Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Saved by Grace

By, Benjamin H. Liles
          For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV

          If as the Message says it this way, "Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role," then we have no real way of boasting about the salvation we receive from the Father. Primarily, it is, we receive salvation by faith in His grace He will accomplish His own desire and will. I say this for two reasons:

1) God tells us that "When I speak, what I say is fulfilled. The words I utter accomplish the desire I so have. They are not empty, they will come to pass" (Isaiah 55:11). Well, when Jesus told the disciples, and everyone else as well, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19, English Standard Version) he said it in truth and in sincerity. When after Jesus the Messiah was crucified, did He not come back to life through the resurrection? Of course He did. He accomplished (God's word spoken finding fulfillment, see Isaiah 55:11) what God sent Him to do.

2) Without God's intervention on our behalf no flesh will be saved. Paul wrote to Titus, "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Another way of saying what Paul is to Timothy is, "The mercy we obtain isn't our idea, it is God's, so that no one can boast in their works."

          Don't get me wrong, I do understand we all work toward and for something. Our salvation isn't one of those things. Either we commit ourselves, our lives, and our hearts to Him on the matter or we cling to those things which we think we can easily hold on to. So, how do we do this? How can we accept this idea of "the gift of salvation through God's grace and our faith?"
          To begin with we need to notice God's act of redemption is to cleanse us from unrighteousness. In the Old Testament when a person touched something unclean--blood, fluids, certain foods--that person became unclean. In Isaiah, we see something new: God has an angel touch Isaiah's lips, and Isaiah becomes clean (see Isaiah 6:6, 7). Later, when Jesus came, every time He cleansed someone, or even healed someone from disease, they were purified; He didn't become unclean or become defiled because of our filth. So, the matter at hand is we can approach God, through the Son, by faith. He'll take care of our informities.
          The other part is that when Jesus came to accomplish the Father's will (going back to Isaiah 55:11 here), the Father was showing Him--Jesus, the Son--where His healing ministry was going. It wasn't going down the drain. By going to the cross Jesus put the powers of sin and death on display. Recall where God spoke to Adam saying, "And I will put enmity [hatred] between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15, New King James)? This was fulfilled when the Messiah's blood was shed. He struck the serpent's head, and the nail through Jesus's heel was struck by the serpent (it is an analogy).
          Therefore, the best thing we can do is to have faith He can separate us from our sins and death, transferring from Himself salvation and righteousness thus allowing for us to be something newer, better. But we have to put off sin and it's deeds. It means repenting, which is having a change of mind, turning away from what we once did before. Paul said, "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Look, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17, New Heart English). 

          If by some chance this article has helped you come to Jesus our Messiah, and you do believe in what He has done, tell Him. I know it's some times better to have someone pray with you, but more often than not God desires to hear you profess your faith and belief that His Son, Jesus, set you free. Let Him know that you desire more in life, to be made new. Thank Him. Find a station on your radio that plays Christian music and praise God for the work He's done. Lastly, find a church that you know is firmly grounded, that teaches solid biblical truth. Praise God! You are now finally His. I am glad to know that you are His child. God bless you and may His face shine towards you always.

A Living Sacrifice

By Benjamin H. Liles

           Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. ~ Romans 12:1

           How do we thank and honor God? It's an easy thing to do with our lips, but can we do it on a daily basis whether it's been a good or bad day? I love the advice a friend of mine once gave me: "You can choose to wake up in either a good or bad mood. The choice is yours." The point being made is that we can choose how to honor God with our bodies, our lips especially.

           James says about the lips of mankind, "Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things" (James 3:4-5, NASB). How do we choose to respond to our daily struggles? Are we doing so to honor Him who bought us at a high price, His Son's death at the cross? Or do we live our lives the way we want to, allowing every evil and selfish desire motivating us? 

           What we think and say is how we really are; it's a reflection of our heart. But our language and our service, as a total, reflect who we belong to. I say I belong to God, my speech needs to prove it, therefore I also need to show a reasonable service as well of being thoughtful of others. That is how a Christian needs to live. But we're not perfect, and neither is a Christian; not this side of Heaven anyway. The best we're going to get to perfection on this side of Heaven is to allow God to help us change the way we think, the way we offer service to one another, how we talk, and most importantly how we walk.

From Death to Life

By Benjamin H. Liles

          Because all flesh [is] as grass, and all its glory as [the] flower of grass. The grass has withered and [its] flower has fallen; but the word of [the] Lord abides for eternity. But this is the word which in the glad tidings [is] preached to you. ~ 1 Peter 1:24-25, Darby (Verse of the day)

          For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ~ Romans 10:13

          Everything decays, and yet God and His word endures. Yes, I'm combining the two verses. I saw the verse Jeremy Camp posted up and I thought, "Hey, that's such a great word." Then I got to thinking about it, and decided it was time to work on today's (10/28/2015) verse of the day. On the one hand, since everything is replanted to the earth, even our own bodies, we decay more and more as time passes on. It's inevitable. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

          Don't get me wrong. I'm as positive as the next Christian. For those of us who belong to Him who saves--we see death (it's a barrier)--as a thin glass that we pass through, so that kind of decay is something we will go through, due to what Adam did. But, there is good news indeed: Christ came and gave His life so we might have life. 

          Yes, we may decay and die, but surely when we call on His name - Jesus Christ - in the bottom most part of where we are, He can and will save us from ourselves and our sin. He takes us out from the pit, setting us on a firm rock. That rock is only found in Him. So, even though we still pass through the veil of death, it holds no power over us just as it had no power over Christ. Today's word is a good word for sure.

Being Equipped for Good Works

By, Benjamin H. Liles

          All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

          What is the end of being a man or woman after God's heart? It is in acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him (paraphrase of Micah 6:8). This work couldn't be done without the love of God for a sinful race: mankind. It is the work of Jesus Christ, who on our behalf allowed Himself to taste death so that we wouldn't have to fully taste it's bitter sting. It's like the Law of God shows us where we err, and the only way it can be made whole is through what Christ did. 

          "Come, let us discuss this," says the LORD." Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool" (Isaiah 1:18, HCSB). That's what it means to allowing to be corrected, being trained for righteousness. Not one person can be made righteous holding onto sinful pride, hanging onto sin or that lifestyle, or walking in vanity. 

          The final end result is having His righteousness imputed to us, thus equipping us for "every good work." Settle this matter in your own heart and life. "O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him" (Psalm 34:8, NASB).

God is Our Strength

 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless - Isaiah 40:29

By Benjamin H. Liles

          Have you ever felt so powerless, weary, and faint to the point you feel you can't go on? I know a debate is being waged against God and His word. We can get so discouraged by people and life that we feel God's Book--the Bible--is the last thing we need. God tells us differently with this one passage from Isaiah. "Come to me, you who are weary," the sentence looks like it says. "Give to me your weariness, your powerlessness and see what I can do," He finishes. So, what exactly are we to do when God calls us?

          The first thing is God doesn't expect us to be the prize winner of Cork County fair. He's not looking for people who have it all straightened out and perfect. Paul says this: "But [the risen Christ] said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9, Berean Study).

          Think on that. Christ is the One who tells Paul, "My power is perfected in weakness." This matches what Isaiah says in this verse. So, if Christ wanted a people who were perfect, why is it He says to the leaders of the day: "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17, New American Standard)? He came to save that which was lost; He came so that "the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news" (Luke 7:22b, Holman Christian Standard).

          I could make this a whole theological argument and show reasons why we ought to come to Lord Jesus. But what good would that do? Nothing. It is vanity in and of itself. Yes, I am trying to reason this out, but to also show you--the reader--how much God's desire is for you. You can't see what you want to see, who God is? Allow Him to restore your sight. You can't walk to your Bible, to open it up and read the words? Let Him heal those painful areas so you can leap for joy!

         Take it from some one whose eyesight is already terrible as it is. Take it also from some one who has to take it easy in walking, for I have a bad hip and a bad knee. God doesn't care about something you truly feel terrible for. He's like the father of the Prodigal Son: longing for a child he tenderly loves, desiring to give him the best once more. What God cares about is your restoration. He cares more for you and what you're going through far more than He cares about what you did five minutes ago. Does He hate sin? Oh, indeed He does. It will be dealt with, just not in the way or manner you think He will. But God cares so much more for you. How much?

          If we were to put sin on trial, and its effects death, before God--He would condemn it out right. You, on the other hand, God cares more so. "But the God of the Old Testament..." Hear me out. If God was so very wrathful and angry at mankind for every little thing, why are there tons and scores of verses about His mercy? Verses like:
  • "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" (Exodus 33:19).
  • "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions (wrongs, sins, iniquity). Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin" (Psalm 51:1-2).
  • "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love" (Psalm 103:8).
  • "Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18).
  • "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity" (Joel 2:13).
          Can we see how much God doesn't desire to send punishment out on those who are His? He uses His long arm in dispensing judgment to show us how truly far away we are from Him. We need to remember how much He knows us. He knows us so well that He knows exactly how to get our attention. For some of us we turn around and come to our senses even if it takes a while for us to do.                                  
          For others, it's like having to keep calling out and saying, "Watch out!" over and over and over again, until these people actually turn around. Then there's that last group. They think they know better. They are so far gone, not caring a whit about God any more. They have completely forgotten. It's like Paul said of sheep, "They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one" (Psalm 14:3, Romans 3:12).

          What can be done? What we can do is to turn from our past actions, realizing the harm we do to ourselves, to God, and to others (not necessarily in that order; more like God, ourselves and others). We acknowledge themn to Him who is abounding in love, not desiring any to perish, patient in His mercy to us. We also need to realize there is a point coming where He won't remain merciful for much longer. We need a wake up call. That's why God judged the nations in the Old Testament. It was to get them to "Wake Up! Turn around, settle down, and turn this world upside down."

          It comes down to realizing we are fallen sinful beings. That's the biggest part. The other parts are that we do away with them. We put God first, loving Him and only Him. Then we turn to loving our neighbors, restoring what's theirs rightfully. We remind each and one another of how great and merciful God is, especially in the person of Jesus Christ. He's the one who condemned sin and death with His life at the cross of Calvary. Finally, we live our lives by the grace of God, in His power, which He gives to us when we become part of His family. Now, don't you want your strength restored? God wants you to have Him in your life.

Walking in Wisdom through Praise and Thanksgiving

By Benjamin H. Liles

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ Ephesians 5:19-20

If we are to walk in wisdom we would do so through the Spirit of grace and mercy. That is Paul's point here. He's not just saying that we should "encourage one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." Doing so is a good and great thing. What Paul is getting at is that the person who has His word dwelling so richly within him or her that the music in our hearts be contagious. It's almost as if the very core of the person offering up thanksgiving and praise is a fire that can't be easily extinguished.

It's also not just something our Father in Heaven loves to hear. He enjoys it. Even if we're in the midst of trouble, lifting up our voice and singing about Him, His deeds, and showing our utmost for Him shows Him where He is in our lives. Paul and Silas were in jail having spoken of the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. We see them in their chains, sitting there in the torch lit cell "singing songs in the night" (Let Everything That Hath Breath, Petra). Their singing is so infectious an earthquake happens. The doors were loosened and still the prisoners remained where they were. A Roman centurion runs in so scared to death, unsure of whether or not the prisoners are still there, he asks Paul, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul's response is thus, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:30-31). 

So we see that living a life of Spirit-led singing and praise does something transformative in others. Why? As in the case of the centurion, it led him and his entire household to believe in Jesus Christ for we read, "And he--Paul--took them (the jailer and his family) the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household" (Acts 16:33-34). It stands that the jailer and his family were awed by the power of God, converting them through the Spirit of mercy and grace, so that they too could rejoice, "having believed in God with all his household."

Rather, we need to keep Him and His word on our lips, continually. Giving Him praise, in song and in our words, showing how much we truly think and seek after Him. The reason for giving Him thanks and offering up our songs of praise to and of Him shows our hearts are with Him; that Him in His mighty power can save. It may not be in the next moment, but that hope you're showing off does something within you. It gives you more than a relentless and restless hope for the future kingdom of God. It allows you to be and feel free from the contraints of the world and its cares.

The Beginning of Wisdom

By Benjamin H. Liles

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever. ~ Psalm 111:10, New American Standard

           I have to say I admire Matthew Henry. When he wrote his commentary it was sometime in the latter half of the 17th Century, early 18th Century. He says of the last two verses os Psalm 111: 9, 10:

           "He sent redemption unto his people, out of Egypt at first, and often afterwards; and these were typical of the great redemption, which in the fulness of time was to be wrought out by the Lord Jesus. Here his everlasting righteousness shines forth in union with his boundless mercy. No man is wise who does not fear the Lord; no man acts wisely except as influenced by that fear. This fear will lead to repentance, to faith in Christ, to watchfulness and obedience. Such persons are of a good understanding, however poor, unlearned, or despised."

          So, truly, how can we have a true and healthy fear of God, having wisdom and thus following in His footsteps? I can grant a healthy look into how it looks, rather than works, through the person of Jesus Christ. As a man who walked among us, Jesus was both prodigious in the Father's words, works, and language. He claimed both to be God as well as His human agent, or as the gospel of John says of Jesus, "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, [Jesus] declared [the Father]" (John 1:18, New King James).

          Even later in John's gospel, he records Jesus saying, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would know My Father as well. From now on you do know Him and have seen Him. Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I say to you, I do not speak on My own. Instead, it is the Father dwelling in Me, carrying out His work. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me--or at least believe because of the works themselves" (John 14:6, 7, 9b-11, Berean Study Bible).

          Since the Son is sent of the Father, Jesus from God, into a hurting and broken world, God needed Someone who could become like us. He needed a man who would both be known to us who could take our sorrow and our pain, who would be both pleasing and willing to be a sacrifice on our part. "Wait. What?" Isaiah, in the vision he received from God, says of His servant:

          "He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; he was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:3-5).

          What does this have to do with the title of this article? Simply that without Jesus Christ stepping between us and the Father there would be no reason for us to fear God. By standing between the judgment of God on sin and its effects, putting it on display as well as bringing an end to spiritual death, we stand no hope before the God of this universe. 

          Take note of Jesus' words and see how important it is He went to bat for us on our behalf, "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:28-31, New American Standard).

          Therefore, when we see Jesus telling us, "Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:21, 23, Berean Study). 

          What are these commands He reminds us to do? "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40, New King James). Paul recorded what Jesus shown him through the Spirit: "Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1, Holman Christian Standard). 

           Then it stands within the faith and reason we have for believing Christ and other writers that the wisdom we ought to have towards God is with a willing, repentant heart, standing in the gap between God and man as God allowed since the days of Abraham until the very end. In other words, "Wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10, New American Standard).      

Bearing Each Other's Burdens

By Benjamin H. Liles

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:2

          I was looking at this picture I have up here and it has me thinking. How are we to act and treat someone who wants to give us their burdens? Do we ever truly look or act joyful when someone shares their burdens with us? Well, what about this: how do others act when we share our burdens? 
Paul talks about bearing one another’s burdens in the extent of showing the love of Jesus Christ in order to “Win those not having the law” (1 Corinthians 9:21). What law is Paul talking about? And isn’t it the law that shows us we sin?

          Jesus tells us that part of the Father’s law is to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 7:12). It doesn’t mean we won't sin, but rather show others that by keeping these laws we honor and obey what He has the Son doing. Remember, this is the same God who gave the blind their sight, allowed the lame to walk, and opened the ears of the deaf. We are to do those same things as to show how we come to Jesus Christ. 

          In Romans Paul says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8). By bearing up in love another’s burdens we fulfill the command to love others by cancelling out a debt. There is never a shortage of loving one another, or even in fulfilling the command to love those who sin. 

          The point is to always preach the gospel of Christ showing we all sin, fall short of God’s standards, and explaining why we need Him to begin with. And this is the love with which we are commanded to show and share. And not only that, but to also take joy and bear with one another in as cheerful a manner as possible. "A joyful heart is good medicine, but depression drains one’s strength," writes Solomon in Proverbs 17:22.

Causing Little Ones to Stumble

By Benjamin H. Liles

What a truly terrifying fate awaits those who try and hinder the gospel. They are to be pitied above all men. ~ Matthew 18:6, 7

If we look at Matthew 18:3 we're told, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven."  First things first: turn from sins.  How do we do that if we don't have our attitudes checked, take correction, or learn from being disciplined?  "Wait, discipline?"  I know, but look at this verse and see if, in your heart of hearts, how God sees us: "For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child (Hebrews 12:6, NLT)."

So, if we choose to give up and turn from our sins it means we took that discipline and correction and applied it to ourselves in order to be seen and received as legitimate children.  Think of that!  He desires to make us His children.  Now look at the symbolism Christ is using in his answer to the disciples about "Who is the greatest?" Children.  

How eager are children?  Are they full of life and without much care?  Do they desire to do right and to (gasp) emulate those things and qualities they admire in their "parents?"  They strive to be, well, childlike.  They want to be found pleasing, full of joy and to find answers.  And if the parents are indeed good parents, they do their best to correct and discipline their children to do right and to be just.  Look at what a writer of Proverbs says, "Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it (22:6)."

Our outlook at things needs to be childlike, having turned away from the life and characteristics that taint us by sin.  We were not created or designed by God to be sinful.  He created us in His image: which means we are to have fellowship, unbroken socalities with one another, to love and honor boundaries, to give one another freedom to be and do "just, right" and to "walk in humility" with one another.

Just because we're given freedom doesn't mean or give us the right to trample on one another or to impose harsh dictates on one another, but to call out the person we are made to be.
With this as the setup I now move on to what Ray posted up: Jesus said what he did to the disciples so that they don't become like the religious leaders Jesus stood against.  Religion, especially Judaism, focuses on keeping the law.  Has any of us ever kept the law or kept it perfectly?  I know I haven't and chances are you haven't either. So, don't try and claim you can.  None of us can except for Jesus Christ who not only knew the laws backwards and forwards but who modeled the kind of life we are to extend to each other.

There are some "religious" Christians who truly believe they know better, but the truth of the matter is such religiosity shows they neither understand what God is saying in and through Jesus, but also what both are truly about.  Love is the way and the key.  

In looking at Matthew 18:6, 7 we need to understand that Jesus is saying to make someone stumble, to err to sin, to fall away and to come to harm is better off coming to ruin.  How dare we keep someone from following after Jesus Christ!  How dare we keep someone from loving as God commands us.  What did Christ do?  Did He not give of himself and his life so that we can experience and know God as he did?

He had an unbroken relationship with the Father, and I--for one--will never deny someone the right to become a child of God.  Nether will I stand in the way due to my own ignorance.  God has the final say of who belongs to Him and who doesn't. All I can do, as a Christian, is to show love, to show His caring, guiding hand and to do so in the same way Christ did.

We all live confusing lives, why make it worse?  Why not reach out and help one another?  I admit that while I led an atheistic life for many years up until four years ago, I always knew deep in my self that there was Something more.  This is my understanding and my logic.  Take it or leave it.  I just hope I've explained this in such a way that others see more clearly and decide it's far better to "see the light" than choose to remain in the darkness.

After all, the "darkness cannot comprehend the light" nor even begin to understand the complex mysteries of God.  That is why atheists are right in claiming, "If there is a God, He cannot be known."  The darkened heart and mind cannot and will not perceive the love and goodness He has for us.  We must choose to be done with sin and to move forward in and with Him to something better.  There simply has to be, in the words of Steven Curtis Chapman, "More to this life."

The Good News

By Benjamin H. Liles

Since August 20, 2015 I have found a newness of life. I believe it means that my heart and mind accepted the free gift of what Jesus Christ did at the cross on my behalf. Some people will say something like, "Well, that's what works for you." The thing of it is I want others to have or even desire this same in their life. We all have a hole due to what sin has done in our lives. I wasn't better than anyone for sure. I know I sinned greatly in God's eyes.

The good news is that surely if God can forgive this sinner, He can forgive anyone of their sins. A lot of people make the excuse that "God can never forgive me for my sins, which are many." Yes, you're partially right, but the truth is if you hold on to sin in your life you really won't take what God offers through Jesus Christ. He didn't just die on the cross for me. He put Himself on that cross for everyone. How can I say that? 

Jesus tells Nicodemus, a Pharisee, "Whoever believes in him (meaning Jesus Christ) may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:15, 16, ESV). Peter records almost this exact verse in his epistle: "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). 

The only way any one person can keep from being with God is to do the same thing as the rich young ruler who came to Jesus. Jesus says to him, "“If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property" (Matthew 19:21, 22, NASB). 

If we hold on to those things we think we own (like sin) then we can't do what Jesus desires us to do. But like I once said before and it's a true statement, even if over used: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." All I can do is preach the gospel of Christ, the decision is up to you to accept or reject this truth.

A Timely Word

By Benjamin H. Liles

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! ~ Proverbs 15:23, NKJV

As I start today I know there are times where I feel I am unable to do much; both on behalf of God's Kingdom as well as for myself. And it calls to mind how the Lord cares and loves us. He has Jeremiah saying, "For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who [experience hardship]" (31:25, New American Standard). How does this help a soul who truly needs help at a given moment? In another version, Solomon is saying "What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion" (Proverbs 15:23, Good News Translation).

You could be going through one of the worst seasons of your life at this moment and still God loves you so much to do everything He can to get your attention. He's like a father who misses his rebellious child, wondering and stricken; a spouse missing their love, heart-broken and reduced. I feel this is a word God wants used today for someone whose heart is indeed broken. It's a word where God is encouraging you to find and seek Him. At the same time I also want to add that not one single person has it together in how they use their mouth.

James says in his letter to the church, "The tongue is like a fire. It is a world of evil among the parts of our body. It spreads its evil through our whole body and starts a fire that influences all of life. It gets this fire from hell" (James 3:6, Easy to Read). Even if it were an easy thing every single day to use our mouths to bless others, it's still an amazingly hard thing to master it and continually be a blessing. I believe it's why we're told as His people, "But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have" (1 Peter 3:15, Easy to Read).

So, what are some things we can do to keep our hopes up when things seem down and out? Here are some things we can do:

1) Meditate on His word -  "His delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2, New American Standard). When we think on Him and His word, bringing things He said back into our mind we can often renewed and refreshed.

2) Commit His word to memory - "Therefore, you shall impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul, and tie them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead" (Deuteronomy 11:18, Amplified). Having His word memorized is most often a good way to do battle with those discouraging thoughts that invade your life.

3) Call to memory all God has done for you - "In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end" (Deuteronomy 8:16, New American Standard). In such times as you are going through currently, think of it as being refined and recall how much the Lord God has brought you from where you once were. 

I readily admit I never have the best of words or even ideas on how to do things, even in the right manner. For this, I thank Him who gave me the wife I have. If it weren't for her I would forget certain things. It reminds me that when I go to the store I have to have a list. And this matches up with "committing His word to memory." Some times I can remember exactly what she's told me and things go really well as a result. Other times when I forget things don't go so well. That's why it's so important to never forget what God does in our lives, especially through those who love us enough to keep us informed.

And yet it's a great reminder when someone has such a word where you can be restored, refreshed, made new and to be brought back in where God wants you to be, which is with Him by His side. So, I leave you with this final thought: "So then, as we have occasion, we should work good toward all, and especially toward those of the household of the faith" (Galatians 6:10, Berean Literal). God's word, more than anything, is a reminder of how much He not only loves us, but constantly looks for us who tend to wander away (maybe this would make for a great post soon?). Hopefully, this is a timely word for the one who needs it the most. God bless you and keep you in Him.

Doing God's Will

By Benjamin H. Liles 

I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart. ~ Psalm 40:8, NKJV

If we take what the psalmist says here and line it up with just a few more verses, showing how closely related loving God and doing His will is, we'd see this: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40, Berean Literal).

What then is God's will? First, Jesus says, "Love the Lord your God." When we think of how much He's loved us, so much so that He sent Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, we see He has no judgment toward us. He is that patient and longsuffering with us so that we do not perish in our sinfulness. He does this so we can see how truly sinful we are.

Years ago I was caught by a law enforcement officer speeding. He was going to let me off with a warning, but when he ran my license in the database they have warrants came up for my arrest, for what? Bad check writing. I had to go to jail. I knew what crime I committed and the full weight of the law demanded justice be served. Not only did I have to pay, in terms of jail time, but I had to make restitution for writing those checks.

In this same way, we are also in debt to God due to our sinfulness. Who should pay for our crimes against the Father? By all accounts we should be the ones who take it. That's what justice demands. But God, out of a deep love for us, did this on our behalf. Paul says, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus" (Romans 3:23-26, New Living Translation). 

The thing of it is that God loves us as His creation so much, He has the right to do and uphold the law He so clearly set. When He tells Moses and the children of Israel, "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments" (Exodus 20:2-6, New King James), He will uphold His own word even though it hurts Him to do so.

Think on it this way. We all have fathers we love and desire to do our best to listen and obey. Regardless of whether or not they follow God, they show they have God's laws on their hearts. My own dad taught me, time and time again, "Benny, stop lying to me. It hurts me to have to punish you, and giving you what that deserves." When I lied, and I always agreed I had, I ended up with a spanking. That was agreed on. Here's what I never saw my dad do, and it would have been hard for me to see him doing: I know he cried. How do I know? He told me on more than one occasion He hated having to discipline, but if it meant me learning to quit lying I'd deal with being punished. Well, God is the same way.

Listen: "There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. By swearing and lying, killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break all restraint, with bloodshed upon bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn; and everyone who dwells there will waste away with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air; even the fish of the sea will be taken away. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hosea 4:2, 3, 6, New King James).

God once again told Israel what He would do, and it came to pass. But only for a time. So, how do we do God's will? How can we show He's on our minds, our hearts, and not just love Him but also our neighbor? When someone does wrong to us we do as Jesus said: " Instead, whoever shall strike you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; to the one willing to sue you and to take your tunic, yield to him the cloak as well; if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two" (Matthew 5:39-41, Berean Literal). 

Back at the beginning David wrote this psalm, saying, "I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart." Even David sinned against God, and yet he was still called a man after God's heart. Why? He acknowledged his error. He may have had to lose a child in the process, and eventually the kingdom of Israel was torn from him, but God restored David because his heart always sought out the Lord. So, the best we can do in our walks is to keep ourselves in God's will. Love Him and love others. If it means sacrificing our own interests, then it needs to be done for the sake of another.

Delighting in God

By Benjamin Liles

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. ~ Psalm 37:4, NKJV

Take a moment and truly allow this picture to say something to you. You may have a difficult situation your in; that you are facing at this moment. What does this picture say or do for you? Does it inspire hope? Does it give you a sense of rest, of peace? We're going to see that God designed for us to be at rest, to have peace. It means we take our eyes off what we're in and allow Him to work things out for us. 

While this isn't the first cry to us about the giving nature of God, he certainly counsels to being after God's heart. David first says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord." In Psalm 21 David says this: "You have given him his heart's desire and have not denied the request of his lips. Selah" (v. 2). The Selah can be either a contemplative sigh of God's goodness, and in other various versions in a small break from the next thought. But what does David mean when he says "delight yourself also in the Lord?"

The folks over at offer this explanation, "Taking delight in the Lord means that our hearts truly find peace and fulfillment in Him. If we truly find satisfaction and worth in Christ, Scripture says He will give us the longings of our hearts" ( Jesus Christ said of the peace He gives to us is "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid" (John 14:27, Berean Study).

To make the point even more clear I can make the point of what David is saying. "Don't allow yourself to be troubled. Allow the Lord to give you peace. He sustains much more fully." And it's interesting I even say that. Jesus also said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7, 8, New American Standard). 

Is there anything we can do to make God do anything faster, quicker, better? No. Why sweat the small things then? That's the reason David says to "delight yourself in the Lord." For a time he was hunted day after day as Saul chased him as though he were a dog. Remember, David slew Goliath, not just on behalf of God, but for his family and nation of Israel. This is the same David, that when Saul's peace was taken would take up the lyre and play music for Saul. Then the torment in Saul would subside. David wrote what he did in one of those times where Saul was hunting him for no good reason.

Surely, if you're having one of those days or times where things just don't seem right or to be going your way take heart. God is a God of peace. Recall this Psalm: "He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters" (Psalm 23:2). He gives us a place of rest and peace if and when we allow Him. But it means our eyes come off of us and our surroundings, our pain, discomfort and all. Allow God to deal with it. To "delight in God" means to allow Him to work things out. Take joy, take peace, and above all let rest grant you the means to live in safety.

Awesome God

 The calling of Isaiah. This is probably what Isaiah saw.

By Benjamin H. Liles

The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant [promise, ally, treaty]. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net [snare]. ~ Psalm 25:14-15, NKJV

I recall years ago when my family and I vacationed in Nevada. I had turned rwenty-one a few months before the trip. My parents asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday. Naturally, I said, "Las Vegas." So, the week around Christmas (my sister's birthday is the 24th) we headed to Las Vegas, Nevada. While we were there we saw Hoover Dam (that was a spectacular view), went to a few casinos, took in one show--which to be honest put me off, and even visited a Native American site. What I remember most was our visit to the Grand Canyon. Talk about a view! This is a vast gorge carved out by mighty, rushing waters which today you have to truly hike to to see the river. My point in getting to viewing the Grand Canyon is it's majestic and panoramic view. I have a picture on one wall with a 360 view of almost the same area.

Now if seeing something like this is majestic, what about actually seeing God? What would be more awe inspiring than "practically" coming face to face with the Lord of Hosts? Isaiah records his view of God: "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
The whole earth is full of His glory!” (6:1-3)

Isaiah continues. "So I said:

“Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The Lord of hosts" (v. 5).

How would you feel making friends with someone who had true and endless power such as the God of all Creation? I can liken it to meeting a president of a country. No, not impressive? Well, how about meeting your favorite celebrity? I'm not making an argument for idol worship. I'm showing how you would feel meeting someone that we deem as "important."

God is ever more important to me. I can count endless time, even lately, where I want nothing more than to simply be at Jesus' feet. More than that I love His voice. Here's something Jesus said, "You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because everything I have learned from My Father I have made known to you" (John 15:14, 15, Berean Study). Why do I use those verses? When God shows His people something He doesn't do it simply because He sees a servant. He has plenty at His command. No, God shows His people things through prophets, and messengers, apostles, disciples, etc. as they have standing with Him.

Recall one of the first times God talked to man? He showed Himself to a humble man named Abram. He told him, "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:1-3, New King James). Abram did what God said: "So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran" (Genesis 12:4). Time and time again God showed Abram something, and every time Abram did as he was told by God. He walked with God and as a result God walked with him.

Today, God walks with us through the person and His Son Jesus Christ. We have Him. We have His words as revealed to us by men He called disciples, and in return they did what Jesus said, thus they were His apostles. They weren't servants. They were His friends. So, this is my challenge to you: be a friend to God. Listen to His voice. Read His words to you in His holy word, the Bible. Do what He says and love Him, first and foremost. Then love others as you would want them to love and care for you. God gave us His Son, Jesus, to serve us. Knowing this then we should desire to love and serve others as Jesus did on our behalf. He alone is awesome. He is also God. To finish, Jesus said, "If you had known Me, you would also have known My Father. From now you know Him, and have seen Him. Jesus replied, "Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:7, 9, Berean Study).

Acceptable and Pleasing in God's Sight

By Benjamin H. Liles

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14

David's praise to the Lord, Savior, and Maker of Heaven and earth shows how truly humble he is. He not only asks Him to forgive and cleanse his heart, but also to be kept from sinning, to be blameless in God's sight. So if God's law converts the soul, His testimony makes the simple wise, His statutes rejoices the heart of man, then surely God is a merciful and loving God.

In another verse David says, "Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD" (Psalm 19:14). He never wants there to be a day where he doesn't desire to praise or even pray to His Lord and God; his reason for his salvation. David was heaven minded. I imagine David is saying something to the degree of "I want what I purpose in my heart and the words I speak to you, O Lord, to be found pleasing to You."

I always ask Him to cleanse me, to keep my heart pure, and to keep me blameless every day. It doesn't mean I don't sin, we all sin in some way. The cure is to confess when we sin to Him. It's the only way to remain in Him. Therefore, praising God for salvation surely makes sense as His hands ensure our deliverance from bondage and sin. All it requires is seeing how we have fallen short of His holy laws, and seeing how much we need Jesus Christ in our lives.

Moments of Discouragement

By Benjamin Liles

Since my last post on the 11th of this month I admit my heart's been heavy. I know I'm not the only one who feels discouraged, down in heart, or as the Lord put it to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your [face] fallen?" (Genesis 4:6). A lot of the time we get busy and when the day comes to a close, or even the week does, we find that as our energy returns we feel a sense of hopelessness. 

Now I'm not saying Cain had a bad day. Nor did he just throw a fit of rage against Abel. For Cain I imagine his overall look was on the jealous side. We're told "Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering" (Genesis 4:4). No, I'm not talking about getting angry at not being accepted, although there are times we feel abandoned or without hope as some one else looks better for what they do.

Rather I'm talking about a culmination of events. It could be your week started bad. You had great hopes for the project you were going to start on. From there what went wrong did so. No matter how hard you tried to recover nothing worked. Maybe you're facing a moment where you lost something you greatly loved. I'm talking about this kind of discouragement. The kind where you have been hoping and praying for things to look up, and they have been, but for some reason and some way you just simply feel like "How do I do this?"

Here's what's going on in my life to show exactly what I mean. I have put in solid hours writing, praying as best I can as I am able. I have given all of I am to what I enjoy doing: helping others. Last week, toward the end I had an email from UPS asking if I'd like to return to being a driver helper for this latter part of the year (Thanksgiving and Christmas are the biggest times of sending packages). I was hired on Friday. For the bulk of this past week I have held high hopes I would get the call, being told, "Come in on [such a such day} and receive your uniform." That didn't happen.

I got the call asking, "Would you like to start work this next Monday?" So, naturally I was excited and happy to get back to earning a paycheck from en employer. Come to find out it was more of a call as if to ask if I wanted to fill out an application and wait to be called by UPS' HR department (Human Resources) for an interview to be hired back to work. "I already did that, " I sighed back over the phone to the guy who called me. "I was hired last Friday." I felt let down.

Don't get me wrong I am upbeat and glad I'll work, but hearing a run around like that is kind of like a car that has a slow gas leak and know...the car peters out of gas. This is the kind of discouragement I'm talking about.

Well, I also have to say I tend to stick as close as I can to Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. It doesn't matter how things are going. I do what I can to remain by His side, allowing Him to stay on the throne of my heart. Believe me it's not easy. Well, this morning, October 15, 2016 I saw this word, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, he knows those who trust in him" (Nahum 1:7). What happens on those days where you trust God to be found good and faithful, but the circumstance looks bad? Nahum says that God is "Good. A Stronghold." David would agree with the statement. He said, "O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit" (Psalm 30:3, New King James). 

So, according to David and Nahum God is: 

1) Good
2) A Stronghold
3) Resurrection - "You brought my soul up from the grave."
4) Keeper of life - "You have kept me alive."

With these two verses alone, and there are many others that speak of God's unending grace and ability to give us longevity, I admit I feel restored. I also took a look for another verse as well: "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God" (! Thessalonians 5:18). It's a reminder, to me, that no matter what the circumstance as long as I remain close to the Lord and thank Him for all things I shouldn't face too much trouble.

Here are a few more verses to help in times when you feel heavy-hearted and downtrodden:

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:35, 37).

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

Lord, You alone are worthy of all praise. I thank You for your love, Your kindness, Your grace and mercy. I give you thanks in the middle of my troubles. Even though I don't understand why I am going through what I am, I still seek after You. I also lift You up high, praising You for the redemption You gave to me. Nothing is as bad as it seems. I can get through this. You tell me, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Thank You. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Finding Rest in God

By Benjamin H. Liles

Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. ~ Psalm 62:1

It's pretty clear where David sought salvation from. He was always in a position of humbly waiting on God. He told King Saul, before he ever fought Goliath, "Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine" (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Salvation and deliverance are in the same category. It comes from the same One who dispenses it: in this case David is saying of God, "He delivered me from [death], it is in Him I find salvation." Where do we place our faith and trust in? If it's in the arms of the living God, who bore to us the Messiah, Jesus Christ, through Mary - a virgin - then salvation comes from the Lord. If, however, salvation comes from ourselves we have no reason to believe even a God exists. The Bible would be irrelevant. We would have no reason to have need for a hope or even a future. BUT, that's the caveat. We do have the Bible. We have God's words. Jesus did come down from Heaven. He put sin and death on display at the cross when He bore that penalty for us. Why? Why did the King of the universe put Himself on a crude wooden beam to become sin for us?

Daniel recorded a scene from Heaven like this, "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him" (Daniel 7:10). But not one angel dared move a finger to save or spare the Messiah from death. Even while Jesus was mocked, it was said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him" (Matthew 27:42). He remained. He chose those nails. The thing of it all is that Jesus' hope was in the Father. It doesn't imply Jesus Himself wasn't One with the Father, as He said - on at least one occasion, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). Rather, it was God's will that someone's life be laid down for the lives of many.

There is a prophecy predating all of what Christ accomplished at the cross. I bring up Abraham from time to time. Well, this is an interesting case, and it's also in line with what God's plans were. God promised Abraham a son, an heir to that promise. God commanded Abraham to take his son to Moriah as an offering. He said to Abraham when it was found that he had faith in the living God, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me" (Genesis 22:12). Yes, God could have saved His Son, Jesus from death on the cross. But what parent wouldn't give his life for his children?

Wouldn't you go through great lengths to save your child if you saw the danger they were in? Wouldn't you put yourself through the pain and agony of certain death to see your child live? That's why we have hope in God. He bore our punishment, for breaking the Ten Canons, which no one could perfectly keep. This is why we can hope and have faith of where and whom our salvation lie.

Listening to Wise Counsel

By Benjamin H. Liles

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. ~ Proverbs 19:20-21

There are a whole lot of verses that speak on a myriad of subjects in the Bible. This is talking about the reception of His word. How does God's word sit with you? Does it make you stand up and take notice? Does it make you want to change from the inside out? Or does it just sit on you and make you wonder, "Gee, I don't get it and I really don't want to try it out for myself? To receive counsel or even instruction indicates a willingness to learn something. We all never like being disciplined, but that's what Solomon meant here in this verse. Later in our years we are that much the wiser on things we did when we were younger. Our thoughts were so much more immature and unreceptive. A man's heart is a reflection of who he truly is.  

Is this man teachable? Humble? Filled with integrity? Consistent? The overall condition of a man's heart shows who he belongs to. With that being said the verse on the whole is talking about a few things: character, receiving instruction, and if this person belongs to God. It can't be stressed enough that those who belong to God have godly character, exhibit godly values and also that level of maturity. Let us all show that Jesus Christ is in our lives, that His word matters, and that He is indeed alive. He took our punishment on the cross so we wouldn't have to face ourselves without Him. He conquered death so that we wouldn't fully taste its bitterness and defeat. He rose to life so that we could experience eternity with Him. How do you want to respond to the Lord's counsel?

Walking After the Lord

By Benjamin H. Liles

You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. ~ Deuteronomy 13:4

Claiming to be walking with Jesus Christ means walking in love, maturity, and in obedience to Him who called us. Solomon said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). It's not saying that we should be scared or afraid of God, but that by seeking Him and obeying Him we can walk in both love and wisdom.

We find life in the fact Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins and cares of our lives. We can walk in the wisdom that we no longer have to hold on to or care about those burdens. It's why it's so paramount to give up our sinfulness, turn to God, confess our sins before Him, and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. That's what the fear of God is about; to keep His word and follow after Him. It's a loving relationship issue, nothing more, nothing less.