The Lord searches our heart according to Jeremiah 17:10 – “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” The word “search” in this verse means to penetrate, to examine intimately, to find out what is in it. The Bible says in Matthew 12:34b – “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” – What comes out of your mouth can be a reflection of what is in your heart.- WHAT IS YOUR REFLECTION REVEALING ABOUT YOU TO OTHERS? – How is your reflection? Is is a good reflection or is it an ugly hideous reflection? Does that which comes out of your mouth indicate a bad heart condition?
Do your best to not ever hurt others with your words, let the reflection of your heart be good and encouraging and not destructive. If the Lord were to search your heart and examine it intimately what would He find? (Because He is doing this all the time whether you know it or want to admit it) The Bible tells us that our hearts apart from Gods indwelling control are wicked and not trustworthy. (Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?) So all this lets us know we need to work hard at guarding our hearts and keeping them pure. This also lets us know to trust God’s word and His counsel in making decisions. We can’t always go by how our heart feels about things. The Bible tells us in the multitude of counselors is safety as long as the lead Counselor is the Lord and we listen to Him above all others.(Proverbs 11:14 – Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.)
II Peter 2:14 gives us another dismal picture of our heart condition. Guard your heart, work hard at keeping it pure. Trust God with your heart. (II Peter 2:14 – Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:) Take a moment today and “search” out your heart. Intimately examine it, so you can really find out what is in it. You may not like what you find, but the Lord can help you improve your reflection. Those around you in your life will be glad you took the time to improve your reflection. May your reflection be one of encouragement, peacefulness, brotherly kindness, love, and patience.
THE POWER OF COMMUNICATION
Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”
Fires don’t start out big and destructive. Fires start out small, but have tremendous potential for destruction. So too are the words we say with our tongues. The tongue is a small part of our body but it can cause tremendous havoc and problems for us and for the innocent people around us. (James 3:5-6 – Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.)
“The power of the tongue” to do Good.
• The tongue has the ability to dispense good council and wisdom from trusted Godly leaders when we need it. (Proverbs 10:20 – The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.)
• The tongue has the power of encouragement. The right word at the right time can do wonders to encourage someone with a heavy heart. (Proverbs 12:25 – Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.)
• The tongue has the power to stop anger before it has a chance to boil over. (Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.)
“The power of the tongue” to do Evil.
• In the list of 7 abominations in the sight of God, Solomon mentions lying lips and those that sow discord among the brethren. (Proverbs 6:17,19 – A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.) – Notice in the same sentence that God condemns murder; he mentions and condemns lying as well. To tell a lie, especially about another Christian, is a serious sin.
• A person who does not control his tongue will bring destruction to himself. (Proverbs 13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth verswide his lips shall have destruction. & Proverbs 17:20 – … and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.)
Your tongue has a lot of potential. Potential to do good and potential to do evil. What are you using your tongue for? Are you building up your friends and people you know or are you tearing them down behind their back? Are you spreading lies about someone? Are you gossiping about someone? Are you using the power of your tongue for good or for evil?
“Know what is acceptable” Are you speaking what is acceptable? Common sense should let us know if what we are saying, messaging, texting, or Facebooking is good or if it is evil. (Proverbs 10:32 – The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.) “frowardness” in this verse means perverse or fraudulent. In other words, are you speaking what is good, right, and edifying; or are you speaking what is perverse or untrue? We are warned in Proverbs 20:19 not to hang out with someone who has a filthy mouth, someone who likes to gossip or is a liar. (Proverbs 20:19 – He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.) Those who speak first without thinking are referred to as fools by Solomon. (Proverbs 29:11 – A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.)
WRONG COMMUNICATION AFFECTS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR LORD (I John 1:5-6 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth)
Our fellowship with God is maintained as we walk in light. How can we have a proper relationship with God if our communication is perverse, dark and sinful? “God is light” this is describing an attribute of God. Light is purity, it brings clearness, it shows beauty. As light is necessary for life, our communication needs to reflect God’s light instead of reflecting the perverse darkness of the Devil. If we walk in obedience to our Lords commands concerning our communication, we will be able to have great fellowship with Him. (I Samuel 15:22 – And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice...)
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN THE VICTIM OF “corrupt communication”? IT HURT DIDN’T IT? (Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.) To have someone lie about you or spread a rumor about you can hurt. The Lord Jesus has experienced all of that too. He can help you get through the hurt. He can help heal your wounds. Just give it to Him. Let Christ take the burden of that from you. (Psalm 118:6 – The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?)
Don’t let that hurt take you over. The Bible tells us to not allow sin to control us no matter whose sin it is. Choose to have joy in the Lord no matter you circumstances. (Psalm 119:133 – Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. & Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.) Learn to control your reactions to sinful hurtful communications. Learn to follow our Lords example. Learn to go by the words he gave us in Matthew 5:39 – “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
In conclusion we learned that the words we use can cause a lot of damage. Our words come from such a small part of our body, our tongue, but can cause such serious harm to others. (James 3:5-6) We learned that our tongue has the power to do great good and to do much evil. We need to “Know what is acceptable.” Are we speaking what is acceptable? Are we messaging, or texting, or Facebooking what is good or what it is evil? We learned that our “corrupt communication” will affect our relationship with God. Because we cannot be living in the darkness of “corrupt communication” and be having fellowship with God at the same time. We need to learn to control our reactions to false accusations and sinful hurtful communications. We need to follow our Lords example and to go by His words he gave us in Matthew 5:39 – “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Seven Days of Prayer for your Pastor
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” Hebrews 13:7
Pray for him as a Preacher/Teacher.
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” Ephesians 6:19
Pray that Christ may be lifted up through him.
♦ Pray that he may experience the anointing of the Spirit in his preaching.
♦ Pray that needs may be met, hearts blessed, and lives changed through the preaching of the Word.
Pray for him as a Servant Leader/Administrator
“Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” I Kings 3:9
♦Pray that he may lead his staff with the direction and sensitivity that only the Holy Spirit can offer.
♦ Pray that he may offer guidance to the deacons and lay leadership that may bring unity and shared vision.
Pray for him as a Person
“Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Psalm 91:9-11
♦Pray for his “personal time” and rest in the Lord.
♦Pray for him as part of his family – husband, father, son – that those cherished times in his home and with his family will be a blessing to his soul and to the souls of his loved ones.
♦Pray that God will protect him against the things of this world – that they will not overtake his spirit with preoccupation or misplaced priorities.
Pray for him as a Pastor
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15
♦ Pray that the Holy Spirit may be the Comforter of souls through His servant as he counsels the troubled, visits the sick in homes and hospitals, and exhibits the love of Christ in his daily acts of ministry.
♦Pray that, as a Pastor to his staff, he may emulate the strength and compassion of the Good Shepherd.
Pray for him as a Prophet
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” II Timothy 4:1-2
♦Pray that as he prepares his sermons, only the Word of the Lord may be revealed.
♦ Pray that the emerging vision God has for His people may be revealed and clearly interpreted through His servant.
Pray for him as Evangelist
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:14-15
♦Pray for him as he wins souls to Christ and as he teaches others to win souls to Christ.
♦Pray that doors of opportunity to witness may be continually opening to him.
Pray for him as a Disciple of Jesus
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:10-12
♦ Pray that he may continue to discover new depths of understanding as a student of the Word.
♦ Pray that he may ever find a consistent balance between the Word and the deed as he follows Jesus.
♦ Pray that a wall of protection of the Holy Spirit may keep him safe from the devices of Satan.
The preceding is not original to us. This was posted on our refrigerator for years. No idea where we got it from. Thought it would be good to share.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT CUTTING? (Leviticus 19:28 – Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. & Deuteronomy 14:1a,2 – Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves….For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.) Cutting can be a very self destructive behavior. Cutting is a serious matter that needs to be looked at in light of God’s word. If you are affected by this or know someone that is there is hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. You may say that only if I could find a friend that could understand this and help me with this. Jesus is your friend. He is a friend that will stick closer than a brother. You can talk to Him about it any time day or night and He will always listen to you. He will always be available. (John 15:5 – Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.)
For those going through this, don’t feel you need to be punished, or you need to cut to release some feelings, the Truth is – Jesus allowed Himself to be beaten, mocked and nailed to a cross to die, he paid the price for any wrongs. He bled (so that you don’t have to) and gave you grace, love and forgiveness (I Peter 2:24 – Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.) You may feel God has abandoned you, but He has promised “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5. You may feel things won’t get better, that you “need” to do this to get through the situation, but Truth is – God promises us a future and he promises us hope. You might not see it right now or understand how things will work out, but trust in Him, He is working out your problems on your behalf. (Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.) You may think you can’t change this behavior but Truth is – if you are a Christian, God has made you a new creature. It may take time to heal your mind and body of this behavior, but if you give it over to God, He will give you the victory over this sin. He has promised to change you no matter how you feel. (II Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. & John 15:15, Colossians 2:7, Philippians 1:6)
Let’s looks at another Bible passage regarding cutting. The Bible in Mark chapter 5 talks about a man who was possessed by an unclean spirit or we would say a demon. In verse 5 of chapter 5 it says “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.” Cutting yourself could be an indication or the result of a demonic influence in your life. I am not saying this is true for every case or most cases but I am saying it is something that needs to be considered and prayed about in light of the scripture revealing to us that cutting was a symptom of an unclean spirit in this man’s life. Could you have let some demonic influence into your life? And now that influence is oppressing you and manifesting itself physically with the desire or perceived need to cut oneself? This is a possibility and a very serious one that needs prayer. If this is the case the scripture in the next verse shows us what we need to put in our life to remove this evil influence from us. Mark 5:6-8 says “But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.” You see Jesus is the answer my friend. He will help you through this problem of a possible influence of an unclean spirit in your life. Turn to Him quickly. Confess your sins to Him. Seek His help and His healing for your life. You need to examine your life and ask the Lord to reveal to you, if it is the case, how this evil influence has gotten into your life. Maybe it was a so-called friend, music, movies or on-line searches that allowed this influence to come in. Guard yourself from such influences and remove them from your life.
In the end the voice of God is telling you “Do thyself no harm” and the voice of Satan is saying “Do thyself all the harm you can”. We need to resist the temptation of the Devil. The Lord will give you the strength you need to do this. It won’t be easy but in the end it will be the alternative that brings you joy instead of destruction. The Bible lays resisting the Devil out for us in James chapter 4. James 4:7 says “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” First submit to God, submit this desire to cut unto God, give it over to him. Next resist the Devil. Fight the temptation and the perceived need to cut yourself with everything you can, but not by yourself, call on the Lord for help and strength to get you through this. That “everything you can” should include the power of God in your life. Finally after you submit to God, resist the Devil, with the Lord’s help you will see you are getting stronger through the Lord, and the Devil will be growing wearing of tempting you in this area and he will flee from you.
Forgive, forgive, forgive!! God does it~ why can’t we?!
Colossians 3:12-15 – “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
So many dear people are struggling with so many things and sometimes I have no idea what to say except to say ill pray; I fell across this and it says it all! I hope this helps!
“If I could, I would take away the troubles weighing heavy on your mind and in your life. If I could, I would wipe away the sorrows that you feel deep down inside and make them mine. But there’s only just so much a friend in need can help you through along the way. But I’m glad to say I know the One who will be there to help you when you pray.
If I could, I would take you by the hand and lead you through this valley wide, stand upon the mountain high. If I could, I would walk you across the burning desert sand; restore your soul with sweet water from a better land. But I’m sure that in my strongest hour I still could not possess the power to bring you through the raging fire you must withstand. But remember, Jesus can!!”
“And sometimes even Gods own children, can’t seem to get along. Feelings hurt and grudges held, over whose right and who’s wrong. Listen to the words of Jesus, he said “the only way to live, is when somebody does you wrong, FORGIVE, FORGIVE, FORGIVE!
And nobody will be mad at anybody over there. No chips on the shoulders of the saints in heaven there. There’ll be no misunderstanding, happy faces everywhere. And nobody will be mad at anybody over there!”
“First, forgive. Second, forget by choosing not to dwell on that which is forgiven and in the past. We have no right to keep in front of us what God has put behind Him.” Dr. David Jeremiah
I believe you always have to be careful what you say~ boy have I learned that! Even the smallest thing said can be twisted into something that didn’t come out of your mouth! It’s good to know God is on our side even when we slip and say things we never meant to say, the Lord always forgives and knows our true heart!
HOW TO “EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH” WE MUST CONTEND EARNESTLY – the Bible in the book of Jude clearly exhorts us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once given…” The vivid expression “earnestly contend” is translated from the Greek and literally means to earnestly agonize for the faith. This term is associated with strife and combat of a vigorous and determined quality. The present tense of the verb is indicating that this “earnestly contending” is to be ongoing and continues throughout our life. We are to always be “earnestly contending for the faith”. Jude believed at the time of his writing that the foundational principles of the Christian faith were under attack. I believe we could all agree it seems in this day and age that they are under an ever increasing and relentless attack; hence the need for our ever increasing relentlessness in “earnestly contending for the faith.” Jude in expressing his thought that way, inspired by the Holy Spirit, suggests to us that this is a serious matter; we are at war! Paul talks about the nature of our warfare in II Corinthians 10:3-6 – “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” And the Apostle Paul talks about this again in Ephesians 6:10-13.
WE MUST USE THE WEAPONS AT OUR DISPOSAL – Paul defines those weapons for us in Ephesians 6:13-18 – “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Notice that most of these things are for our own defense so we won’t be lost in the struggle with the world and what the world will try to tempt us with or discourage us with. Remember these weapons are needed for our own walk and life. Don’t forget all of the weapons we have. Don’t be so quick to take the sword and leave all the rest of these out of the equation. Make sure that you “remove the plank from your own eye” so you will be able to see clearly “to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7: 3-5 – And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.)
PAUL ALSO MENTIONED WEAPONS THAT ARE “MIGHTY THROUGH GOD” – Such weapons as “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” Let us not get too carried away in our attempt to “earnestly contend for the faith” that we forget about “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” II Corinthians 10:1-6. We need to be making sure that we are first “spiritual”, and then displaying gentleness and caution we are commanded to try to make right any fault with meekness. (Galatians 6:1– Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.) Do not think too highly of yourself if you are a Christian; remember you are just a rotten fault filled sinner saved by grace. The Apostle Paul also commands us to refrain from quarrels and to be applying gentleness, with the Word, patience and humility when we see the need to correct opposition. (II Timothy 2:23-25 – But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;) Notice what all Paul is saying in this passage. When we face opposition to ourselves or our beliefs how are we to handle it? Paul tells us to avoid unlearned questions. Why? – Because they cause strife among our fellow brethren in Christ. Paul also teaches us to be gentle to all men, to be apt to teach, to be patient and to do all of this with meekness.
THE CALL BY JUDE TO “EARNESTLY CONTEND FOR THE FAITH” IS NOT A LICENSE TO ENGAGE IN THIS WITH “WRATH” AND “STRIFE”. (Galatians 5:19-21) But it is a call to vigorously and agonizingly contend with all the weapons at our disposal. Most important of which is the Word of God. But we also need to be displaying the Christ like qualities of meekness and gentleness. Meekness and gentleness in your presentation will win more people over for the Lord than strife and wrath. Do not be guilty of not obeying Christ by perverting his teachings and setting yourself up as your own authority on the word of God; because of those that do this is why we need to be “earnestly contending for the faith”. Whose side are you on? Have you submitted to Christ’s authority over you and to follow his teachings and to emulate the example he set for us or are you setting yourself up as the ultimate authority in your life? Are you steadfastly continuing in the Apostle’s doctrine? (Acts 2:42 – And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.)
Our change made possible because of our Hope. Faith in Jesus has the power to change lives, has the power to answer prayers, the power to meet our needs and the power to save our souls. Faith in Jesus can change the worst most hopeless lost cause of a life for the better. There is no lost cause as long as Jesus is part of the equation. Jesus delights in giving us second chances.
Jesus has a heart for people. When He sees our needs it moves Him with compassion. (Mathew 9:36 – But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.) Jesus has the power to help us through the storms of life. He will make sure, if we trust in Him, that we get through to the other side of our problem. (Luke 8:22-25 – Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.) Jesus has the power to change lives. The woman at the well had been married several times and was currently living in adultery. She thought her situation was hopeless but our God is an all powerful God. He has the power to help anyone out of any situation.
Paul’s changed life because of the Lord is a great example: The stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58-8:3) The words ‘made havock’ in verse 3 of chapter 8 means ‘to ravage like a wild beast’ – That is how much Saul/Paul hated Christians! (Acts 9:1-2) in verse one it says “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” – Saul here is still just hating the Christians and wanting to do everything he can to destroy them.(Acts 9:3-6) Then Jesus came into Saul’s life and he repented of his wicked ways and turned to the Lord.
In verse 5 the Bible says “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” – This is a figure of speech meaning that Saul was already starting to get convicted about what he was doing to Christians. Just imagine with sandals on kicking against sharp pointed needles. That would hurt and cause you pain. That is what persecuting the Christians was doing to Saul it was already starting to hurt him inside causing him pain. Acts 9:4-21 finishes the story of Paul’s salvation and repentance (his turning from sin and turning to the Lord) and his change from a persecutor of Christians to an Apostle.
So Paul’s example of a changed life starts in Acts 7:58 with the stoning of Stephen, then to Acts 8:3 where he ‘made havock’, to Acts 9:1 to where he was ‘breathing out threatenings and slaughter’, then to Acts 9:3-6 where he repented and Jesus came into his life, and finishes in Acts 9:20 when Paul ‘preached Christ’. So we have the example of Paul’s life where he started out persecuting the Christians. Then he started feeling convicted ‘hard for thee to kick against the pricks’. Then Jesus came into his life and changed it forever then it ends with Paul preaching Jesus! Isn’t it amazing how God can change some one’s life?
THE TOTAL SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE. (Psalm 19:7-9 – The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.)
“The law of the LORD is perfect” – the Hebrew word translated as “perfect” means perfectly complete, full and whole. So the Word of the Lord is perfect complete and whole. It is all sufficient to meet any and every need that arises. God’s word is sufficient to transform people completely from the inside out. This begins with our salvation and continues with our sanctification. (I Corinthians 1:30 – But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption) – Sanctification means the process of making ourselves holy or Christ like. Unlike the imperfect and incomplete wisdom of men the Bible is all comprehensive in that by pointing a sinner to Christ it has the power to change that sinner into what God desires them to be.
“the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” – God’s word is His testimony to us about himself. Everything we need to know about Him he has revealed to us in Scripture. Everything we need to know about life he has told us in Scripture.“The Bible, then, can take naïve, uninstructed, and undiscerning people and make them skilled in wise decision-making and practical holiness.” John MacArthur. The Bible touches all areas of our lives, everything we need to know to live a Godly, fruitful and happy life can be found in the Scriptures. The light we need to make all the areas of our life clear will come from God and His Word. (Psalm 18:28 – For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.)The Word of God gives us understanding of situations. It will help to give us insight into decisions we need to make. The Word of God will shed light on the subject of our concerns. (Psalm 119:130 – The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.)
“The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart” – This means the Divine principles laid out for us in Scripture will lead to a sure path for us to follow all the days of our life. God has given us His word so that we can successfully navigate our way through life. (Psalm 107:23 – They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.)True and lasting happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction cannot be found in the sensual pleasures of sin but only are found in living a life for God and living that life by the principles found in His word.
“commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” – In a world that is characterized by sinful darkness and confusion, the Word of God brings light and clarity to our lives. Through the Scriptures we can know the truth and this knowledge will free us from the bondage of sin. (John 8:32 – And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)Through accessing the ultimate resource on how to live our lives we can understand right and wrong in an “upside down world”. We can be comforted in a world that’s in chaos around us. We can rest in the Lord and not worry like the lost world around us. The simplest of Christians know more than some of the “smartest” people in the world. Through the knowledge received by God’s word which is dismissed by the world.
We know how the world began.
We know how mankind began.
We know how to live eternally in Heaven with our creator.
We know what will happen to us when we die.
We know where to turn in time of crisis.
We know how the world will end.
“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever” – The Bible tells us the right way to worship the true God. There is no taint or imperfection in God or His Word. His Word in pure. “The fear of the LORD is clean” (Psalm 119:140 – Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.) – We rejoice and love God’s word because we know it is truth. The word of God never changes. The World and its philosophies about life are always changing but the word of God is unchanging. It is the anchor for our ship as we navigate our way through the seas of life.
“the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” – We have the complete Word of God. We need no other revelation. All we need is the true and altogether righteous word of our Lord. We have no excuse for not having all the knowledge we need to navigate our life in the right way for the Lord. We have the truth. We have the ultimate guidebook on life. We possess all that we need in the form of the Bible. The Bible describes some people as “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” II Timothy 3:7. This is not referring to intellectual truth or wisdom but it is referring to the truth about life, death, God, man, sin, Hell, joy peace and eternity. It is referring to the truth about life. People can’t learn that truth; you only get that truth through a personal relationship with Christ and through thoughtful study of His word.
Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God”
We will all someday give an account for everything we do here on earth- days we were encouraged to work for God but stood back, making excuses for NOT doing something asked of you for His service . Deuteronomy says we are to walk in His ways and to love Him and serve The Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul! Serving God wholeheartedly is serving Him without reservation and excuses!! We should serve Him with a determination to never give up!!
“There will always be a way for a determined soul”
Serving God wholeheartedly means serving only God! Serving God in sincerity and truth, serve God boldly and serve God consistently. We should learn to serve God regardless of trials and tribulations- serve God in the most difficult times- even those times our prayers are not answered! Will you hear at the end of your earthly journey “well done thou good and faithful servant?”
Dealing with Anger & Bitterness Biblically
James 1:19-20 – “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
We need to learn to control our anger and not let it control us. Don’t hold on to your anger and let it turn into bitterness. A Christian is to be slow to anger and quick to get rid of it (James 1:19-20). Jesus gives us four ways to help us resolve our anger in Luke 6:27 -28 – “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
“Love your enemies” – how many of us could honestly say we love our enemies? The Lord Jesus tells us to in these verses. Following this command of our Lord can be a challenging thing sometimes, but it is the right thing to do and the thing that will help us not to harbor anger and let it turn into bitterness.
“Do good to them which hate you” – again also another commandment from our Lord which could be challenging to implement. Our old sin nature just wants to get even with those we are angry at but Jesus tells us to “do good to them”. (Romans 12:20 – Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.)
“Bless them which curse you” – we are to bless them which curse us. Is that a natural reaction to bless someone who curses you? – No it is not. We have to suppress our old sin nature to do this. We have to exercise self control. The Lord Jesus is an awesome example of this. He was falsely arrested, falsely tried, falsely convicted and falsely sentenced. He could have called down 12 legion of angels and wiped out all them that did this but instead He blessed them by dying on the cross for the very sins they were committing and giving them the opportunity to go Heaven with Him. (Mathew 26:53 – Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?)
“Pray for them which despitefully use you” – Have you ever been used by someone? Or at least felt like you were used? Did you pray for that person afterwards? We are told by Christ we are supposed to.
Forgiveness is how we get rid of the anger. Forgiveness is to occur every time an offense happens. (Luke 17:3-4 – Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.) As a Christian you must forgive because you have been forgiven. (Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.)God will forgive Christians as we forgive others. (Mathew 6:14-15 – For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.)