By John Foll, Finished writing from 05/20/2017 to 05/22/2017, and 6/3/2017.
© Copyright 2017 John Foll
Before we get into this article, have you read our Faith Blog article “God Will Never Allow the Righteous To Be Shaken! (Cast your burden upon the Lord)”? We recommend that you read it too, and you should also check out this other Faith Blog article: “Do you have faith? Do you have Assurance? Faith commeth by hearing the word of God!” These articles were written to help inspire your faith in God so you can have a new life with Him, or have it more abundantly if you already have it!
Now on to our article.
The Kingdom of God consists not in words but in Power!
Listen to what the apostle Paul says here:
“But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I shall find out, not the words of those who are arrogant, but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:19-20 NASB.
Paul here was addressing a class of people among the Corinthian believers who were arrogant. 1 Corinthians 4:18. Evidently some people were causing problems in the Church, who were living without the power of God in their lives. Sound familiar? This problem and the solution addressed by Paul here is largely the same problem that we have today, and his solution is the same that is needed today. Let’s explore this concept further that Paul is trying to teach the Church. Yes, his counsel is for our day too, not just for the Corinthian church of his day.
Do you want God’s power in your life to help you be good and His gifts to serve Him with? Do you want the assurance of your salvation? Then get His power in your life.
Do you want to have sweet communion with Him every day? Do you want Him to take the shame of your sins away and give you the power to live a righteous life? Are you tired of the endless round of sinning and bad habits? Do you want a new life with Him? The kingdom of God consists not in mere words but in power. The power of Love. The power to be good. The power to live a good Christian life. Do you want this power?
A large portion of people in Christianity today are without power. Some try to excuse their lack, their sins, or say that it doesn’t matter since we are saved by grace (some of these may think that they have this power since they are ‘saved’). And there is another class who say they believe in obeying God, but they appear to lack the power to obey Him, though they might think that they are, but are only doing so from outward appearance. Many of these lack the ability of being kind, loving and merciful to others. Both of these groups are lacking the love, joy, peace, faith and hope and the power promised by God to all who believe. Jesus said in John 3:3, 5 that all must be born again to be able to enter the kingdom of God. But the kingdom of God consists not in words, but in Power, as Paul spoke above in 1 Corinthians 4:20. But not all want this power, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 KJV. Are you being saved day-by-day? Do you have the power of God in your life?
Do you want this power? Do you want to personally experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life like the early Christians did in the book of Acts? The Holy Spirit has been promised to you forever by Jesus and His Father (John 14:16), if you believe in Jesus (John 3:16-17), want to love and obey Him, and would seek this life from Him, the ‘Pearl of Great Price’. Matthew 13:46.
God is willing to give you new life with Him, with the power of the Holy Spirit if you meet the conditions. Yes, there are conditions. You must ask for it (or want it very much). Luke 11:13. You must hunger and thirst for it. Matthew 5:6. You must obey God (or want to obey Him). Acts 5:32. You must believe in Jesus for your salvation. John 3:16-17. You must have the Son of God. 1 John 5:12. You must confess your sins and believe that you have been forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. You must search for this ‘Pearl of Great Price’. Matthew 13:46. You must allow God to make you meek. Matthew 5:5. You must forgive others. Matthew 6:12. You must be merciful to others. Matthew 5:7. You must allow God to make you pure in heart. Matthew 5:8. These texts are stating what is needed to receive salvation and the blessings of God in their fullness. This is the Gospel message that was taught by Jesus and His disciples. These are the most wonderful truths that you could ever learn, they will give you life, love, joy, faith, hope and eternal happiness. Is that what you want?
See also: John 8:42, 13:34,35; 15:12,17; 14:15, 15, 27; 15:9; 17:23; 1 John 3:23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2:3-6; 4:20-21; Luke 14:26-27, 33.
Are you tired of living a lukewarm Christian life? Then you need God’s power! Has your love for God or others grown cold or dim? Then you need God’s power. In Revelation 3:15-16, Jesus warns His people that He will spew them out of His mouth, unless they see their need of Him, repent and yield to Him all the way. This is a very serious condition that many of God’s people are in today! Those who do not listen to Jesus and see their need of Him and repent will be spewed out of His mouth and be lost. There needs to be a great change in a lot of Christians today. They have lost their first love of Jesus (or never had it), and need to get it back (or get it for the first time). The solution for all who are in this condition is to make a full confession to God in Jesus’ name for their sins, especially for being lukewarm and not putting Him first at all times. All who are lukewarm Christians should throw themselves on God’s mercy and ask Him to help them put Him first and love their neighbor as themselves, and stop dallying with the world!
If you would like this power, you must confess all of your sins and humble your heart before God, ask for the Holy Spirit, and yield yourself totally to God. Always do what God has asked you to do and want to do it. If you do not want to obey God in all things, or do not obey Him fully you cannot have the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit. If there is any part of the Bible that God has impressed on you that you should follow that you are resisting Him on, ask Him to help you change. Ask God to be merciful to you a sinner, this is something He will be happy to do! You will need to work through these issues with Him, trusting Him and in much prayer. When you get to the point where the last thing that you have been putting Him off on or resisting Him on has been given to Him, you should see a wonderful change in your life! Sometimes you may want His help but are not all-the-way there yet, but if you will hang in there and ask Him to help you to obey Him, and then obey Him, He will give you peace, more joy and more power and more love.
How long it takes for you to get the Holy Spirit in full depends on how soon you yield fully to Him and do all that He has asked you to do 100%. At a later date He may ask you to do more things, or make more changes, or to make something right with others. Always be willing to do everything He asks, pray for the ability of doing it and to be more willing. (This will shorten the time it takes for you to get this desired blessing from Him.) God will always help the penitent sinner who is genuinely asking for His help and willing to do what He asks, or to be made more willing. God gives His best gifts to those who love Him and are obedient to all of His wishes that He has revealed to them. He is mindful that you are but dust (Psalms 103:14), and doesn’t require more than you can bear (unless you have almost gone too far and are in eminent peril), but will always give you the help you need to do His bidding, if you want it and ask for it.
Here are some promises for you to claim:
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB.
‘the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation’ 2 Peter 2:9 NASB.
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” James 1:12 KJV.
Meditate on these next quotes if you wish to have God’s best gifts, and His best and sweetest rewards:
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11 KJV.
Jesus said, “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19 NASB.
Yes, there is a great reward for those who keep all of God’s testimonies and His Law of Love (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:36-40). If you want to be called great in the kingdom of Heaven, keep God’s commandments and teach others to do so. If you want to be converted and not be lost, make these teachings, the Gospel message in the New Testament, and the other teachings of the Bible your study and delight. And ask God for the help you need to do what He has asked you to do. Then you will have the confidence of knowing that He hears your prayers. Psalms 66:18; Proverbs 28:9. And you will have the promised great reward! Then you will have the sweetness of the Holy Spirit in your heart, and you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind and all your soul, and your neighbor as yourself!
Always start with the Bible, God’s word, to find out what He wants you to do. Be careful about asking people for their opinion, unless they can provide solid proof from the Bible for their views. If God has convicted you on something in the Bible, it is a dangerous thing to ask what other people think about it, unless they give you proof from the Bible that makes sense to you after much thought and prayer, proving your earlier convictions wrong. Pray that God will make it clear to you. Don’t put your soul’s destiny into someone else’s hands to decide for you. Your soul and eternal life are at stake!
One of the reasons why there are so many people who are not willing to obey everything in the Bible is because they surround themselves with teachers who quiet their conscience against the clearly revealed word of God. But the apostle Peter said that we ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29. You accept the opinions of others over the plain words of the Bible at your own risk, the risk of eternal loss! We recommend that you only go by the word of God, or study as much of it as you can understand yourself, then ask others who you trust that are living godly lives who have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit for the Biblical proof of their views. Although someone can tell you the truth without living it 100%, it is best to trust only those who are living God’s love, obeying Him and born again from above, and contrite when they make a mistake. But their explanations must never contradict the Bible, and it should make sense. They should be able to prove everything they are teaching from the Bible. And you need to verify every step of their reasoning before believing their conclusions.
Some people offer “proof”, but when you check all of their proof texts or evaluate their reasoning carefully, many are fallacies, distortions, half-truths, or taken out of context to fit their theories. Some are preaching systematic error; i.e. multiple fallacies and multiple errors using a lot of Bible texts. Don’t let the fact that they have a lot of “proof texts” fool you into thinking that they are right. You need to check all of their texts and reasoning carefully, no matter how many texts they give, to see if it makes sense, and their conclusion sure. But also remember that they themselves might be well meaning, but in error. Many time fallacies and errors are used to “prove” other things. Every fallacy or error someone accepts into their thinking builds on the others they have accepted previously, making it harder to separate fact from fiction, truth from error. Don’t accept anything as the gospel truth unless it squares up 100% with what God has revealed to you from the Bible. If you find out that you have been in error in anything, simply recant your previous beliefs and let God help you to change and believe the truth. You must love God and want to obey Him, or you will eventually end up being deceived or seduced into sin and being lost. If you are wanting something to quiet your conscience, pleasing fables will fill the void. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. So it is important to always be humble and contrite before God and have the desire to please Him, so you won’t be deceived by error.
What happens if you find out that you have been in error after reading the clear word of the Bible and the Holy Spirit convicts you of it? That is for you to decide. If you find out that you were doing or believing something wrong, then you need to make a change, if you would continue to be a son or daughter of God. If you have been in error, just confess your sins and ignorance and allow God to help you to change. He will be happy to help you. You are not held accountable for the truth if you did not know it or did not have it impressed on your mind to obey it.
You may ask, ‘How can I know the truth for sure? People I know and respect or family or friends believe the truth differently than the plain reading of the Bible.’ You can know the truth if you are Jesus’ sheep or become His sheep. If you are Jesus’ sheep, then you will listen to His words and He will lead you into all truth through the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. John 16:13. You can trust in the Good Shepherd of the sheep to lead you all the way to Heaven’s peaceful shore. John 10:11, 14. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” John 10:27-29 NASB. So there you have it, if you are Jesus’ sheep you will not have to worry as long as you follow where He leads and do what He says, and He will give you eternal life! No one can snatch you out of Jesus or His Father‘s hands as long as you want them to save you!
If you are still struggling with sin and doubt, just get to know God and study the promises of His love in the Bible and believe, asking Him to be merciful to you a sinner and He will surely bless you. Just hang in there! Don’t get discouraged. Remember that He loves you! When your heart is warmed more and more to His love you will know it, and when you verbally give your heart to Him all the way, He will fill you with great joy, love and power (and peace). And then you will know that you have the Holy Spirit. No one will have to tell you that you have the Holy Spirit because you will know! You will be so blessed, and your attitude towards God and others will change. And you will delight in obeying God and serving Him. And you will finally have power from God. Is this what you want?
It is high time that all Christians make a complete return to God, renouncing the world completely, asking Him for His help to break all ties with sin, worldliness, bad practices, and stop trying to justify sin and bad habits. God’s mercy for this world will soon run out, and all who do not love Him supremely will be cast out. But God will shelter all who are Jesus’ true sheep from this coming storm.
The Kingdom of Heaven and true Christianity consist not in words, but in power! It is time for all who are named a Christian to shed their powerless, joyless, faithless, hopeless, loveless Christian existence and man-made religion, for the perfect righteousness of Christ, and receive power from God to finally be a Christian with power, not lacking in any of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This is to be Christ-like: to be meek, humble, lowly, pure, Holy, full of peace, love, joy, faith, hope: to be full of the Holy Spirit. This is my prayer for you dear reader! Amen!
#Kingdom #God #Power #Word #Lukewarm #HolySpirit #New #Life #Promise #Condition #Faith #Peace #Love #Great #Reward #Obey #Commandments #Conversion #Return #Repent
By John Foll, written on 3/12/2017 and 3/18/2017 – 3/19/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 KJV.
What did Jesus really mean when He said this?
There is more to this text than is commonly understood. We want to go deeper into this statement by Jesus and give our own personal testimony regarding it, to help increase your faith in God!
Now back to what Jesus said before our central text here:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:25-32 NASB.
Jesus is talking about two classes of people here: those of faith and the Gentiles. The Gentiles seek first after what they shall eat, drink and be clothed with, making this the most important thing – these are all those who don’t know Jesus or His Father. ‘The Gentiles’ that Jesus is referring to here includes those who are baptized as Christian, who are not of faith or do not fully believe that God loves them and will take care of them. If Jesus is your master, you will truly believe that God loves you and will take care of you, and you will seek first after His kingdom and His righteousness.
Jesus told us not to be like the Gentiles, who worry about how they are going to be clothed, or have food to eat, etc., because they don’t believe in the Mighty Helper for their daily needs.
Which class are you? Are you a Gentile or are you a child of faith? That depends on whether you know that God loves you or not, or whether you know that He will take care of you or not. Do you have faith that God loves you and will take care of you? Then seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all the things that you need in this life will be added unto you. Doubt it not. Jesus tells us here that the birds, lilies, and grass are fed, arrayed in their “clothing” and taken care of by our Heavenly Father. Does He not love you more than them? Why then do you not believe that He will take care of you, you of little faith? Why do you worry about how you shall live? Why do you worry about having a job? Will you still be able to afford food? What will you do when something that you need and depend on breaks, if you cannot afford to fix or replace it? Do as Jesus commanded you: “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” Matthew 6:25 KJV. Just take Him at His word!
But now we want to take this deeper:
What does it really mean to seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness? This is the key to everything good in this life and the life to come. Simply put, this is to seek after God and all His righteousness as Jesus clearly stated here. God revealed this same truth to His servant Jeremiah: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 KJV. When you seek for God with all your heart, and then desire to obey Him in everything that He has commanded you in the Holy Bible, then you will be seeking after Him first and His righteousness! When you are tired of sinning and being unrighteous, you can pray to God that He will give you His righteousness, and He will give you the Holy Spirit to help you be righteous! Then you will be truly seeking the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness for yourself. Jesus also states this same truth in a different manner when He said: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 KJV. Jesus’ yoke is much easier than that yoke of bondage to sin, suffering and death! It is easier, because He will make you happy! It is easier, because this yoke is based on your desire to love and serve Him, not by force or addiction or slavery like your life is before you give your heart totally to Him. Jesus will never force you, that is why His yoke is lighter, because it is based only on your choice of daily giving your heart to Him and willingly serving Him, and because He will take all of your burdens and slavery of sin away from you, if you let Him! This will make you very happy if you will just give your heart to Him all-the-way! This is another way of stating how you can seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness. Dear reader, lay all of your cares and burdens on Jesus, and take His yoke upon you, and then He will help you to seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness.
A passage with overlapping or similar meaning to what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-33 is this passage that Moses wrote of God to the Israelites: “And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3 NASB. Jesus used this quote when the devil tempted Him in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ But He [Jesus] 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 4:1-4 KJV. If you will desire to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God in His Holy Bible, and ask for His help to do this, you will then be living by every word that proceeds from His mouth, and will then be seeking His Kingdom first and seeking after His righteousness.
But let’s take this even deeper:
What does it really mean to seek first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness? The clue was given earlier. When you yield yourself completely to God because you love Him, you will then be given the precious Holy Spirit. And since ‘God is love’, 1 John 4:8, a very strong desire will be placed in your heart to help others in whatever way you can, because you know that God loves them too, just like He loves you! And you will long, just ache to tell them how much He loves them!
Note: 1 John 4:8 does not say that God has love, but it says that ‘God is love’! I.e. God is the source of Love!
So again, what does it really mean to seek first the kingdom of God? It means that you will greatly desire to do everything in your power to build up God’s kingdom, by telling others how much He loves them or by showing it to them, by helping them, and by living a life that brings honor and glory to God! If you are truly seeking first the kingdom of God, you will lay everything on the altar to Him and give everything to Him, and beg Him to send you into His vineyard (Luke 10:2) and give you the gifts that you need to serve Him with. John 14:12-15. Then you will be Jesus’ disciple and will bear much fruit, and this will glorify God! John 15:8. Why is God glorified when you bear much fruit for Him? Because God is love, 1 John 4:8, and loves everyone, and greatly longs to save them! God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11; 18:23. Also “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 KJV. Never forget that God loves you and everyone else in the world, and wants all men and women to come to repentance, so that they perish not! If you really love Him, you will long to help build up His kingdom, which is the fuller deeper meaning of ‘seeking first the Kingdom of God’. You will feel your great need of His help and how inadequate you are without Him, and how much you need the spiritual gifts that you need to serve Him with, asking Him for these things in Jesus’ name, so that you can bring honor and glory to Him.
What will God give you if you truly seek His Kingdom first and all of His righteousness, and tell others how much He loves them? I.e. What will God give you if you seek to build up His kingdom? Jesus plainly stated that God would give you all of the things that the Gentiles and every human being seek after: food, clothing, shelter, in short all of the things you need to live, survive and thrive. If instead of seeking first after what the Gentiles seek after (who don’t know God or trust in Him), and seek after His kingdom and His righteousness, He will give you everything that you need. If you will stop living your life by just the way you earn your living, and if you stop putting your faith in your ability to take care of your needs and your family’s needs by your job, and fully live by all of the words in God’s Holy Bible, trusting in Him to supply all of your needs, then you will be putting His kingdom first and seeking after His righteousness! When you place all on the altar because of your love for Him, and seek to bring others to Him, telling and showing them how much He loves them, then you will be living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and will be truly seeking first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness. Then you can fully claim Jesus’ promise here, and believe that God will give you all the things you need in this life, that the Gentiles earnestly seek after! Because God knows that you need these things and cares for you!
* Note: We are not saying here that if you don't seek first after the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, or haven't fully yielded to Him that He will not still try to take care of you, because God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Jesus said, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:44-45 KJV. But it is much better to believe that God love's you and will take care of you, so that you can make your way safely to Heaven, and have the confidence you need when you pray to claim His rich promises for you! The purpose of this article is to increase your faith in God, and to help you learn fully how much He loves you, and have the wonderful peace and assurance of your own salvation!
I know personally that what was stated in this article is true. I was telling this idea to a little group at Church that the fuller meaning of ‘seeking first the kingdom of God’ is really seeking first the kingdom of God, not just for yourself, but for others. I.e. you are seeking to build up God’s kingdom. I was saying that as a group that we could claim this promise for ourselves, since we were working towards and making plans on how to help others in our community get to know God and help them with their health, etc. I have been working towards this goal with this little group for a while now that I am a part of, and I also greatly desired to build up God’s Kingdom for my own writing and speaking ministry that I asked God to give me, that He is giving me. I am boasting in the Lord, which is permitted according to 1 Corinthians 1:31, because I would be nothing without Him – He is my strength and shield and mighty helper! (I got this idea that it is permitted to boast in the Lord from either A. T. Jones or E. J. Waggoner.) Now I had been looking for a job for many months, and was getting very discouraged from time-to-time, and believed that I needed to express my faith that since we were working to help others get to know God, that we met the qualifications for this promise of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-36. I believe I told them about my job interview and asked them to pray for me, and that I believed that the conditions for this promise were met; that they could claim this promise for their needs too. I had interviewed for a job on this same day by phone before this meeting, but I didn’t know the results of it then. The next day I was told by the recruiting company for this job, that I had interviewed strongly and that the company was thinking of extending an offer to me, but I was to wait until the following Tuesday (the next week). That next week I was given the offer of employment and accepted it. So I believe that God heard my prayer and granted my request, because I was willing to confess the promises of His love for us and promises to help us and the conditions, and that we had met them. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9 KJV. So we need to confess with our mouth that our Lord Jesus greatly loves us and wants to take care of us: we need to confess with our mouth the promises that God has given us and their conditions, so that others might have faith in God too! God will help you, if you will seek after His kingdom first and all of His righteousness, and seek to help others know how much He loves them.
So how can you stop worrying about how you will be clothed, have food to eat and how you will live? How can you believe that God will take care of you? How can you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness?
You need an anchor, to anchor your soul to your mighty helper, God! That anchor is your faith in Him, if you know that He loves you. Do you really know that He loves you? Have you experienced this personally for yourself? Has He revealed to you that He loves you? God will do all of this for you and more, if you will just get to know Him and learn to give your heart completely to Him! God will give you this anchor if you will just ask Him to! Be like Jesus’ disciples who said unto the Lord: ‘Increase our faith.’ Luke 17:5 KJV. How do you get this faith? By yielding your heart to God all the way and receiving the Holy Spirit, because it is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23. What do you have to lose? Why not give your heart completely to God today? But you may say ‘I am a sinner, no good or evil.’ But what does Jesus say? “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” Luke 11:13 KJV. Answer: Jesus says that God will give you the Holy Spirit, if you will but ask! Is it really just that simple to get faith? Yes it is! Why then is it that not every Christian has enough faith and why is it that they get caught up into doubt? Answer: Because they have not asked or continue to ask every day for the precious Holy Spirit or because they have not fully yielded themselves to God. Maybe they don’t really know how much God loves them or maybe they don’t really care yet? Yes, we believe that this must be the case! If they really knew how much He loved them, and what He did for them when He gave His only Son to die on the cross for their sins, John 3:16-17, and the wonderful gift He provided for them in the gift of the Holy Spirit, as stated in Acts 2:33 and in other places such as John 14:16, and returned their love and affection to Him, then they would have the assurance of their salvation, and have the Holy Spirit for themselves, and have all the faith that they need to believe God and appropriate all of His promises in the Bible and thus get the victory. So the key to having faith is getting to know God and yielding yourself to Him! He will then give you everything that you need to love, obey and serve Him with! And then you will be truly seeking first the kingdom of God and all of His righteousness, and all of the things you need will be added unto you! Amen.
#Seek #First #Kingdom #God #Righteousness #Food #Clothing #Faith #Birds #Heart #Search #Holy #Spirit #Yoke #Bread #Live #Mouth #Perish #Repentance #Promise
By John Foll
, written between 03/11/2017 and 03/12/2017.
© Copyright John Foll 2017
Are there “extra rewards on top of getting to live eternally?” After thinking more on this, we now think that this is a good question! We had seen this article on Disqus.com for several days before responding to it, probably because it seemed extraneous or something like that. (We don’t remember exactly.) Maybe we thought that those who get to Heaven won’t care how they got there after the fact. But after thinking on this some more, a statement made by Jesus was presented to our mind, which we posted in this Disqus discussion:
To answer this discus main question, Jesus said that those who teach others to keep even the least of God's commandments shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:19. Those who have been moved with love and compassion to help erring ones to know and keep God's commandments, which are all love, will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Do you want this blessing? Then let God make a change to your heart and life, so you can bring honor and glory to His wonderful name, and teach others to love and obey God too! And you will get that promised great reward.
Are there any of God’s commandments that are too small for us to concern ourselves with? Are there any of God’s commandments that are too small for us to worry about keeping or too small for us to teach others to keep? No. Jesus says that those who keep even the least of these commandments and teach others to keep them will be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. What about those who keep God’s greatest commandments and teach others to keep them?Will they not have even a greater reward?
“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses thatof the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19-20 NASB.
We don’t want to focus on this text in its typical manner, but focus today on ‘keeping these commandments and teaching others to do so’:those that do this ‘shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.’
What commandments does Jesus mean when He says “these commandments?”Jesus here plainly declares which commandments we are to keep and teach others in the preceding passage: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 NASB. The ‘commandments’ that Jesus is talking about here in Matthew 5:19-20 is “the Law and the Prophets”. This means not only the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20,but it also clearly means the entire Old Testament, because they were the only Scriptures when Jesus spoke this. But since the words that Jesus spoke are also the Word of God, and since He commissioned His disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world, we also include the entire New Testament as well to be the Word of God.
Jesus declared here that those who keep ‘these commandments’, contained in the Bible, and teach others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven. Yes it’s true, there is great reward in keeping God’s Law, the commandments, and in teaching others to do so, even though many in our day think that you shouldn’t keep them or can’t keep them, or shouldn’t teach others to do so! They try to say that this is works, and that we are under grace and thus should not keep God’s holy Law. Some of them even imply that you are sinning if you want to keep God’s Holy Law, since they say we are under grace, and equate all attempts to keep God’s commandments as self-righteousness. But the Bible clearly teaches that God can give us the power to keep His Law when He writes His Law in our Heart. Jeremiah 31:31-34. But what does the Bible say regarding God’s holy Law? “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORDis sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD aretrue and righteous altogether. More to be desired are theythan gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.Moreover by them is thy servant warned: andin keeping of them there is great reward.” Psalm 19:7-11 KJV. In keeping God’s 10 Commandments and other commandments in the Bible there is great reward! Do you want this great reward? Do you want to be warned so that you are not lost? Do you want to be truly converted so that you can go to Heaven? Do you want to be pure? Do you want to be clean? Do you want to be good and live a righteous life? Do you want your eyes to be enlightened? Do you want to rejoice? Are you simple but want to be wise? Do you want to taste of the good things to come from God, with all of the sweetness of the rich experience of the blessing of the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32. Then study God’s Law of Love, or the two Tables of the Testimonies or the 10 Commandments and all of His righteous judgements and commandments in the Bible, and ask Him to help you to keep them. In keeping them and teaching them to others there is great reward!
Now back to the question to be discussed: Is going to Heaven the highest reward? No.While many people will be happy just to get there, those who have fallen in love with God, will have great joy in teachingothers to love God too! They get a reward of joy in this life, from the ones that they know of whom they have helped, but in Heaven they will get a much greater reward of eternal joy, that lasts forever! This is because those whom they helped to get there will remind them of how thankful they were that someone showed them how to be saved, but more importantly Jesus and His Father will be happy with them! But the ones who get these higher rewards are not doing it just for the reward, but because they love Jesus and His Father!These rewards are above and beyond that of just going to Heaven. These rewards are something a selfish heart can never know or understand, unless it has a great change made in it.
We wish we could make everyone understand the great reward that God wants to give them, if they would only want to keep His Law, because they love Him and teach others to do so too! But alas, this great reward can only be known by those who want what God has to give them, before they have fully learned how precious it is.This reward of love can only be known by those who want to obey Him, because they have learned to love Him, and received His help to obey. There is no way to fully understand what God wants to give you until you experience it for yourself, because it has to be experienced to be understood! But we have tried and will keep trying our best to try to inspire you with the joy and wonder of loving and serving God all-the-way, as long as He gives us breath to praise His name and helps keep us on track with His love. God never fails!
Jesus also said: “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.” Matthew 24:44-47 NASB. Here again,Jesus is promising that there will be a great reward in serving Him faithfully in giving His household their food (the word of God) at the proper time and season, which is the same thing as teaching others to keep God’s commandments: the reward for them will be to be put in charge of all of His possessions. This is not just talking about the eternal life that Jesus has promised to all who believe in Him, but the special blessings that come from serving Him willingly, and teaching others to love Him and His Father’s Law too: there will be blessings for this in this life and forever in the life to come!
And again, here is another place where Jesus declares that there is a great reward to be gained: “Butlove your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” Luke 6:35 NASB. Why? Because God is also kind to ungrateful and evil men, so you will have a great reward if you love your enemies. If you do this, your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High! Just think about the honor that God is willing to bestow on you! “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1 John 3:1 KJV.
And what is another great reward that Jesus promised? “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23 KJV. If you suffer for His sake and are persecuted, you will have a rich reward in Heaven, becauseyou will have shown others that He has the power to help all to obey Him! This same reward is spoken of in Revelation: “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:13-17 NASB. So the ones who made it through the great tribulation and have washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb will have the great reward of serving Him day and night in His temple, and they will hunger and thirst no more, because He will satisfy their hunger for Him, and satisfy their need of His love and His righteousness! And He will shield and protect them!
At the Second Coming, Jesus speaks of the reward to be given to those who have done His work in helping others for Him: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You somethingto drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them,you did it to Me.'” Matthew 25:31-40 NASB. So Jesus will reward all those who helped others with their needs, or visited those who were sick, alone, or in prison, clothed and fed those who were hungry and in need, and preached the gospel to others; this reward will last for all eternity. All who are saved alike will share in this reward, but those who have given more or all for Jesus and served Him gladly, helping and teaching others to love and obey Him will have a greater reward.Notice that Jesus is addressing all of those who are on His right, which are all of those who are saved: that they have served Him by helping others. Thus it appears that no one who enters Heaven will do so without serving Him and helping others. So is there really an extra reward above being saved? Not if everyone is sharing in at least part of the reward of serving Him and helping others. But there still appears to be a choice of how much someone ones to do in loving and serving God and in helping others!Those who really love Him, will give all to serve Him, and will see no great sacrifice in doing this for Him, it will be their greatest desire! And it will be no great sacrifice for them to do everything they can to help others get to know Him, and to help them with all of their needs that are in their power to help. We believe that God sees this and will reward every man according to his works. Notice what Jesus says here in Revelation: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Revelation 22:12 KJV. Thus every faithful man or woman’s reward is according to their works or according to their love and devotion and service to God! Each is rewarded according to their works; this is above and beyond just being saved and going to Heaven! Here is another place in Revelation that declares that there is a reward that the righteous in Christ will get, because their works follow them: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:13 KJV. We are not saying that their works saved them, only the blood of Jesus can save anyone, it is an act of Grace from God, but of all who love God, their works will follow them in the resurrection! And they will be rewarded according to their works.So some may have a greater reward than others, depending on their works, done by His power, as an act of love and devotion to Him!
Conclusion: Jesus says about this great reward that He promised to His faithful in Heaven:“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’” Matthew 25:21 KJV. Thus all may share in this great reward, if they will be willing to do all that they can to serve Him and help others. Then they will enter into the joy of their Lord, they will enter into Heaven and live forever with Him in eternal peace, love, joy and happiness! Amen!
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© Copyright 2017 John Foll
Some may not be aware that in order to get answers to prayer, that there are conditions for many prayers that must be met. We want to give some texts and ideas that everyone might not know or may have forgotten. This is not intended to list everything that could be a problem as to why you are not getting an answer to your prayers, but to give the most common problems that may prevent you from getting answers to your prayers, and to give you the prayers that God will always answer. We are giving the general conditions whereby you can know the will of God, when you can expect to get your answer or not from Him. We want everyone to be able to get what they need from God: life, peace, joy, love and happiness, now and forever! So we are sharing with you the principles that will lead to your salvation and happiness! We want to share with you how you can get the blessings from God that your heart craves. You want this, don’t you?
Let us start with ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ that Jesus told the people in the beatitudes:
“Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.']” Matthew 6:9-13 NASB.
Notice that this is not a prayer of selfishness or a prayer of want, but a prayer for your greatest needs and for God’s kingdom to come. This prayer starts out with praise for our Heavenly Father which is in Heaven. He deserves our praise doesn’t He? Let’s thank Him for everything that He’s done for us and for Jesus His Son, and for the blessed Holy Spirit! You can never praise them enough for what they have done for you and have given to you. You should be grateful for all that they have done and are doing for you now. Pray for God’s kingdom to come, which is to pray that as many people as possible on this earth would know His peace, and would give their heart to Him. Pray that God’s will on earth and in your life will be done, as it is in Heaven. If you want your prayers to be heard, you should always want God’s will to be done on this earth and in your life. This prayer is giving God permission to work in your life to help you! And it is also a prayer where you agree to cooperate with Him to help others and love Him with all your heart. And then Jesus said that you should pray for your food and needs.
Note that in ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, Jesus lays out a very important condition: if you want to be forgiven you must forgive others their sins against you, even if they don’t ask for it or want it. And you are to pray to God to forgive you your sins.And you should pray that God would keep you from temptation, i.e. help you to overcome sin. And then you close the prayer by acknowledging that God is the ruler of the Kingdom (the Universe), and has all the power and the glory forever; everything you need for your temporal needs, and eternal life. You can depend on Him forever, if you make Him your trust! When you pray like this and mean it, you know that you are praying according to His will and He will hear you. We are not saying that you must use these exact words every time you pray to God, but that you should have this attitude and you should pray for these kinds of things. You can also give specific needs for yourself or others to be prayed for.
Jesus also said, “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5 NASB. If you have any pride in your heart, full of yourself, and are saying that you love God, and are not living according to your beliefs in what God has revealed to you, the Lord will not hear your prayers, until you first humble yourself before Him, and want Him to remove the hypocrisy from your life, and then you can make your other requests known to Him.
You should be persistent if you believe your prayer to be God’s will, and keep praying for it:
“Now He [Jesus] was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. "There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, 'Give me legal protection from my opponent.' "For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'" And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" Luke 18:1-8 NASB.
Now for a very serious problem: David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” Psalm 66:18 KJV. Many times when prayers are not answered, it’s because of sin that is regarded in the heart of the individual, or of sins that have been known and have not been confessed or have not been repented of. If we want God to hear our prayers, we must confess all of our known sins, and ask Him for help to overcome them. Or maybe we have agreed to do what God has asked us to do, but have been putting off doing it? God’s grace cannot cover rebellion against His desire for our life or rebellion against His Law of Love or any of His words in the Bible. And we should not keep putting off what God has asked us to do! If we want God to hear our prayers, we cannot regard sin or iniquity in our life! This is so important!
Now Solomon says, “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” Proverbs 28:9 NASB. If we want God to hear our prayers, we must want to study His Law of Love, and listen to and follow all of His counsel for us in the Bible. We know that there are some who love to put down God’s Law of Love, the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20, and other of His requirements in the Bible, but God will have the final say in this. If we don’t want to study God’s word to find out what He wants from us, or if we don’t want to love Him with all of our heart, and mind and soul or do not want to love any of our neighbors as our self, and refuse to hear His word in the Bible, God will not hear our prayers! Read Matthew 22:25-40.
What prayer will God always hear? “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NASB. He will always hear our prayer when we confess our sins, or pray for help to be saved! Note what Jesus said here: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other [the proud Pharisee]: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:13-14 KJV. So if you will humble your heart before God, and ask for mercy and help, He will always here this prayer!
What is another reason why some prayers are not heard? “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 NASB. You need to have good motives, and not pray to spend God’s blessings on sinful pleasure. God wants you to have a good life, and there are some simple pleasures that God approves of, if they are good for you at the time that He may allow. But there are many pleasures which God doesn’t approve of: you should not pray for anything that is wrong.There may be some things that you want that you do not need that God may want you to wait for, and other things that He may let you have right away.
Be careful, sometimes God will give you what you ask for, so that you may learn that it is not for your best. An example of this was when the children of Israel wanted to eat meat again, instead of the manna from Heaven that God had provided for them, and were complaining to Moses about it (Numbers 11:13), then God said, “Say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, "Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat and you shall eat. 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever leave Egypt?"'"” Numbers 11:18-20 NASB. In Numbers 11:31-35 it outlines what happened to these people: “The people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORDstruck the people with a very severe plague.” Numbers 11:32-33 NASB. So they had cried out to Moses because they were tired of the manna that God had rained down from Heaven for them, thinking that they were better off when they were in Egypt and slaves and could eat what they wanted. And so God gave them their wish, and some of them were struck with a plague from God. Don’t be persistent in asking for something that is not for your best or right. So be careful of what you ask for!
Now David concludes our passage from Psalms 66:18 with:
“But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
” Psalm 66:19-20 KJV. So there you have it, David’s prayer was heard by God, because he didn’t regard iniquity in his heart, because God’s mercy found him and forgave him.
Is there no room for grace you may ask? Yes, if you are a sinner take courage, if you don’t say everything exactly right or do not pray for the right things but mean well, the Holy Spirit will translate it to God for you, He knows what you really need!“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to Hispurpose.” Romans 8:26-28 NASB. If you have accepted God in your life, and are cooperating with Him, and are called according to His purpose, He will cause all things to work for your good, even if you make a mistake and pray for something that may not be the best for you, as long as you are not regarding iniquity in your heart! The Holy Spirit will translate your prayer into the language of love, “clean it up”, and make it presentable before the Father. This is God’s grace for you! Oh wonderful love of God! He has provided for all of your needs! He is mindful that you are but dust and are prone to wander from Him! If you will just throw yourself on His great mercy, He will forgive your sins, mistakes and will answer your true prayer, even if you don’t know what that is: your greatest need, not just what you asked for! When you pray to God, even if you didn’t ask for it, the Holy Spirit will intercede for you with something like this to the Father: ‘Father, even though they didn’t pray for all of your help that they need, please give them more time, please grant them more mercy! Please give them their true needs.’ Amen! Yes, God provides us poor sinners with His rich grace! We are not rewarded according to what we deserve, but according to His mercy and grace! But do not take His grace for granted, confess your sins and allow Him to work in your life, while His mercy may still be found!
To conclude: Before you make any of your other requests known to God, always confess your sins to Him first, and allow Him to change you, to help you repent. If you pray like this and do not regard iniquity and do not turn away your ear from hearing God’s Law, and are not praying for things out of selfish motives or for sinful pleasure, then you will have confidence before God that He has heard your prayers! Let God bring your life in harmony with Him, and let Him guide and protect you all the way, and then you will not have to worry if your prayers are heard! Amen.
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