Rest in Him – Psalm 37: 3-7

Psalm 37:3-7

[3] Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
[4] Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
[5] Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
[6] And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.
[7] Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (KJV)

This Psalmist is warning people to stay faithful to the Lord, whether things seem to be good or bad, to always keep faith.

This verse is saying that when we see others as very prosperous and we seem at times to be struggling, we are not to be envious or jealous. We are to keep our love with the Father and continue to trust him, delight in him, regardless of what our lives look like.

Rewards here will vanish when the earth does, but for Christians, our rewards really begin when Jesus returns and this earth and all of the “earthly things” are destroyed.

Does this mean that Christians will not or should not have anything good in our lives while living on earth? No, not at all! God is watching over us even now, and it is his desire that we have an abundance of good things… our cup may be full to overflowing.

Does that mean that as Christians, we will never have hard times, disappointments or times we feel we can’t bear? No, whether Christian or not, we will suffer the bad as well as the good. As long as we are in this time frame, where satan has been given some authority and sin is in this world, everyone regardless of who we are or what we believe will suffer at some time or another.

The author is telling the followers of God, not to worry over what we do or do not have, compared to others. We are told to rest in the Lord, believe in the Lord, take comfort in the Lord, be committed to the Lord and wait on him because The Lord is coming back and will bring righteousness with him.

So for now we should not worry about anything and have complete trust in the Lord to look after us in all circumstances. Serve the Lord and wait, expectantly, for His return.

At that time, judgement will take place and each and every person will be shown what is rightfully theirs. And then all people will be directed to their new eternal homes.

Heavenly Father

I know at different points in my life as a non-Christian, I used to be quite envious of what others had that I didn’t. It started when I was a child and wanted the toys that my friends had. I realize now that satan tries to get his hooks into everyone on earth as soon as he can.

Thankfully Father you came into my life! Did I immediately stop wanting what others had? Did I immediately stop drooling over and getting angry that other people were leading such a carefree lives when I was going through hardships? No! It took time Father, time to understand.

I had to accept you into my life. It took studying your Word and praying to you. It took asking for forgiveness and being cleansed of all the past mistakes, angers and frustrations I had.

It was then that I started to heal. It was then I started to be happy for those who had more than I had. It was then that you put the peace that passes understanding into my soul. It was then that I became relaxed and happy, regardless of what was or wasn’t in my life.

Does that mean I never have bad or sad days? Does it mean I am able to be happy each and every day? No, not at all. I still have times where life just seems to overtake me and I fall.

I have learned that the important thing to do is to go to you Father as soon as I realize that I am in an area of loneliness, depression, unhappiness, or whatever has gotten me down and I ask for help!

The enemy may be involved in whatever circumstance I am going through, but Father, you will control the situation to end well.

I have found that when I look back on the troubling periods, I realize that those were the times of much growth for me.

I am grateful for all you are doing in my life. It is my honour and privilege to serve you Lord. I delight in studying your Word and talking to you. And best of all, I look forward to spending eternity with you.

In the name of my Lord and Saviour, I pray.

Amen

Faith and Works – James 2:14-17

James 2:14-17 

[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

[15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

[16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

Last week’s message Galatians 13:11-14, entitled Justified by Faith, showed us that Paul taught “we are saved by faith alone”.

This week’s post is focused on a piece of scripture that is often misunderstood. James, believed to be the 1/2 brother of Jesus, is NOT contradicting Paul. James is NOT saying that faith AND good works are the way to God. Some even profess that James is saying that only good works will get us to heaven. Not so!

James was telling the people of the Jewish Council (Christians) that we ARE saved by faith alone, but he takes it one step further. He says that once saved, our hearts should be changed as we are totally a new being. He asks the question, “are we authentically saved if we are not following it up with good works?”

We are told to be the extension of Jesus Christ here on earth. We are to be his hands and feet and a servant to others. If Jesus is actually in us, then we should be growing in love every day and if we are growing in love, then it ought to be showing in how we live and how we treat others.

James gives us an example. If someone has a need of clothes or food, etc. and we tell them to “trust in the Lord” or perhaps we say “I’ll pray for you, go in peace”, how has that helped the persons situation?

James wants us to understand that as Christians, if we do not follow up our salvation with works, then chances are, we have NOT really become a new person in Christ; have we?

Did we really accept Jesus into our being or did we just say some words and NOT truly believe with our hearts?

I suggest the message James was trying to get across was; if there is some way we can actually help others and don’t, do we genuinely have salvation or do we just have a worthless faith?

Jehovah – Tsidkenu,

Father, The Lord of Righteousness

I ask in the name of Jesus that I have the kind of faith that James was talking about here. Yes, I have accepted Jesus by faith but now Lord, I ask that you allow me to grow in that faith the way you intended.

By “serving” others the way Jesus did, will show that I am growing in my faith. Lord, it’s my desire to grow in you every day, to please you by my works, to honour you and to give you all the glory.

In the name of The Lord Jesus Christ, my saviour.

Amen

Martin Luther said – “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

Justified by Faith – Galatians 3: 11-14

Galatians 3:

[11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
[12] And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
[13] Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Definitions:

Justification

The act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin.

Paradise (also known as Abraham’s Bosom) –

A place (of blessings) in Sheol, for those faith believers of God, during the Old Testament times. Because Christ had not been born and crucified, he was not able to take their sins. This meant they could not go to heaven, into the presence of God, at that point in time.

After His death, Jesus went to Paradise and took the OT believers to Heaven. Paradise was then closed.

Every person (with faith in Jesus), from then on, will immediately be in the presence of The Lord, upon death.

Law 

The Law is God’s instructions concerning the moral, social, and spiritual behavior of His people found in the first five books of the Bible.

Gentile 

It is generally taught in the Christian churches of North America, that the world is divided into three main religious groups – Jews, Gentiles and Christians.

The modern definition of a “gentile” is: “relating to the nations at large, as distinguished from the Jews.”

Faith

A belief and trust and loyalty to God.

Belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion.

Firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

God was (and is) looking for faith in Him, not merely law keeping and doing good works. Faith in Jesus is what gives us salvation.

Back in Abraham’s day, (Old Testament) many of his people were justified (cleansed of their sins in order to get into Paradise) through faith they had in God. They got into paradise because they listened to Abraham; believed, had faith in and worshipped The True God.

However, many people of that day continued to live only by the law and were lost. The law requires unwavering obedience, which man cannot do!

The Bible tells us that once Jesus was crucified on the cross everything changed. Our faith today must be in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Christ bought us with his blood. He was sin-free but he took our sin and was crucified, on the cross (tree) in our place. He suffered what he did NOT deserve and died to take away our sins.

We will not be saved by the Law. We will not be saved by doing good works, by animal sacrifice or being a descendant of Abraham, but by our faith alone. Faith in Christ Jesus!

Almighty God

Thank you for sending your only begotten Son to earth to become our Saviour.

Thank you that we do not get saved by good works and obeying the law. We are sinners and no amount of living by rules and regulations could atone for the times we fail. No one on this earth would ever make it to Heaven, if that were the path.

Thank you Lord that once saved, believers do their best to live by the Mosaic rules and regulations and many good works are done by and for people.

Thank you that Gentiles are now included in the promises you made to Abraham. Thank you that many people of all nations are accepting you, as their Saviour.

And most of all Father, thank you that you have given ALL people an EASY way to come to you – through faith and a personal relationship in the LORD JESUS CHRIST, our Redeemer.

Thank you that everyone who declares Jesus as Lord, has true faith and asks for forgiveness of sins, can join your family for eternity.

In His holy and precious name, I pray,

Amen

No one can be counted sinless without Jesus.

The LORD Called to Abraham – Genesis 12:1-3

Genesis 12: 1-3 

[1] Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

[2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

[3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

After the flood, Noah’s descendants became sinful (building the Tower of Babel). They disobeyed God and stayed in one place instead of spreading out all over the earth. God confused their language so they couldn’t understand each other and so they finally spread out.

Many years after the flood, God decided to start a personal relationship with one person, Abram.

It is interesting to note that’s God asked for only one thing in return from Abram; obedience.

In verse 1 – God commanded Abram to leave his country, his family and friends and go to a land where God would lead him. God was moving Abram from an idol-worshipping area and people.

At this point in Abram’s life, he was a 75 year old man living in his father’s house, married but childless. This was God’s test to Abram. Would he be able to leave everything behind and follow God without even knowing where he was going?

In verse 2 – God promises Abram the first of many promises:

:To make a great nation through his descendants

:Make Abram’s name great

:Make Abram a blessing (to all obedient believers who would follow Abram’s lead)

Verse 3 – The first promise is to Abram alone. God will bless him. The rest of the promises involve other people. God will bless those who bless Abram and God will curse those who curse Abram.

Abram obeys and with faith he follows God, which became a turning point in history. The Nation of Israel (Abram’s/Abraham’s heirs) are promised to become a great nation.

Heavenly Father, Almighty God,

The promise you made with Abram/Abraham still stands today. People who bless Abraham’s heirs (Israel) will be blessed and those who curse her will be cursed.

We can see that you kept your promise to Abram. He is called “a friend of God”, “the father of all those who believe” and is considered the founder of 3 religions (Judaism, Islam and Christianity).

Why would we have any reason to doubt that you are still holding those promises you made with him?

Father, allow me to always bless Israel in any way I can. One of the best things I can do right now and everyday is to “Pray for Israel”.

Thank you Lord for the opportunity and privilege of praying for them.

Thank you Lord that your Word is true always.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray

Amen

PRAY for ISRAEL

Without Faith – Hebrews 11: 6-7

Hebrews 11: 6-7

[6] But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
[7] By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

Verse 6: Enoch knew God and wanted to please Him and set out daily to do just that. He walked with and pleased God by faith. How?

Enoch

– believed God is who he says he is
– had confidence and trust in Him
– knew that God is truth
– kept close to God continually
– understood that God always keeps his promises

Like Enoch, we need to have total faith that God exists and everyday we must be actively drawing him near to us.

As we grow in our faith, we draw near to Him, and in turn, he draws near to us. When we believe with faith, our soul changes and we become obedient to God’s will and yearn to make Him happy.

Many people believe that by saying they know there is a God or by doing good works, it would be enough to draw them near to God. They are wrong! No matter what we think, say or do and no matter how many good things we do FOR God, nothing will compensate for a lack of true faith.

In return for our faith, God loves and gives us all peace. We can know that regardless of what our circumstance, He is always watching over us and we have the assurance that He will keep His promises to us.

Verse 7 shows us that Noah was another person who walked with God and had total belief and faith in Him.

God gave Noah a divine warning. (Genesis 6:13) and he immediately reacted and completed God’s assignment, not out of fear (being scared) but out of a reverential fear (awe, respect) and love for God.

It is because Noah and his family feared, loved and were committed to God by faith, that they were the only people on earth saved in the flood.

Since then, God has sent his son Jesus, to earth for our salvation, and it is imperative that we must have faith in Jesus Christ if we want to become a child of God. We become righteous heirs through Jesus Christ.

Every person has the option and ability to become a child of a God through belief in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately humans free-will and human pride keeps many people apart from God (the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

These verses of Enoch show us that anyone who wants to become a child of God MUST believe and have true faith in God (Trinity).

See how Abraham had faith in God in Hebrews 11: 8-20

Gracious God

I know Lord that to be counted as your child, I must have faith, belief and love for you and it’s important that I draw near to you each and every day.

The more I do that, it then becomes a constant circle – the more I draw near to you, the more you draw closer to me.

Please help me Father to be more like Enoch and Noah and be prepared, on a daily basis, to do your will. Let my eyes always be open to see ways that I can draw closer to you.

Thank you Father that it is your want for every person to turn and come to you, through Jesus. I understand that you have given people the free-will of choice, so I pray that pride and unbelief is broken in many people today. I pray for those lost souls Lord.

I pray that they may find faith and belief and grow to love you. For without faith, it is impossible to please you Lord.

Thank you for your love Father. May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

In the name of Christ Jesus, I pray

Amen

God is Ever Present – Exodus 13: 21-22

Exodus 13:

[21] And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

[22] He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Exodos is a Greek word meaning departure. Exodus means the Book of Departure from Egypt.

The Book of Exodus tells us of the Hebrew’s escape from Egypt and the start of Israel as a covenanted nation.

In this book, Moses reminds the people that God looked after them (Hebrew’s), even while they were in the desert.

He gave them food, drink and everything they needed to live in the barren area.

Why were the Hebrew people sent to the desert for so long?

God needed them isolated to the point where they had to become totally dependent on him, so they would see him as the one true God who could care for them completely, even in places like a desert.

While the people were wandering through the desert, they followed a huge cloud that God sent. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud stood still, they stayed in place.

Something I had never thought of, until studying this passage was: did the cloud do anything else; other than lead them?

Yes it most certainly did! In the day; the cloud covered them from the sweltering hot sun and in the night; it burned as a pillar of fire, keeping them warm.

It was a constant reminder that God was with them and would always look after his children.

As long as they were faithful to God, He would always be faithful to them.

Heavenly Father

You are the one and only true God. You love us, nurture us and carefully watch over us each and every day.

Some days we see you working in our lives and sometimes we don’t. Regardless you are always there.

I’m sure the Hebrew people felt you weren’t with them during some of their days in the desert, even though they were right in the midst of your miracles.

Sometimes your miracles happen so often, that we begin to take things for granted. Without you providing for us (sun, rain, soil, water, animals, etc.) where would be?

Father, I thank you for loving us so much that you watch over us everyday in ways that we aren’t even aware of anymore.

Please Lord, help me to remember each and every day to thank you for all your gifts to me.

Never let me forget that you are my one and only provider.

Thank you Father.

In the name of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen.

By the Faith of Abraham – Hebrews 11: 8-10

Hebrews 11:

[8] By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

[9] By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

[10] For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (KJV)

Abraham was called by God to leave his home and go to the land that God was promising him. Abraham had no idea where it was, what it was or how long it would take to get there. He had no idea of what they would eat or drink or even what the promised land would offer for shelter.

He was a man of faith! The Father told him to go, and he did.

By faith he went and found the land of promise but it was at the Lord’s request that he stay living as an alien.

Although he was very rich, he lived his life in tents on borrowed land.

Abraham was waiting for God to give the go ahead of when to lay down foundations of a city. But that decision was not made in Abraham’s time. Isaac, and then Jacob became heirs of the promise God had made to Abraham. Abraham lived in tents the entire time he was in the promised land. The only land Abraham actually ever owned was where he and Sarah were buried.

Heavenly Father

Allow me always to have the faith of Abraham. When you say go, I go. When you say stop, I will stop. Whatever you lead me to do, allow me to hear it, accept it, and do it.

Please Father, give me even a drop of the faith that Abraham had and I will be so much stronger in my faith.

Thank you Father.

In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen.

See that God is Good – Psalm 34: 7-10

Psalm 34: 7-10

[7] The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
[8] O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
[9] O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
[10] The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.

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This Psalm was written by David after he had faked an epileptic seizure. There are many different opinions as to whether he sinned by pretending to be afflicted or not. However, everyone agrees that it was correct for David to give God the glory for his release.

David says that an angel of the Lord was all around him. We, as believers, know that the Lord watches over his beloved, no matter where we are or what we are doing, thinking, saying and feeling at all times.

Since God knows everything, does this mean that, as his children, he will pull us out (deliver us) of every bad situation? No!

However, as his beloved, we can rest assured that he is aware of every situation and will sometimes allow what has to happen, to occur. We also must keep in mind that God will always give his children, what is best for us.

What about non-Christians? God has placed inside the heart of EVERY person in the world, (no matter of the era or country) the ability to know the truth about Him and the right to examine and know that God is real. God will not force us to come to him. We must open our hearts and ask him in.

The good news is that God meets us exactly where we are. We don’t (and can’t) have to become perfect. If we waited until we had everything under control, we would never turn to God.

We are to be in fear (awe) of God. We are blessed to be his child and as his child, we will always receive exactly what we need (not necessarily what we desire).

Verse 10 says that even the young lion will periodically go hungry. Even the strongest animal in the jungle, sometimes lacks and suffers hunger. His strength and ability does not always bring him the food he desires.

If non- Christians work hard and believe in their own abilities, they may feel that they are just fine by themselves. However, there will always be a hunger inside them, for something that seems just beyond their reach…God’s love.

However, as Christians, that hunger is already filled. With the love of God, we have everything now and into eternity.

Divine God

Thank you Father for all you do for me each and every day. I am so blessed that you have an angel assigned to watch over me and you deliver me from evil on a daily basis.

Thank you Father for your love. Thank you that when you called out to me, I heard your voice, saw your goodness and came running to you.

As your child I am in fear (awe) of you and because I put my trust in you, my heart is full, and never hungry. I am so very blessed.

I worship you Father for who you are, you deserve my worship. I’ll praise your name forever more.

In the Holy name of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen

hallelujah

Instruct and Teach Me Lord – Psalm 32: 8-10

[8] I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
[9] Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
[10] Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. (KJV)

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As I studied this particular Psalm, there were different points of view. Some felt it was the Fathers words to David and others felt that David was telling his people what had been taught to him. Either way it’s a wonderful message sent by God.

We are asked to follow God and if we do, the Lord will teach, lead and guide us. The point made here is that we need to willingly follow, not by being forced or pulled in a certain direction as horses and mules need to be lead, but to gladly follow wherever our Father leads us. He leads and we follow!

There are two paths offered to everyone, regardless of who they are, where they live or what the family situation. Everyone is given the same two choices…the path of righteousness (goodness) or the path of unrighteous (wickedness). Everyone follows the one of their own choosing.

As followers of the Lord, there may come times when we fail and slip off the path. God will allow certain blocks to come our way, with trials to go through so we can learn through these afflictions and get back on our true path.

The people who choose not to be his children are left to wander on their own and they have no guidance. This leads to wicked ways because sin is of the world. Sin eventually leads to sorrow and unhappiness.

Some might say God is cruel. He is not! The choice is our own. He has lovingly given us the free will to choose how we want to live. So in choosing, we are creating our own life and then our eternal destination.

So, when making our choice, we need to remember that sorrow comes to those who choose to live the way of the world and mercy comes to those who have choose to walk the way with the Lord.

Heavenly Father

You are majestic Lord. You are the one and only true God. Above you there is no other.

I don’t understand how people cannot choose to live for you. There is so much peace and love in being your child. I have changed so much in the 9 years that I have been your child. I would never want to go back to the times before I knew you.

In you, I feel contentment. I get up every morning, knowing that whatever happens, good or bad, in my day, that I will be able to relax in you and handle the situation.

Does this mean that I don’t worry, or I will never be sad or angry? No, it doesn’t. I am still living in a world full of sin and so the things that I deem bad, sad or absolutely horrible will still happen. But…as a child of God, I can rest in your arms. The Holy Spirit will give me the peace that passes understanding and Jesus will help me to go on with my day, regardless of the circumstances.

With the promise from you Father, that you will always be with us, and a promise of an eternity with you, why do people still choose to live a life without you?

Please Father, help my friends and family see, through me, how wonderful you are. I pray Father that every one of them thinks carefully before they automatically turn away from you, to go it alone.

You don’t put restraints on us, you don’t demand us to change in any way. You don’t demand we give up any of our bad habits. You accept each person, just as we are; sin and all. It doesn’t even matter how much sin or even what kind of sins we may be carrying or committing because you meet every person exactly where we are.

I had a boat full of sin when I first came to you. Many of those sins I thought were unforgivable. But…when I truly repented, through Jesus, they were all forgiven, taken away immediately. What a weight was lifted from my shoulders. Praise you Jesus!

Many people change right away at the time of forgiveness. They stop swearing or excessive drinking , stop holding anger, stop critiquing or gossiping. Some carry their sins while they are learning and growing. Either way, once we repent and ask Jesus into our lives, the Holy Spirit will lead us and we will grow and thrive as children of God.

Thank you Father that you love us and we can pray to you through Jesus anytime, anywhere, in any situation and you are right there ready to help.

Thank you for your love, understanding and for allowing me to have the free-will to live as I chose.

Thank you that my choice is to live for you!

With delight and reverence and in the name of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen.

hallelujah

Can I Really Overcome Hatred?

I love the way the Lord works! I am always aware that whatever scripture he leads me to study, God has picked it out on purpose. And as for you, reading this right now, I believe that God has also lead you to it for a reason.

This morning, I told my Father that I am very unhappy with the way I am reacting to the fighting and hatred that is happening in the world today. I cringe at the horrific atrocities taking place. It angers me that newscasters and newspapers actually headline them in the spotlight everyday, giving these murders the recognition that the don’t deserve.

I asked God to show me how to handle my behaviour, emotions and thoughts and he led me to 2 Peter 1:1-8.

[1] Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
[2] Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
[3] According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
[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.
[5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
[6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
[7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
[8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I read each verse above, (keeping in mind, the reason why God had led me to these particular passages) many different emotions zipped through me. I could feel my entire body and heart tightening and hardening. God wants me to love these enemies! How?

I know that, as a Christian, I am to love everyone! I want to love others the way Jesus does for me but sometimes it’s hard to keep a open heart, especially in these days and situations. If I am truthful, I don’t even want to like the people (and perhaps their entire race) because of the horrific things they are doing to innocent people.

At this point in my writing, I took a deep breath, prayed for peace and guidance. Then together, the Lord and I dug in and broke the scripture down into smaller parts, to find out why He led me (and you) to these particular verses.

Simon (Peter) the apostle, is telling the people that God has already given Christians (believing Jews and Gentiles) his greatest and most precious gifts: faith and righteousness. We gain these gifts by knowing Jesus through his work on the cross.

All Christians can know God on a certain level, however, to gain better knowledge of Him we need to be reading the Bible, talking to God and being around other godly people.

Peter continues by saying “And besides this” (referring to faith, righteousness, free salvation and eternal life) God will give us even more. However, the next set of gifts (qualities) that God will give us will require an whole-hearted effort on our part!th

Giving all diligence – (watching over, supervision) Diligence will help us to pay attention to what we are doing, thinking, and behaving. When we give due diligence, we will grow in the Lord.

Faith – We must be content to know and believe that Jesus is our Saviour. We must have faith that even though we have never seen God or Jesus, they are who the Bible says they are and that the Word of God is absolutely true. If something is happening in a way we deem bad, there is a reason for it and so we can relax. God gives his children the ability to have that kind of faith in him and in his ways.

In verse 5, Peter says that we must grow in virtue (high moral standards). In today’s world, it is becoming harder to remain virtuous. However, Peter tells us; that God has given us virtue, we just need to pick it up, put it on and use it.

A Christian CAN behave in a virtuous manner that shows we are different than others. NOT with a “better than you” attitude, but by showing a reflection of who God is and how he can work in us.

Knowledge – God has given each of us the ability to gain knowledge of him. We need understanding of what the Bible is teaching us. It doesn’t do us any good to read the Words of God and not understand them. That’s why he has placed people (Pastors, Sunday school teachers, the Church etc.) in our lives who can help us, teach us, lead us and guide us, as we grow in the Lord. We also need to study and spend some alone time with God. Knowledge is the key to understanding.

Temperance – We need self-control. There are many things we would like to say, act or do that we know we shouldn’t, but we may do them anyway. Have we lost the method or desire of restraint?

We need temperance (self-control) in so many ways. Addictions, for instance, can be seen as lack of self-control. Sometimes our anger can become an addiction. Are we allowing the people or situations of today to beat down our God given gift of temperance? By leaning on the Lord and using self-control, we can overcome.

Patience – Patience is a hard one for many people. We must have the patience to stand in faith, knowing that the Lord is with us at all times. We need to keep our faith that God has everything under control. He will give us the patience to get through whatever is happening in our lives but again, we must pick up the “patience” and put it on. God will only do so much and then it’s up to us to do our part. A good way to wear patience is to remain happy in all circumstances. Smile and wait with patience for whatever has to happen, to happen.

Godliness – If we are to truly love God then we need to have godliness. We need to have a reverential fear of the Lord, that is; to always be in awe of the Lord. Having godliness comes from within and shows outwardly.

Brotherly kindness – It is important to join a church and have Christian friends. We need to have brothers and sisters in the Lord so that we can grow in our faith. By having a relationship with others members of the congregation, we can help and love one another in times of troubles and can lean on each other when we feel weakened in our faith and can rejoice along side of them in the good times. People who know and love the Lord can give us a different type of love and support than those who do not know Him.

Charity – Charity takes form in many different ways. As a Christian, it is our duty to love all mankind, yes even those who persecute us. It is our duty to treat everyone with kindness and love. It is our duty to give love, provide help, not be selfish, but to give willingly to all who need help and to pray for everyone, especially those living in sin. Charity can be seen in a missionary’s life. Some go into situations, knowing the dangers they face but are willing to serve God, regardless to the danger.

God is not saying to let others walk all over us, but to pray for them to change and asking that in the change they might see the error of their ways and come to see the true light of God, through Jesus.

Whether we are in a foreign land or in our own homes, it is our duty to live in a way that shows God working in our lives and to tell others of God and His son Jesus.

Gracious Father,

I know that the time of this world is winding down to a close and that each day the events we see happening, are things you said would have to take place before the end.

I know God, without a doubt, that you alone are in charge and have total control. I understand that the horrors we see now are brought on by Satan and they have a place in the larger scheme of things.

However Lord, when I am watching the news, my heart automatically turns hard with hatred towards the people and situations that are happening today. I find it hard to keep my heart in a loving state when I hear of beheadings, rapes, murders and bombings, especially when innocent people are involved. Each time I see or hear about another incident taking place, I feel my anger growing.

I ask you Father to help me. I know that to hold any emotion not based in love, is a sin and sin comes from the enemy. I confess Father that I am holding a lot of sin: anger, resentment and many times even hatred. And worse than that, at times I hold judgment towards an entire race, many of whom are truly innocents.

Lord, I can feel myself slipping away from you as satan slowly creeps into my being through this anger and hatred. I need your help so that I can live a godly life, especially now, when sin is growing rapidly and wickedness runs rampant.

I come before you right now asking for forgiveness. I confess to you, that my heart is hardened against these enemies and their ways. I confess to you that voicing my anger sometimes give me a “way to blow off steam”. I confess that when I see a person of a particular race, my heart goes cold. I confess to you that in all of these situations (and more), I cannot and do not let Jesus been see in me. I am so sorry Lord that I let you down and I repent of these sins.

I ask that you would forgive me, cleanse me and then teach me how to be worthy of living a life of diligence, faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity, in all situations, whether I deem them good or bad.

I now consciously accept your forgiveness and grace Lord. I thank you for loving me so much that you can and have forgiven me and allowed me a clean start.

Father, please tell me how I am to love the people who are causing so much pain and loss to others. His answer…

As a Christian, hold firmly onto Jesus and stand solidly in Him and in love, regardless of what I am seeing taking place in the natural world.

I am to live in a manner that pleases God, despite what my earthly situations may be.

I am to pray fervently for ALL of my sisters and brothers (including those of different colours and races). It is difficult to keep a hardened heart when I am praying for them!

And I am to remember: If, as a Christian, I don’t set an example of the goodness of God, then who will?

Thank you Lord, for revealing to me the ways in which I can lean on you during these last days of satan’s rule of our world.

Thank you that “through Jesus Christ who strengthens me” I can truly pray for those that I would actually want to curse.

Thank you that you will help me to stay above the hatred. Please have the Holy Spirit convict me right away, if I fall short. Please have him immediately encourage me to repent and make things right. I know that if my hatred were to continue to grow, I would be of no use to you.

Thank you for keeping my feet firmly planted on the foundation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you that “His strength in me” will be seen, in all situations, enabling me to outwardly bless and confess the name of Jesus.

I thank you for leading me to this scripture as it has empowered me (as always) to know you in a deeper sense and will help me to live an honourable life serving you, when and wherever you need me.

In the name of my Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ, I pray.

Amen
Hallelujah

hallelujah