PHILIPPIANS 2:9-11 NKJ 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
No matter what it may seem like at times, Jesus Christ is Lord. He is ruler, boss, king: the One ultimately in charge.
He just hasn’t exercised His prerogative and taken charge of everything yet.
Jesus is not currently micro-managing everything on earth. He is not responsible for every mistake, accident, and bad thing happening in the world.
God has allowed mankind to “try things our way” so we may see the folly of going our own way in rebellion to God.
But this won’t last forever. God has a plan with a limited amount of time allotted for this part of history.
Although God has set certain boundaries, basically human beings are now in control on earth. We are free to choose. Because we are free to choose, we bear the responsibility for the consequences of our chosen actions.
All that is bad in the world today is the result of choices people made. God is not to blame. His only blame is that He allowed us the freedom to choose.
One day Jesus will exercise His authority and put a stop to all evil. Not only that, but He will eliminate the curse and all its effects. He will make all things new, whole, and sound again.
One day everyone will see and acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. You have that privilege today.
1 PETER 4:11 NIV 11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. . . .
When you speak what the Bible says, you are speaking the very words of God. Anything contrary to what the Bible says, should never be spoken by a Christian.
EPHESIANS 4:29 NIV 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
JAMES 4:11 NKJ 11 Do not speak evil of one another . . . .
TITUS 3:2 NKJ 2 to speak evil of no one . . . .
You are responsible for what you say. If you cannot say something good, the Bible is clear: keep quiet.
Do you really want what you deserve? Maybe you should first find out what you really deserve.
PSALM 103:8-10 NIV 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Thank God that I don’t get what I deserve! People clamoring to get what they deserve are really in the dark.
God is the judge and He declares that we have all fallen short — none of us deserves good. But the wonderful news is that God loves us so much that He is not giving us what we deserve. But it doesn’t stop there. It gets better. Believers are actually going to receive what Jesus deserves!
Jesus took what we deserved — punishment. And now, because of His great love, offers us what He deserves — freely as a gift of love.
How can you not respond to Someone like that!
PSALM 103:11 NIV 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
If you understood how much God loves you — your life would be different.
Fear and worry would have no power over you any longer. Fear has no torment for someone basking in the sunlight of Almighty God’s love.
This passage in Psalm 103 attempts to picture the size or extent of God’s love. It is not portrayed as simply big as the highest mountain. No, no — far more. As high as the sky is above the earth. That is the picture God wants you to see when you think of how great His love is for YOU.
How do I know this? Just from what the Bible says. And from what God did in and through Jesus Christ to redeem you. He paid a mighty price for you — because His love for you is so great.
But, you may ask, “Why is my life going so poorly if God really does love me so much?” That is a valid question, but not the same one as whether God loves you. The quick answer is that God has made provision for us — but most of us are not taking advantage of the help He offers.
Put another way, we are not acting on God’s instructions — whether out of ignorance or for some other reason. When you don’t follow a proven recipe you cannot expect a good outcome.
God has no desire to condemn us for our failure, but instead desires to invite us into His fellowship and His way of doing things. It is through His Word that this will happen in our lives. So, read the Bible to see how much God loves you, but also remember that it is because of His great love for you that He gave you the instructions found in the Bible. They are for your benefit — not God’s benefit. High Are The Heavens Above The Earth?
COLOSSIANS 3:13 NKJ 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Forgiving others for deep hurts seems to be one of the hardest things a human being can do. In fact — very few are successful in forgiving.
Yet, in the Bible God commands us to forgive. Is God overly demanding, or…?
God is smart. That is why He commands us to forgive. (Also because He loves us and desires the best for us.) God knows how terribly destructive it is for us to harbor unforgiveness. Not forgiving someone can literally kill you.
Unforgiveness is a poison that eats away at your spiritual, mental, and physical health and life.
Knowing that, God strictly tells us to forgive. But how can we? We are just human, and we don’t feel like forgiving when someone has wronged us severely.
(You may think it is impossible to forgive someone who hurt you. With God it is possible. He never asks us to do something we cannot do.)
The answer is in receiving God’s help, enabling you to forgive. First, you must be “born again” spiritually by receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. That means you receive new life in your inner being, giving you a new nature — a nature of love instead of selfishness.
Next, when you are wronged, you need to ask the Lord to help you forgive the person who hurt you. Having done that, you must make a firm decision to quit holding anything against that person.
Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision to quit holding something against someone. When you forgive you must release them and forget it.
You must forgive by faith, after asking God to help you. Feelings always follow faith — not the other way around.
How can we humans forgive others just as God has forgiven us? Having God’s help is necessary. Only His love in our hearts can enable us.
You must forgive others — no matter what they have done. To not forgive hurts you. You must forgive.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:9 LB 9 We are only God’s coworkers. You are God’s garden, not ours; you are God’s building, not ours.
We discovered that God’s Word is a seed (Luke 8:11). Now we see that the Bible says that we, as believers, are God’s garden — the place where seed is planted.
The question for you to consider is: who determines the harvest? God, or you?
(The harvest I speak of is the fruit, or result, of the Word of God. The harvest of blessing that God’s Word produces in your life.)
I suggest that the harvest is mainly controlled by the one who determines what seed is planted. Would you agree?
If wheat seed is planted, it is unreasonable to expect a harvest of corn. If only a few seeds are planted, it is unreasonable to expect a large harvest. Wouldn’t you agree?
Yes, you are God’s field, but He allows you a lot of freedom to choose what will be produced in your life. And the main way you choose is by choosing what seed will be planted in your heart and mind.
You can choose something other than God’s Word. You can also choose different areas of God’s Word. Planting different scriptures will produce different results in your life.
If all you ever plant are scriptures on the new birth, you cannot expect to have a huge harvest of healing or financial blessing in your life. The choice is yours.
2 CORINTHIANS 4:4 ICB 4 The devil who rules this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. They cannot see the light of the Good News — the Good News about the glory of Christ, who is exactly like God.
What is God like?
Before Jesus of Nazareth came on the scene, the human concept of God was a bit fuzzy. (It still is for those who have not understood this truth.)
But Jesus perfectly revealed to us what God is like. He was (and is) Heaven’s perfect representative.
COLOSSIANS 1:15 ICB 15 No one has seen God, but Jesus is exactly like him. Christ ranks higher than all the things that have been made.
COLOSSIANS 1:15 WEYMOUTH 15 Christ is the visible representation of the invisible God, the Firstborn and Lord of all creation.
HEBREWS 1:3 WEYMOUTH 3 He brightly reflects God’s glory and is the exact representation of His being, and upholds the universe by His all-powerful word. After securing man’s purification from sin He took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
The scriptures above should have made it clear that God is like Jesus. Now let’s look at a verse summarizing the life of Jesus on earth.
ACTS 10:38 NKJ 38 “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
Notice that Jesus went about DOING GOOD — not doing bad. Not hurting people, but helping people. That is what God is like.
PHILIPPIANS 3:20 NRSV 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have a new citizenship. Your name is written in Heaven. Heaven is your homeland.
Because you are its citizen, Heaven is responsible for you. If necessary, Heaven will send its soldiers (angels) to assist you, and when necessary, to evacuate you.
Although we live on earth, we operate under the laws of our homeland, Heaven, as well as the laws of earth.
As a citizen you have certain rights and obligations. To understand them you need to read the Bible with the help of illumination by the Holy Spirit. You need to ask the Lord to teach you and give you understanding of these things.
COLOSSIANS 1:13 NRSV 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,
As believers, we are no longer under the authority or control of the devil. We have been transferred into a new kingdom.
One of our rights as citizens of Heaven is to resist the devil and all his works. Anything that is of the devil, we do not have to submit to.
JOHN 8:31-32 NRSV 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Notice carefully what Jesus actually said. It is not those who “start in the word” or “try the word for awhile” who will be made free. You must continue in Jesus’ message — His Word. It must be His accurate message — not just someone’s idea about it, or religious tradition.
Some translations use the word “abide” instead of “continue.” Abide means to stay somewhere continually. Either way, the meaning involves staying with it.
Note what Jesus said in verse 32, “and you will KNOW the truth . . .” Just hearing truth does not necessarily make you free. You must KNOW it is the truth. When you KNOW something, you will act on it. If you are not acting on something, you do not yet truly KNOW it. You act on what you know.
Hearing the truth is not enough. Loving the truth is not enough. Even speaking the truth is not enough. You must continue until you know that you know that you know that you know. Only then are you at the point where truth will make you free. Because only then will you be able to act with faith and boldness on God’s Word.
The devil is against you and is intent on keeping you in bondage. Only when you KNOW where you stand will you act in faith and overcome the strategies of the devil.
You may ask, “How can I KNOW the truth? I just have weak faith.”
Jesus gave the answer: continue in His Word. As you continue in the Word of God you will become convinced — you will know — you will have faith. When you reach the point of knowing something — you will act on that knowledge. In this way the truth will make you free.
This works in every area of life: your relationships, your health, your finances — everything. Continue in the Word of God on any subject — and you will eventually see the fruit of freedom in that area of your life.
God gave you His Word for your benefit — not for His benefit. God already knows the truth, and always acts on it. Because God loves you, He gave you His Word to help you.
JOB 40:8 LB 8 Are you going to discredit my justice and condemn me so that you can say you are right?
Many are quick to blame God for all the bad things in their life and in the world. “After all, God is ultimately responsible, isn’t He?”
Is a parent responsible for the choices their grown children make? Certainly, they had influence in raising their children. But ultimately, each human makes their own choices and we are each responsible for our own actions. We cannot blame our parents — our spouse — or anyone else. If we choose to do wrong, it is our choice.
People are guilty. The devil is guilty. Not God.
“But what about storms, earthquakes, and such?”
Jesus rebuked the storm in Luke 8:24. Are we to believe that Jesus was rebuking something that God was responsible for?
Although it is not clear now to most people, one day it will be clear to all: God is not guilty of anything. The devil and people shoulder the blame for all the heartache, misery, and pain on earth.
JEREMIAH 9:24 NIV 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.