1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, 3 and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. (Psalm 107:1-3)
God’s goodness and mercy are compelling reasons to “give thanks to the LORD”. God redeemed a remnant of Israel from Babylonian exile, and by it foreshadowed the gathering of His “remnant according to the election of grace” through Jesus Christ (Rom. 11:5). All who wish to be freed from the shackles of sin may come to the Lord for redemption. God is good and His mercy is never-ending. Give thanks to God and gather to Him for salvation in Jesus, the Son of God.
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. (Colossians 4:2-4)
Continue. Earnestly. Vigilant. With thanksgiving. Each word describes the place prayer should have in our lives. Prayer is a vital expression of faith in God. It is how God’s children speak to Him. Prayer is not an afterthought, but the earnest, abiding expressions of the thankful heart unto God. Being attentively devoted to prayer pleases the Father. So, we remain watchful in prayer, not only praying about ourselves, but also making supplications for others. The apostle cherished the prayers of faithful Christians while he was in prison. Paul was looking for opportunities to preach the word. He asked for their prayers because he knew God answers prayer. Never forget that. God hears and answers His children when they pray to Him. Give prayer its rightful place in your life.
113 I hate the double-minded, but I love Your law. 114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word. 115 Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God! 116 Uphold me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm 119:113-116)
Those who have divided loyalties are doomed to fail. Jesus Himself said that no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). James reminds us, “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” and cannot expect to receive blessings from the Lord (Jas. 1:7-8). Devote yourself singularly to the law of God. His word gives hope and shelter from the storms of life. Keep the commands of God and evildoers will not long continue to seek your company. Allow God to hold you up by His word sustaining your live and securing your hope. Where does your loyalty lie?
10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12)
How do you decide what is true and acceptable to God? Do you rely on family tradition? Do you depend on what your friends say? Does a creed make your decision for you? Does the word of your preacher or priest end the matter for you? This passage teaches the God-approved way of determining truth. The Berean Jews were fair-minded. When they heard the gospel they compared it to the Scriptures to “find out whether these things were so”. By doing so, “many of them believed” . We must follow their example. Spend time examining the Scriptures. What they say is truth – regardless of family, friends, creeds, preachers, priests or any other source. Do you really believe the Bible when you will not do what it says? The answer to that question is clear: “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)
1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. 2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. (Proverbs 12:1-2)
Some people get mad when you lovingly try to correct them from God’s word. They are not concerned with knowing the way of righteousness, so they refuse to “love instruction”. Displaying such hatred toward correction is an exercise in stupidity. The Lord’s favor is obtained when we love to know His word and are corrected by it. Are your intentions to please God, or do your intentions exclude God? Those who hate the correction of God and refuse His instruction fall under His condemnation. Do not hate God’s correction of your sins. If you do, only condemnation remains. Do not be “stupid”. Love to be taught from God’s word and follow its instruction. By doing so you will have favor from the Lord.
4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Marriage was instituted by God, not people. Divine sovereignty, not human society, determines its moral rights, responsibilities and restrictions. Jesus defines marriage the same way God did when He created it; between “male and female” (verse 4). Furthermore, God ordained marriage to be for life, joining together the “male and female”. God hates divorce because it tears apart what He has joined together (Malachi 2:16). So, Jesus commands against separating “what God has joined together” (verse 6). Commit yourself completely and permanently to the person to whom God joined you. Let us return to honoring marriage the way God arranged it. God-approved marriage is between a man and a woman for a lifetime. Be sure your attitudes and actions honor the permanency of marriage.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
The temptation to “get even” when someone wrongs us is strong, and many yield to its attraction. Yet, our goal must be to live peaceably and not be motivated by pride’s revenge. Faith in God’s justice to right every wrong will help you remember your place and also give place to God’s just wrath against sin. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). Therefore, when someone sins against you, do them good in return. They will not be expecting that! Overcoming evil with good requires seeing situations in live with eyes of faith rather than flesh.