"And unto man he said, Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28
Fear of and reverence for God are fundamental to the believer's relationship with God. Fearing the Lord makes us concerned and alert that we do not offend our holy God. Without this foundation, no true wisdom exists and no redemptive experience will stand the test of time and temptation.
True fear of God and true Biblical wisdom cause us to turn from evil and result in the "comfort of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 9:31) To fear God and yet continue in sin is a moral impossibility. the soul that acclaims God's majesty and recognizes His opposition to evil will be characterized by an earnest, decisive and total endeavor to separate from sin and follow God's Word. (From the Life in the Spirit Study Bible commentary.)
"Let it never be forgotten that, though we preach faith, faith, faith as the great means of salvation, yet we never say that you are saved unless there is a change wrought in you, and good works are produced in you; for 'faith without works is dead, being alone.' Faith saves, but it is the faith which causes men to do well; and if there be a faith (and there is such a faith) which leaves a man just what he was, and permits him to indulge in sin, it is the faith of devils...." C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol 27, 1881. pp. 681-2
Who is the most miserable person in the world? One might answer that the wicked unsaved person surely must be because he is on his way to hell. But that is not true. The unsaved can enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25). However, the true Christian cannot. The moment he accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord & Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in his life. He can no longer enjoy a life of sin. Therefore a Christian who is not right with God is the most miserable person in the world. His own carnal desires will not let him enjoy his Christianity, and the Holy Spirit will not let him enjoy his sin! (Bible Doctrines for Today ~ Michael Bere)
I'm so thankful that God is able to deliver us from the power of sin in our lives and His grace that enables us to live a victorious Christian life!
We've been studying the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3. It is a rich and fascinating study with many parallels for the current church age! Jesus closes each message with the words, "To him that overcometh," or "He that overcometh," and follows with wonderful promises the overcomer will experience or partake of. This begs the question to consider - what is an overcomer? Several years ago, my father was conversing with a young man about Biblical living and what God requires of His people. This young man called himself a Christian, but was having some serious difficulties and my dad was giving him godly counsel. The man wasn't interested in obeying the Word, but told Daddy rather angrily, "I'm an overcomer!" Daddy asked him, "What are you overcoming?" The question brought him up short and he had no answer, because clearly he wasn't overcoming his attitudes and striving spirit. Being an overcomer is definitely more than stating that we are one!
I really like the commentary from the Life in the Spirit Study Bible on Rev. 2:7. "An overcomer is one who, by God's grace received through faith in Christ, has experienced the new birth and remains constant in his victory over sin, the world, and satan. Surrounded by great opposition and apostasy, the overcomer refuses to conform to the world and to any ungodliness within the visible church. He hears and responds to what the Spirit says to the churches, remains faithful to Christ to the very end and accepts only God's standard revealed in Hid holy Word."
People will notice a difference in our lives as we we obey His Word and live to please Him in all things. We will be separate from the world in our attitudes, appearance and general lifestyle. We will live a holy and a pure life! According to the the world, we will walk the path less traveled; but that, my friends, will make all the difference in the end! Thank God through His grace, we can be overcomers and inherit the blessings of the Kingdom!
I was so blessed this morning by an article written by Bro. Jack Skinner in the Miracles & Missions Digest, and wanted to share an excerpt with you.
"Revival is not an emotional stir; revival is repentance! Revival is prayer in His house! Revival is being revived again by the Holy Ghost through repentance (turning from sin and its devices back to a Holy God in obedience to His Word)! Revival is weeping with a repentant spirit in a believer's life who has followed the carnal thinking of a false pretense that excitement is godliness. Revival is bringing to God an acceptable sacrifice according to His Word, not one influenced by the devil as Cain's was. "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." Psalms 34:18 - Jack M. Skinner
May God grant us true revival!! We need it! Let's not be satisfied with anything less than a true manifestation of His presence!
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." John 5; 25-29.
Verse 29 is the focus of this devotional thought, specifically the phrase, 'they that have done good.' According to Scripture, judgment is always on the basis of works, because one's works are a manifestation of his faith and inner condition. This means that we will be judged not by our profession of faith in Christ, but by the life we have lived. Let's examine our lives by God's holy Word and endeavor to live in a manner pleasing unto Him!
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12: 36-37. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." Matthew 16:27
John 4:23, "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." Jesus teaches several things in this verse.
God’s abiding peace is in my soul today,
Yes, I feel it now, yes I feel it now;
He has taken all my doubts and fears away,
Tho’ I cannot tell you how.
It is mine, mine, blessed be His name!
He has given peace, perfect peace to me;
It is mine, mine, blessed be His name!
Mine for all eternity!
(Elisha A. Hoffman)
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3 has long been one of my anchor verses! As the trying and stressful days of the end of history occur, God will keep in perfect peace the remnant who remain faithful and steadfast to their Lord. In times of trouble we must continually strive to keep our minds turned to the Lord in prayer, trust, and hope! We must place our trust in Him because He is a Rock who endures forever! He is a sure and firm foundation!! Praise His holy name!!
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
(Horatio G. Spafford)
Colossians 2:9-11, "For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:" In the Old Testament, circumcision was the sign that the individual Israelite stood in a covenant relationship with God. It symbolized a cutting away or separation from sin and all that was unholy in the world. The believer under the New Testament covenant has undergone a spiritual circumcision, namely, the removal of "the body of the sins of the flesh." Such circumcision is a spiritual act whereby Christ cuts away our old unregenerate nature of rebellion against God and imparts to us the spiritual or resurrection life of Christ. It is a circumcision of the heart.
This correlates with what Paul also wrote in Romans 2:28-29. "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." This refers to God's work of grace in the hearts of believers whereby they partake of the divine nature and become capable of living a pure life separated from sin for the glory of God! 2 Peter 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." As believers, we partake of the very nature of God. Our sharing in His nature is another description of the new birth by which we receive the life of God. We share God's nature in order to conform to God and to His holiness. Thus, holy living becomes the outward sign that we are under the new covenant. (Commentary from the Life in the Spirit Study Bible)
Lately, I've begun reading The Ability of God by A.W. Pink in my devotions. It is a powerful book filled with spiritual depth, primarily on the prayers of the Apostle Paul. I was so blessed by what I read last night, and wanted to share it with you!
"Bringing forth the fruits of righteousness abundantly should be the deep and daily concern of every child of God, for His honor is never more promoted than when we are so engaged. Said the Lord Jesus, 'Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.' (John 15:8, italics added). In this manner the truly regenerate can make evident the real and radical difference between themselves and hypocrites. The Father is not glorified by our lip service, but by the tenor and texture of our daily loves, by having all our steps and actions ordered by His Word." The Ability of God, A.W. Pink, p. 307