David relates that the Lord did not leave him in the dark valley. God stayed beside him and calmed his fears. In the same way, God promises the believers that He will always be there for them; that He will never leave them nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).

Jehovah – Nissi

means “The Lord is my banner” (Exodus 17:15).

Only once does the name Jehovah-Nissi appear in the Bible, in Exodus 17:15. After the Israelites defeated the Amalekites, a powerful and warlike group of people, Moses built an altar to the Lord and named it Jehovah-Nissi.

Moses recognized that the Lord was Israel’s banner under which they defeated the Amalekites. For as long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.

Jehovah-Nissi

The revelation of the name Jehovah-Nissi has to do with warfare, and this warfare involved God’s very own. Christians today are involved in warfare; they war against the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:17), against principalities and rulers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:11-12).

The great news is, the Lord our banner desires to give us victory. But we need to maintain a healthy prayer life. We are involved in a spiritual battle every day and the way to fight these battles is to be prayerful at all times (1 Thessalonians 5:17). As quoted by a character in the movie “War Room,Christians must fight their battles on their knees.

Jehovah – M’kaddesh (or Jehovah – Mekoddishkem)

means ‘The Lord who makes you holy” or “The Lord who sanctifies you” (Leviticus 20:8).

The name Jehovah-M’kaddesh is used 7 times in three chapters in Leviticus, the book of life that explains how a people already been redeemed must walk and worship. God wanted the Israelites to consecrate themselves and be holy (Leviticus 20:7).

God’s requirement hasn’t changed; He demands holiness. Although we cannot be holy in and of ourselves, our Jehovah-M’kaddesh will sanctify us daily as we live for Him.

Jehovah-M'kaddesh

The anointing of oil symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. The Holy Spirit not only empowers believers to live the victorious Christian life and equips them to be effective in their ministry, but He also enables them to live holy and sanctified lives.

*Related Article: Bible Study on Psalm 23

Conclusion

We learn in the Bible that names serve a variety of functions. Interestingly, God often changed the names of people in order for Him to use them more effectively for His own purpose. We also learn that God has several names, some of which are reflected in the contents of Psalm 23.

But why is it important for us to know God’s names and their meanings? Knowing the meaning of each name that God uses for Himself is important because they reveal to us an aspect of His character to help us get to know Him better.

What name or names of God in this Psalm do you most relate to? Please do share it by leaving your comments below.

Lessons from the Transfiguration

Lessons from the Transfiguration

There are lessons to learn from every passage in the Bible. The incident known as the “Transfiguration” reveals to us four aspects of the glory of Jesus Christ as King. This event is recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and although the 3 authors do not use the word “transfigure,” they all describe the scene (See Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-13 & Luke 9:28-36).

Mathew and Mark state that the transfiguration took place “six days after” Jesus predicted His suffering and death while Luke says “about eight days after.” However, these statements do not contradict; Luke’s statement is the Jewish equivalent of “about a week later.”

4 Aspects of the Glory of Jesus Christ as King

1) The Glory of His Person

As far as the gospel record is concerned, the transfiguration was the only occasion during Christ’s earthly ministry when He revealed the glory of His person. The word “transfigure” or “transform” gives us the English word “metamorphosis,” which means “a change in appearance that comes from within.” It’s like when a caterpillar builds a cocoon and later emerges as a moth or butterfly, this is due to the process called metamorphosis.

When Jesus transfigured before Peter, James and John, the glory of His person was not reflected, rather, it radiated from within. In other words, the change on the outside that the three disciples saw came from within Jesus as He allowed His essential glory to shine forth (See Hebrews 1:3).

2) The Glory of His Kingdom

The appearance of Moses and Elijah is highly significant. These two particular persons from the Old Testament represent the law (Moses) and the prophets (Elijah), both of which find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (Luke 24:25-27; Hebrews 1:1-2). Moses had died and his body was buried (Deuteronomy 34:5-6), but Elijah had been raptured to heaven (2 Kings 2:11).

When Jesus returns, He will raise the bodies of the saints who died and will rapture the living saints (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Every single word in the Old Testament will be fulfilled and God’s glorious kingdom will be established (Luke 1:32-33) as promised. And just as the three disciples saw Jesus glorified on earth, so God’s people will one day see Him in His glorious Kingdom on earth and will actually reign with Him for a thousand years (Revelation 4:4-6).

3) The Glory of His Cross

The disciples had to learn that suffering and glory go together. Peter opposed Jesus’ going to Jerusalem to die (Matthew 16:22) for he was thinking like a human being. After all, most people want to escape suffering and death. So Jesus had to teach Peter that apart from His suffering and death, there could be no glory. Peter certainly learned the lesson, for in his very first epistle he repeatedly emphasized suffering and glory (1 Peter 1:6-8, 11; 4:12-16; 5:1-4).

Discipleship means denying yourself, taking up your cross and following Christ (Matthew 16:24), but you cannot do that if you selfishly stay on the mount of glory. When Jesus said that anyone who wants to be His followers must do the above, He was saying that whatever happened to Him would happen to them as well. If there was a cross in His future, there would be one in their future.

*Note: Today, a cross is an accepted symbol of love and sacrifice, but in those days, the cross was a horrible means of capital punishment. The Romans who came up with this would not even impose it on a Roman citizen, for this terrible death was reserved only for their enemies.

Philippians 2:8-9

By the way, we need to keep in mind that Jesus is talking about discipleship in Matthew 16:24-26, not sonship. We are not saved by taking up a cross and following Jesus, but because we have placed our trust in the Savior who died on the cross for our sins. We become children of God first, and then we become His disciples.

To become a disciple, we need to “turn from our selfish ways” in order to give ourselves wholly to Christ and share in His shame and death, as described in Philippians 3:7-10, Galatians 2:20 and 1 Peter 4:12-16). The good news is, suffering always leads to glory and that is why Jesus ended His sermon with reference to His glorious Kingdom (Matthew 16:28).

4) The Glory of His Submission

When Jesus told His disciples that He would have to suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed but be raised the third day (Matthew 16:21), Peter could not understand why the Son of God would submit to evil people and willingly suffer.

The transfiguration was God’s way of teaching Peter and the other disciples that Jesus is glorified when we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. The Christian’s philosophy is “Yield yourself to God!” in contrast to that of the world’s which is “Save yourself!” And so, as Jesus stood there in glory, He proved to the three disciples that surrender always leads to glory.

Jesus, who was in very nature God, humbled Himself and submitted in complete obedience to the Father, even to the point of death on the cross. As a result, God the Father exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:6-10). Jesus has set the perfect example of ultimate obedience for us to follow. If we do as Jesus had done, that is, submit to God in all our ways, God is glorified.

Final Thoughts

We may have had glorious, personal experiences of encounter with the Lord Jesus during our devotion and worship; we may even have a spiritual “transfiguration” experience each day as we walk with the Lord. But as wonderful as “mountaintop” experiences are, they are not the basis for a consistent Christian life.

When we surrender our body, mind, and will to God, He will transform us from within so that we are not conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). As we behold our Savior in the Word, we are “transfigured” by the Spirit. This experience is known in theology as “sanctification,” the process by which we become more like the Lord, which is the Father’s goal for each of His children (1 John 3:2).

Why We Should Trust the Lord

Why We Should Trust the Lord

They say that you can never trust someone unless you know them. After all, why should we trust someone we do not know? It’s the same thing with God; we cannot trust Him unless we know Him. But other than that, why should we trust the Lord?

Reasons for us to trust the Lord

A. We can trust the Lord because He is trustworthy.

The Bible tells us that “God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind…” (Numbers 23:19). Whatever the Lord plans and purposes to do, He can bring it to pass because He is powerful.

Getting to know God by reading His Word and spending time talking to Him will make us trust Him more and more each day. We will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord as we read, study and meditate on His Word. The more we know about God, the more we will trust Him.

*Related Article: How to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord 

B. We can trust the Lord because He is faithful.

Faithfulness is one of God’s attributes. Even at times when we are unfaithful, God remains faithful and He will never change (Deuteronomy 7:9; 2 Timothy 2:13). We read the story of the nation of Israel on how they repeatedly rebelled and turned away from God. And yet, every time they called on Him to deliver them from the hands of their enemies, God was always there for them.

Why? Because He made a covenant with Abraham that He will make his descendant as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore; God promised to make them a great nation and a blessing (Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 17:4-7; Genesis 22:17).

God also has a covenant with those who trust in Him. God promises many blessings to us and we can be sure that God will fulfill them because He is faithful. He is faithful to the nation of Israel and He is faithful to His bride, the Church.

Here’s a beautiful song by the Free Believers in Christ Fellowship International (FBCFI) Concert Team entitled “Trust in Me.”  

Trust in Me Lyrics & Chords

Can we trust God in times of trials?

Absolutely! We can and should trust God even when things in our lives and around us do not seem to be going the way we want them to be. God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent; there is nothing that is hidden from His sight, nothing that He can’t do.

We all go through some rough times but we find comfort in knowing that God loves us, He cares about us and always has good intentions for us. Let us then “trust the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). God wants us to always trust Him in all circumstances.

*Read the story of Joseph: Is God in complete control of everything?

Are you having a hard time trusting the Lord? Please do share your life-changing testimony on how the Lord has worked in your life the moment you made the decision to trust Him completely.


*Are you looking for Bibles, Christian resources and study materials, gifts, souvenirs, CD’s, DVD’s and more? Visit Christian Book Distributors with their Bestsellers!

Bible Study: The Great Commission

Bible Study: The Great Commission

Jesus’ statement in Matthew 28:18-20 known as “the Great Commission,” though it is no greater than statements in any of the other Gospels, is very much applicable to us believers today. And so, a Bible study on this subject is important for us to understand the factors that are involved.

Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV)

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The Authority of Jesus

The commissioning of Jesus’ disciples is clearly based on His authority. The word “authority” in verse 18 indicates an authoritative command or the right to use power. It carries the same idea as when an officer reminds a private of his rank before giving the order. Having this authority, Jesus can send whomever He wills to carry out whatever He pleases.

When we read the entire Gospel of Matthew, we would notice how it stresses the authority of Jesus Christ. Here are some of those instances:

  • His teaching had authority (Matthew 7:29).
  • He exercised authority in healing (Matthew 8:1-13).
  • He had authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:6).
  • He had authority over Satan and delegated that authority to His apostles (Matthew 10:1).

And at the close of his Gospel, Matthew made it clear that Jesus has been given “all” authority. The word “all” refers to all authority, all things, all nations and all the days. It is for this reason that we can obey Jesus without fear. No matter what circumstances we face, no matter where He leads us, He is in control.

Jesus’ authority over everything and anything, commands us to “go;” it is His authority that sends us, guides us, empowers us and enables His work and message to continue to the world through us.

Making Disciples of All Nations

In verses 19-20, Jesus by His authority orders activity. The Greek verb translated “go” is actually not a command but a present participle (“going”). There is only one command in the entire Great Commission: to make disciples. Here, Jesus was saying, “While you are going, make disciples of all nations.”

Let’s make that clear. The command is to make disciples, not merely converts, church members or supporters of a cause. But what is a disciple? The term “disciples” was the most popular name for the earthly believers. The idea behind the word is of learners, students or scholars.

“Apprentice” might be an equivalent term. A disciple would attach himself to his teacher, identify with him, learn from him and live with him. More importantly, a disciple would not learn by simply listening but also by doing. James, the Lord’s brother, tells us to not merely listen to the word but to do what it says (James 1:22-25).

The words “make disciples” reminds us that disciples are made; they are not spontaneously created at conversion but are products of a process that involves other believers.

How are disciples made? Through teaching – teaching them all the things that Jesus commanded. It is our responsibility as followers of Jesus to present the whole counsel of God to those who are being made disciples (Acts 20:27). The apostle Paul did not share half-truths or watered down Gospel; he shared all of what God revealed and we must do the same.

Another thing noteworthy is the command to take the Gospel to “all nations.” Let us not forget that in Jesus’ previous ministry; He deliberately restricted His work to the Jews (Matthew 10:6; Matthew 15:24). Of course, there were rare instances wherein Jesus ministered among the Gentiles such as in Matthew 15:21-28.

But that’s all in the past now. The disciples and all believers in Christ today are commissioned to take the Gospel to all nations, to make disciples of all men everywhere without distinction. So no matter where we are, we should be witnesses for Jesus Christ and seek to win others to Him (Acts 11:19-21).

Water Baptism

Significantly, Jesus Christ commands us to go and baptize, not to circumcise those who became disciples. One other thing, discipleship comes first before baptism. The words and context certainly indicate that it’s disciples who are baptized; those who are of age who can be taught and who can observe the things Jesus commanded and those who have already come to faith in Christ.

Apparently, there are churches today who teach that water baptism is a requirement for salvation and they use passages such as Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, 1 Peter 3:21 and Titus 3:5. However, the word of God makes it pretty clear that salvation is by grace (alone) through faith (alone) in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9); it’s not something we acquire by doing good deeds such as submitting for water baptism.

*Here’s an article that talks more extensively on the issue of water baptism in regards to salvation: Do you need to be baptized in order to be saved?

The Promise of Jesus’ Constant Presence

In the second part of verse 20, we see Jesus’ authority as ability. Jesus is not only among His disciples when they came together but He is also present with them as they scatter into the world to witness. He sent them to fulfill a mission but He did not send them alone.

Jesus promised His constant presence as rendered by the English adverb “always” – that is, each day as we live it. Had Jesus remained on earth, He could not have fulfilled this promise. But when He ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit came so Jesus could be with His people no matter where they are.

The promise of Jesus’ constant presence was more than adequate to strengthen and guide His disciples as they obeyed Him in making disciples of all nations and is certainly adequate to strengthen and guide us as we go into all the world and become witnesses for Christ.

In Closing

The phrase “end of the age” indicates that our Lord has a plan; He is the Lord of history. As we follow His leading and heed His Word, we fulfill His purposes in the world. One day, everything will come into a climax. Meanwhile, let us remain faithful.

What’s hindering you from fulfilling the Great Commission?

What about Eating Food Sacrificed to Idols?

What about Eating Food Sacrificed to Idols?

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul gives instructions about a subject which seems irrelevant today in many cultures – eating food sacrificed to idols. What was the problem faced by Paul’s readers at that time for him to consider it necessary to address this issue? More importantly, what principles in this passage can be applied today?

When Paul advised the believers in Corinth about meat or food sacrificed to idols, idolatry and sacrifices were as familiar to his readers as shopping centers are to modern audiences. On the other hand, people today are as bewildered about the practices of idolatry as a Corinthian would be in a supermarket.

The Problem Faced by the Church at Corinth

In the ancient world, there were 2 sources of meat: the regular market where the prices were higher and the local temples where meat from the sacrifices was always available. The Handbook of Life in Bible Times helps us understand the situation:

1 Corinthians 13:8 Bible Study

So Paul writes the 8th chapter of 1 Corinthians to help them see this problem from a Christian perspective. First, he tells them that in one sense he doesn’t really care whether they eat food sacrificed to idols because “an idol is nothing in the world and that there is no other God but one” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6).

Secondly, Paul realizes that food is spiritually neutral – meaning, food does not bring us near to God. In other words, we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We aren’t any better if we eat nor are we worse if we do not. However, Paul realizes that “not everyone possesses this knowledge” (1 Corinthians 8:7-8).

The “strong members” of the church knew that idols could not contaminate food, and so they saved money by purchasing the cheaper meat available from the temples. After all, who does not love a bargain? Not only that. They would also attend feasts held at the temple or in the home of their unconverted friends and eat sacrificial meat served to them.

The Christians who felt free to eat at the idol temple may have based their freedom on the correct knowledge that idols are nothing. But Paul is asking them to think about those who are not knowledgeable about this. He affirms what they know about an idol being nothing but he tells them that showing love to their fellow Christians is more important to God than being right (1 Corinthians 8:1).

It’s possible that the Corinthian Christians were reasoning like this: “Since idols are really nothing, it must mean nothing to eat meat sacrificed to them; it must also mean nothing to eat in the temples used to worship idols who are nothing.”

But all of this offended the weaker Christians, many of whom had been saved out of pagan idolatry. Paul was concerned that because they had been deeply involved in idol worship prior to their conversion, they might misunderstand if he and others ate food sacrificed to idols.

The Weaker Christians

When Paul speaks of a “weak brother” in 1 Corinthians 8:11, he does not necessarily mean someone who is easily tempted to sin. He is also not talking about being weak or strong in regard to self-control, but in regard to knowledge. Paul has in mind an over scrupulous Christian who is extremely careful to always do what is morally right and proper.

So Paul exhorts the strong Christians in the church – the believers who had spiritual knowledge and experience and who understood their authority and freedom in Christ – to care for the weak. And they are to do this by building them up and using their knowledge in love (1 Corinthians 8:1).

Some people have the false notion that the strong Christians are the ones who live by rules and regulations, and who get offended when others use their freedom in Christ, but such is not the case. It is the weak Christians who are afraid to use their freedom in Christ and must have the security of law.

In reality, it is the weak Christians who are prone to judge and criticize stronger believers and to stumble over what they do. As a result, it becomes more difficult for the strong “saints” to minister to their weaker brothers and sisters.

Becoming a Stumbling Block to Others

The real issue here isn’t idol meat, but rather that the exercise of your right does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” In other words, Paul does not want us to do anything that might cause other Christians to sin by violating their consciences, for this would wound or destroy them.

Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 8:9-12 (NIV):

Do not be a stumbling block to others“Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.”

Why is their conscience weak? Their conscience is weak not because it isn’t working, but because it operates on the idea that an idol is really something. They have consciousness of an idol and when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, they eat it as something offered to an idol.

Rather than taking the risk of offending the weaker brethren, thus sinning against them and against God, Paul concludes: “Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat again meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:13).

Application for Christians Today

Perhaps the issues today where most stumble in that are relevant to Christian liberty include entertainment such as movies, music or television. Does the kind of movie or TV show we watch or the music we listen to have something to say about the level of our spirituality? What about drinking liquor and smoking?

The principle here is clear: Our actions should never be based on what we know to be right for ourselves; we also need to consider what is right in regard to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should not cause a fellow believer in Christ to stumble over an issue that has direct relevance to the person in question.

It’s pretty easy for us to say, “I answer to no one but God and God alone.” But in doing so, we ignore a weaker brother or sister. It’s true that we will answer to God and God alone, but we will answer to Him for how we have treated our brother or sister.

At the Jerusalem Council, abstaining from food sacrificed to idols was one of the things discussed and commended for some churches (Acts 15:29). But Paul’s discussion of the issue with the Corinthian believers does not in any way contradict what has been agreed upon by the church leaders at the Jerusalem Council.

It must be made clear that the Council’s decision in regards to abstaining from meat sacrificed to idols was not intended to be normative for the churches all the time; it was only temporary as a means to advance the cause of the gospel among the Jews.

Conclusion

In summary, Paul is telling the Corinthians and the Christians today not to eat food sacrificed to idols if it causes those who are weak to follow their example. We are not to allow the freedom (in any area) we have in Christ to become a stumbling block to others. Rather, we should only do those things which build up others in love.

Freedom in Christ

Christians should not abuse their liberty and think that it is a small matter to offend their weak brethren. If what we do causes the weaker brethren to stumble and sin, then we should not do it. Christian behavior is founded not on knowledge but on love; and the goal of the Christian life is not knowledge but love.

Blessings in Psalm 119

Blessings in Psalm 119

Most Bible readers know that Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in Bible. However, only a few are aware that this chapter contains many blessings; it is also the chapter of the Bible that most magnifies the Word of God.

If we honestly and humbly apply the Word of God to our lives, God will surely share these blessings with us:

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Bible reference texts are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV).

Joy

“I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.” – Psalm 119:14

“Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart.” – Psalm 119:111 (NIV)

“I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure.” – Psalm 119:162

*Joy is more than just happiness; it is an emotion resulting from the anticipation, acquisition or even the expectation of something great or wonderful, such as salvation or eternal life. It is one of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Psalm 119:111

Purity

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” – Psalm 119:9 (NLT)

*See also John 15:3 & Ephesians 5:25-26

*The word “purity” is synonymous with “holiness.” It means to be separated from sin and devoted to that which is good; to be morally clean and without blemish. Some may think that holy living restricts us from enjoying life to the fullest. On the contrary, living in purity allows us to live an abundant life – the life that Christ died for us to have before the world was corrupted by sin.

Hope

“Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope.” – Psalm 119:49
(NLT)

*The modern idea of hope is to expect or to wish for something, but without certainty of fulfillment. You desire for something very much but have no real assurance of getting it.

*In the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” indicates certainty; it denotes “a strong and confident expectation.” From a biblical standpoint, hope is synonymous with salvation and all the blessings that come with it (past, present and future), as promised in Scriptures.

Right Values

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me Your way.” – Psalm 119:37

“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” – Psalm 119:72

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” – Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

“I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law.” – Psalm 119:163

*Values are those things that we deem important, for they provide direction and guidance in spite of how we feel. Values are what give us the reason why we do things and why we act exactly the way we do; they could be restrictive because of the boundaries they place around behavior.

*God, being the standard of good, is the source of all the right values. God is the absolute of truth, goodness, love and justice. In a world without God, what we call “good” would have no ultimate referent.

Comfort

“Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.” – Psalm 119:50

“The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver.” – Psalm 119:72

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” – Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

“I hate and abhor lying, but I love Your law.” – Psalm 119:163

*God is a God of all comfort. Although He allows us to go through trials in order to build up our character, He Himself will comfort us. And the comfort that God gives will not only enable us to endure trials but so that we can comfort those who need comforting as a result of the troubles they’re facing (See 2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

New Life

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*What does it mean to experience new life? Here’s an article that expounds on the topic of regeneration: Born Again: A New Religion?

Peace

“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.” – Psalm 119:165

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*Peace can be defined as “harmony, tranquility or security.” Everybody wants peace, yet only a few seem to find it. The world offers empty promises of peace, but true and lasting peace only comes through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace (John 14:27; Isaiah 9:6).

John 14:27

Freedom

“I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts.” – Psalm 119:45 (NIV)

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*Freedom could mean many things to many people. It could be viewed from a political or financial standpoint. What is freedom from a biblical standpoint? Freedom is not the right to do as one pleases. Rather, it is the power and capacity both to will and to do as one ought.

Integrity

“Remove from me the way of lying, and grant me Your law graciously.” – Psalm 119:29

“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word.” – Psalm 119:25

“I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as You promised.” – Psalm 119:107 (NLT)

*When we speak of integrity, it always comes down to the issue of a person’s character, not just his words. As opposed to hypocrisy, integrity points to a consistency between what is inside and what is outside, between belief and behavior, our values and our practice, our attitudes and our actions, our words and our ways.

Wisdom

“You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.” – Psalm 119:98-100

*Wisdom is defined as the ability to discern or judge what is right and true. The Bible tells us that wisdom comes from above; it’s a gift and it begins with the fear of the Lord (James 1:5; Proverbs 1:7).

Encouragement

“I weep with sorrow; encourage me by Your word.” – Psalm 119:28 (NLT)

*Encouragement is very important because, without it, hardship becomes meaningless; life feels pointless and burdensome. The word of God is the greatest source of encouragement; it helps us through times of testing and discipline and gives us the will to carry on while waiting for the Lord’s return.

Guidance and Counsel

“Your testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.” – Psalm 119:24

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

*God cares about each of us and wants to direct our lives. He has given us the Bible so that we might know His will and purpose in all areas of life. By God’s own direction, we are to entrust our way to Him for His direction and leading.

A Song

“Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” – Psalm 119:54

*The better we know the Bible, the more we will appreciate the great hymns of the church.

Conclusion

In closing, let me just say that in order for us to enjoy these blessings as promised by God in Psalm 119, we must not only read them; we must put them into action. James, the Lord’s brother, tells us to be “doers” of the word and not “hearers” only so we do not deceive ourselves (James 1:22).