Relationships

The Bible is full of relationships; examples of healthy as well as unhealthy ones.

Ephesians spells out clearly how to handle some of the fundamental relationships, beginning with the institution God began all of society with: marriage.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Ephesians 5:22 NKJV

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:33 NKJV

There is so much here, as well as the verses between, for how God intended marriage to be.

A solid Biblical marriage brings fruit in so many areas.

Respect is not blind to sin, nor does it bend to allow that which is an abomination to God, but it instead holds fast to what is right and encourages a right standing before God.

Wives need to be right before God if they are going to be able to respect and trust their husbands.

It is from trusting in God that a wife can trust her husband, it comes from a security in the Lord Jesus.

Loving a person as Christ loves the church seems to be crystal clear.

Jesus Christ left His place in heaven to be born in a stable, to flee from an insane king, to live in a foreign land, to return after a time, and finally to begin His ministry, where He was misunderstood, misrepresented, and betrayed, a ministry which the culmination was being beaten, mocked, and crucified, all for the sake of the church, all because of His love.

Truly, husbands have an incredibly high standard, but Jesus will guide and direct and provide the way for those who choose to love like this.

What if you’re not married?

The Bible speaks to those who have parents and those who are parents.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:1‭-‬4 NKJV

Obedience to parents is not always easy, nor does the nature like to obey anyone other than self, but learning to practice self-discipline is a valuable lesson.

As adults obedience to parents can become tricky, but honoring God and serving Him first will clarify how to honor and serve one’s parents.

These verses speak directly to the father, but other places in scripture bring attention to the mother’s role as well.

Parents are to teach their children.

Deut. 6:6-7, 31:12-13, Prov. 13:24, 19:18, 22:6, Col. 3:21 are just a few verses dealing with this.

The Lord Jesus is our example in all things and since He taught and corrected His disciples with love and patience we too should teach and correct our children in His ways.

What if you don’t have any children and your parents are no longer alive?

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he  is a slave or free.
Ephesians 6:5‭-‬8 NKJV

Bondservants are not common in our society, but these verses can certainly be applied to the working world.

As an employee, we can work: “in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,”.

But the chapter doesn’t end there, the verse is directed to the master, but it could easily be applied to the owner of a business, the boss, the supervisor, ect.

And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Ephesians 6:9 NKJV

Ephesians 6 continues to speak about relationships.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:10‭-‬12 NKJV

For whatever relationship we may be in we can be guaranteed that God will give us direction in dealing with them.

When we walk in this world we will find trouble and often that trouble will come in the form of a broken relationship.

Therefore we must remain steadfast in God’s Word and remember that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.

Our spiritual enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy, but God has come to give life and that more abundantly.

Through Christ Jesus we can have healthy godly relationships.

Praise the Lord!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for the wealth of knowledge and examples You have given in scripture. Lord Jesus please help us to be steadfast in Your Word and to walk in Your ways, especially in our relationships. Lord, help us to seek You and Your Word in all circumstances. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for the relationships we have in our lives. May Your name be glorified through us. Amen.

Joy

Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy. I Chronicles 15:16 NKJV

King David had made a mistake.

He hasn’t consulted the Lord on the proper way to move the ark of the covenant.

However, he learned from his error and this verse is only one part of the preparation he made to bring the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem.

This move was definitely one of great joy for King David.

So David, the elders of Israel, and the captains over thousands went to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the house of Obed-Edom with joy.
I Chronicles 15:25 NKJV

On that day David first delivered this psalm into the hand of Asaph and his brethren, to thank the Lord :
I Chronicles 16:7 NKJV

The psalm is the beginning of Psalm 105:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord ! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Psalms 105:1 NKJV

King David didn’t allow his mistake to hinder him from setting it right nor did he retire from seeking God, from worshipping Him and through this he had joy.

In Nehemiah 8 the priest Ezra stands before all the people, reads the book of the law and the people sorrow.

So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading. And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:8-9 NKJV

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. So the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Be still, for the day is holy; do not be grieved.” And all the people went their way to eat and drink, to send portions and rejoice greatly, because they understood the words that were declared to them.
Nehemiah 8:10-‬12 NKJV

Although the people were grieved by the book of the law, they rejoiced greatly.

Can we not relate?

How easy it is to error, to fall into sin, to transgress the law of God, and yet these are our examples.

We should acknowledge our sin, turn away from it, and seek the Lord.

For the joy of the Lord is our strength.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10‭-‬11 NKJV

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus , for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21 NKJV

Joy is from God.

We can and should rejoice in our salvation through Jesus Christ.

Because the joy of the Lord is what strengthens us to repent when we fail as well as endure the trials and tribulations.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2‭-‬4 NKJV

Like King David we can say:

Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord !
Psalms 105:2‭-‬3 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your joy! How great and mighty is Your name and Your Word. Lord, Your Word brings such hope. In the seasons of trials or the times when sin has overtaken, the answers are all in Your Word. Lord, please continue to help us learn what strength there is in Your joy. Let us find the treasure of praise. Please continue to shine Your truths into our hearts and minds. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Living water

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.”
For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. Then, the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:7-10 NKJV

Living water

Spiritual truths are often difficult for us to grasp and Jesus knew this woman was in desperate need for the gift He had ready for her.

But she was focused upon the material.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, You, have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” John 4:11-12 NKJV

Is she mocking Jesus here?

We do not know the tone in which she asked Him if He was “greater than… Jacob”, but she doesn’t seem impressed by His words.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 NKJV

This got her attention.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” John 4:15 NKJV

And here we see Jesus bringing her to a crossroads.

To be free from the sin in our lives we have to admit it is there, we must realize we are sinners.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” John 4:16-18 NKJV

Here it is.

Her sin is sitting before them.

Her life is one of brokenness.

And she doesn’t deny it, she knows she is a sinner.

The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

Why did she suddenly veer off onto this topic?

Perhaps because it was a bondage for her, maybe this teaching had caused her heart to become hardened.

We don’t know, but Jesus deals with it and returns her to the point.

 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:21-24 NKJV

Jesus clarifies the heart of this “where should we worship” question with how to worship: in spirit and truth.

He’s turning her heart away from a religious act, which fulfills an outward show, and goes to the place God cares about, her soul.

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.” Jon 4:25 NKJV

Finally! She’s come back to the point Jesus had all along, but now her heart is ready.

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” John 4:26 NKJV

The Living Water, the answer to mankind’s separation from God is sitting before her.

The truth of Jesus, what He said, what He did, how He has redeemed those who call upon His name, and so much more is the life-giving water which becomes a spring of water welling up into eternal life.

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 NKJV

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17 NKJV

This woman’s life was changed forever.

And the living water is free to those who would believe.

For those of who have already believed and tasted of this water this story is our own.

We were sinners, we met Jesus, our lives were changed.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for this wonderful story of the woman at the well. Lord, thank You for meeting her there and for meeting each one of us. Thank You that You are not a God who stands far off, but instead You meet us where we need it most. Lord, I can not imagine what this woman’s life would have looked like if she had scoffed at Your “living water” comment, picked up her jars and left. I am so glad she didn’t. Lord, please do not allow us to walk away from You. Please do not let us harbor sin or misunderstanding, bitterness or anything which would hinder us from being able to hear Your truth and drink of Your living water. Lord Jesus, there is such need all around. Lord, let those who thirst find themselves at Your well. Lord, please help those of us who have tasted and know You are good to share with those around us. Please help us to live transparently as Your servants to a world which needs You. Lord, thank You for Your salvation, thank You for Your Word. Thank You for truth. May we worship You in spirit and in truth. Amen.

October 11

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
Psalms 23:1 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for this verse. There is such peace and security in it. You truly are the Good Shepherd and You have cared for and provided for me in so many ways. I am so grateful and humbled by Your never-ending love. Lord Jesus, You alone are my strength and security. In You I find all that I need: peace, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, understanding, and eternal life. Lord, there are many things I do not understand, but I praise You that You are using all things for Your glory. Lord Jesus, for those who are suffering, please bring them comfort. Lord, for those who are afraid or in bondage, please bring healing and freedom. Lord, for those who are piercing themselves through with many sorrows, trying to fulfill their own salvation, please bring them to the truth. Soften the hearts and return those who know of You to a right relationship with You. Lord, for those who have yet to know You, please open their eyes that they might see, open their ears that they might hear, let the truth be planted in fruitful ground. Please, Lord, put godly men and women into places of authority. Let those who are in positions of leadership be honorable before You. Please do not allow anyone to use their authority to harm others. May our lives and the lives of those who are called by Your name, be honorable before You. Please be glorified in us. Lord Jesus, thank You for being my all. Thank You for blessing me in so many ways. Lord, thank You for shining Your truth into my life. Please continue to hone my heart into Your image. I love You, Jesus. Thank You. Amen.

Why trust?

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. 2 Samuel 22:3 KJV

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. Psalms 4:5 KJV

God’s Word is full of verses telling those who put their faith in God to trust Him.

In fact, the Bible is clear that those who do not choose to trust the Lord are choosing sorrow:

“They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you.” Duet. 28:52 NKJV


“You speak of having plans and power for war; but they are mere words. And in whom do you trust, that you rebel against me? 2 Kings 18:20 NKJV

It is very much like any other relationship we have.

We spend time with someone and they gain our trust through their daily behavior or they loose out trust through the same thing.

The difference with trusting in God is we can not base our opinion of His trustworthiness upon our personal experience.

We are limited as to our understanding, our perspective, our ability to see all frames of history, science, and the spiritual dimension.

God, knows that our ability to understand all of the truths of life, the universe, and spirituality is a tiny fraction of the whole.

Therefore, He put in His Word a command: trust God.

He then backs up why we should do this with story upon story of the lives of those who put their trust in Him as well as some who did not.

Their backgrounds, status, and livelihoods are as different as any group of people across the globe today, but those who put their trust in God are blessed.

Those who do not, are not blessed.

It is that simple.

Of course, our self-important emotions are offended.

“Where does He have the right to choose?”

“Why can’t my good intentions weigh in for something?”

“This isn’t fair!”

But all this means very little.

If you buy a brand-new car and fill the gas tank with olive oil you will ruin your engine.

You can be offended by this.

“Gas is so expensive!”

“I didn’t have any at home, just olive oil.”

“Why did the car maker get to choose what my engine runs on?!”

A gas engine runs on gasoline, because that is how it was designed.

God knows how the universe was crafted, He is the designer and carries authority, but on a much larger scale.

He created it all.

He understands all the parts and pieces.

He knows we need to trust Him.

And once we lay down our self, put our own opinions as secondary, and choose to walk in trusting God, we have an enormous gift.

Responsibility for our lives suddenly becomes a shared burden, the Lord Almighty and us.

What an incredible opportunity to live beside the Lord, simply following His lead and letting Him guide us.

And Who better, than the Creator of the Universe?

If my dishwasher is acting strange I look at the manual or call a repairman from the company who made it.

How much more important it is to read God’s Word and spend time seeking His plans and following through by trusting Him daily.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the truth that we need to trust You each and every day. Lord, You know it is difficult for us to learn to walk daily in trust. Please help our minds and hearts realize the enormous benefits of trusting You. Lord, let us be humble before You, not prideful, thinking we know what is best. Please continue to lead us, as we walk with You. And for those who have yet to put their trust in You, help them to see what an incredible blessing it is. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Healing

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” John 5:2‭-‬6 NKJV

The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
John 5:7 NKJV

He didn’t understand Who he was speaking to.

He couldn’t see past his need.

He wasn’t expecting to be healed because he had no one to help him into the water.

What came next must have been outside his ability to guess.

Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.”
John 5:8 NKJV

And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath.
John 5:9 NKJV

Can one picture the depth of surprise and elation of this man who had been sick for 38 years?

He didn’t even know Who healed him. (John 5:13)

In Mark we find another man who was seeking healing, but didn’t find it, not a first.

Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
Mark 9:17‭-‬18 NKJV

It doesn’t take much imagination to feel the disappointment and sorrow of this man.

But the story doesn’t end there.

So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Mark 9:21‭-‬24 NKJV

The honesty and humility of this man, this father, is answered.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it: “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”  Then the  spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Mark 9:25‭-‬27 NKJV

Two men, both received healing from Jesus, but neither of them were expecting what occurred.

Healing often does not come the way one would like nor in the time frame which is desired.

Healing is often not seen as the hand of God, but instead as the working of proper medical treatment or change in lifestyle.

And sometimes healing is something which occurs in the heart instead of the body.

But healing is an everyday occurance.

From the small cut on one’s knee to the restoration of healthy mental attitude, God is in the business of healing.

Where He wants healing to occur for all of mankind is in the relationship between Himself and every single one of us.

Sin leads to death of all sorts, including physical death, and Jesus came to save us from that.

Healing may not always happen when and how and where we would like, but as long as we accept His healing, His payment for our sin, then our souls will be healed.

Truly, healing of the soul is the best place to be made whole.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for both of these stories which remind us that You are in the business of healing. Lord, please help us to realize the importance of allowing You to restore our soul, how much more valuable that is to any other healing. Lord, often we over look the times You have healed and focus on the times we couldn’t see Your healing. Lord, please help us to realize You alone see what is best and we can not. Help us to have faith that You are doing a work of healing even if we do not perceive it. Thank You for Your faithfulness in all things. Thank You for Your salvation which brings us life eternal. Thank You for the way You are continually working to restore our hearts and minds to a right relationship with You. Lord, thank You for loving us so completely. It is in Your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.

Now I will praise the LORD

“And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Now I will praise the LORD.’ Therefore, she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.” Gen. 29:35 NKJV

She was a woman locked in a struggle.

Or at least that is how she is responding.

She and her sister are married to the same man, because of trickery on her father’s part.

We never hear if she wanted to be married to him.

But we do know she wanted her husband to love her.

Unfortunately, her idea of gaining her husband’s love is by baring sons.

Some how, she forgot the truth with her first three sons.

“So, Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, ‘The LORD has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me. Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Because the LORD has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.’ She conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore, his name was called Levi.” Gen. 29:32-34 NKJV

She had forgotten that children are a gift from the Lord.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Until, Judah was born.

The Bible does not tell us what changed.

But the change is clear.

Leah stopped trying to win the struggle for her husband’s love with this son and simply praised God for her son.

Unfortunately, she returns to the struggle not long afterwards, when she realizes she is no longer having children.

After a time, God again blesses her with another son and lastly a daughter. Gen. 30:20-21

One can only guess what Leah’s life could have been if she had remained praising the Lord instead of returning to the struggle.

Yet, there is hope in this story.

Leah is the only wife Jacob buried in the family tomb with his parents and grandparents.

And that son she praised God for, he became the head of the family.

Through his linage came King David and eventually Jesus.

Perhaps, Leah did return to praising God for all that He had blessed her with.

The Bible doesn’t tell us.

The lesson to us is clear, we need to praise the Lord for His blessings.

No matter what things we might be struggling with; health, family, money, education, it could be anything, we need to see what God has been doing.

We need to recognize His blessings.

We need to praise Him.

He is worthy of all praise and honor.

“I will praise the LORD according to His righteousness,
And will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.” Psalm 7:17 NKJV

“Praise the LORD!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 106:1 NKJV

“The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” Exodus 15:2 NKJV

Because it is when we look to God, when we realize how great, how good, how able He is, all our struggles suddenly become small.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for the many places in scripture which tell us to worship and praise You. Thank You that it is through praise we find the ability to let go of our struggles. Lord, it is not always easy to choose to praise You. At times things seem to be so overwhelming praise is an effort. Lord, in those moments, please remind me that when I praise You, I find strength. When I praise You, I find hope. Lord, when I praise You, I can see past the moment. Lord Jesus, no matter the circumstances, no matter the day or time or schedule, You are always worthy of praise and I want to give You all my worship, all my gratitude, all my praise. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Thoughts

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” Gen. 6:5-6 NKJV

“The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God;
God is in none of his thoughts.” Psalm 10:40 NKJV

Both of these verses are troubling.

Yet, it is important for those who seek to follow the Lord to see what it means to not.

To stop and look at what the Lord calls wicked is to take personal inventory.

Is there any place where the Lord is not a part of our thoughts?

Has a certain area of the heart become “off limits” to Him?

If so, repentance should be swift, because it is easy to see that the wickedness of those God calls wicked comes from their thoughts and God is not a part of a single one.

Let us then look to scripture.

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Cor. 13:11 NKJV

Is there an area in our lives where we simply need to grow up?

Are we self-disciplined, honorable, kind, thoughtful, courteous, respectful, and willing to work?

“I thought about my ways,
And turned my feet to Your testimonies.” Psalm 119:59 NKJV

The Bible is the standard for proper behavior, attitudes, perspective, and relationships.

“casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” 2 Cor. 10:5 NKJV

Take every thought captive and run it through the list:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NKJV

If our thoughts are allowed to “run loose” we will find they stray far from these things.

God understands that it is in the thoughts of our heart where we either draw near Him or slide away.

Therefore, He gives us signs and instructions to help us.

For the Bible has much to say about the Lord’s thoughts toward us.

“Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5 NKJV

“O LORD, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.” Psalm 92:5 NKJV

“How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:17 NKJV

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for these words of guidance and warning. Lord it is often that I find my thoughts going waywardly away from Your standard and it is with sorrow that I struggle with this. Lord, please continue to bring my thoughts back to those things which honor You. Lord, help me learn even more how to take every thought captive. Lord, please help me to focus my mind on those things which are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and are praise worthy. Lord, thank You for the thoughts You have of me. How You love me and want what is best for me at all times. That all these things in Your Word are for edification and blessing for all peoples. Lord, when I think of the lengths You have gone and the work You still do to reach mankind, I am overwhelmed by Your mercy, grace, and love. Thank You for being good all the time and for loving us far beyond any measure. Truly, how great are You, God Almighty! Mighty in word and deed! I praise Your name, Jesus. Amen.

Abide

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NKJV

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’” John 8:31 NKJV

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 NKJV

Strong’s definition for the word abide used in John 15:4 as copied from https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3306&t=NKJV

“μένω ménō, men’-o; a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy):—abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry (for)”

The other definitions of the word abide in John 8:31 and Psalm 91:1 all are similar.

The idea is to remain, live, permanently stay.

To abide is to choose to continue in something.

He said it Himself, this abiding means to be in the Word, living it.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:9-10 NKJV

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 NKJV

If our hearts’ desire is to follow God’s commandments, to love God more than anything and to love others as ourselves, then He will give us the desires of our heats.

He will teach us how to love.

He will hold us in His paths and guide us in His truths.

His Word will become more and more a part of our every day and more a part of who we are.

Just like the branch of a vine must be connected to the main vine to have life so we, as Christ followers, must be connected to Christ Jesus.

It is a beautiful picture.

The branch can do nothing apart from the vine.

We can do nothing apart from Christ.

It is not a list of rules which need to be checked off daily.

It is a flow of love, communion, and conversation between Jesus and each of us.

Out of that, fruit is born.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for these verses. Thank You for encouraging us to abide in You. Lord thank You for the wonderful truths we see throughout scripture, that You never intended us to simply “try harder” to earn Your love or Your forgiveness. Instead it is a free gift and with that comes the opportunity to live in You. To walk and be who You created each of us to be before sin marred and stained it. Lord, we often forget to dwell in You. We get off plan and tread into dangerous areas, in those times, please bring us back. Let us not wander far, but bring us back quickly. Lord, we know that there are often things which happen that cause pain, suffering, and loss. In those times please remind us of these truths all the more. Help our hearts to dwell in You and to obey Your Word. Thank You. Amen.

Peace

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:13-18 NKJV

These verses make it clear that peace is a fruit of living daily in the wisdom from God.

God’s wisdom brings peace.

The shear weight of this truth should be enough to cause one to pause and meditate.

How would the world look if everyone followed God’s wisdom?

If every person, for all of time simply “loved your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18b), how much more peaceful would our world be?

The facts are easy to see if one simply looks at history.

Whether it is one’s own history or the history of a nation, the wisdom of God makes a incredible impact on the peace of the people.

Unfortunately, those who walk in God’s Word, practicing His wisdom each day are rare.

But that does not discontinue the fact that God’s wisdom brings peace.

He also gives us a pattern of conduct to follow when we are feeling anxious.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

It is through Jesus Christ we find the answer to the lack of godly wisdom around us and in us.

Jesus said:

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 27-28

Through the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts we can find the understanding, we can find comfort, we can be reminded of God’s Word.

Daily time in prayer and in God’s Word is where God’s wisdom is planted in our hearts and where peace will grow.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word and for the Holy Spirit. Thank You for the help we can find. Lord Jesus, please continue to teach us Your wisdom, let our hearts never grow weary of seeking after it nor our eyes tire of looking into Your scriptures, but instead let our minds be receptive and our hearts fertile ground. Please continue to open our understanding that we might discern the times and seasons we are in and look to You for the answers we seek. Lord Jesus, please help our lives to bring forth the fruit of peace, that others might see that Your truths are true and Your ways are best. Thank You, Jesus. Amen