“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4.12
I believe this is one of those verses that we all know and have read and perhaps memorized, so when we read it we just kind of gloss over it. To do so would be a serious mistake. There is so much here that you and I need.
“For the word of God is quick (alive) … ” We are not dealing here with a book that is outdated, irrelevant, or out of touch with reality. Quite the contrary is true … this book is alive. What does that mean? When the Word of God speaks, God speaks. When we read this book and are guided, corrected, disciplined, encouraged, and/or taught by it, God is at work through His book, because it is alive.
“For the word of God is … powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword … ” When you think of power, what comes to mind? I think of authority and/or the ability to do something that is beyond one’s normal ability. This book speaks to and influences everyone who will take what it says and apply it. It knows how to cut away that which is unnecessary so that we are not burdened down with the excesses of life.
It has the ability to get to the inner most parts of our being: “piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow … ” When there is turmoil within, we must allow the Word of God to give us direction and light for the next step. The Word “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It doesn’t just discern our thoughts. It discerns the intents of our heart – what it is that we are wanting to do. When what I want to do runs contrary to what the Word of God teaches, I need to forsake what I want for what God’s Word says. Just my thoughts …
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19.26
How many times have we thought that things we could not do God could not do? The disciples were questioning Jesus about what He had just said about how hard it was for a rich man to go to heaven. Jesus’ response was: “With men this is impossible … ” What does that mean? Simply that no rich man can go to heaven simply because he is rich. The tendency is for a rich man to believe that he can earn enough to buy his way into heaven. Jesus said that with men this is impossible. BUT with God all things are possible.
I think the important thing for us to take from this verse is that no one can earn his way to heaven. Remember, with men this is impossible. But with God salvation is possible for every an because with God all things are possible. Since God is able to save us, He is also able to meet the needs that arise in our lives every day. For those of us who are Christ-followers, it is important to remember that with God all things are possible. The moment we entertain the idea that something may be beyond God’s power, we have sinned against our almighty God. If He is ALMIGHTY, and He is, then that means He has ALL might.
The greatest comfort for the believer comes from knowing that His God loves him, knows where he is, knows what he needs, and is able to meet every need. When you and I learn to live each day with that confidence, the focus of our lives will change, the purpose of our lives will change, and the delight in serving God will grow greater every day. Just my thoughts …
“Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” 1 Peter 4.16
Suffering – everyone is familiar with it. No one likes it. At some point in time in our lives, we will all experience it. As a follower of Christ, I must never assume that because I am God’s child, I will never have to deal with suffering. In this verse Peter assumes that every one of us will suffer. So the issue is not, will I suffer, but how will I handle suffering?
“let him not be ashamed … ” There is no shame in suffering. Suffering is not always a punishment by God because we have done something that displeased Him. I believe far too many of God’s children assume that if they are experiencing suffering, they must have done something wrong and God is punishing them. This was the same assumption that Job’s friends made. Job must have done something wrong or God wouldn’t let all these bad things happen to him. You and I simply need to remember that we have no way of knowing what God is doing in our lives behind the scenes and when suffering comes we can trust Him.
“ … but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Can we give God glory in the midst of our suffering? The apostle Paul wrote: “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul wanted his “thorn in the flesh” to go away, but God said, “No”. So Paul said, I will “glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Can you and I make that kind of statement? I certainly want to. That is my prayer in suffering. Just my thoughts …
“In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Psalm 56.4
I remember sitting in a classroom in junior high school and when I should have been doing my homework, I was reading the words of Psalm 56 and the words of this great Psalm have stuck with me throughout my lifetime. Especially helpful are the words of the verse above. Consider them with me.
“In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust … ” As David pens these words, I can almost picture him sitting watching his sheep and thinking about all that God has done for him in his lifetime. His heart cries out, almost involuntarily, “In God I will praise his word … ” It seems to me that he is thinking, “How could I not praise Him? He has already done so much for me.” I find myself thinking those same words. God has already done so much for me in my lifetime.
And then we read these words: “ … in God I have put my trust … ” Sitting out there in some pastureland all by himself, with just his sheep, who else did he have to trust? God was all he had. Can I suggest that we never know if God is enough until He is all we have? There are days when we look around us and think, “I really am all alone. Is God even here?” and then we get the calm assurance through the Holy Spirit that yes, God is “here” and He cares more than we know.
These last words have special meaning to David: “I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” Saul wanted to kill David. It is pretty tough to keep a king from doing whatever he wants to do, but David’s heart reminded him, you do “need to fear what flesh can unto (you).” You and I need to remember that simple truth too. Just my thoughts …
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 54.17
This is quite a powerful statement: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper … ” That is God’s declaration to His people in the Old Testament. I do not think He has changed His mind regarding His children today. God does not say that weapons will not be formed against us. But rather that those weapons will not proper. He will keep them in check. His power is greater than any other power on this earth. So, I can take Him at His word. It is critically important for us to remember that God is not sitting idly in the sky, watching things happen to us with no concern for their outcome. His concern for us is such that He always has our best interests at heart. It is so easy to forget that and begin to blame God when things don’t go the way we think they should.
It is ok for us to denounce error when it is spoken against us and about us. “ … every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.” We may say something like, “Well, I don’t like to defend myself.” In reality, when we defend ourselves against error, we are obeying God and defeating Satan in his attempts to harm the kingdom of God down here on this earth. Look at this translation: “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declared the Lord.” (ESV) God says “I will vindicate you.” That is a real encouragement to me. I pray that it is to you as well. Just my thoughts …
“Who shall separate us form the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … (38) For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, or angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8.35, 38-39
It is not uncommon to hear a believer say something like, “I wonder if God really loves me? How do I know?” Let’s begin the basic truth that God’s love was best demonstrated for all mankind on Calvary. When you and I chose to accept Christ as our personal Savior, we became part of the family of God. The verses above give us an overwhelming declaration of God’s love for us, and how completely it enshrouds our lives.
The question “Who shall separate us … ” is answered in such dramatic fashion that you and I must conclude that the answer is nothing shall separate us. Paul mentions the issues of life – tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword – and none of these things can separate us from God’s love. Then He mentions events and powers that be and declares again that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” If we die His love is demonstrated in the truth that we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. When Satan attacks, His promise never to leave us or forsake us becomes real. I like the phrase, “nor any other creature … ” Paul was saying, “In case I have overlooked anything, there isn’t anything that can separate us from God’s love.” Be encouraged today by these verses and live your life in the knowledge of God’s overwhelming love for you. Just my thoughts …
“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. ” Psalm 105.1
How many times have you heard someone say, “Praise the Lord!” or “Thank God!” and it sounded like a trite phrase – something they just say a lot? That is not what the psalmist is talking about here. He is talking about genuine thanksgiving. “O give thanks unto the Lord … ” When our children are growing up, we teach them to say, “Thank you” when someone gives them something or does something for them. How many times have we said to them, “Say it like you mean it”? They were mouthing the words but they didn’t come from the heart.
When you and I give thanks unto the Lord, it is something that we do intentionally. It never occurs by accident, but always because we intend to do it. Is there a part of your prayer time that includes giving thanks? If not, why not? We are instructed to give thanks unto the Lord. Today would be a good day to build giving thanks into our prayer time.
The next element here is to “call upon his name … ” I believe most of us do that quite often. Our needs are great and His willingness to hear and answer prayer drives us to Him in our time of need. The final phrase in this verse should be a reflection of our walk with the Lord: “make known his deeds among the people.” People want to know what difference God really makes in our lives. When God does something that only God can do, it is time to let the world see that God makes a difference in the lives of His children. So, the next time you say, Praise the Lord, let that be a time of making known His deeds among the people. Just my thoughts …
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46.10
We live in a culture where there are very few times when we are able to just “be still” and know anything other than the confusion going on around us. We get into our cars and when we start the car, the radio is usually blaring pretty loud. We come home at night and usually the first thing we do is turn on the TV. And when it is time to go to bed, we may turn on some music to help us go to sleep. But God said, “Be still … ” I am reminded of another verse n Exodus 14.13 when God said something similar to Israel: “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD.”
The situation that Israel faced in Exodus 14 and the ones that you and I face on a regular basis are situations in which God alone is our rescuer. When we are still, we have the opportunity to watch carefully what God is doing in us, with us, and around us. We know it is God at work when that which is accomplished is something that only God could do. If you and I can figure it out and do it, then God doesn’t have any part in the solution. But when I am willing to “stand still and know that (He) is God … ”, not only am I being obedient to what God’s Word says, but I am also learning more about this God who loves me unconditionally.
“I will be exalted among the heathen. I will be exalted in the earth.” How is God exalted among the heathen? They are able to see us “stand still” and let God work in us and through us and that exalts God in the eyes of the heathen. So in the midst of this hectic, chaotic day, find time to “stand still, and know that (He) is God … ” You will be glad you did and God will be exalted in the earth. Just my thoughts …
“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118.24
Have you ever awakened in the morning and lay there thinking, “Man, I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to face this day at all”? I must admit that I have done that on a number of occasions and then the Holy Spirit reminds me of this verse above. When I come to grips with the simple truth that “This is the day which the LORD hath made …”, then my view of the day ahead changes. I am forced to remember that He knows what is best for me. Frequently the Spirit reminds me of Jeremiah 29.11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” I really like this translation: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV) When I remember that God always has my best interests at heart, it is easier to embrace the things that He allows to come into my day.
I think this next phrase is a challenge for many of us: “we will rejoice and be glad in it.” It is one thing to acknowledge that the day is one that God made. It is quite another thing to rejoice and be glad in it. What does that mean anyway? What is the opposite of rejoicing? There may be a number of words that could go there. If I am whining, I am certainly not rejoicing. If I am complaining, I am certainly not rejoicing. If I am criticizing, I am certainly not rejoicing. If I am dreading that which is to come, I am certainly not rejoicing. So, Jerry, are you saying that I must face each day with a pharisaical smile and act like nothing is every wrong? I am not saying that at all. I am saying that perhaps we should be saying to God, “What is it you want me to learn in today’s experiences” rather than, “Why in the world did you let that happen, God.” Just my thoughts …
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3.9
I wonder if we really believe what Peter is saying here. The reason I pose the question is this, there are many things that God says that drive us to some specific action. But there are other things He says that don’t seem nearly as important to us. What do I mean?
This verse tells us that God “is longsuffering to usward … ” This indicates a heart of compassion and love for mankind in general. Beginning with His response to Adam’s sin, God has exercised amazing love and unexplainable mercy toward this human race. Adam certainly did nothing to earn it and neither have you and I. The verse goes on to say that God is “not willing that any should perish … ” Does that word any speak to you like it does me? God doesn’t want anyone to die without believing in His Son Jesus. If God has exercised such intense love and mercy toward us, and we have received Christ, shouldn’t that same love and mercy flow through us to those around us, regardless of status, color, creed, or anything else? Our longsuffering spirit should bring us to look beyond whatever objections we have for not reaching out and lead us to overcome all such objections and embrace the lost with this same longsuffering spirit that God has.
Finally, Peter takes us to the precipice of decision, because God wants “all … to come to repentance.” When you and I realize that we are His hands and feet, that we are His voice down here on this earth, I pray that will change our view of this sin-sick world, because God is “not willing that any should perish … ” Just my thoughts …