Many of us, as Christ followers, have heard “we are Jesus hands and feet.” The scripture in 1 John 4:17 confirms those words by instructing us that “as He is, so are we in this world.” When we consider this confirmation, we must meditate on this truth to ponder our responsibility in having this manifested in our lives. This truth is contained in this passage that focuses on God’s love for us and the importance of our love for Him and others.
It is affirmed here that “God is love” and that the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. God also instructs us that if He loves us, we ought to love one another. We discover the characteristics of love in 1 Corinthians 13 in which the writer refers this to the most excellent way. “Love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, it is not boastful, it is not arrogant, it is not rude, it does not seek its own way, it is not easily angered, and it does not keep a record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
These are some of the characteristics of our Heavenly Father. He is patient, kind, He does not envy, He does not boast or is arrogant, He is not rude or easily angered, He delights in the truth, He protects, trusts, hope and perseveres. God will never fail. Paul continues to say, “follow the way of love.” As God is love, so are we to be in this world. Our lives that others can see must reflect the God (who is love) that others cannot see. This reflection is accomplished by how we love Him and how we love one another. By this, love is perfected in us so that we have confidence in the day of judgement, because, “as He is, so are we in this world”. ~ God’s blessings, protection and favor to all.
“What is the Fear of God?” Many have given different answers to this complex question. One that seems to resonate with me the most is that the fear of God is to have a reverent awe and a healthy submissive fear of who He is. It seems to be easier for me to comprehend the reverent awe than it is the submissive fear. You see, I am amazed and stand in wonder of God and what He has done in this world as well as what He has done in my own personal life. It is a little harder for me to describe and understand the healthy fear admonished. Dr. Tony Evans gave an analogy that helped me understand this second part of the fear of God. He gave the example that when we are driving and we see a police car, what do we do? Most of us slow down. We understand the emblem on the car is representative of authority. It arrests us to change our actions to adhere to the speed limit that is safer and within the rules of the road. A healthy submissive fear has been created. It is the same for us when we know God. As we recognize His authority in our lives, it arrests us to change our actions to adhere to His commands. By doing so, we are more likely to make decisions and conduct ourselves in a manner that honors Him. Our submission to God’s rule and guidance creates a healthy submissive fear in us that He will bless.
God’s Word tells of many rewards He will bestow on those who fear Him. Knowledge, wisdom, mercy, goodness, prolonged life, blessings, instruction, and understanding just to name a few. Many more are listed throughout scripture. The last verses in the Book of Ecclesiastes written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, proclaims, “When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: fear God and keep His commands, for this is for all humanity.” May we all have a sincere desire to fear God and to walk in His ways. ~ God’s blessings, protection, and favor to all.
Most fathers give advice to their children as they are growing up. Some is very profound advice that is a lifelong benefit and other is more casual in nature. Regardless, it is an opportunity for the father to speak wisdom and direction into his children’s lives.
2 Timothy 2:1-7 contains fatherly advice from the apostle Paul who was a spiritual father figure to Timothy. He gives him five rules for life. The rules are so simple Timothy could have memorized them in short order. These simple rules provide a track for an abundant life, even in difficult times.
1) Be strong. Timothy is instructed to be strong in the “grace that is in Christ Jesus.” We can be strong in His promises, in His presence within us, in the privilege of prayer, in His perfect love, mercy and forgiveness.
2) Teach others. We are to teach others. This is one of the best scriptures on discipleship in the entire Bible. We must all strive to be qualified to teach others. As others are taught, it has a multiplying effect in the growth of God’s kingdom.
3) Endure hardship. If we are true followers of Christ, there will be hardships in this life. We must keep our eyes of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and His promises as we face trials of many kinds.
4) Stay disciplined. As an athlete, who must follow the rules to win the prize, we cannot win our prize unless we follow the rules found in the Bible. We must realize its promises, commands, truths, insights, encouragement, and instruction will help lead us to our heavenly reward.
5) Work hard. We must work hard in the kingdom of God as the farmer works hard in the fields. As the hardworking farmer is first to receive a share of the crops, so it will be for us in receiving our eternal home.
This fatherly advice was written by Paul to Timothy over 2000 years ago, but truth be told, this could be our Heavenly Father’s advice to His children today
Our whole life is based on the decisions we make, whether it is big decisions like if we choose to go to college, get married, our career, or have kids, or even smaller decisions such as if we decide what to wear today, where to have lunch, or whether to go for a walk or watch a movie. All these decisions we make in life can affect our immediate short term or long-term futures.
Pastor and Author Chuck Swindoll gives us four (4) key words to keep in mind when making life changing decisions:
1. ALWAYS look beyond the immediate benefits. One of the major temptations we face today is the promise of immediate gratification. We want what we want when we want it!!! We are so focused on what we want that we fail to consider what else will come to us as a result.
2. NEVER underestimate the impact of the permanent consequences. We must consider if the short-term benefit of our decisions is worth the consequences that cannot be changed. There are decisions in life, good or bad, that unfortunately cannot be altered.
3. FORGET about pleasing only yourself. We must consider how our decisions will affect others. We might think the decision we face today will only affect us. Not true. No one is completely independent from others and from the Lord.
4. REMEMBER that if the decision is going to take a toll on your walk with God, it is the wrong decision. We must consider how our decisions impact our relationship with God. There is no decision worth the price of interfering with the intimate fellowship we have with our heavenly Father. Each one of us today are at a place because of decisions that we have made in the past. As we make life changing decisions in the future, let us take into consideration the encouragement and recommendations from Pastor Swindoll. It is important for us realize that our decisions do determine our destiny.
The lyric of an old song goes, "don't worry, be happy." Most of us know that is easier said than done. Worry or anxiety is an emotion that we all are challenged with from time to time. Some more than others. If it is carried to the extreme, it can cause critical health issues such as a reduced immune systems, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, ulcers, and others.
The battle with anxiety can be exceedingly difficult to overcome by natural or medical means. Jesus had such a concern for us regarding this common struggle that He addressed it directly in His Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 6:25-34 gives us hope and a promise regarding worrying about this life. He says that if God gives attention to the needs of the birds and flowers, how much more will He do for us regarding our needs.
Jesus tells us not to worry, "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and He will give you everything you need (Matthew 6:33)."The word "seek" in this verse means to keep on keeping on until one has obtained. What is Jesus charging us to diligently seek after until we have obtained it? The Kingdom of God and His righteousness. It has been said that the Kingdom of God is where God has rule and reign over all areas of our lives. His righteousness can be defined as the divine standard God has established for mankind's actions and attitudes to be in right standing with Him. Jesus is telling us if we will first seek God's rule and reign in our lives and live according to His divine standards, we will have everything that we need. That is truly a kingdom cure for worry. ~ God's Blessings, protection, and favor to all.