How many times have you heard it said, “If we ask it in His name, He will do it. . . . ” Well, maybe. That depends what we ask, but there are some other things it is dependent upon too.
Notice, in verse 12 above, Jesus said, “If you believe on me, the works that I do, you will be able to do also — and greater works as well — because I go to My Father in Heaven.” So, He is explaining to them the importance of believing He is God’s Son and of doing good works, just as He did.
Then, in verse 13, He tells us to ask all in His name and He will do it that the Father in heaven might be glorified. He is NOT telling us we can ask for a million dollars and He will give it. He is telling us, “If you believe in me and want to carry on the works I do, ask Me and I will do it for you — these things I have done and more will be done for you — if you ask it in My name.” So, we must be wanting to emulate Christ and His life here on this earth in order to be able to ask of Him and receive. Our requests should be for something He did or would have done. Then, He will do it for us.
Verse 14 stresses the importance of asking all in His name. By saying it a second time, He is telling us, “If you have faith in me, ask and you shall receive.” Then He follows these statements with the qualifier in verse 15. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Don’t pick and choose the ones you like and discard those you don’t care for. Do all that He commanded; then, He will know you love Him. If you meet this requirement, you can ask in His name, and He will do as you ask. Because, if we love Him and keep His commandments, our heart will be in the right place. So, we will not ask for things we should not want.
Do you love Him enough to keep His commandments? If you do, then He will do for you — when you ask it in His name. Finally, when I pray, I say — ‘If it be Thy will. . . .’ — as He did when asking the Father in heaven to allow His cup to pass from him ‘if the Father willed it.”
“And He went a little further and fell on His face and prayed, saying: ‘O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.'”
Matthew 26:39 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Then I complete my request by letting Him know I believe:
In His “Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a series of “Blessed are . . . ” statements which modern-day theologians reference as “The Beatitudes.” The problem with grouping them together is it tends to discourage the study of each statement individually. If we look at them as separate indicators of desirable characteristics in those who follow Christ, they take on much more meaning.
With the indicator noted above in Matthew 5:6, Christ emphasized the importance of “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” as personal descriptors of a devoted Christian. He also noted: those seeking righteousness to this extent will be filled. In other words, if a follower truly hungers and thirsts for righteousness, time and energy will be spent trying to emulate the example Christ gave us when He was on earth, since everything He did was done in a manner well-pleasing unto God. We see this in Matthew 3, verses 16 and 17:
16 — “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, low, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.”
17 — “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”
Matthew 3:16-17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Thus, one must first “hunger and thirst after righteousness” in order to be filled. This hungering and thirsting will increase our “searching of the scriptures” which will allow God to “fill our desire for righteousness.” The more we learn from the scriptures, the more we understand of what God wants from those of us who follow Jesus’ commandments.
As newborn Christians, we are to “desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow” in likeness to Christ. This growth is how we are filled with God’s righteousness.
1 — “Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”
2 — “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
1 Peter 2:1-2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Peter goes on to say that those who believe and follow Jesus are “the chosen ones;” thus, they shall be filled with righteousness if it is searched and applied. He goes to great lengths in this chapter to describe the differences between those who believe and those who do not believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”
1 Peter 2:9 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In searching the scriptures, if we hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness, we will learn how emulating Christ’s actions and attitudes, while He was on earth, will satiate us and increase those behaviors in us. Thus, we “shall be filled,” and we shall become more like Christ as we continue to grow and live for Him.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of God’s righteousness.
Photo Above:by permission from Benjamin South @facebook.com.
Christian Living is not just a part-time endeavor. We cannot look back with longing to our way of life before becoming a child of God. We cannot give a half-hearted effort to living according to Jesus’ commandments. We are expected to give our all. No, He does not expect perfection, but He does expect us to look toward eternity with Him while having no regrets for leaving our past sinful selves behind.
“Remember Lot’s wife.”
Luke 17:32 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
When God’s angel saved Lot and his family from the wrath God wrought upon Sodom and Gomorrah for the sinful ways of those who abode there, they were warned to leave and never look back. However, as they were making their way to safety, when the sounds of havoc and destruction brought down upon the two cities fell upon Lot’s wife’s hearing, she turned and looked back. Immediately, she was turned to a pillar of salt to serve as a reminder to God’s people as to what happens when we disobey God.
15 — “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, ‘Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters which are here lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”
16 — “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set him without the city.”
17 — “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad that he said, ‘Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, . . . “
Genesis 19:15-17 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
God had already made many concessions to Lot’s efforts to save Sodom and/or Gomorrah from the total destruction of God’s wrath. In doing so, He proved to Lot there were no others in the two cities who cared about or wanted to enlist God’s love for them. The entirety of the two communities served Satan in their sinful ways. God’s patience had worn thin. As Lot and his family were ushered from the two cities by angels sent from God, they were told to head for the mountains, not to settle in the plains. Lot once again begged God to allow them to settle in the small plains community of Zoar rather than go up into the mountains. Once again, God conceded.
23 — “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”
24 — “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;”
25 — “And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”
26 — “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Genesis 19:23-26 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In the book of Luke, Chapter 17, verses 29-32, Jesus discusses the escort of Lot and his family from the destruction that was about to be rained down upon the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sinful and unremorseful ways. He likens this to the day He returns to take His people up to heaven. The destruction of the unrepentant, unbelieving, Satan serving multitudes will be swift, unannounced, and complete.
Are you ready for that day?
32 — “Remember Lot’s wife.”
Luke 17:32 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Do we even think before we speak? Have we ever contemplated the perception others hold of our vulgar language? It seems in this day and time, every other word out of the mouths of some is a vulgarity of some sort: MF this, OMG that! Where did it all come from?
When I was young, I remember fearing retribution if I even thought a vulgarity. Such words were not typically uttered in the hearing of mixed company. As a general rule, men respected the presence of a woman and omitted such words from conversation. The impact of language on children was also considered. “Children Learn What They Live” (Nolte, 1954). Today, many women have language as atrocious as that of most men. This is sad. Even before birth, children hear these words as a part of everyday communication.
In verse 29 of Ephesians chapter 4, the apostle Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to keep corrupt communication out of their mouths altogether. He told them every spoken word should be considered carefully and have a purpose. It should instruct, lift-up, praise, and exhort. Idle vulgarities were not to be voiced because of the negative influence and effect they have on others.
Do you think before your speak? Do you stop, think, and rephrase before you say words that impact others negatively? This is one area of living to which Christians are to pay special heed. Your spoken word reveals more to others than you might think. Do the words you speak reveal Christ in your life?
26 — “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
27 — “Neither give place to the devil.”
Ephesians 4:26, 27 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Have you ever been so angry you could spit nails at another person? I am sure all have been at one point or another. It is normal to be angry, even to be tempted to lash out at someone due to anger, but — as Christians — we are never to give in to such impulses.
In verses 26 and 27 of chapter 4 in his epistle to the Christians at Ephesus, Paul addresses a number of behaviors that may be a part of the person we were before becoming a Christian. One of those tendencies was to become angry toward another person and to seek revenge because of that anger. Paul cautions them in this. He tells them to be angry if they must, but do not stay angry.
Do what you must to gain control of your anger and set it aside by nightfall. When the sun goes down, allow yourself the enjoyment of watching the beautiful colors of the sunset with gratitude and admiration. Know those colors are a reflection of God’s love for us. He said, “do not let the sun go down on your anger” (v26). In other words, don’t let the day pass and allow that anger to destroy your sleep or the sleep of others.
He said, “Be angry, and sin not:” Don’t rant and rave. Don’t threaten. Don’t hurt yourself or anyone else. Work through your anger and set it aside.
When we allow sin to overtake our behavior, we do things we should not do. We do things Christians are instructed to not do by Jesus and the apostles. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed the crowd to “turn the other cheek when others do you wrong.”
38 — “‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:'”
39 — “‘But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.‘”
Matthew 5:38, 39 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
On another day, Peter asked Jesus if seven times is sufficient to turn the other cheek to someone who does us wrong. Jesus answer to Peter was: “not seven times but seventy times seven times.”
21 — “Then came Peter to him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Til seven times?'”
22 — “Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto the until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.‘”
Matthew 18:21, 22 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
When you think of it, through our belief and faith in Jesus and through our obedience to Him, we are forgiven many multitudes of sin over and above seventy times seven. Truly, grace doth abound in His forgiveness of an obedient Christian.
If we as Christians strive to emulate Christ — and that is to be our goal — we must learn to set our anger aside. Do not sin due to anger: such anger is merely Satan trying to lure us back into our old ways and away from Christ. Set anger aside. Forgive the other person toward whom your anger is directed and forgive yourself for being so angry. Holding onto the anger does not really harm the other person; it harms you. The ultimate consequence of holding onto anger can be the loss of your life due to a heart attack, a stroke, an aneurysm, or some other catastrophic health crisis. If we leave this world in a state of such anger, you can be assured: we will answer for it in the day of judgment.
When I was a teenager, in church services we sang a song that I dearly loved because it teaches this concept in such a harmonic manner. “Angry Words,” has ever been one of my favorites.
Thinking back to the devotional about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, what can we learn from Satan’s role? He appears in disguise as a serpent and delights in creating havoc when things are going well. God created Adam; then He created Eve as a helpmeet to Adam. He put them in the Garden of Eden which He had filled with every beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. However, He told them not to eat from two trees or they would surely die.
Satan saw how smoothly things were going. God was even going to the garden every afternoon in the cool of the day to walk and talk with Adam and Eve. Satan decides to “have a little fun and confuse the issue with Adam and Eve.” How often have you heard one person say, “so-and-so was picking on me!” The other person laughs a heartless laugh and chortles, “I was just playin!” Well , this is the attitude Satan had when he talked to Eve about the tree from whence she and Adam had been told not to eat.
1 — “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said, ‘Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?””
2 — “And the woman said unto the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:'”
3 — “‘But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ‘Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.””
4 — “And the serpent said unto the woman, ‘Ye shall not surely die.””
5 — “‘For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.'”
6 — “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.”
7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”
8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”
9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?'”
10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.'”
11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”
12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”
13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”
14 — “And the Lord God said unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field, upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.‘”
15 — “‘And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed, it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'”
16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”
17 — “Unto the man He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”
18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”
19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”
20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”
21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”
22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:'”
23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
24 — “So, He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Genesis 3:1-24 — “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
So, Satan saw: Adam and Eve were happy in the garden of Eden, things were going as God intended. Satan was unsettled by this. He plotted and schemed (which is normal for Satan) and devised a plan to cause God some grief. Unbeknownst to Adam and Eve, they became putty in Satan’s hands, and he molded them as he wished. They fell right into his plan. The result was: God’s plans went awry.
This is the same role Satan plays in the world today. All of the chaos around us, all of the violence and ill-will–Satan’s doings: and humanity falls right into his scheme and pushes it along.
12 — “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”
13 — “For thou hast said in thine heart, ‘I will ascend unto heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:'”
14 — “‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.'”
15 — “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.'”
Isaiah 14:12-15 — “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
When we are tempted to do wrong, Satan is pushing those buttons, making us believe there is nothing wrong with whatever we are being tempted to do. He tells us “if God is good, He will not punish you.” He makes us believe all manner of falsehoods about any and all things by which we are tempted. After all, he is the one tempting us. When we do his will instead of doing the will of God and Jesus in heaven above, Satan wins. If this happens often enough for a long enough time, we reach a point where our hearts are hardened to God’s word.
12 — “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”
13 — “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”
Hebrews 3:12, 13 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
If we allow our hearts to harden against God and His plan for us, we will never listen to His plan of Salvation again. We will never believe Jesus is God’s Son. Ultimately, we will never enter heaven–and Satan will have won. At that point, he knows we will spend eternity with him in hell; since he is the father of sin, he will then be the father of those who follow him instead of God and Jesus.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
John 8:44 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
1 John 3:8 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KVJ)
If we wish to make an eternal home in heaven with God and Jesus, we must first believe Jesus is God’s Son. Then, we must study God’s word, that we might know what to do in order to follow Him instead of Satan. Finally, we must do all that Jesus and His apostles commanded. They spoke with authority by divine inspiration in order to guide those who were receptive to God’s will in the way they must go.. Today, we must adhere to Christ’s plan of eternal salvation, and we must be faithful to that plan unto death if we wish to spend eternity with God and Jesus in heaven.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”
1 Peter 5:8 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
In order to defeat Satan in his game of deceit, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the knowledge of God’s word. We must overcome temptation and devote our life in service to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:8 (above) says Satan “is like a roaring lion, roaming about the earth, seeking whom he may devour.” When we do wrong, there are always consequences for those wrongs. When those consequences “eat at us” it is Satan devouring our lives one sin at a time. If we do not stay alert and resist his temptation, he will win–we will be cast into hell along with him for all eternity. Therefore, we must gird ourselves with God’s protection as we turn from sin. If we are truly trying to overcome temptation and avoid all sin, and if we ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, God will provide the knowledge, faith, and strength to avoid Satan’s snares,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version: (KJV)
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
2 Corinthians 11:14 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
I pray we all strengthen our faith in God and Jesus through the study of God’s word that we might turn from Satan. His trickery may make him appear to be an “angel of light,” but it will only give him cause to lock us in hell with him for all eternity. There is an old saying: “misery loves company.” We read above, in Isaiah chapter 14 verses 12 through 15, about Satan (Lucifer) deciding he was going to overthrow God and take over heaven as the Most High.” The result was: God cast him to the pit of hell. Now, he wants us there with him to keep him company. He wants to ease his own guilt by convincing all who are in the world to embrace his guilt and join with him in it. He does not want to be alone in his guilt for all eternity. He wants us in hell with him.
Therefore, I pray we all turn to God for strength and perseverance in our fight against Satan that we might have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
May God give us the knowledge, the understanding, the faith, and the strength to “win the good fight” that we might spend eternity in heaven.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
Ephesians 6:11 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV)
If we wish to center ourselves upon God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we must remove our minds from the concerns of daily living and focus upon those things which are eternal. We cannot focus upon material or relationship concerns and focus upon those things eternal at the same time. It is necessary that we remove our minds from the here and now in order that we might focus on the eternal order of things. What is happening in my earthly life at any given time must be secondary to that which is happening in my eternal focus.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those in attendance:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
If I am focused upon what I will eat, or what I will wear, I cannot truly focus upon God and His righteousness. However, if I am truly focused upon God and His righteousness, He provides what I will eat and what I will wear. Centering my thoughts and my life upon Him and His Son takes me away from my worries over daily concerns and places Him in charge of those things.
This does not mean there will be nothing for me to do in order to arrive at those needs. It means, if I am focused upon Him, I prioritize my actions so they are in line with his directives. He will guide me to His desires for my life, if I allow it.
When I open myself to God’s guidance, oftentimes I “just happen upon” the very thing I am needing or pondering. How does this happen? By freeing my mind from worry and daily strife, I am able to follow in His footsteps. I am living my life in a manner pleasing unto Him, and He places answers to my questions and needs in my path, if I am searching in His righteousness.
5 — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
6 — “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
7 — “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
9 — “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
10 — “But I rejoiced in the Lord Greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
11 — “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:5-11—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul is telling them how to center themselves upon God, His Son, and all things eternal. He implores them to worry and fret over nothing, but in all things to give thanks in prayer and supplication. When they practiced this in their daily lives, he told them, they would have a peace beyond their understanding because their hearts and minds would be in Christ Jesus.
If I focus upon doing, thinking, and saying those things that will be pleasing unto God and Christ Jesus, I will have no cause for concern about what the day may require. All things, will fall into place when my focus is “eternity with God and His Son.” I must stress, however, I must do the deeds He would have me to do in order for this to occur. If I am a homemaker, I must do those things necessary to ensure my home runs smoothly. If I am employed outside the home, I must do those things required of me upon that job. If I am a public servant, I must do those things needed to meet the needs of the public. Whatever my lot in life, I must be actively pursuing the needs of that lot. I cannot sit idly by, doing nothing, for things to fall into place. This is not what God’s righteousness is about. God cares for us, when we free Him up to do so. We free Him up to do so by doing the things needed here on earth–but our minds and hearts should ever be in tune to Him and Christ Jesus.
11 — “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
12 — “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
13 — “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”
14 — “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
15 — “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
16 — “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
17 — “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
Philippians 3:11-17—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Paul says in these verses, he has not yet attained the resurrection unto Christ, but is constantly reaching for that goal in thought, in mind, in action, and in purpose. He acknowledges that he has done things in the past for which most people would cast him to the devil and never allow him to enter heaven. But he must forget about those things. Christ has “apprehended him” to serve God in every endeavor. He has been forgiven those sinful acts and is commanded to set an example for others to follow. Thus, he reaches for those things which Christ holds in heaven for him, and he presses onward toward that mark–“the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He then turns to the recipients of his epistle and reminds them to join with him in being thus minded. When he refers to “as many as be perfect,” he is not meaning without fault. The word “perfect” here means “mature.” So, if we are mature in Christ, and our minds are focused amiss, he tells us, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”
I was in conversation with my brother a while back when he stated, “Sometimes God tells us what He wants us to know through the mouths of those with whom we are speaking.” I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes, in our daily conversations, we will “hear” exactly what God wants us to “hear.” The question is, “Are we listening?” This is where our “focus” comes into play. If my mind is where it should be as a Christian, if it is focused on doing, thinking, saying, and purposing according to God’s righteous guidance, I will be shown. Sometimes, I will be shown through something I “read.” Sometimes, I may be on an errand out and about when I am guided to where I will “see” what God wants to happen in my life. “Am I watching?“
My part in “pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is to be “tuned in” to God and Christ Jesus. Then I can know God’s will and receive the “peace that passeth understanding.” This is how I know I am “centered on eternity.”
Where is your “center” today? Is it on earthly matters and concerns, or is it wrapped around God, His Son, and their will for you? May He heap blessings upon you in untold number when you “focus” upon Him and His righteousness–when you are “centered on eternity.”
The hand that made this earth was a very intelligent hand. The land masses consist of soil, rocks, ores, and minerals–most of which are essential to man’s life on earth. In the beginning when God performed His handiwork, this land was “without form and void.” The water, according to Genesis 1:2, was dark and deep.
“The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
As the sun shines upon the water–whether the ocean or the rain–evaporation rises into the atmosphere. Then it comes back to the earth in the form of dew, rain, sleet, hail, or snow. This allows for a constant recycling of moisture. God planned all of this so you and I might live in relative comfort upon this earth. According to Morris and Woolfenden (2018), vegetation inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This is done during the daytime as a part of photosynthesis. The plant uses water in combination with the carbon dioxide to complete photosynthesis. Oxygen is a by-product of this process. Thus, we humans are supplied with the oxygen needed to live here on earth (Stancil, 2019). No one person could have thought of all the necessary components to create our functional universe. In my opinion, whether or not science believes it, science itself is daily proving the Holy Bible to be true.
At this point I feel I must ask: Why is Creationism not given equal time in our science texts alongside the Big Bang Theory — Darwinism — Evolution? Maybe because it makes far more sense; it just requires a little bit of faith. There are some major components missing from those theories. For example, what caused the Big Bang? Where did the components that created the Big Bang come from? How did the Big Bang create conditions conducive to life and to evolution? From my point of view, current scientific explanations leave much to be explained and the answers to the queries I just put forth can never satisfy a truly curious mind.
What caused Evolution to begin, and then to continue? All conditions had to be just right for everything to happen at just the right time. My faith tells me Creationism is the most valid theory out there. God has planned the beginning of this universe, and He tells us the earth and all the elements will burn up with a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10); so, he also knows how and why the earth will be destroyed.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
2 Peter 3:10 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
My faith assures me, God made all things. It is an event I did not see, but I read about it in Genesis chapter 1 of the Old Testament and in other scriptures throughout the Bible. So, I believe what I am told therein. Hebrews 11:1 says:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
My evidence is before my eyes every waking moment. As I said earlier, I did not see God create this universe, but I am told of His handiwork in His Word. Since it exists and I am a part of it, His Word is sufficient to convince me. Thus, my substance is also found in God’s Word. Even today, science debates the life-giving element in our bodies.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Genesis 2:7 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
According to the Holy Bible, God breathed life into Adam. Subsequently, He has breathed life into every living thing since then. So, according to God’s Word, our breath is the life-giving substance in our bodies. Science cannot explain it, but my faith says “God’s Word does explain it!”
The first five books of the Holy Bible: Old Testament–Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy–contain the “Law of Moses” which was inspired by God as Moses wrote it. The detail in this law would be impossible for one man to conjure. This says God is a very intelligent being.
1 — “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
2 — “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version
David’s faith assured him God created the earth. He writes about it in the book of Psalms. In chapter 33, David tells us, God formed the heavens, He gathered the waters together as a heap and lays up the excess in storehouses. Could these storehouses be the underground rivers known as table-waters. These underground rivers are the sorce form whence water has traditionally been tapped for drinking, cooking, and other home uses. Today, much of the underground storehouses has been depleted. Now, cities need such large quantities of water that most resort to lakes and above-ground rivers to supply the needs demanded by those living within their limits. This water is then passed through water treatment plants to remove impurities and make it safe for human consumption. God has also provided other “storehouses” filled with crude oil, coal, iron, and a host of other ores, minerals, etc to be tapped in order to provide for our needs.
David went on to say the entire earth and everyone who is a part of this world should fear and stand in awe of God. The reason he gives is, “He spoke and it was done, He commanded, and it stood fast.” I know–personally, I stand in awe of what God has done, is doing, can do, and will do. I stand in awe of his knowledge and his power.
6 — “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”
7 — “He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses.”
8 — “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”
9 — “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
Psalms 33:6-9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
We have seen evidence, in previous discussions, showing Jesus is the Word (mentioned in John 1:1-3). The Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was/is God. Therefore, Jesus was a participant in the world’s creation. Then, He came to earth in fleshly form to die for my sins–and for your sins. Do you know anyone else who would die for your sins? I can assure you, I do not know anyone else who would die for my sins. But, Jesus did just that. He died for our sins that we might have an eternal home with Him in heaven.
1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”
3 — “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
John 1:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
When things get rough in my life, I turn to God and Jesus. I tell them, in prayer, what is happening and describe the troubles I am having with the events taking place. I ask for their assistance, guidance, and protection. Then, my faith assures me they will respond in like manner–and they do! Just as David said in Psalms chapter 9, verses 9 and 10, the Lord is my refuge. I can always trust God and Jesus to be there when I need Them, and I know They will never forsake me.
9 — “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”
10 — “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
Psalms 9:9, 10 — Holy Bible, Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In Psalms chapter 119, verse 105, David said:
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalms 119:105 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
So, as we saw above, the first three verses of John, chapter 1, tell us Jesus is the Word of God, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was God. Then the next verse, John 1:4, tells us He is also the “Light of men.”
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
John 1:4 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Are we beginning to see that Jesus coming to earth in fleshly form to die for our sins was already planned when “God” created this universe?
“And God said, ‘Let there be light:’ and there was light.”
Genesis 1:3 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
There is so much talk today about the sixty-six books that make up the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Holy Bible, and much of this talk seeks to discredit the validity of the Word. While this is often discussed among those who follow Jesus’ teachings, what we do not tend to discuss is the essence of this posit. The ultimate goal of discrediting the Word of God is to discredit Christianity. The idea that the books of the Bible are not inspired by God is not a new one, but there are falsehoods being touted as fact in these attempts to discredit God’s Word. These untruths focus on invalidating the divine conception and the purity of Christ’s life here on earth. All sixty-six books of the Holy Bible were inspired by God, and they form a cooperative effort to describe God’s love as well as the truth and grace which Christ imparts.
Attempts to discredit and destroy the Bible have never been successful because God will not allow it. The opening scripture (above) tells us God’s Word will never pass away. When the 2020 protests were occurring at the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, one fact that was not widely reported was the burnings of the Bible and the American flag (Holton, 2020). According to Holton, there were some Christians involved in attempts to resolve the problem, but many Christians across the nation were not aware of this part of the protests. This says the protests that occurred across America in 2020 were intended to discredit Christianity as well as the American government. America was founded upon Christian principles. Freedom of religion–the right to worship as a follower of Christ, the Reformation Movement– was one of the main principles upon which the United States of America was founded. The world may try to destroy the Bible and Christianity, but Christ and His church will live forever.
1 — “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”
John 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
14 — “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
15 — “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, ‘This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.'”
John 1:14, 15 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
John, in the first two verses of his Gospel, tells us “the Word was in the beginning. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.” A little further down in the first chapter (verse 14), John tells us the Word was made flesh. Reflecting on this in combination with the first verse, we can see–Jesus is the Word. Then in verse fifteen, we are reminded that John the Baptist bore witness of Him and said, “This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me.” How could this be possible when John the Baptist was born before Jesus (refer to my Lesson on Scripture: “Zecharias’ Son John is Born“).
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
Romans 10:17–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Faith is the primary tenet of Christ’s teachings. As we see in Romans Chapter 10, Verse 17: “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Thus, we must “hear” the message in order to have a “faith” that the message is true. As the verse continues, we are told this message is from “the Word of God” (Jesus). ” In scriptures noted above, we learned that Jesus is the Word of God.
7 — “‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:'”
8 — “‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.'”
Matthew 7:7, 8–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In His “Sermon on the Mount”–Matthew Chapter 7, Verses 7 and 8–Jesus said, “If we ask, we will receive; if we seek, we will find; if we knock, it will be opened unto us.” Therefore, if we are truly and diligently seeking the truth, Jesus will guide us to it. Once we find it, if we knock, He will open the door of eternal life to us. At this point, it will still be up to us to enter into that door, because He will not force us to enter. Christianity is an act of faith; by faith we follow Christ’s teaching and enter into eternal life.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Once we have diligently searched for the truth and Christ has guided us to that truth, it is by faith that we act upon that truth as Jesus instructed through His apostles. We hope for the ultimate reward of an eternal home and life in heaven with Jesus and God, but we cannot see that home in heaven until Jesus returns to receive His own. Our faith that Jesus brought God’s Word to us, that He “is” God’s Word, that He “was” in the beginning with God, and that He “is” God in heaven is the substance that leads us to action. Our faith is the evidence that convicts us of these truths and compels us to act upon these truths. Our faith is what prompts Jesus to open the door to eternal life when we knock.
24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
Romans 8:24–Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Our hope of salvation is the basis upon which we “knock”; this is the faith upon which we enter into salvation. If we could see and reap the reward Jesus promised to us during His life here on earth, we could have no doubt it exists, but we cannot see heaven and eternal life until Jesus returns. It is our faith in the reality of this hope that leads us unto salvation. We must then act upon that faith and “knock” if we want Jesus to open the door to eternal life, and we must follow through on that knock with obedience of the commands He gave, continuing in His commands until He returns to receive us into that eternal life in heaven. If we had no hope, there could be no faith. If we have no faith, there can be no obedience unto eternal life, and there would be no continuation in that faith and obedience. The hope of eternal life fuels our faith which transports us into life eternal.
“Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make the bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.”
Ezekiek 4:9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
As a girl, I learned to make bread–corn bread specifically. Cornbread was typically a staple at our evening meal, so I was about nine years old when I learned to make it. We would make a large pan of cornbread to supplement whatever else we might be eating that night. It served as a filler making the meal “stick to our ribs” so we did not get hungry again until time for breakfast. During wintertime, often we had cornbread and milk as our evening meal. A bowl of cornbread soaked in milk is somewhat akin to porridge for breakfast. Both are made of grain which helps to satiate a person. Thus, hunger is held at bay for a time.
As a young wife and mother, I had already expanded my knowledge to embrace making cinnamon rolls, puff pastries, and other goodies. Thus, I decided it was time to try my hand at making yeast bread. My first batch flopped. It was hard as a rock and never raised even a fraction of an inch. Even the dog wanted nothing to do with it. Later, I discovered the yeast was long out of date. So, lesson learned: always be sure the yeast is still within active dates of usage. If the expiration date is in the past, the yeast should be in the trash.
My second batch of yeast bread turned out beautifully. I was thrilled to see it actually take shape as loaves similar to those bought at the store. Always striving to improve upon the food I prepared for my family, I learned of the important role whole wheat bread serves in our daily diet. The whole grain includes fiber which aids in digestion by slowing the process to allow time for nutrients to be absorbed across the intestinal wall. So, I decided to use whole wheat flour when making my bread. The result was quite satisfactory.
I always knew beans were nutritious and occasionally made a big batch of chili beans. During the holiday season, I would make baked beans as part of our traditional celebration. When we moved to the Gulf Coast, I learned how to make Red Beans and Rice. A close relative had grown-up on the coast and was quite adept at cooking with a southern flair. Therefore, it was not long until I, too, had learned to cook in like manner at least part of the time. As more years passed, I learned how to cook other types of flavorful bean dishes and began to truly appreciate the value of their inexpensive but very nutritious addition to the mealtime budget. As a result, a number of bean varieties are included in my dietary routine.
Suffice it to say, with knowledge of the important roles grains and legumes play in our nutritional intake, when I happened across the scripture quoted above during the course of my recent Bible study, I was amazed at the rich quality of the ingredients God specified for Ezekiel to include in his bread. This bread would provide almost all of a person’s nutritional requirements for a time. The one ingredient I was not familiar with–fitches– is actually the name of an ancient grain known as modern-day spelt. I have seen it mentioned when perusing various grain products available for purchase, but until now had not been overly inquisitive as to its dietary value. As with the manna from heaven which provided the Israelites with their nutritional needs during the weekly Sabbath observation while wandering forty years in the desert prior to entering the Promised Land, God now is providing Ezekiel with the knowledge of how to prepare a bread to satisfy his nutritional needs while serving as His prophet to the Israelites.
In Deuteronomy 8:2, and 3, God told Moses:
2 — “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”
3 — “So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
Here, God tells the Israelites they are not to live on only the physical bread in their daily diet, but to the physical bread, they must also add “. . . every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.” These words equate “God’s Words” with “bread.” He is telling them, both provide sustenance for life. The physical bread is sustenance for physical life, and the “bread” of “God’s words” is sustenance for the spiritual life.
Knowing God is so focused upon the nutrition needed by the human body, we can also know it is possible to look to the Bible for understanding as to which foods are best at meeting our nutritional needs. The foods mentioned in the Bible can be wholesome and nutritious additions to our physical diets.
Further, we find in the New Testament, Jesus’ response to Satan while being tempted of him in the wilderness:
“But He answered and said, It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Does this mean we must know and abide by every “word” in the Bible? Well, yes, but probably not in the same sense you might understand. First, we must learn how we are to receive “. . . every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” To begin this understanding, let’s look at some words from the apostle John.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
From these words, we can see God’s Word has existed from the beginning. As long as God has existed, His Word has existed.
We also see, “the Word was with God.” This indicates, not only did the Word come “from God.” It also existed “with God.”
Hmmmmm; so, while His word emitted from Him, it also co-existed alongside Him.
The end of this verse takes this thought process one step further, ” . . . and the Word was God.” Now, how often have you thought “the Word” not only is “from God,” but “the Word” actually “is God?”
How can this be? Well, let’s see what Jesus says about the matter. Remember, we are looking at the word “bread,” how there is a “physical bread” which we physically ingest, but there is also a “spiritual bread,” which is necessary to ingest in order to attain life eternal. The “spiritual bread” comes from “every word out of the mouth of God.”
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In the above scripture, Jesus is telling us, He is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Looking back to John 1:1, He is also telling us, “He” was the “Word” referred to in this verse. In other words, “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God.” If you notice, in this scripture the “Word” is capitalized, equating it with “someone”–equating it with “God.” Now, in John 6:35, Jesus tells us, “I am the bread of life, . . .” He tells us, “whoever comes to me shall not hunger, . . . ” If we are truly pricked in the heart and present ourselves to Jesus for His guidance, our physical needs will be provided, but our spiritual needs will be provided too. This is not the only place Jesus tells us this, and His apostles follow His teachings with the same message.
Finally, Jesus said, “. . . and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” Here, He is telling us there is more to “life” than eating and drinking; there is more to “life” than the physical life we know. This portion of the verse needs to be looked at more in depth, but for now–that is another devotional. I hope you will join us for that one as well.
Today, my prayer for each of you–and for the world–is that God and Jesus might place the knowledge and the surety of their existence–side by side–within our hearts and minds. Give us the understanding that the needs of this life will be provided for those who come to You. Give us the understanding of these scriptures. Help us to know that God and His Word (Jesus) existed in the beginning, that the Word (Jesus) was with God in the beginning, and the Word (Jesus) was God. Help us to understand: If Jesus is the bread of life, then He is God’s Word–He is every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Thank You for stopping by to read and commune with me, with God, and with Jesus. As I strive t o learn more about the message God and Jesus are imparting to me through the Scriptures–the Holy Bible–I am honored that you choose to share this journey with me. Please “Like,” “Share,” “Follow,” and keep coming back!