Category: Bible Reflection & Challenge

Sin Can Infest Everything

Sin Can Infest Everything

The church at Corinth was a defiled body of believers. Some of its members were guilty of sexual immorality; others got drunk; still, others were using the grace of God to excuse worldly living. To sum it all up, it was a disgraced church.

How did this happen? Corinth was a polluted city, filled with every kind of vice and worldly pleasure and the members of the church permitted the sins of the city to get into the local assembly. So when Paul wrote his first letter to them, he addressed all these issues.

Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 5:6, 11

“Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”

“But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person.”

Confronting the Sin of Immorality

In chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians, Paul confronted the believers at Corinth of their immorality. Apparently, someone was having an ongoing sexual relationship with his stepmother (1 Corinthians 5:1), an incestuous relationship.

During that time, this kind of relationship was prohibited even among the pagans, yet the Corinthian believers seem accepting of this behavior. The Bible declared it sin in Leviticus 18:8, Deuteronomy 22:30 and 27:20, the worldly culture considered it sin but the church at Corinth didn’t seem bothered by it at all.

Paul pleaded with them to mourn over sin (1 Corinthians 5:2). The word used here is the same one used for mourning over the dead, which is perhaps the deepest and most painful kind of personal sorrow possible.

But instead of mourning, the people at Corinth were puffed up. They were boasting of the fact that their church was so “open-minded” that even fornicators could be members in good standing. Sounds familiar? Sadly, many churches today have become so accommodating that they seem to not care that members of their congregation are engaging in the sin of immorality.

As bad as the sin itself was, the apostle Paul was more concerned that the believers at Corinth seemed to take sin lightly. He knew that sin can infest everything and so his solution to the problem was to take the fornicator away from among them in order to protect the fellowship of God’s people.

Purging Sin

The church was to purge sin (1 Corinthians 5:6-13). The image here is that of the Passover supper (Exodus 12). One of the requirements was that no yeast (leaven) be found anywhere in their dwellings. Even the bread at the feast was to be unleavened.

Paul says that just as the Jews were concerned to remove all leaven from their house, so the church should be concerned in removing unrepentant sinners from among them. Yeast is a picture of sin. It is small but powerful; it works secretly; it “puffs up” the dough and it spreads.

Sin infests everything. Like leaven, sin seeps into everything. The church is supposed to be without sin, but even one sin in one person has the tendency to grow throughout. The same is true in a church. As one person excuses sin, more and more people will excuse it.

The Principle of Separation

Paul tells the believers not to expect godly behavior from ungodly people. It’s not surprising that those who do not have a redemptive covenant with God through the Lord Jesus are sexually immoral and covetous.

Christians should not be offended when they see ungodly people committing extortion, are drunkards and idolaters. But they are to expect godly behavior from their fellow Christians and the believers at Corinth were not doing this.

So Paul commands that they were to be separated from them; they were not even allowed to eat with them. In those days the individuals whom you ate with was significant. Quite often church members ate together. Thus, if you were removed from fellowship and eating together, it resulted in a major barrier in the relationship.

It sounds to me like God hates sin in the church and wants us to get rid of that sin. 1 Corinthians 5:11 states several of the sins that God required a break in fellowship. Some people will not like this list at all but it does not matter what people say. It only matters what God’s word says.

*Related Article: Church Discipline: Correcting Another Believer

The Sin of Compromise

I have heard that 65% of people today believe cohabitation is acceptable. That is scary because that 65% must include many Christians. That is in spite of verses like this that say sex before marriage and cohabiting is sin, which should not happen to anyone that claims to be a Christian. God commands they should be removed from fellowship.

It is a shame that Christians accept any sin. Do you practice or accept this sin? You shouldn’t according to God. This list also included being covetous. Actually, every person commits this sin sometime in their life. The root word implies lust for or a very strong desire for something anything other than God.

If we seriously examine ourselves, we all have those things that we set as a priority over pursuing God. These things take our attention off of God. That is sin in God’s eyes. Have you repented for that sin?

Idolatry does not only mean bowing to or praying to a graven image. Anything that takes the place of God in our lives is our idol. It can be our family, our job, money, position or possessions.

And yes, it is true that Christians can worship God at church but worship other things the rest of the time. Is God your highest priority all of the time, or do you focus on other things as well? Remember, God said Christians that commit these sins should be removed from the fellowship.

Do you have pet gods? This includes railers, drunks, and extortioners. God does not want sin at your church. It is true you can hide your sin from other believers, but that does not mean you can hide it from God. What haven’t you confessed?

Closing Thoughts

Church discipline is not easy or popular, but it is important. If it is done properly, God can use it to convict and restore an erring believer. 2 Corinthians 2:1-11 indicates that this brother who was having an incestuous relationship with his father’s wife did repent and was restored to fellowship.

Psalm 100: A Thanksgiving Song

Psalm 100: A Thanksgiving Song

Psalm 100:1-5 is a thanksgiving song that describes the process of preparation, anticipation, and participation of God’s people in worship. In the procession, as the worshipers reach the gates of the sanctuary (Psalm 100:4-5), they burst out in songs of praise and thanksgiving to God because of His goodness, unfailing love, and faithfulness.

Bible Verse: Psalm 100 

1 Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

Give Thanks with Joy

We can easily understand the people of Israel shouting joyfully to the Lord in praise and thanksgiving. God has done lots of great and amazing things for them that they are exhorted to make a joyful shout to the Lord.

Thanksgiving is unrestrained happiness leading to worship. Worship leads to service, and true service is worship. But the psalmist calls for all the nations of the earth to praise God and serve Him with gladness (Psalm 100:1-2), for it was Israel’s responsibility to introduce the Gentiles to the true and living God.

A Psalm of Thanksgiving to God

Think of the Sunday school teacher who often grumbles at her class because the students’ work is sloppy and they won’t sit still and be quiet. With one eye on the clock and the other on the door, she fusses about the preacher’s sermon going too long.

As the children leave the room, she does not stop to say goodbye because she is too busy cleaning up. Finally, with all the children gone she dashes to her car to wait for her husband who is talking with a visiting family.

Her husband comes to the car and says, “Honey, we are going to lunch with that new family.” The look she gives him would freeze water. What kind of joy can she be getting from her service to the Lord? None. What kind of love can she be showing from the Lord? None.

The place to be happy is here, and the time to be happy is now. Let us serve the Lord with gladness and come before His presence with singing.

Give Thanks for God’s Authority

Before we can have any real joy, we have to recognize the authority of God. He is our Maker; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture (Psalm 100:3). The phrase “made us” means much more than “created us,” for He also created the nations that do not know Him.

It means Jehovah constituted us as a nation, His chosen people. This verse is a simple statement of faith: Yahweh (Jehovah) is God, Creator, Redeemer, and Shepherd, and we must be submitted to Him. If the sheep do not submit to their shepherd, they will stray into danger.

Without an awareness of who God is and who we are, we are not likely to sing a thanksgiving song to Him wholeheartedly.

Give Thanks in Adversity

Being thankful is easy when life is running smoothly. It is another matter when things are not going well.

We are not to blame God for what we do not have because doing so is to fault God’s provision. We are not to blame God for where we are in life – this is to fault God’s leadership. We are not to blame God for who we are or what has happened – this is to fault God’s sovereignty. The Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV).

Psalm 100 Psalm of Thanksgiving to God

The spirit of thanksgiving can cause believers to rejoice on the banks of the Red sea, to look at the fiery furnace and say, “Our God is able,” and to endure life’s impossibilities with the knowledge that “He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

The spirit of thanksgiving also helps us overcome some of the “sins in good standing” that too often invade our lives, such as complaining, idolatry, pride, and ingratitude.

Give Thanks with a Shout of Triumph

After the Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, marched around the walls of Jericho seven times, they shouted to the Lord with a voice of triumph, and the walls came tumbling down.

There may be some Jerichos or some walled cities of the enemy that will not come tumbling down in our life until we lift our voices to God in the shout of victory and release His power. We do not only shout for what God has done; we also shout in faith for what He will do.

Christians should follow the admonition of Isaiah to “cry out and shout, for great is the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 12:6).

Giving Thanks Makes Prayer Effective

Thanksgiving is necessary to make other forms of prayer effective. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Without thanksgiving, God does not listen to our prayers. We are to start our prayer time with thanksgiving. The apostle Paul wrote, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8).

Sing a Thanksgiving Song

Psalm 100 is a fitting climax to the collection of “royal psalms” (Psalm 93; 95-100) as it sums up their emphasis on God’s sovereign rule, His goodness to His people, the responsibility of all nations to acknowledge Him, and the importance of God’s people exalting and worshiping Him (see Psalm 95:1-2; 6-7).

Psalm 100:5 shows the importance of worship and praise in a believer’s life. When was the last time you shouted for joy because God answered the request of your heart? When was the last time you served the Lord with gladness? When was the last time you entered His gates with thanksgiving?

If you had to think about the answer, then it was too long ago. Commit yourself to a spirit-filled relationship with Christ, and begin it with a song of thanksgiving.

How to Receive God’s Blessings

How to Receive God’s Blessings

Do you want to be blessed by God? I’m sure you do. I mean, who does not want to receive God’s blessings? The question you may want to ask now is, “How do I receive the blessings of God?” Psalm 1:1-3 gives us three things we must do to in order to receive blessings from God.

Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law, he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Meaning of the word Blessed

The word translated “blessed” (or joy in other Bible translations) is from the Hebrew word “asher,” the name of one of Jacob’s sons (Genesis 30:12-13). It has the idea of happiness or contentment. When the Bible says “Blessed is the man…” it means supremely happy or fulfilled.

It is important to note that this blessedness is not for the king, or for the rich. “This blessedness is attainable by the poor, the obscure and the forgotten, as by those whose names figure in history, and are trumpeted by fame” (Charles Spurgeon).

How to be Blessed by God

1. Do not listen to ungodly counsel (Psalm 1:1a).

To be blessed or happy, we should not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. With all the advice that comes to us from different sources, we must know how to stay away from the counsel of the ungodly. But first, we need to be able to recognize and discern them.

Who are the ungodly? Murderers, robbers, and the like generally come to mind first. However, the Bible tells us that the ungodly are moral people who live their lives without God. These may be very nice people in our communities who have “fine” reputations, but they do not have God.

Whenever we need counseling or advice, we need to remember not to seek it from the unsaved world. The ungodly man thinks and behaves differently from the righteous man so when we go to him for advice, we will surely be led astray.

Instead, we must approach our church pastors and leaders because godly counselors will always bring the truth of God’s Word to help someone who needs counseling. We can also go immediately to the Word of God, the only place to find godly counsel (Psalm 119:24). This is why we need to know God’s word because God’s Word is always the best counselor.

2) Do not stand in the path of sinners (Psalm 1:1b).

To “stand” means to take their position and openly accept their sinful lifestyle.

We live in such a permissive society where nothing seems to be considered wrong anymore. Adultery is free love, a liar is an extrovert with a big imagination, a thief is a creative financier, and sin is not what I say it is. But sin is not what the media says it is. Sin is what God says it is, and His labels do not change.

God’s covenant with Israel made it clear that He would bless their obedience and judge their disobedience. Israel was a unique and separate people; they were among the other nations but not to be contaminated by them (Exodus 19:5-6, Numbers 23:9; Deuteronomy 32:8-10; 33:28).

Romans 12:2 NKJV

So it is with the people of God today. We are in the world but not of the world (John 17:11-17). We must beware of friendship with the world (James 4:4) that leads to being corrupted by the world (James 1:27) and even loving the world (1 John 2:15-17).

Christians need to have different habits than unbelievers. Do your habits show Christ in you or do they appear worldly? Don’t fellowship with those that mock or scorn the Bible or God. They will bring you down just by discouragement.

It is always difficult to talk about God when someone is mocking Him. Are you making good friends that encourage and support your Christian walk?

3) Delight in God’s law and meditate on it (Psalm 1:2).

Delighting in the Word and meditating on the Word must go together (Psalm 119:15-16, 23-24, 47-48, 77-78), for whatever we enjoy, we think about and pursue. They say that if a person delights in something, no one has to beg them to do it or to like it. They will do it by themselves.

“Meditate” in Hebrew means “to mutter, to ponder or to read in an undertone,” for orthodox Jews speak aloud as they read the Scriptures, meditate and pray. God’s word is on their lips (Deuteronomy 30:14).

While meditation in the eastern culture means emptying the mind, the goal of Christian meditation is to fill your mind with the Word of God. This is done by carefully thinking about each word and phrase and applying it in our daily lives.

Psalm 119:15-16

A blessed man enjoys reading, studying, and pondering on God’s word all the time. He does not hear it and forget it, he thinks about it. He is blessed because he cannot get enough of God’s word. Doesn’t that sound excellent?

If you knew there was a hidden treasure buried at a certain location, wouldn’t you want to dig and uncover it as quickly as possible? Well, that is what is located throughout the Bible; you just need to find it. Why aren’t you digging more?

Like a Tree Planted by the Rivers of Water (Psalm 1:3)

Like a tree, the godly person is alive, beautiful, fruitful, useful, and enduring. The most important part of a tree is the hidden root system that draws up water and nourishment, and the most important part of the believer’s life is the “spiritual root system” that draws on the hidden resources we have in Christ (Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 2:7).

This is known as abiding, or remaining in Christ (John 15:1-9). It’s a tragedy when a believer ignores the “root system” and begins to wither. We must remember that the tree doesn’t eat the fruit; others eat it. We must also remember that fruit isn’t the same as “results” because fruit has in it the seed for more fruit.

God plants every godly tree in fertile soil. You have a choice to be like a tree planted by a stream of living water lush with green leaves and full of fruit or you can be a handful of worthless chaff driven by the wind (Psalm 1:4). What choice will you make?

Blessings of Prosperity (Psalm 1:3)

The person described in Psalm 1:1-3 is blessed because he is walking uprightly with God. As a result, this blessed individual will always have a constant supply of life-giving water. Not to mention, he or she will produce spiritual fruit.

There are many different types of fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 lists some of the fruit of the Spirit. Other fruits include leading people to Christ. This blessed individual will also be full of life. They will be excited to serve God with joy in their soul. They won’t feel like it is routine or mandatory.

Receiving the Blessings of God

Lastly, this blessed individual will prosper no matter what they do. There will be evidence of God’s hand of blessing upon them. Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful description?

“This is not to say that the righteous man has a ‘Midas Touch,’ and everything he does makes him rich and comfortable. But in the life of the righteous man, God brings forth something good and wonderful out of everything. Even tough circumstances bring froth something that shall prosper” (David Guzik).

If you don’t have it, why don’t you try this prescription out? It’s worth the effort.

Conclusion

Do you walk with the ungodly? Do you stand with sinners? Do you sit with the scornful? Are you blessed and happy? Choose to say no to sin and say yes to God.

True believers are blessed in Christ (Ephesians 1:3-8). They have received God’s blessings, and they ought to be a blessing to others, especially to the chaff that will one day be thrown into the fire.

Let us all seek to win as many of them as we can while there is time.


*Are you looking for Bibles, reference materials, Bible study guides, devotionals, Christian music and movies for personal use or as gifts to friends and family? Look no further because Christianbook.Com has everything you need at the most reasonable prices.

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A Wife With Noble Character

A Wife With Noble Character

The poem about a wife of noble character found in Proverbs 31:10-31 is part of the sayings of King Lemuel which his mother taught him. This poem is an acrostic with the initial words of the twenty-two verses all beginning with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

This acrostic form was a device to help people commit the passage to memory. Perhaps Jewish parents instructed their sons and daughters to memorize this poem and use it as a guide for their lives and in their homes.

Who is King Lemuel?

We don’t know much about King Lemuel, other than what is revealed in Proverbs 31. He is not included in the recorded list of the kings of Israel or Judah but his name means “belonging to God” or “devoted to God.”

Although some commentators proposed that King Lemuel is actually King Solomon and his mother was Bathsheba, there is no evidence whatever that the name Lemuel means Solomon. Furthermore, the time of the writing of Proverbs 31 seems to be much later than the time of King Solomon.

Like Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5), perhaps Lemuel’s mother was Jewish and she taught him the fear of the Lord and God’s wisdom.

The Profile of a Wife Worthy of Honor

What kind of wife is described in Proverbs 31:10-31? The following notes develop the profile of a virtuous wife.

A virtuous wife is a woman of character.

Proverbs 31:10-12 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Just as wisdom is more important than wealth (Proverbs 3:15), so character is more important than jewels.

How to be a Virtuous Woman

In his first epistle, the apostle Peter gave this same counsel to Christian wives in his day (1 Peter 3:1-6). Marriage doesn’t change a person’s character. If the husband or the wife has character weaknesses, marriage will only reveal and accentuate them. A husband or wife who hopes to change his or her spouse after the honeymoon is destined for disappointment.

A virtuous wife is trustworthy.

Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”

If the husband and wife trust each other, they will live in harmony. The husband will have no fears or suspicions as she is busy with her work because he knows she has character and will do nothing but good for him and their children.

If brides and grooms take seriously the vows of love and loyalty they repeat to each other and to God at the altar, they will have a wall of confidence around their marriage that will keep out every enemy.

A virtuous wife is a woman who isn’t afraid to work.

Proverbs 31:13b “And willingly works with her hands.”

Whether it’s going to the market for food (Proverbs 31:14-15), buying real estate or planting a vineyard (Proverbs 31:16), she’s up early and busy with her chores. We get the impression that the night before she makes a “to do” list and doesn’t waste a minute in idleness.

She sets about her work energetically (Proverbs 31:17), whether spinning thread, helping the poor, or providing a wardrobe for her children. She prepares the very best for her family, and they have no reason to be ashamed.

A virtuous wife is generous.

Proverbs 31:20 “She extends her hand to the poor. Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.”

As she ministers to her family, she keeps her eyes open for people who have needs, and she does what she can to help them. Happiness comes to those who have mercy on the poor (Proverbs 14:21), and nothing given to the Lord for them will ever be lost (Proverbs 19:17).

A virtuous wife makes it easy for her husband to do his work.

Proverbs 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.”

The city gate was the place where civic business was transacted, so her husband was one of the elders in the community (see Ruth 4). While no such restrictions exist today, in that day a woman never would have sat on the “city council.” But his loyal wife didn’t want to take her husband’s place; she just did her work and made it easier for him to do his.

A husband and wife should complement each other as they seek to fulfill their roles in the will of God. Wise is the husband who recognizes his wife’s strengths and lets her compensate for his weaknesses. Doing this isn’t a sign of personal failure, nor is it rebellion against the divine order (1 Corinthians 11:3).

Both leadership and submission in a home are evidences of love and obedience, and the one doesn’t nullify the other.

A virtuous wife is confident as she faces the future.

Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come.”

In the Bible, to be “clothed” with something means that it is a part of a person’s life and reveals itself in that person’s character and conduct (see Colossians 3:8-14, 1 Timothy 2:9-10).

A Wife Worthy of Honor

This wife can laugh at future problems and troubles because she has strength of character and because she is prepared for emergencies. She is a woman of faith who knows that God is with her and her family.

A virtuous wife is a capable teacher of wisdom.

Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”

She certainly teaches her children the wisdom of God, especially the daughters, preparing them for the time when they will have families of their own. But she probably also shares her insights with her husband, and he’s wise enough to listen.

Remember that earlier in the book, King Solomon used a beautiful woman to personify wisdom (Proverbs 1:20-33; 9:1-6); this godly wife does the same.

A virtuous wife attentively oversees her household.

Proverbs 31:27 “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.”

She isn’t idle, and nothing in the household escapes her notice, whether it’s food, finances, clothing or school lessons. Managing the household is an exacting job, and she does her work faithfully day and night.

Any husband and father who thinks that his wife has it easy should take her responsibilities for a week or two and discover how wrong he is.

A Wife of Noble Character

I’m reminded of the story of a husband who felt that his stay-at-home wife wasn’t working as hard as he was. So he prayed to God and asked to trade places with his “lazy wife.” He wanted to teach her a lesson so she’d know what it’s like to work as hard as he does every day. God granted him his wish, only for the husband to soon realize that he’s the one about to learn a lesson.

You can read the full story here: Husband Asks to Trade Places with His Lazy Wife

A virtuous wife is a woman worthy of praise.

Proverbs 31:28-29 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.’”

It’s a wonderful thing when the husband and his children can praise the wife and mother for her faithful ministry in their home. The suggestion here is that this praise was expressed regularly and spontaneously and not just on special occasions.

They did not have Mother’s Day in Israel so every day should be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Tragically, often members of the family take each other for granted and fail to show sincere appreciation.

The father ought to set an example for their children and always thank his wife for what she does for the family. He should see in her the woman who surpasses them all.

Finally, the life of a virtuous wife is a testimony to others.

Proverbs 31:31 “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Her husband and children acknowledge her value and praise her, but so do the other people in the community. Even the leaders at the city gate recognize her good works and honor her.

God sees to it that the woman who faithfully serves Him and her family is properly honored, and certainly she will have even greater honor when she stands before her Lord.

Conclusion

This poem in Proverbs 31:10-31 which is a beautiful tribute to the godly wife and mother gives us the finest description of the ideal wife. But these qualities may seem too high for anyone to attain. What is the secret?

The answer is in Proverbs 31:30. The secret of a virtuous and capable wife’s life is that she fears the Lord. Having charm and beauty is wonderful; the possession of these qualities is not a sin. But the woman who walks with the Lord and seeks to please Him has a beauty that never fades (1 Peter 3:1-6).

A Wife with Noble Character

This passage also describes for every Christian man the kind of wife for whom he ought to be looking and praying. But it also reminds the prospective husband that he’d better be walking with the Lord and growing in his spiritual life so that he will be worthy of such a wife if and when God brings her to him.

The man who has a wife who daily reads the Scriptures, meditates, prays, and seeks to obey God’s will has a treasure that is indeed beyond the price of rubies.


*Reference: The Transformation Study Bible (General Editor: Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe)

*Recommended Resource:

A Woman of Noble Character: Becoming a Proverbs 31 Woman in Todays Busy World
By Susan Sikes

Women today have such busy lives and great responsibilities, yet so many still strive to be the Proverbs 31 women spoken of in the Bible. A Woman of Noble Character gives women practical ways to fulfill their role as wife, mother, or keeper of the house in a busy world.

Practically all areas of home life are covered with quick and easy tips to help. A few of the topics are Priorities/Godly Character, Decorating, Cleaning, Finances, Organizing, Cooking/Recipes, and many other helps and tips. Whether you work within or outside the home, this book makes a great resource to managing a home. 

The Context is Love

The Context is Love

Whenever asked if we love our family, we immediately say, “Of course I do.” Our relationships in the family need to be marked by love. Husbands are to love their wives and wives must love their husbands. Parents, children, and siblings must love one another.

But do we love one another the biblical way?

Bible Verse: 1 Corinthians 13:6-8a (NKJV)

“Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Reflection

Divorced from its context, 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 becomes “a hymn to love” or a sentimental sermon on Christian brotherhood. What many people fail to see is that Paul was still dealing with the Corinthians’ problems when he penned these words.

There was division in the church, abuse of the gift of tongues, envy of others’ gifts, selfishness, impatience with one another in the public meetings, and behavior that was disgracing the Lord. Paul tells the believers in Corinth that the only way spiritual gifts can be used creatively is when they are motivated by love.

Characteristics of Biblical Love

1) Love is enriching.

In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 Paul mentions five spiritual gifts: tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, and giving (sacrifice). The Corinthian believers were captivated with spiritual gifts; particularly the gift of tongues and Paul reminds them that without love, the exercise of these gifts is nothing. 

The Context is Love

A person may speak with the gift of tongues, but without love, it is as meaningless as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. It is just a lot of noise (1 Corinthians 13:1). It is love that enriches the gift and that gives it value.

Ministry without love cheapens both the minister and those who are touched by it, but ministry with love enriches the whole church.

2) Love is edifying.

While knowledge puffs up, it is love that edifies (1 Corinthians 8:1b). The purpose of spiritual gifts is the edification (strengthening) of the church (1 Corinthians 12:7; 14:3, 5, 12, 17, 26). This means we must not think of ourselves, but of others; and this demands love.

3) Love encourages.

Christians do not understand love. God hopes that all would get saved, in spite of the fact He knew not all would. God was willing to bear the sin of the whole world even though some would not accept.

Love does not nag. God does not nag people to get saved, even though it is good for them. God knows the best for everyone, but God does not force or nag anyone to do something they don’t want to do.

Challenge & Application

The issue I have with many Christian women today is that they nag a lot. They may know what the Bible says on what godly men should do and they try to play the part of the Holy Spirit in their spouse or significant other. Your spouse wants your love and respect and he deserves it.

Love bears all things. In other words, love does not harp on sin issues in your life. Making certain issues a broken record is the perfect way to become a nag. Don’t do it.

Love believes all things. That is, love trusts your spouse’s word. Your spouse is busy just like you. Whether you like it or not you both have two different sets of priorities. Your spouse is responsible to God first. You are second. Stop nagging about the insignificant details. You want to be a godly wife, trust his word.

Love hopes. God is working on your spouse. Both you and your spouse are sinners with issues. Why don’t you love them enough to watch God work in your spouse’s life? When you try to change your spouse, they get hurt because you are trying to act the part of the Holy Spirit, thus making it harder for them to listen to the Holy Spirit.

Love also forgives, and forgives, and forgives many times over without holding grudges. We do not understand how God changes us or in what order. The path of sanctification is different for every person. You do not get to determine what should change in your spouse. Stop playing the Holy Spirit in your spouse’s life.

The Context is Love

Lastly, love does not end. God never stops loving us. Our love for our spouse should not either. If you have true love for someone, you will not stop showing it in these ways. It is true that since we are sinners, we can’t do this perfectly like Jesus, but we need to strive to love our spouses this way. Love does not have a list of expectations.

It is true that God tells us what is good for us, but He still allows us to make choices, whether they result in good or bad. That does not mean God loves us less. God loves us in spite of us. Can you love your spouse by encouraging without nagging?

God does not nag. God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die on the cross so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

*Read here: The Cross Makes Love Believable

God knows and wants what’s best for everyone, yet He does not force or nag anyone to do something they don’t want to do. God does not nag people to be saved. He wants us to willingly accept His gift of eternal life.

Biblical love suffers long and is kind, does not envy, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity but in the truth, believes all things, bears all things, hopes all things and endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Closing Thoughts

Spiritual gifts, no matter how exciting and wonderful, are useless and even destructive if they are not ministered in love. In his letter, the apostle Paul gave great emphasis on love.

The main evidence of maturity in the Christian life is a growing love for God and for God’s people, as well as a love for lost souls. It has well been said that love is the “circulatory system” of the body of Christ.

Are you practicing biblical love?

Teach Well Your Children

Teach Well Your Children

In today’s society where abortion, child abuse, divorce and other sins against these little ones seem to be acceptable, it has become apparent that our culture places little value on the lives of these gifts from the Lord.

Bible Verse: Psalm 127:3-4

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.”

Reflection

Charles Spurgeon QuotesChildren are precious; they are a heritage and they make the home a treasury. But they are also useful – like fruits and arrows – and make the home a garden and an armory. If parents do not raise their children to know and love the truth, who will plant the seeds of truth and fight the battles against lies and evil in the years to come?

Parents are to preserve the best of the past and invest it in the future. Every baby born is God’s vote for the future of mankind and an opportunity for parents to help make some new beginnings.

Teach Your Children Well

Line upon line, precept upon precept, it is your job as parents to teach your children to walk in the ways of the Lord (Isaiah 28:9-10). What could be the most effective tool for doing exactly that? It’s your own walk with the Lord.

Our children are smart; they copy what we do, repeat what we say, follow where we go, and learn of God as we study His Word and praise Him. Parents who boast of their of past sins with a smirk on their face and their children at their feet have no idea the damage they are causing.

Children soak up every word they hear. Parents set a benchmark for either righteousness or wickedness on how they live before their children. That is why parents are not only to bring their children to church, they are to teach them the Word of God in their homes (Deuteronomy 11:19).

Raising Godly Children

This is not to say that every child who grew up in a Christian home will automatically become a worship leader or a pastor. We have heard of pastors’ kids who have gone out of their way to become gang leaders and drug addicts. There are also kids who grew up in the streets but ended up being elders and deacons in their church.

The point is, while it is the responsibility of parents to raise their children in accordance with the will of God, it is no guarantee that they won’t get lost along the way. However, the Bible also assures us that a child who was trained according to God’s standards may go astray at some point in his life but will eventually find his way back into the truth (Proverbs 22:6).

A Godly Heritage

A godly man, husband, and father, knows that having the right relationship with the Savior means a healthy relationship with his family. He would care for and nurture his children not just by teaching them to love God. More importantly, he would show them every day by the way he lives his life and conducts himself.

Philippine pride, Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao, is a well-known champion in the field of boxing. And while I am very proud of his accomplishments as a boxer and for the honor he has given our nation, what I admire the most about him is his faith in the Lord, which is reflecting in the way he is now raising his kids to love God and His Word, the way he does.

Raising Godly Children

Make Room for Family

Parents must always make room in their lives for family. Sometimes a business or social calendars need readjusting. I have heard stories about parents who walk around with their mobile phones in constant operation, thereby rendering “conversation across the dinner table” a lost art.

A man who had just lost his wife of many years to cancer was sitting in a hotel room with a friend twenty-five years his junior a few weeks after the funeral. The younger friend had his own family, a wife and two sons.

The older gentleman wept tears of regret and said, “Friend, take time to enjoy your family now, for they will be gone all too soon. Don’t let the busy-ness of your life steal you from them now, lest you regret it later.”

Learn to appreciate what God has blessed you with. The dirty hand prints on the wall and the muddy socks under the bed are signs of healthy, active children who are yours but for a short while.

Create for these precious gifts a Christian home where the love of Jesus is taught. Love them deeply. Give yourself to them completely.

Closing Thoughts

Reproducing a child does not make a parent – that is reproduction, not parenting. In other words, you can have a child or children but that does not mean you’re a parent.

On the other hand, you may not have a child of your own but when you raise a child in a way that pleases and honors God, you are a parent, a godly one for that matter.


*Recommended Resource:

Fearless Parenting: How to Raise Faithful Kids in a Secular Culture – eBook
By George Barna & Jimmy Myers

Product Description:

Today’s Christian parents face an uphill battle in raising godly kids. How can we teach children to live out their faith in a morally bankrupt culture? Offering expert insights, Barna and Myers help you foster your youngsters’ spiritual growth and encourage them to develop their gifts; prioritize family relationships; reject materialism; and rethink social media.

Trusting God With All Your Heart

Trusting God With All Your Heart

When life gets tough, we need to trust someone. And that someone is none other than God. When we are going through one of life’s storms, the Great Physician has a prescription in Proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”

You can trust God with your heart because He is trustworthy. He knows the burdens you carry and the tears you shed. He suffered a broken heart and even had a dear friend betray Him. He is the healer of broken heart, broken dreams, and broken lives. You can trust Him for He never fails.

In Psalm 31:1, David affirms his trust in the Lord, “In You, O Lord, I put my trust.” We do not know the precise nature of the trouble David was in, but it severely afflicted him and made him despair of life.

*Related Article: Why We Should Trust The Lord

Trusting in the Wrong Things

Some people place their trust in the wrong things such as money, wealth, power, etc. The apostle Paul wrote, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).

Why are riches “uncertain?” It’s because billionaires are one stock market crash away from being broke. Money can buy a bed of gold, but only God can give us rest. Money can buy the best physicians, but only God can give us health.

Mr. Chee Tat Ng (also known as Philip), the richest man in Singapore, said that he was always in search of a better life, a better purpose, a better everything, but realized he was just looking at all the wrong things. After receiving Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, He said he has found the missing piece in his life.

Mr Chee Tat Ng

Some people place their trust in education but education without God only produces intellectual barbarians. Take Hitler’s Nazis for instance. They were well educated, and yet they threw Jewish children alive into the blazing ovens of Auschwitz. They had obtained scholarly degrees, but they were educated heathens with hearts of stone.

Public schools in America have thrown the Bible out the back door and brought condoms in the front. Without much imagination, we can see where public schools are heading. Without God, they will produce human beings with little moral fortitude.

Trusting God Completely

Trust must be complete or it is not trust.

A farmer went to the county fair and saw a sign that read, “Airplane rides for $50.” He told the pilot the price was too high. The pilot said, “I’ll make you a deal. If you trust me enough to ride without screaming, the ride is free. If you scream, you pay double.”

The farmer agreed to the deal. The pilot took off and took the plane through a series of aerobatic maneuvers. After the plane landed, the pilot said to the farmer, “I’m amazed; you didn’t scream once.” The farmer replied, “I almost screamed on that barrel roll when my wife fell out.”

God asks but one thing of us – that we should trust Him. He does not ask that we understand Him or explain Him or vindicate Him, just that we trust Him.

Trust  in Me Lyrics and Chords

Unbelief: The Opposite of Trust

The opposite of trust is unbelief. What does God think of people who will not trust Him? Revelation 21:8 says, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Unbelief releases fear, doubt, and suspicion. Unbelief binds the hands of God and releases the demons of hell.

The woman who doubts her husband’s love and loyalty does not sing for joy. Her face is haggard, her heart is broken, and her eyes are flooded with tears. That’s emotional.

The person filled with self-doubt is not a picture of joy. He is withdrawn, fearful of other people, angry, and seething with resentment. Again, that’s emotional.

The Knowledge of God Builds Trust

Trust is not emotional. It is based on knowledge. We know that God is faithful, and trust is born in faithfulness.

When David was facing great trials, he remembered the faithfulness of God in times past (Psalm 31:15). When the lion roared against David’s sheep, God came. When the bear appeared, God came through. When Goliath mocked Israel, God gave David victory (1 Samuel 17:34-37, 48-50).

Closing Thoughts

All relationships are built on trust. We trust our spouse, our friends, our co-workers, and our family members. If we do not trust them, our relationships wither and die, choked by suspicion, jealousy, and fear.

In the same way, our relationship with God is based on trust. We are saved by trusting in Jesus. We are healed by trusting in His Word. We are delivered by trusting in the power of His name.

Trusting God with Your Heart

We are forgiven by trusting in the power of His blood. We have hope for the future because we trust He is all-powerful and sovereign.

When we are facing a crisis, we need to remember how many times God has come through for us. God is faithful. He paid our sin debt at Calvary. He conquered death in the grave. And He is coming again with power and great glory.

Do you trust God with all your heart?


*Taken from Diamonds for Daily Living, NKJV Prophecy Study Bible

God’s Generosity and Man’s Jealousy

God’s Generosity and Man’s Jealousy

The Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16 deals with a very common human problem – jealousy. Contrast it with God’s generosity and the true meaning of pure grace.

The parable emphasizes a right attitude in service. Note that two kinds of workers were hired that day: those who wanted a contract and agreed to work for a normal wage for a day (Matthew 20:2) and those who had no contract and agreed to take whatever the landowner thought was right.

Man’s Jealousy

Technically, the main lesson of this passage is not about government-set minimum wage, but the application still exists. I think it is interesting that Jesus even mentions how the workers grumbled about their wage because other people did less work for the same money. Does that not sound like today?

When we receive grace, of course, we are very happy and thankful. But why is it that when others receive grace our reaction is the complete opposite? We are unhappy and jealous (envious) because we think they do not deserve it.

Note: Grace is something we receive which we do not deserve.

Often times we tend to compare ourselves with other people in terms of our struggles, trials, difficulties, etc. or in terms of the work we do. But who should be our standard and to whom are we accountable?

Learning to be Content

In the parable, the owner was not obligated to pay those who came in late a full day’s wage but he did it anyway. He gave all the workers the same amount. Of course, those who worked the longest complained! The truth is that they had no argument because they had agreed to work for the normal daily wage. They received what they asked for.

There are a lot of discontent workers that want more money but won’t work harder for it. I think it is funny that Jesus gave employers that choice. That is the employer’s prerogative.

God's Generosity and Man's Jealousy

So the next time Socialists say that God wants equal pay for everyone that is not true. Employers have the right to pay what is agreed upon. God would never condone governments requiring certain wages for anyone as socialists say.

Need more money, work more or get a better job. The God of the universe said that employers have the right to determine an employee’s wage. If you don’t like it, get a new job.

God’s Generosity

The main point of the parable is God’s generosity. God is infinitely generous and gracious and will always give us better than we deserve. Had the early workers trusted the goodness of the owner, they would have received far more.

As God’s children, we should not serve Him because we want to receive and expected a reward. We should not also insist on knowing what we will get. Our loving Father is loving and generous. All that we are and have are gifts from Him, which we do not deserve.

What kind of workers are we in God’s vineyard?

Salvation is for Everyone Who Believes

Jesus was also illustrating in this parable that new believers get saved from the beginning up to the end of time. Some will have less time than others yet the reward is still living with Jesus for all eternity even if you have been saved a long or short time.

Heaven is only heaven because it is Jesus’ home. God is welcoming us into His home. That is an amazing thought. If you have been born again, are you glad you are on your way to heaven? Our thankful spirit should show so that the world will know we are glad to be saved.

God did not save us to be an Eeyore. Do you have that joy in your heart? If not, are you truly saved? Why not turn from your sins and accept Jesus as your personal Savior?

Serving Others First

This passage also continued by Jesus exposing a “Me first” attitude in the disciples (Matthew 20:20-28). Jesus is anything but proud.

All twelve wanted the best two spots in heaven, but Jesus turned it into a teaching moment. I think it is interesting that Jesus did not harshly rebuke them. He lovingly used it as a way to teach them about humility.

Jesus highlighted being a “servant.” The word here means “slave,” and our English word “deacon” comes from it. Not every servant was a slave, but every slave was a servant.

*Read here: Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

Sadly in the church today we have many celebrities but very few servants. There are many who want to “flaunt their authority” (Matthew 20:25), but few who want to take the towel and basin and wash feet.

Many people wrong us, but are we humble enough to try to encourage them in spite of their actions?

God's Generosity and Man's Jealousy

Jesus as the ruler of the universe has every right to be proud but is not. There is no reason for us to be proud toward any other person and yet we are. How humble are you? That humility will lead to showing more and more love and sacrifice for others. How well do you honestly love and serve others?

What We Believe in Life Matters

What We Believe in Life Matters

Do you notice how relativistic our society has become today? Society says that all religions lead to God. Actually, they lead to gods. They say it does not matter that we believe; it does not also matter that we believe different things.

Know what? Jesus came to earth to tell mankind that what we believe in life does matter.

Bible Verse: John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Reflection

The idea that all religious views are equally valid and all that matters is that we’re sincere in what we believe is so absurd. Sincerely believing in something does not make you right. No matter how sincere you are in your belief that the answer to the mathematical equation two plus two is four does not make you right.

In the same way, sincerely believing that you will go to heaven without Jesus Christ in your life because you and your good deeds are enough does not make your claim true.

Good Enough

It is human nature to think that “I am good enough.” They say it does not matter that the Bible says, “You must be born again” (John 3:3). It does not matter to them that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. They think they are good enough.

Guess what, we aren’t. If we were, there would be no need for the Son to come down to the earth He created, live a life of perfect obedience to the Father and suffer and die on the cross to purchase man’s redemption.

The world needs to hear that they’re dead in their sin and they need a Savior. But many won’t listen. They say it does not matter what the Bible says. But it matters!

God will lead a handful to Himself but have you done your part? Have you told someone the truth recently?

The Challenge

The real problem is that the relativistic mindset has gotten into the minds of Christians. It is true that we have been born again, but since we are still sinners, we still have sin issues. Where is our humility to admit we all have our issues?

We would not be able to criticize other believers if we were humble. Each denomination has its members and pastors that brag about being more right than anyone else. That is just pride.

What You and I Believe Matters

Not to mention, it is beside the point. 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 says it is pointless to be more right than other Christians if you do not have love. Love translates into humility.

If our walk does not match our talk, we are just as bad as the unbelieving Pharisees, who Jesus called hypocrites in the gospels.

It is not the business of any other church or individual to criticize other peoples’ personal standards. I will be honest. I did that for years till God showed me that they are responsible for themselves.

Closing Words

What we believe in life does matter. More importantly, what we believe about the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit matters. Jesus made a strong statement in John 8:24: “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Jesus claimed to be God and unless you believe He is, you are not going to heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven and no one comes to the Father but by Him as John 14:6 says.

The next time you hear other people say that it does not matter what they believe, tell them that it does!

Real Joy of the Heart

Real Joy of the Heart

The issue I have seen in the lives of many believers is that they don’t live like they have real joy in their hearts. They have Christ in their lives but they do not seem to be experiencing real joy that is found in Christ alone.

Bible Verse: John 16:22 (NKJV)

“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

Reflection and Challenge

In context, this verse is a part of a conversation between Jesus and His twelve disciples. Jesus was trying to prepare them for His crucifixion, but they were not getting it. They wanted more clarity and Jesus understood this very well.

But Jesus also knew that they needed more than just information; they needed their hearts and mind to be prepared to endure the crisis that was coming. They would be very sorrowful but only to have a sudden change of heart. Because God, by His grace and power, will turn their sorrow into joy.

While the crucifixion and all that went with it seemed like a bump in the road or some kind of obstacle to overcome on the way to fulfilling God’s plan, it was exactly how the plan would be fulfilled.

God Transforms our Sorrows into Joy

There’s a principle laid out in John 16:16-22 and that is this: God brings joy to our lives, not by substitution, but by transformation. Jesus’ illustration of the woman giving birth makes this pretty clear. The same baby that caused the pain also caused the joy.

In birth, God does not substitute something else to relieve the mother’s pain. Instead, He uses what is there already but transforms it. And so it is in the Christian life: God takes seemingly impossible situations, adds the miracle of His grace, and transforms trials into triumphs and sorrows into joy.

God transforms our sorrows into joy

As Spurgeon put it, “It is most remarkable and instructive that in their sermons or epistles the apostles do not appear to have spoken of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ with any kind of regret. Although the Gospels mention their distress during the actual occurrence of the crucifixion, we hear of no such grief after the resurrection, and especially after Pentecost.”

Their extreme sorrow of heart was changed to joy of heart after they realized Jesus rose from the grave. When a person gets saved, he receives a completely changed heart and he can actually experience real joy.

Unlike just happiness, joy is a heart attitude. It cannot be artificially manufactured by great circumstances. Read the middle phrase again. “Your heart will rejoice.” Do you see the root word joy in rejoice?

When Christians Lose Their Joy

The last phrase of John 16:22 says, “True born again Christians cannot lose their joy” (paraphrase). But why are there so many Christians who are like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh? No enthusiasm, gloomy, depressed, or just going through the motions.

I realized that I am talking about people’s heart since I can’t see their hearts. Actually, it’s possible. We can tell what’s in peoples’ hearts by the way they live their lives. Because what’s in their hearts is how they live.

Throughout the Bible, it says that what you actually believe in your heart will show. So if we don’t act like we have found real joy in Christ, perhaps God hasn’t changed our hearts in salvation yet.

Going Through the Motions

Don’t just go through the motions because your denomination says to do so. I have been called “happy go lucky” and “carefree,” because I have a joyous song in my heart.

Unbelievers can’t understand because they don’t have that joy. If you have joy in your heart, it will show in worship, praise, lifestyle, attitudes … EVERYTHING.

Please inspect yourself and find out if real joy is in your heart. If it is, praise God. If not, find out why. You won’t regret it.

Waiting for the Coming of Our Lord

The world today does not want Jesus Christ or His church. The world is rejoicing while we are suffering, longing for our Lord to return. In fact, all of creation is suffering “the pains of childbirth” because of sin, awaiting His return (Romans 8:22)

While the immediate application may have been to the sorrowing hearts of the disciples, the ultimate application is to all of God’s people as they await the second coming of Jesus Christ.

To us, it seems like a long wait, but God does not measure time as we do (2 Peter 3:8). And while we are waiting, we must deal with our trials and hurts on the basis of transformation and not substitution, if we expect to mature as Christians.