Follow Me #288

21  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22  Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:21-22)

It is not at all uncommon for people to compare themselves to others when it comes to spiritual expectations and responsibilities. Jesus had just told Peter he would die for Him (Jno. 21:18-19). A difficult road of painful sacrifice was ahead of him. But he was to trust the Lord and walk that path, regardless of what happened to others. When the Lord commands you to do His will, do not complain. Trust and obey the Lord without comparing yourself to others. The Lord expects each of us to follow Him. Let us do so wholeheartedly.

Mercy and Truth #287

In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil. (Proverbs 16:6)

The purging of sins is provided by God “in mercy and truth”. We need God’s mercy, and it is obtained according to God’s truth. We will not have God’s mercy if we reject God’s truth. In other words, mercy is received on God’s terms, not ours. One must fear God in order to put away evil. Today, to be purged of your sins you must first believe the truth of the gospel and confess your faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-10). You must fear God and depart from evil by repenting of your sins (Acts 2:38). Then, you must follow the counsel of Ananias when he told Saul, “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Your sins will be purged by God’s mercy as you fearfully obey His truth and depart from evil.

An Anxious Mind #286

29  And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. (Luke 12:29-31)

Jesus is not telling us to be unconcern for our livelihood. But, he is telling us not to be distracted by such things. The “anxious mind” is consumed and diverted from what is really and finally important. Do not make material pursuits your first priority. God knows your needs and he promises to provide them. What God wants from you is to have first place in your heart, your motives and your goals. Putting your faith in God puts this material life into perspective. What is really important is your spiritual life. The first thing to do is seek the kingdom of God. God will supply you with what you need to live for heaven.

Gladness of Heart #285

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the LORD.” (Psalm 122:1)

What a joyful occasion it was for David to worship God with God’s people! We can imagine David happily going to the tabernacle of meeting, there to participate in God’s ordained worship. Yet, how discouraging it is when Christians make excuses not to participate in the arranged worship of the church (God’s house). You must decide which attitude of heart you will have. Will you have a heart that is uplifted by faith to joyfully join with other Christians to honor God in worship? Or, will you have an indifferent, complaining heart that chooses other things rather than serving God first? David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Let us wisely and faithfully follow David’s example. Choose to worship and serve the Lord with gladness of heart.

Love Your Husband #284

3  the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—4  that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, (Titus 2:3-4)

Just as the apostle of Christ commands each husband to “so love his own wife as himself” in Ephesians 5:33, he tells Titus to instruct older Christian women to teach younger women to “love their husbands”. But, the word translated “love” in today’s verse is different from the one commanded of men. Here, wives are taught to be “affectionate” toward their husbands. At first, this may sound quite odd, but the wise woman will take to heart this divine instruction. God knows the warm affection of the wife helps bring security and emotional balance to her husband and therefore, to her marriage. The godly husband loves his wife sacrificially and devotedly, as Christ loves His church. A godly wife’s affection, coupled with her respect for her husband (also commanded in Eph. 5:33), serves to assure marital harmony. Try it and you will see; God’s way for marriage works!

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself #283

39  “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:39)

A person cannot love God with all his heart, soul and mind and yet hate his neighbor. Love for God forbids it. God explains that the love we must have for others corresponds to the good will we have for ourselves. In another place Jesus put it this way, “whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). God’s law to Israel hung on the two commands to love God and love one’s neighbor. These two supported all the particular laws God gave Israel through Moses and the prophets. As we hear Christ today, we too much love God completely and our neighbors as ourselves. Without love for God and others, we cannot know God and walk with Him now, or eternally. Make it a point to love your neighbor today. By doing so you will also be expressing your love for God.

Love the Lord your God #282

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37  Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38  This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:36-38)

One of the biggest lies is that you can love God on your own terms. You cannot. Jesus said loving God requires all of yourself. You cannot compartmentalize God. You know – like giving God a few hours on Sunday and then live for yourself the rest of the week. That is not love, and we deceive ourselves if we think it is. Jesus said to love God with “all your heart” – Love Him with every motive, intent, goal, thought and emotion of your heart. Love God with “all your soul” – Love Him using every fiber of your being, every activity and every action. Love God with “all your mind” – Love Him with your intellect and every decision you make. When we love God this way it is plain to see why “this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 Jno. 5:3). A person who loves God first obeys Him joyfully. If obeying God is a burden to you, it is because you are not yet loving Him with all your heart, soul and mind. Start doing so today!

Love Your Wife #281

So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. (Ephesians 5:28-29)

A famous football star punches out his fiancee (now his wife) and it is captured on video. He loses his job, his livelihood and his dignity. There is something even more important than all these; his soul is lost due to sin. If you are a husband, respect and honor your wife just like Christ does the church. Treat her with loving regard, not with violent acts that harm and destroy. Losing control of your temper and hurting the one you claim to love is a shameful sin and crime. Kindness, gentleness and self-control are marks of strength of character. By which of these will you define yourself? Love you wife like Christ loves the church.

Know God #280

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

Knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is essential to eternal life. Knowing God certainly involves faith, without which no one can please God (Hebrews 11:6). Since faith comes from hearing the word of God, we cannot know God and be saved apart from knowing His word (Rom. 10:17). Knowing God also involves obedience to God’s word (without which, faith is “dead”, James 2:20). Knowing God, then, involves much more than a desire, a feeling or an experience. John also wrote, He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jno. 2:4). Commit yourself to knowing God the way He wants you to know Him; by living a faithful life of obedience to His word.

Wisely Use Knowledge #279

Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. (Proverbs 10:14)

Amassing knowledge for its own sake is not the counsel of this proverb. Pride is invariably the result of that endeavor (1 Cor. 8:1). Wisdom uses one’s knowledge properly, beneficially, godly. Therefore, without a storehouse of knowledge, one’s wisdom is necessarily limited. As we remember the terrible events of 9/11 this day, knowledge helps us honor the fallen and wisely protect ourselves from future attacks. The spiritual application is even more important. The fool refuses a knowledge of God and His will. careless faithlessness, the day of eternal destruction is hastened. Be wise today. Know “the only true God, and Jesus Christ” whom He sent to the world (Jno. 17:3). Here is how knowledge and wisdom combine: “By this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 Jno. 2:3).