Category Archives: Pearl of Wisdom

ABBA FATHER

ABBA FATHERBut when the fullness of the time came
GOD sent forth HIS SON, born of a woman, born under the Law
So that HE might redeem those who were under the Law
That we might receive the adoption as sons
Because you are sons
GOD has sent forth The SPIRIT of HIS SON into our hearts, crying, “ABBA! FATHER!”
Galatians 4:4-6

The word “Abba” (άββā NT:5) is actually an Aramaic word for “father.” It is found in only three places in The BIBLE (Mrk 14:36, Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6). It is a title for GOD. We are first introduced to this word in The BIBLE during our Precious LORD JESUS CHRIST’s prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. Knowing how horrible HIS suffering will be, our Precious JESUS through great anguish is talking with our Beloved ABBA FATHER concerning HIS impending crucifixion for our salvation (Mrk 14:32-36).

Please note In Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6, the word “Abba” is always paired with the word “Father” (Pateér NT:3962, signifying a nourisher, protector, upholder). These two words together “Abba! Father!” expresses the love and intelligent confidence of the relationship, while indicating the deep trust between parent and child.

In Romans 8:14-17 and Galatians 4:4-6, our Beloved LORD GOD gives us a beautiful truth. When we are redeemed through the precious blood of our Precious JESUS CHRIST (1 Cor 6:20, 1 Pet 1:18-19), we are also adopted by our Heavenly FATHER (Eph 1:5). With redemption comes adoption.

Why is being adopted by GOD so significant? There are many reasons, but here are four good ones:
1. Our GOD’s kindness and compassion, is reflected in HIS being a Father of the fatherless (Psa 68:5), a helper for the orphan (Psa 10:14), and a support for the fatherless (Psa 146:9). But with adoption we become one of HIS own (Rom 8:17, Gal 3:26).
2. We are born again (1 Pet 1:23), not from the loins of man but from the will of GOD (Jhn 1:12-13, Jam 1:18). HE is love (1 Jhn 4:16) and HE demonstrated HIS enduring love through our redemption and adoption (Rom 5:8, 1 Jhn 4:9-10).
3. Though at different times, and in different ways, we have been rejected by man; we have been selected by GOD to be HIS own forever (Eph 1:4-8, Tit 2:13-14).
4. Our past sins have been blotted out (Isa 43:25, Col 2:14), and our old self (our former manner of life) is gone (Rom 6:1-7, Eph 4:22-24).

What is meant by “our old self”? The old self is our essential fallen character. That part of each one of us, that was alienated from GOD, hostile in mind and engaged in evil deeds (Col 1:21-22). But when through faith we surrendered our life to CHRIST (Rom 10:9-10, Col 3:3), that old self died spiritually, and the new self with a new heart was born, and sealed by The Holy SPIRIT of GOD (Eze 36:26-27, 2 Cor 1:21-22, 1 Jhn 3:24).

Are there times when we hold onto the old self? Yes, there are many, even some who are going through this study, are not walking in newness of life (Rom 6:4). They keep holding on to the things from their old life that has died (2 Cor 5:17). They continually look back, holding memories, burdens, and feelings from the past. Instead of giving them to our Beloved LORD GOD (Psa 55:22, Mat 11:28-30, 1 Pet 5:7). When one continues to look back at what was; it is like driving forward while looking in a rearview mirror. Your past remains clear, but your present and future are out of focus. And when one continues to drive forward while looking into the rearview mirror, they make no further progress. Our Beloved LORD JESUS reminds us to “remember Lot’s wife” (Luk 17:32). She was turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back toward Sodom (Gen 19:26).

Why was she turned to a pillar of salt? I asked our Beloved LORD GOD that very same question. HE told me she was disobedient. Like her family, she had been given specific instructions concerning their escape, which included not looking back (Gen 19:17). Her disobedience rendered her useless, unable to progress further. As people of GOD we are called to be salt (Mat 5:13). But when one is disobedient, they lose effectiveness as salt, becoming useless (incapable of acting or functioning effectively). Which leads to one becoming like a pillar — stationary, unchanging in condition, progressing no further (2 Pet 1:8)

How can one stop living in the past?
Surrender your life to JESUS CHRIST (Rom 10:9-10). To surrender your life is to recognize HIS Lordship or authority over your life. Acknowledging HIS redemption or purchase of your soul (1 Cor 6:20, Act 20:28, 1 Pet 1:18-19).
Purpose in your heart to KNOW GOD (Exd 33:13). Through studying The WORD of GOD (Ezr 7:10). It is only then you will get to know HIM (Psa 25:4, Psa 119:33-34); and get to know HIS ways, knowing what is right in HIS sight, able to be pleasing to HIM (Jhn 8:29, Eph 5:10, 1 Jhn 3:22).
Obey HIS WORD (Luk 6:46). It is only through obedience that we truly become children of GOD (1 Jhn 3:10) and brothers and sisters of JESUS (Mat 12:50, Luk 8:21).

Only One Resolution

Resolution 3I know, LORD, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.
Jeremiah 10:23 (New Living Translation)

With the beginning of a New Year, a new decade; many have been making “New Year’s resolutions” in which they resolve to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. Yet history has shown that approximately 80% of those resolutions will fail by the second week of February.

You might be wondering why the failure rate is so high, there are at least three reasons (the first two are also the reason many falter in their spiritual walk):
1) Lack of endurance. The person(s) are not willing to continue, carry on, or persevere when hardships, difficulties, or suffering arise (Mat 13:20-21). Like many before them, they will choose the easier path (Mat 7:13-14), since they did not fully consider the cost of keeping the resolution (Luk 14:25-33).
2) Distraction. When other things arise, many will lose focus on what’s important (Col 3:1-4, Heb 12:1-3), being distracted by other things (Mat 13:22, 1 Jhn 1:15-17, 2 Tim 4:10).
3) Encountering unforeseen events. Often when plans are being made, the person(s) do not consult our Beloved LORD GOD (Psa 37:5, Pro 3:6, Pro 16:3). Instead they make plans based on their own knowledge (Pro 3:5, Pro 19:21), not aware of all the circumstances (Jos 9:1-27), or what the future holds (Luk 12:16-20, Jam 4:13-16).

Is it wrong to make New Year Resolutions? It is wrong to make any statement you:
• do not mean (Psa 12:2, Rom 16:18, Jud 1:16, Eph 4:25, Col 2:4, Col 3:9, 2 Pet 1:16, 2 Pet 2:3)
• do not intend to keep (Exd 8:8-15, Exd 8:28-32, Exd 9:22-35, Exd 10:14-20, Psa 78:36, Mat 21:28-32)
• swear to, whether it is a promise; an oath; or declaration (Ecc 5:4-6, Mat 5:33-37, Jam 5:12)

Over the last few months our Beloved LORD GOD has been revealing the weight HE places on words. Not just HIS (Psa 147:15, Isa 55:10-11, Jer 1:12) but ours (Mat 12:36-37, Eph 4:29, Col 4:6). And not just what we say, but how we say it (2 Tim 2:25, Jam 1:19-20, 1 Pet 3:15). Knowing this, should we not be mindful of what we say, and what we say we will do?

How can you make a resolution that will happen? By consulting with our Beloved LORD GOD through prayer (Pro 3:6, Pro 20:18↔1 Chr 14:13-17, Php 4:13, Jam 1:5-8), and then entrusting HIM to bring it to pass in HIS timing (Pro 16:3).

If there was only one resolution that one should make, what would it be? To purpose in your heart to remain true or faithful to our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST (Act 11:23, Dan 3:16-18, Act 20:22-24), seeking HIS strength through prayer (Neh 6:9, Psa 119:28, Act 4:27-31) and The WORD (Isa 41:10-13, Rom 8:31, Php 4:13).

But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’
Anything beyond these is of evil
Matthew 5:37

 

IMMANUEL

Names of my JESUSBEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD
AND SHALL BEAR A SON
AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL
Which translated means
“GOD WITH US”
Matthew 1:23

Several days ago I woke up singing a song that my Beloved LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST placed in my soul. And ever since, the song randomly comes to my heart and I begin to sing:

*Emmanuel, Emmanuel
HIS Name is called Emmanuel
GOD with us, revealed in us
HIS Name is called Emmanuel

Emmanuel, Emmanuel
HIS Name is called Emmanuel
We love HIM so, we love HIM so
HIS Name is called Emmanuel

Throughout many years, I have both read and taught Matthew 1:23. I have known from the previous passages (Mat 1:18-22) that my Beloved ABBA FATHER was speaking to us about HIS only begotten SON, JESUS CHRIST. And when the song begin playing over and over in my soul, it caused me to stop and spend time reflecting on Matthew 1:23. I asked my Beloved LORD GOD, “What is it you want me to understand about this Scripture?”

HE pointed out every name and every title our Beloved JESUS CHRIST was given, holds the same weight as every WORD HE speaks. HE further explained that HIS people must understand that as IMMANUEL, HE is GOD WHO is:
With us. So we need not fear (Num 14:1-9, 2 Chr 20:1-30, 2 Chr 32:1-22). Because HE is with us, HE is our Stronghold (Psa 9:9-10, Psa 46:8-11, Psa 59:16-17), our Hiding place or place of survival (Psa 32:7, Psa 31:20, Psa 119:114), and our Refuge or impregnable Rock (Isa 33:16, Isa 25:4, Mat 7:24-25) that cannot be taken by assault, and cannot be conquered.
Among us. HE dwells among HIS people whether in SPIRIT (Exd 25:8, Exd 29:45-46, 1 Kin 6:11-13, Jhn 14:23, 2 Cor 6:16, Rev 21:3) or in flesh (Jhn 1:14, Act 1:21-22, Rom 1:2-4, 1 Jhn 1:1-3, 2 Jhn 1:7).
In the midst of us. HE stands in the very center of HIS people (Mat 18:20, Hag 2:5↔Exd 19:4-6, Exd 29:45-46). HIS tent of meeting was placed in the center of the Israelites camp, as a visual of where HE resides with HIS people (Num 1:47-54, Num 2:1-34). Our Beloved LORD GOD resides within the souls of HIS faithful, within their innermost beings (Rom 8:9-11, Jhn 7:38-39, 1Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, Eph 3:17-20, 1 Jhn 4:13).
Beside us. HE is omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time-Psa 139:7-10), so HE doesn’t just dwell within those who practice righteousness, HE stands beside them, as they pray to HIM (Exd 34:5, Exd 33:7-11↔Exd 19:9); when HE speaks to them (Num 12:4-9, 1 Sam 3:4–15); as HE strengthens them (2 Tim 4:16-18, Php 4:13, 2 Cor 12:8-10, Eph 3:16).
Always with us. HE will never abandon nor forsake those who love HIM (1 Sam 12:22, Psa 37:25-28, Psa 94:14); HE is our very present help or is abundantly available to help in times of trouble (Psa 46:1, Psa 37:39-40, Psa 54:5); HE will always be with us (Mat 28:20, Act 18:9-11).

We cannot leave this BIBLE study without also letting you know that GOD will not dwell among people, whose lifestyle is one of willful sin/iniquity, a lifestyle which continually ignores GOD’S WORD (Isa 59:2). GOD is with those who are with HIM (2 Chr 15:2). If you purposely ignore HIS WORD by following your own desires (Eze 33:30-32), thinking your behavior is hidden, you will personally discover that GOD truly sees and knows everything (Heb 4:13, Psa 33:13-15, Eze 8:7-12). Your sin will become known (Num 32:23, Luk 8:17, 1 Tim 5:24-25) as Achan’s sin was made known concerning the items under ban in Jericho (Joshua chapters 6 and 7). You must choose who you will follow, will you follow The Good Shepherd by listening to HIS Voice and obeying HIS WORD (Jhn 10:3-4, Jhn 10:27, Psa 23:1)? Or will you choose the way that seems right to you (Pro 14:12) and learn that Death is your Shepherd (Psa 49:14)?

Surely the righteous will give thanks to YOUR NAME
The upright will dwell in YOUR Presence
Psalm 140:13

 

*Emmanuel is the Hebrew word for the Greek word Immanuel.

Assurance & Conviction

Assurance and Conviction backgroundNow faith is the assurance of things hoped for
The conviction of things not seen
Hebrews 11:1

What exactly does Hebrews 11:1 mean? Hebrews 11:1 is the definition of faith. But to fully understand the definition, we must examine the three components of the definition ― faith, assurance of things hoped for, and conviction of things not seen.

What is Faith? The definition of faith is reflected in Jeremiah 17:7:

Blessed is the man who trusts in The LORD
And whose trust is The LORD
(NASB translation)

But blessed are those who trust in The LORD
And have made The LORD their hope and confidence
(NLT translation)

Faith is more than a mental belief in The LORD GOD. It is trust in HIM that is so complete and reliance upon HIS WORD so absolute, that confidence does not waver with circumstances. The person who holds this level of faith no longer requires proof or evidence to believe, as they have consistently experienced the goodness and faithfulness of GOD. HE has become their hope (Psa 38:15, Psa 39:7, Psa 62:5-8, Psa 71:5-6, Heb 6:13-20), their shield (2 Sam 22:3, 2 Sam 22:31-33, Psa 3:3, Psa 18:2-3, Psa 28:7-9) and their refuge (Psa 5:11, Psa 61:3-4, Psa 91:2-4, Pro 18:10).

How can one have faith at this level? Only through our Precious LORD & SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. HE introduces us to faith, and then develops it through HIS examples of trusting and obeying ABBA FATHER at all times, in every situation (Heb 12:2).

What does introduction to faith look like? One is introduced to faith by literally hearing about HIM (Rom 10:13-17). We see this occurring throughout The BIBLE, but we will look at four New Testament examples:
1. A man filled with a legion of demons received deliverance (Mrk 5:1-19, -Luk 8:26-39), went home to Decapolis and testified about all JESUS had done for him (Mrk 5:20), causing others who heard his testimony to seek JESUS for themselves (Mat 4:23-25, Mrk 7:31-37).
2. The hemorrhaging woman was part of a crowd who heard about JESUS, and was waiting for HIS return (Luk 8:40). By faith she touched the hem of HIS cloak, receiving her healing at once (Luk 8:43-48). Others begin to seek JESUS out, pleading with HIM to touch the hem of HIS cloak (Mrk 6:53-56).
3. The Samaritan woman at the well returned to her city after spending time with JESUS, telling others about her encounter and that she had met The CHRIST (Jhn 4:28-30). Many of the Samaritans believed in JESUS because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony about HIM (Jhn 4:39-42).
4. A lame man in Lystra listening to the apostle Paul preach The Gospel of JESUS CHRIST, received faith to be healed (Act 14:7-10).

How is this faith developed? It happens in five ways. First, there is a response to the message. In the four examples of “introduction to faith” mentioned above, all responded to the message about JESUS CHRIST and received deliverance, healing and salvation. Second, there is a building on that initial response, through a continued response of trusting and obeying all subsequent messages. This continued response, begins to form an intimate relationship with our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST (Mat 12:48-50, Jhn 15:14, Jam 2:21-23). Third, this intimacy deepens as one faithfully seeks to know HIM (Psa 27:8, Psa 105:4), to know HIS will (Exd 33:13, Psa 25:4-5, Psa 119:12, Psa 143:10, Rom 12:2, Eph 5:17, Col 1:9-10, 1 Ths 4:3-7), and consistently seeks HIS guidance and strength to do HIS will (Php 3:9, Rom 9:30-32, Gal 2:16-21). Fourth, by experiencing the truthfulness of HIS WORD (Psa 119:160, Psa 119:142, Psa 119:151, Jhn 17:17) in every situation, HE becomes our trust and refuge. And fifth, by never forgetting WHO HE is and what HE has done (Psa 103:1-5, Psa 78:11-22, Psa 106:9-14), our confidence in and reliance upon HIM grows.

What is Assurance of things hoped for? It is the absolute certainty, total trust, and complete confidence in the expectation of receiving good from our Beloved LORD GOD.

When should one hope/expect to receive good from The LORD? Our expectations should be for both this temporal life, and our eternal life. In this temporal life because we know that our Beloved LORD GOD is good, compassionate, merciful, we expect that HE hears our prayers (Psa 4:3, Psa 116:1-2, Pro 15:29, Jhn 9:31, 1 Jhn 5:14-15), and works every situation out for good (Rom 8:28). Looking to our eternal life, we hope for redemption of our physical bodies (Rom 8:23-25, 1 Cor 15:51-58, 1 Ths 4:13-18); salvation of our souls (1 Ths 1:10, 1 Ths 5:9-10, 1 Pet 1:9); and receive all that HE has promised us if we persevere to the end (Rom 2:7, Heb 9:15, Heb 11:8-16, Jhn 14:2-3, 2 Tim 4:8, Jam 1:12, Rev 2:10-11, Rev 2:17, Rev 2:25-27, Rev 3:5, Rev 3:10-13, Rev 3:21, Rev 21:3-7, Rev 22:1-6).

What is the Conviction of things not seen? It means to be fully convinced, have belief that is not moved by physical circumstances, to be firmly persuaded of things not seen by the physical eye.

How can this happen? It happens with spiritual rebirth. At physical birth, approximately ninety-five percent are born with physical sight. Which means they have been given sight to see what is around them, the temporal things (2 Cor 4:18). At spiritual rebirth our spirit comes alive (Jhn 3:6), and the eyes of our hearts are enlightened (Psa 119:18, Eph 1:18-19, Act 26:18) so that we may see the unseen, the invisible, the eternal, the spiritual (2 Cor 4:18). That is why a man born again walks by faith in the unseen, not the appearance of what is seen (2 Cor 5:7).

Why must one be born again spiritually? Because our Beloved LORD GOD is Spirit (Jhn 4:24) and to become HIS child and a part of HIS spiritual Kingdom, we must undergo a second spiritual birth (Jhn 1:12-13, Jhn 3:3-8). At which HE sends HIS Holy SPIRIT into our hearts (Gal 4:6, Rom 8:-11), opening our spiritual eyes and ears (Isa 29:18). Granting us the ability to know our unseen GOD (1 Pet 1:8, 1 Tim 1:17), be aware of our unseen enemies (Eph 6:12), be instructed by HIS Holy SPIRIT (Psa 32:8, Psa 25:12, Isa 30:20-21, Jhn 14:26, Jhn 16:13) and be led by HIM (Jhn 10:3-5, Jhn 10:24-27, Rom 8:14-17).

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but The SPIRIT WHO is from GOD
So that we may know the things freely given to us by GOD
Which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by The SPIRIT
Combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words
But a natural man does not accept the things of The SPIRIT of GOD, for they are foolishness to him
And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised
But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one
For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM?
But we have the mind of CHRIST
1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Days Are Coming

Drought1“Behold, days are coming,” declares The LORD GOD,
When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing The WORDS of The LORD
People will stagger from sea to sea
And from the north even to the east
They will go to and fro to seek The WORD of The LORD,
But they will not find it.
Amos 8:11-12

Why will The LORD send a famine “for hearing HIS WORDS”? HE sends spiritual famine when people who are called by HIS NAME continually walk in disobedience by making HIM an incidental part of their lives instead of their focus (Rom 1:21-22). They continually receive the warnings through HIS servants, but they ignore them by quickly forgetting the messages (Psa 50:17, Isa 17:10-11, Hos 8:14).
    Continually the saddest thing I hear and witness, are people who profess to know GOD, yet have no hunger for HIS WORD. They are too consumed by their lives to attend Church more than once a week, and prefer daily devotions which only contain one or two Scriptures, over BIBLE studies, designed to take them throughout The WORD of GOD.
    I have also seen Pastors with a calling to teach GOD’s WORD, not spend consistent time in HIS WORD (Jer 23:28-30). Thus leading congregations of people who do not know GOD, have no understanding of HIS WORD, nor the ability to discern between good and evil (Jer 4:22).
    I have met with many sad, angry, broken, and defeated Christians, because they do not know the heart of our Beloved LORD GOD, and have no spiritual armor to withstand the onslaught of the enemy. In every case, as I listened to them, they spent no critical time in the presence of our Beloved LORD GOD. They were not in the habit of praying, studying, or meditating on The WORD of GOD. They had other higher priorities in their lives, and refused to place our Beloved LORD GOD above them. They failed to believe the power and benefits that come from being in HIS presence (Psa 16:11, Psa 119:165, Isa 30:15, 2 Ths 3:16) and hearing HIS WORDS, either privately (1 Sam 28:6, Pro 1:28-31, SS 5:2-6), or publically (Rom 10:16-18).

What caused GOD’s people not to hunger for HIS WORDS? Their lives became prosperous or busy (Deu 31:19-22, Deu 32:15-18, Hos 13:6, Hag 1:2-11).Their false sense of contentment or extreme busyness, lulled them into ignoring The WORDS of The LORD until they face fierce storms of life (Mat 7:24-27). It is then they temporarily seek HIM out, by seeking out HIS servants. But once the storm passes, they quickly forget GOD (Deu 8:11, Jer 3:21-23).

How does “a famine for hearing The WORDS of The LORD” happen? It happens when GOD no longer sends HIS servants to an obstinate people, people who are extremely stubborn. They refuse to listen to HIS servants, or they are determined to have their own way.
    When HE stops sending HIS servants, understanding of HIS WORD ceases. We see examples of GOD’s servants giving HIS people understanding of HIS WORD throughout The BIBLE. We see it with the Levities who taught GOD’s people (Neh 8:1-11), with JESUS WHO gives understanding to HIS disciples both then (Jhn 17:6-8, Luk 24:13-27) and now (Rom 8:9-11, 1 Cor 2:11-16, 1 Jhn 5:20), with Philip the Evangelist when he explained Isaiah to the Eunuch (Act 8:26-40), with Peter the Apostle when he explained JESUS to Cornelius and his entire household (Act 10:1-48), with Priscilla and Aquila who brought a more accurate understanding of GOD’s WORD to Apollos (Act 18:24-28), and with all those who have carried The Good News throughout the world (Rom 10:14-15, Tit 1:1-3).

In Conclusion:
I share Isaiah 55:6-7 as a plea with GOD’s people who continually set other priorities in their lives “Seek The LORD while HE may be found; Call upon HIM while HE is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to The LORD, And HE will have compassion on him, And to our GOD, for HE will abundantly pardon.”

I encourage GOD’s people whose souls continually long for HIM (Psa 42:1-2, Psa 63:1, Psa 143:6, Isa 26:9), with The WORDS of our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST, “blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Mat 5:6, Jhn 8:37-39, Isa 55:1-2, Rev 21:6, Rev 22:17).

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.
Making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of The LORD is.
Ephesians 5:15-17

Always Being Ready to Make a Defense

Always being ready to make a defense

Often in teaching The WORD of GOD and preaching The Gospel of JESUS CHRIST, we face various responses. There are those who really want to know, others who are skeptical, and finally those who outright oppose both the messenger and the message.

But regardless of the response, our Beloved LORD GOD has called us to walk in a certain manner, as described in 1 Peter 3:15. We are called to:
1) Sanctify CHRIST as LORD in our hearts means to treat HIM holy, by honoring and respecting HIM as The ONE WHO has authority over us (Luk 6:46, Mal 1:6). Honoring and respecting HIM is not just with lip service (Isa 29:13), but from our innermost beings (Psa 51:6).
2) Always being ready to make a defense means to be ready at any time to give a reasonable explanation. To be able to do this, there must be trust and reliance on The LORD (Mat 10:19-20). This level of trust and reliance comes only from having a relationship with HIM so personal, that you meet HIM every day just to talk (prayer), thank HIM (worship), and receive instruction from HIM (study of The BIBLE).
3) To everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you means to anyone who questions why you believe and live as you do. It is important here to pay careful attention to the word “asks” or “questions”. You are responding to someone who truly desires to know, not to those who only want to make their beliefs known, nor to those who are not willing to listen, nor even to those who want to argue (Mat 7:6, Mrk 8:11-13, 2 Tim 2:14, 2 Tim 2:23, Tit 3:9).
4) Yet with gentleness and reverence means you should speak in a manner that is courteous to the hearer and honoring to GOD (Pro 15:1, Pro 15:18, Gal 6:1, Col 4:6, 2 Tim 2:24-25).

By obediently conducting ourselves according to 1 Peter 3:15, our conscience will remain clear, even when falsely accused. Our godly behavior will refute the accusations being made (1 Pet 3:13-16).

Unless Your Righteousness

pharisee and tax collector Luke 18 9-14 2For I say to you
That unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees
You will not enter the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 5:20

What is the “righteousness” of the scribes and Pharisees? To fully answer this question, let’s first define righteousness.

The English word “righteousness” in Matthew 5:20 is transliterated from the Greek word “dikaiosúnee” (NT:1343) and is defined as:
the character or quality of being righteous (1 Jhn 2:29, 1 Jhn 3:7), upright (Pro 16:17, Pro 21:8) or just (1 Pet 3:18, Rom 5:6-9)
conforming to the revealed will of GOD or living a life according to The WORD (Jhn 4:34, Psa 119:6-12, Pro 19:16)
living a life approved by GOD (Jhn 8:29, Rom 12:2, Eph 5:10, Heb 13:20-21)
devoted to a sinless life from your innermost being (Psa 15:1-5, Psa 19:14, Psa 24:3-4, Psa 104:34, Psa 119:97-104)

Before moving forward, it is important, to pause and fully comprehend that, righteousness can only be attained through our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST. Apart from HIM we can do nothing (Jhn 15:5).

The scribes and the Pharisees rejected JESUS CHRIST (Luk 9:20-22, Act 4:1-12), yet considered their lives righteous, because they lived according to The LAW of GOD (Rom 9:31-32, Rom 10:2-3, Rom 10:5). Their righteousness was based on their own understanding and ability to keep/obey The LAWS of GOD. Even Paul, who was a Pharisee (Php 3:5) formerly known by his Hebrew name Saul, believed his righteousness to be blameless (Php 3:6, Php 3:9), though guilty of beating, persecuting, imprisoning and murdering believers (Act 22:19-20, Act 26:10-11, 1 Tim 1:13). When reflecting on the beliefs and behavior of the scribes and Pharisees, it is important to consider the following truth:

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point
He has become guilty of all
For HE who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.”
Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder
You have become a transgressor of The LAW
James 2:10-11

Is there an example of what the righteousness of scribes and Pharisees looked like? Yes there are several, the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was:
based on outer appearances (Mat 23:5) and public reputation (Mat 6:1-2, Mat 6:5, Mat 6:7, Mat 6:16), instead of a private life that pleases GOD (Psa 15:2, Psa 51:6, Mat 6:3-4, Mat 6:6, Mat 6:8, Mat 6:17-18).
based on hypocrisy (Mat 23:14), pretending to live a life of holiness (Mat 23:25-28); teaching others to live lives they did not (Mat 23:1-3, Rom 2:17-23)
based on works, they measured their holiness on what they did (Luk 18:12, Mat 7:21-23, 1 Cor 13:1-3↔1 Jhn 4:8)
filled with pride (Mrk 12:38-39, Luk 18:9-11, Isa 65:5)
that which caused anger when exposed (Luk 4:24-30, Luk 6:6-11, Act 7:51-54)
that which deceives the one practicing it (Psa 36:1-2, Jer 17:9), the chief priests and scribes beat and tortured our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST all night, and sought HIS murder the next day (Mat 27:1-2, Luk 22:1-2), yet they stayed outside of the praetorium so they wouldn’t defile themselves and be unable to eat the Passover meal (Jhn 18:28)

How does one have righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees? Through faith in CHRIST JESUS (Php 3:9), a sincere desire to know HIM and to know HIS WORD (1 Chr 16:8-12, Psa 25:4-5, 1 Jhn 2:3-6, 1 Jhn 5:20), and obedience to HIS WORD (Psa 119:9-11, Psa 119:33-35, Luk 11:28).

But by HIS doing you are in CHRIST JESUS
WHO became to us wisdom from GOD
And righteousness and sanctification, and redemption
1 Corinthians 1:30

WHO is JESUS CHRIST?

 

My Beloved in GethesenemeNow when JESUS came into the district of Caesarea Philippi
HE was asking HIS disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.”
HE said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “YOU are The CHRIST, The SON of the living GOD.”
And JESUS said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona
Because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you
But MY FATHER WHO is in heaven
Matthew 16:13-17

As I meditated upon Matthew 16:13-17, my Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST gave me a better understanding of this teaching moment between HIMSELF and HIS disciples; and how it applies to us HIS followers today.

Our Beloved JESUS CHRIST asked HIS disciples “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They gave HIM the following answers for the following reasons:
        1) Some say John the Baptist. Herod the tetrarch declared JESUS CHRIST to be the resurrected John the Baptist whom he had beheaded, when he heard the miracles that were being performed by HIM (Mat 14:1-2, Mrk 6:12-16).
        2) Others, Elijah. Those who felt they knew The WORD of GOD believed JESUS to be Elijah because through miracles Elijah also brought a message of repentance (1 Kin 18:21-39). So they thought JESUS message of repentance (Mrk 1:14-15, Luk 13:1-5), was the returned Elijah to turn the hearts of the people back to GOD (Mal 4:5-6).
        3) But still others, Jeremiah. Jeremiah was the weeping prophet whose heart was broken over Judah’s sin, and its prideful refusal to listen to warnings from GOD concerning its coming destruction (Jer 13:17-19). Those who saw JESUS mourn over Jerusalem and her coming destruction (Mat 23:37-39, Luk 19:41-44), thought HE must be Jeremiah risen from the dead.
        4) Or one of the prophets. Many witnessed our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST strong warnings to those who continued in unrepentant behavior (continuing to willfully sin despite warnings) and believed HIM to be one of the risen prophets GOD sent to Israel and Judah to warn them of the consequences of their sinful lives (Luk 9:19, Jer 7:25-28).

Why did JESUS want to know what men thought about HIM? HE didn’t want to know, HE already knew, HE knows everything (Jhn 21:17, Job 34:21-23, Pro 15:3, Heb 4:13), including our innermost thoughts (Psa 139:4, Mat 9:3-4, Luk 7:39-48). When HE asked HIS disciples “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” HE was employing a question and answer teaching method, to help HIS disciples gain insight by distinguishing between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves GOD and one who does not serve HIM (Mal 3:18). Those who did not serve or know HIM, made assumptions about WHO HE was, based on hearsay (something one has heard, but does not know to be true) and speculation (forming an opinion or theory without fully researching or investigating). Even today, many religions (Buddhist, Hindu, Jehovah Witness, Judaism, Islam, Mormon, New Age, Scientology, Theosophy, Unitarian…) say that JESUS is a prophet, a wise teacher, a miracle worker, a mere man, or an archangel.

Is that also why JESUS asked the second question “But who do you say that I am?” Yes, the point of distinction was still being made. Divine revelation of HIS true identity, is only given to those who faithfully serve (obey) HIM (Psa 25:14, Mat 11:27, Jhn 15:13-15). This is why JESUS said to Peter in Matthew 16:17: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but MY FATHER WHO is in heaven.”

Why is it important to truly know WHO JESUS is? It is important for at least two crucial reasons:
        1) An essential part of salvation is a right confession of WHO JESUS is. Only through GOD’s Holy SPIRIT can we know, that JESUS CHRIST The Nazarene is The:
        a. Only begotten SON of The true and living GOD (Jhn 3:16, 1 Jhn 4:9-10, 1 Jhn 5:1), born in Bethlehem, the city of David (Mic 5:2, Luk 2:1-12). To be the only begotten SON means HE is the sole representative of the Being and character of the GOD The FATHER (Heb 1:1-6). JESUS CHRIST is the only person WHO grew inside and was birthed by a human woman whom had never been intimate with any man (Mat 1:23-25, Luk 1:26-36). HE is the one and only GOD from eternity that stepped into humanity through human birth (Isa 9:6, Mat 1:23, Luk 2:6-14, Jhn 1:1, Jhn 1:14, Php 2:5-8).
        b. Only SAVIOR (Mat 1:21, Isa 43:11). JESUS CHRIST is the only man born, that never sinned (2 Cor 5:21, Heb 4:14-15, 1 Pet 2:21-22, 1 Jhn 3:5); because in HIS human body alone lived all the fullness of the righteous and holy GOD (Col 2:9). Making HIM alone, qualified to save us from our sins (Heb 7:26-27).
        c. Only MESSIAH which translated means CHRIST (Jhn 1:41), The ONE anointed and sent by GOD (Luk 2:11, Jhn 4:25-26) to save the world (fallen man) from their sins (Jhn 1:29, 1 Jhn 4:14, Jhn 11:27, Jhn 20:31).
        d. Only LORD (Deu 6:4, Mrk 12:29, 1 Cor 8:6). JESUS CHRIST alone as LORD, has all authority in heaven, on earth, and beneath the earth(Mat 28:18, Dan 7:13-14, Php 2:10); HE is KING over all Kings, and LORD over all Lords (Rev 17:14, Deu 10:17, Psa 136:3); HE is MASTER over all creation (Job chptrs 38-40, Luk 8:22-25, Luk 8:32-33, ), and Owner of the redeemed (1 Cor 6:19-20, Act 20:28, 1 Pet 1:18-21, Rev 5:6-9).
If you have prayerfully examined every Scripture in this study, have ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to understand; your heart should be making the same declaration Thomas made in John 20:28. It is also why the angel of The LORD made the very specific identification of JESUS to the shepherds on the night of HIS birth; “for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, WHO is CHRIST The LORD” (Luke 2:11)
        2) Knowing WHO our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST is, will protect us from deception concerning HIMSELF (1 Jhn 5:9-12), by Satan (2 Cor 11:14, 2 Cor 11:3, Rev 12:9), by false prophets and false teachers (2 Cor 11:13-15, Mat 24:23-27, Rev 13:11-15), by the spirit of the antichrist (1 Jhn 2:18-23; 1 Jhn 4:1-3), and by the antichrist the man (Dan 11:31-34, Rev 13:13).

JESUS Messiah
By Chris Tomlin

HE became sin, WHO knew no sin
That we might become HIS righteousness
HE humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing, love so amazing
JESUS Messiah, name above all names
Blessed Redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, The ransom from Heaven
JESUS Messiah, LORD of all
HIS body the bread, HIS blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled, and the veil was torn
Love so amazing, love so amazing

An Unforgiving Heart

 

An Unforgiving HeartPursue peace with all men
And the sanctification without which no one will see The LORD
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of GOD
That no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble
And by it many be defiled
Hebrews 12:14-15

In the opening Scriptures, we are commanded to pursue peace with all men (Psa 34:14, Rom 14:19), sanctification or holiness (2 Cor 7:1, 1 Pet 1:13-16), to be diligent to live according to HIS WORD so we do not fall short of HIS grace (Psa 119:101, Jer 14:10-12), and keep watch over our hearts so that no root of bitterness springs up (Pro 4:23, Deu 29:14-18).

In this BIBLE study we are going to examine how unforgiveness keeps us from peace with all men. And how that unforgiveness can cause us to fall short of GOD’s grace.

In Hebrews 12:14, we are called to “pursue” peace. The English word “pursue” has been transliterated from the Greek word “diookoo” (NT:1377), and it means to:
        • earnestly seek after
        • to endeavor to acquire
        • to strive for
        • to devote oneself to
So if you are not doing all that you possible can, at all times, to ensure peace between yourselves and all others, then you are not in obedience.

How can one possibly keep this commandment? Before you reject this teaching as impossible to do, remember, HIS commandments are not burdensome (1 Jhn 5:3, Mat 11:29-30). If you are joined in faith to JESUS CHRIST, then it is by HIS strength (Php 4:13, 2 Cor 12:9) you will keep HIS commandments (Jhn 15:4-5, Psa 55:22, Psa 68:19-20, Isa 46:4). Our Beloved GOD has given us the power, HIS Holy SPIRIT, to obey HIS Will (Zec 4:6, Isa 40:29, Isa 41:10, Eph 3:16). All you have to do is ask HIM for help (Psa 34:15, Psa 42:5, Psa 46:1, Psa 121:1-8).

What does “peace with all men” mean? It means to live in unity or harmony with fellow Christians (Psa 133:1-3) and to live in love towards all others (Col 3:14, 1 Pet 4:8, Mat 5:44).

How can you love those who refuse to love you? Through forgiveness (Pro 19:11, Mrk 11:25-26, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13), through compassion (Exd 23:4-5, 2 Chr 28:8-15, Pro 24:17-18, Pro 25:21-22, Rom 12:20-21), and through prayer (Luk 6:28). We have examples of men who prayed for those who mistreated them:
        • Moses prayed for Miriam who led her brother Aaron in slandering Moses (Num 12:1-16)
        • Samuel the prophet who prayed for the nation of Israel though he felt rejected by them (1 Sam 8:1-9, 1 Sam 12:23)
        • Job prayed for this three friends who continually tortured him through their counseling and attitudes about the reasons for his suffering (Job 19:1-22, Job 42:7-9)
        • Our Beloved JESUS CHRIST prayed for those who were crucifying HIM (Luk 23:32-34, Isa 53:12)
        • Stephen prayed for those who were stoning him to death (Acts 7:51-60)

How can you be at peace with someone who refuses to be at peace with you? If you re-read Hebrews 12:14, you will see that HE commanded us to “pursue peace” not “be at peace”. That means walking in love regardless of others behavior. Our Beloved LORD JESUS knows there will be times, when though we are for peace, there will be those who will look for war (Psa 120:5-7, Psa 109:4-5). It is as those times we must not engage with our enemies hostilities (Luk 6:29-36, 1 Pet 2:21-23), do what is right in GOD’s sight (Exd 23:4-5, Rom 12:17-21, Pro 24:17-18), and continue to entrust yourself to our Beloved LORD GOD (1 Sam 24:1-22, 1 Pet 4:19).

How can unforgiveness cause us “come short of the grace of GOD”? To fully understand this, we must first understand:
        • what is “the grace of GOD”
        • how can we come short of it
        • and how do we “see to” following the command

What is the grace of GOD? The grace of GOD has been defined as the unmerited or undeserving favor of GOD given to all who deserve to receive HIS worst. This definition is accurate, but HIS grace is so much more! We will examines Scriptures throughout HIS Holy WORD to understand.

The grace of GOD is:
• One of HIS many attributes, qualities, or characteristics (Exd 34:6-7, Neh 9:17, Psa 86:15, Psa 103:8-10, Jam 5:11). Because HE is merciful (Luk 6:36), HE will extend mercy (1 Pet 1:3, Luk 18:35-43). Because HE is gracious (Psa 116:5), HE will extend grace (Eph 2:8, Rom 5:8). Because HE is forgiving (Psa 78:38-39), HE will extend forgiveness (Psa 130:3-4, 1 Jhn 1:9). And because HE is gracious, merciful and forgiving, HE will extend compassion, mercy, lovingkindness, forgives and grace to those who do not deserve it and cannot earn it (Ezr 9:5-15, Rom 5:8, Eph 2:8-10). As demonstrated in Proverbs 12:10, one cannot give what they do not have.

• Our dearly beloved JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF (Jhn 1:14-17, Tit 2:11-14, Tit 3:4-7). WHO, although HE was GOD, HE became a man (Jhn 1:1, Jhn 1:14, Php 2:5-8), and offered HIS sinless body as the payment for our sins (Mat 1:21-23, Heb 10:4-10, Isa 43:11, Psa 98:1-3). Our Precious JESUS CHRIST is the visual image of our GOD’s grace (Jhn 3:16, 1 Cor 1:4, Eph 2:4-8)!

• HIS Holy SPIRIT (Heb 10:29, Zec 12:10). HIS Holy SPIRIT, is the grace sufficient for us (2 Cor 12:9); HE is The Power (Luk 24:49, Act 1:8, 2 Tim 1:7) that perfects us in our weaknesses. HE completes what our weakness lack (Eph 3:16, Col 1:11); through HIM there is not one trial, test or challenge we cannot face (Php 4:13, 2 Tim 4:17, 1 Pet 5:7-11).

• HIS gifts HE freely bestows on us through HIS Holy SPIRIT (Rom 15:15-16, 1 Cor 12:4-11, Eph 3:8-9)

• Expressed by HIS favor, which is HIS approval (Luk 2:40, Luk 2:52), HIS acceptance (Gen 6:5-9, Luk 1:26-33), HIS support (Exd 33:12-18, 2 Tim 4:16-18, 1 Pet 2:19-20) and HIS friendship (Jam 2:21-23, 2 Chr 20:5-17)

• Expressed by HIS kindness (Psa 145:17), which is HIS tenderheartedness (Gen 3:21-24, Eze 16:1-6, Joe 2:18, Rom 5:8), our Precious JESUS CHRIST (Tit 3:4-5, 1 Pet 2:3)

• Expressed by HIS continual faithfulness (Deu 7:9, Deu 32:4, Psa 36:5, Psa 119:90, 1 Ths 5:24, 2 Tim 2:13)

How can we come short of it? We fall short of the GOD’s grace when we do not extend the grace HE gives us, to others (2 Sam 22:26-28, Pro 11:17, Mat 5:7). This point is first made concerning forgiveness, by our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST as HE teaches us to pray (Mat 6:14-15) and then demonstrated in detail in Matthew 18:21-35.

How do we “see to it” that we do not coming short of the grace of GOD as mentioned in Hebrews 12:15? First to “see to it” means to “make sure”, “be careful”, or “make certain”. Second through love (Pro 10:12, 1 Pet 1:22, 1 Pet 4:8-9) and that love is the same level that you love yourself (Mat 22:39, Luk 10:25-37).

For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees
You will not enter the kingdom of heaven
Matthew 5:20

An Ungrateful Heart

A complaining tongue reveals an ungrateful heartNow the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of The LORD
And when The LORD heard it, HIS anger was kindled, and the fire of The LORD burned among them
And consumed some of the outskirts of the camp
Numbers 11:1

Why is an ungrateful heart a destructive spiritual condition of the heart that leads to death? There are many reasons, but we will discuss two in this study.

First, an ungrateful heart is a sinful heart, because it is an unbelieving heart. It is a heart that does not:

  • believe in our Beloved LORD GOD (Deu 1:32, Deu 9:23, Zep 3:1-2)
  • have confidence that HE can or will deliver (Psa 78:22, Num 13:25-33, Num 14:1-11, Heb 3:19)
  • have trust in HIS WORDS (Psa 106:24, 2 Chr 36:15-16, Jer 6:16-19)
  • believe that HE is a rewarder of those who seek HIM (Heb 11:6, Mat 7:7-11, Psa 84:11, Rom 8:32)

An ungrateful heart, belongs to a person who does not operate from faith. And when one does not operate from faith, they sin (Rom 14:23); and we know that sin leads to death (Rom 6:23, Jam 1:15).

Second, an ungrateful heart is a heart that finds fault with GOD (Num 14:1-4, Job 9:11-35, Job 10:1-22, Job 32:2, Job 40:1-8, Job 42:1-6). An ungrateful person complains about adversity (Num 11:1) instead of being grateful in all circumstances (1 Thes 5:18). When an ungrateful person continues to find fault with GOD, they will eventually begin to spurn and blaspheme HIM (Num 14:11, Exd 32:4, Neh 9:18, Psa 106:19-22, Rev 16:9-11, Rev 16:21). And their refusal to repent of their ingratitude, will lead them to death and destruction (Isa 1:4-6, Pro 17:10, Pro 27:22, Jer 5:3, Eze 33:11).

How does a complaining tongue reveal an ungrateful heart? An ungrateful heart cannot understand that every moment, every detail and every circumstance in our lives, is part of GOD’s providential working in our lives (Rom 8:28). An ungrateful heart cannot understand that our Beloved GOD has made both the day of prosperity and the day of adversity (Ecc 7:14), causing them to foolishly only accept good times from HIM (Job 2:9-10).

Does a person with an ungrateful heart know GOD? No. Remember that an ungrateful heart is also an unbelieving heart. And an unbelieving heart is a disobedient heart (Jer 7:22-28, Jam 1:22-25).

Are there those who think they know GOD and do not? Yes, there are many who think they do (Mat 7:21-23, Mat 25:1-13, Luk 13:22-27). But acknowledgement of, is not intimacy with (Jam 2:19, Pro 3:32).

How can we be sure that we know HIM? The answer is found in 1 John 2:3-6 as follows:

By this we know that we have come to know HIM
If we keep HIS Commandments
The one who says, “I have come to know HIM,” and does not keep HIS Commandments
Is a liar, and the truth is not in him
But whoever keeps HIS WORD, in him the love of GOD has truly been perfected
By this we know that we are in HIM
The one who says he abides in HIM
Ought himself to walk in the same manner as HE walked

So every Christian has a grateful heart? A very good question, especially when you know that a grateful heart is a believing heart. And you cannot truly be a follower of JESUS CHRIST (a Christian) if you do not live a life that puts complete trust in HIM and HIS WORDS. This is such a perfect opportunity to just stop, take a moment and prayerfully ask our Beloved LORD JESUS “am I indeed living a life of trust in YOU? (2 Cor 13:5); “do I first seek YOUR counsel on matters, or do I trust myself in how I should proceed?” (Pro 3:5-8); “do I do what YOU say, or as I please?” (Luk 6:46); “is my public life as YOUR follower reflect the same one I live privately, and in my innermost thoughts?” (Mat 23:27-28). If you find that you need course correction simply follow HIS instructions from 1 John 1:9:

If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness