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It is incredible how many places in the Bible talk about joy. This is not surprising because as we will see, God is the source of the deepest, most lasting, and most genuine joy that there is.
Somebody might say,” I want to have joy in life without God.” That is like saying they would like someone to bake them an apple pie without using apples.
Somebody might say that they know of a substitute for real apples. If so, it would be an inferior substitute for the real thing. And if we try finding real joy in life without God, we will only end up with a far inferior substitute for the real thing.
“Next Moses and Aaron went into the Tabernacle, and when they came back out, they blessed the people again, and the glorious presence of the Lord appeared to the whole community. Fire blazed forth from the Lord’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When the people saw all this, they shouted with joy and fell face down on the ground.” Leviticus 9:23-24 NLT
“Surely You have granted him eternal blessings and made him glad with the joy of Your presence.” Psalm 21:6 NIV
“Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise You with the harp, O God, my God” Psalm 43:4 NIV
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:18 NIV
Take a few moments to think about the wonderful verses we have just read – or better yet, read them again. They show us clearly that God is where we find the ultimate joy. We find joy in His presence. We find joy when we worship Him. We find joy when we focus on Him. The closer we get to God, the closer we get to fantastic joy!
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says this about Habakkuk 3:18,” God is the inexhaustible source and infinite supply of joy… Far too many people keep trying to buy joy, but happiness is not found in circumstances. Joy is available to everyone, even to those stripped of every material possession, for joy is to be found in a Person. It comes through an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord, so that even those in the worst circumstances can smile.”
Joy is found in God, and He gives joy to people who serve Him and live for Him as we see in the following verses.
“And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” Nehemiah 12:43 NIV
“But look! God will not reject a person of integrity, nor will He make evildoers prosper. He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” Job 8:20-21 NLT
“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and wine.” Psalm 4:7 NLT
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3 NIV
“When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.” Psalm 94:19 NIV
“Bring joy to Your servant, for to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.” Psalm 86:4 NIV
“But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Protect them, so all who love Your name may be filled with joy.” Psalm 5:11 NLT
God wants to fill people everywhere with His joy, so that the whole world would rejoice! Consider these next verses, this is fantastic!
“Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious!” Psalm 66:1-2 NIV
“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” Psalm 47:1 NIV
God not only wants to fill people with His joy, He has also filled His creation with joy!
“Let the skies rejoice and the earth be glad. Let people everywhere say,’ The Lord is king!’ Let the sea and everything in it shout; let the fields and everything in them rejoice. Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord. They will sing because He is coming to judge the world.”
1 Chronicles 16:31-33 NCV
The next two Scriptures show us that since ultimate joy is found in God, we also find joy in the places where He is worshipped.
“Then the people of Israel – the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles – celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy.” Ezra 6:16 NIV
“The Lord is great; He should be praised. He should be respected more than all the gods. All the gods of the nations are only idols, but the Lord made the skies. He has glory and majesty; He has power and joy in His temple.” 1 Chronicles 16:25-27 NCV
These next marvelous verses tell us that our faith in God gives us great joy.
“Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Philippians 1:25-26 NIV
“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV
“The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family.” Acts 16:34 NIV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.” Psalm 28:7 NIV
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1 NIV
Now here are three great Scriptures that show us we find wonderful joy when we pray to God to forgive us of our sins and place us in good standing with Him.
“Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You.” Psalm 51:12 NLT
“When he prays to God, he will be accepted. And God will receive him with joy and restore him to good standing. He will declare to his friends,’ I sinned but it was not worth it. God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’ “ Job 33:26-28 NLT
“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Luke 15:7 NASB
We also are filled with joy as we live for God each day, as we see in the following verses.
“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52 NASB
When Jesus was speaking to God the Father, He said this about His followers,“ I am on My way to You. But I say these things while I am still in the world, so that My followers will have the same complete joy that I do.” John 17:13 CEV
The NCV translates that same incredible verse this way,” I am coming to You now. But I pray these things while I am still in the world so that these followers can have all of My joy in them.”
When we spend time reading and studying the Bible, our hearts will also be filled with joy, as we see in these next verses.
“Your words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my heart’s delight, for I bear Your name, O Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NLT
“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.” Psalm 19:8 NIV
“So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.” Nehemiah 8:12 NLT
To sum up then, God is the source of the truest joy that exists and we have to come to Him to receive it. He gives joy to people who serve Him and live for Him. He wants to fill people everywhere with His joy. He has also filled His creation with joy. We also find joy in the places where He is worshipped. Our faith in God gives us great joy. We find wonderful joy when we pray to God to forgive us of our sins and place us in good standing with Him. We are filled with joy as we live for God each day. When we spend time reading and studying the Bible, our hearts will be filled with joy.
Right now you can begin receiving the joy that God wants to give to you. Visit the Become page to find out
www.thefreedictionary.com gives several definitions for the word benediction.
One is an expression of good wishes. Another is an invocation of divine blessing, usually at the end of a church service. In other words, it is asking God to bless people’s lives.
I have an old hymn book at home which indicates various Scriptures suitable for a benediction.
I invite you to read them thoughtfully. I pray that all of these blessings from the Lord will flow through your entire life in wonderful ways.
Maybe you would like to begin or end each day by reading these great Scriptures and allowing the Lord to encourage you during that time.
May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may He be gracious to you, show you His favour, and give you His peace. Numbers 6:24-26 TLB
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:11,14 NLT
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father encourage you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us, and through His grace He gave us a good hope and encouragement that continues forever. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NCV
Now may the God of peace [Who is the Author and the Giver of peace], Who brought again from among the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood [that sealed, ratified] the everlasting agreement (covenant, testament), Strengthen (complete, perfect) and make you what you ought to be and equip you with everything good that you may carry out His will; [while He Himself] works in you and accomplishes that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ (the Messiah); to Whom be the glory forever and ever (to the ages of the ages). Amen (so be it).
Hebrews 13:20-21 Amp.
We pray that God Himself, the God of peace, will make you pure—belonging only to Him. We pray that your whole self—spirit, soul, and body—will be kept safe and be blameless when our Lord Jesus Christ comes.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 ERV
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 24-25 ESV
The blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon your spirit. Philemon 25 TLB
The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; The Lord lift up His [approving] countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually). Numbers 6:24-26 Amp.
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will bless you and be kind to you! May God bless you with His love, and may the Holy Spirit join all your hearts together. 2 Corinthians 13:14 CEV
God our Father loved us and by His kindness gave us everlasting encouragement and good hope. Together with our Lord Jesus Christ, may He encourage and strengthen you to do and say everything that is good. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 GW
I pray that the God of peace will give you every good thing you need so you can do what He wants. God raised from the dead our Lord Jesus, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, because of the blood of His death. His blood began the eternal agreement that God made with His people. I pray that God will do in us what pleases Him, through Jesus Christ, and to Him be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 NCV
May the God of peace Himself make you entirely pure and devoted to God; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept strong and blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back again. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 TLB
God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in His glorious presence without fault. Before time began, now, and for eternity glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Jude 24-25 GW
The grace (blessing and favor) of the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) be with your spirit. Amen (so be it). Philemon 25 Amp.
May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord smile down on you and show you His kindness. May the Lord answer your prayers and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 ERV
We do not need to be convinced about how important love is to people. Love is as important to us as life itself. Have you ever wondered how much love means to the God who created us?
We find the answer to that question in the Bible. The Bible is not a book of people’s opinions about what God is like. The Bible is a book of God revealing to people what He is like, and they wrote it down.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 NCV
A footnote at 2 Timothy 3:16 in the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible explains,” God supernaturally directed the writing of Scripture so that they (the writers) recorded in perfect accuracy His comprehensive and infallible revelation to people.”
David was one of the Bible’s writers. Consider what he says in 2 Samuel 23:2 NLT “The Spirit of the Lord speaks through me; His words are upon my tongue.”
One of the things God revealed about His nature is that He is a loving God.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” I Chronicles 16:34 NLT
“I call to You, God, and You answer me. Listen to me now, and hear what I say. Your love is wonderful. By Your power You save those who trust You from their enemies. Protect me as You would protect Your own eye. Hide me under the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 17:6-8 NCV
“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.” Psalm 63:3 NIV
Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. Psalm 69:16 NIV
“O Lord You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask Your aid. Listen closely to my prayer O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to You whenever trouble strikes, and You will answer me.” Psalm 86:5-7 NLT
“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You established Your faithfulness in heaven itself.” Psalm 89:1-2 NIV
“All of you nations, come and praise the Lord! Let everyone praise Him. His love for us is wonderful; His faithfulness never ends. Shout praises to the Lord!” Psalm 117:1-2 CEV
“God our Father loves us. He is kind and has given us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope. We pray that our Lord Jesus Christ and God our Father will encourage you and help you always to do and say the right thing.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 CEV
See what (an incredible) quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should (be permitted to) be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him. 1 John 3:1 Amp
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 Amp.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NASB
These are just a few of the many places in the Bible that describe God’s love. God wants the people He created and who live for Him to know that His love is good, it is great, it is wonderful, it lasts forever, it is better than life, and it cannot be separated from us. His love for people who serve Him causes Him to be faithful to us, to listen to our prayers, to protect us, to be very merciful to us, to be ready to forgive us, to give us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, to be willing to call us His children, and to pour His love into our hearts.
These verses clearly show that God loves His people immensely. His love overflows, reaches out, and never decreases. God wants us to know that this is the kind of love He wants to fill the lives of all people with, people like you and me. This is incredibly awesome! At the same time, there is something else about God we also need to realize.
First, think about the most loving person you know. That person does not love everything. They do not love to see crimes committed against people they care about. They do not love to see injustices done to people they are concerned about. They do not love to see people cheating, manipulating, or lying to other people. They do not love to see child abuse, or wife beating. They do not love to see people acting hypocritically, irresponsibly, or maliciously toward other people. They do not love to see people hurting other people.
Therefore it makes perfect sense that the same God who loves, would not love behaviour that is wrong, bad, or evil. Love is a central part of who God is, and is a fundamental part of God’s character, but it is not the only aspect of His character. God’s character is not one dimensional. Holiness is also a fundamental aspect of God’s character.
“There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no God but You; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 NCV
“There are six things the Lord hates. There are seven things He cannot stand: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up evil plans, feet that are quick to do evil, a witness who lies, and someone who starts arguments among families.” Proverbs 6:16-19 NCV
“I, the Lord, love justice. I hate stealing and everything that is wrong. I will be fair and give My people what they should have, and I will make an agreement with them that will continue forever.” Isaiah 61:8 NCV
“But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.” Romans 1:18 NLT
It is obvious that God loves us tremendously and that He hates the sinful things we do just as tremendously. This is a huge predicament for us to be in. Worse than that, there is nothing we can do to change it. This is why God did something to change it.
These next verses show us the loving aspect and the holy aspect of God’s nature, and what He did to change our hopeless predicament.
But God shows and clearly proves His (own) love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Romans 5:8 Amp
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 NIV
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:4-5 NKJV
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. Titus 3:4-5a NIV
God requires us to do something now, in order to benefit from what He has done for us.
“Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life. God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them!” John 3:15-17 CEV
“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NLT
When you do this, then your life will be blessed in marvellous ways as we shall see in the following verses.
“And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,’ The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.’ “ Exodus 34:6-7a NIV
He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord. Psalm 33:5 NASB
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You.
Psalm 33:21-22 NIV
Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright in heart. Psalm 36:10 NKJV
Somebody might say that is not the kind of God they believe in. We need to always keep one thing in mind – God made us, we did not make Him. He will not change His character or who He is to fit or to suit what we want to believe.
When two people experience love in both directions we find that most gratifying. God also wants you to experience love in two directions, between you and Him. You will find that to be the most gratifying love of all.
Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength. Judges 5:31a NKJV
‘He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.’ John 14:21 NASB
‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ’You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
Mark 12:30-31 NKJV
Is there any purpose to life? How can I find meaning in life?
These are two of the deepest questions human beings can ask. Many of us have asked ourselves these vital questions at least once in our lives.
To find solid answers that we can base our lives upon it is essential for us to take a close look at God.
We must start with Him because He created us. Therefore He is the source of everything important that we require and that we seek throughout our entire existence. This is true during life on earth, and the life to come. One of the important things we seek is to know we have a purpose for living and to know what that purpose is.
The Bible clearly shows that God acts in order to fulfill specific purposes. It also plainly indicates that when God acted to create us, this action was for specific purposes. This fact gives genuine and great meaning to our lives.
Just as God is the origin and author of life, He is also the origin and author of purpose and meaning. When He created us, He designed significant purpose into our lives.
God does not act without having a purpose in mind. He does not do things just for amusement. He does not do things on a trial and error basis. He is not like some inventor who needs to try and do something 60 times before getting it to work the 61st.
A wonderful verse to begin with is Job 36:5.
“God is mighty, but does not despise men; He is mighty, and firm in His purpose.” NIV When God acts, He knows exactly what He is doing and why.
It is really helpful to see this same verse in other versions.
“God is powerful, but He does not hate people; He is powerful and sure of what He wants to do.” NCV He is sure of what He wants to do because He has a definite purpose in mind when He does something.
“God is mighty, yet He does not despise anyone! He is mighty in both power and understanding.” NLT God’s purpose for acting is as firm and great as His power to take the action.
Here are more wonderful verses which show that God’s actions are according to His divine purposes. Notice how these verses so beautifully illustrate the strong connection and perfect harmony between His actions and purposes.
“But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” Psalm 33:11 NIV
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Isaiah 46:9b-10 NIV
“O great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are Your purposes and mighty are Your deeds.” Jeremiah 32:18b-19a NIV
“So is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 NIV
When God sent Jesus to come and live on earth, this was also for divine purposes.
Jesus said,” The Son of Man came to look for and to save people who are lost.” Luke 19:10 CEV
“People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus of Nazareth by doing wonderful miracles, wonders, and signs through Him, as you well know. But you followed God’s prearranged plan. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed Him to the cross and murdered Him. However, God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life again, for death could not keep Him in its grip.” Acts 2:22-24 NLT
The NIV translates verse 23 this way,” This Man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.”
“God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die.” John 3:16 CEV
To find the purpose in life which God created us to have, the first step we have to take is to place our faith in Jesus and ask Him to save us. This makes us acceptable in God’s sight, and allows us to enjoy a loving relationship with Him and live forever in His family.
“Jesus told us that God is light and doesn’t have any darkness in Him. Now we are telling you. If we say that we share life with God and keep on living in the dark, we are lying and are not living by the truth. But if we live in the light, as God does, we share in life with each other. And the blood of His Son Jesus washes all our sins away. If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts. But if we confess our sins to God, He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away. If we say that we have not sinned, we make God a liar, and His message isn’t in our hearts.” 1 John 1:5-10 CEV
“The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NCV
To find the purpose in life which God created us to have, the next step we have to take is to make the number one priority for the rest of our lives to live for God and please God.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.” Romans 12:1-2 NLT
“Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to Him.” Romans 12:2b CEV
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT
“God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing.” Ephesians 2:10 NCV
When you live in the manner described above, your life will be filled with the greatest meaning and highest purpose possible.
Jesus said,” The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” John 10:10 NLT
The word hope can be used as a verb or a noun. In other words it can be used as an action word or an object.
www.merriam-webster.com defines the verb hope as: to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, or to expect with confidence.
It defines the noun hope as: desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment, or someone or something on which hopes are centered.
Hope is an essential part of a person’s life. This is because hope encourages optimism, a sense of security, and inner well-being. Hope gives us something good to look forward to. Hope can help us survive a difficult situation. Hope motivates us to go on, instead of giving up. Hope can lead us to things that can improve the quality of our lives.
Have you ever hoped for something but after a time began to believe it was not going to happen? How did you feel then?
“Not getting what you want can make you feel sick, but a wish that comes true is a life-giving tree.” Proverbs 13:12 CEV
What do you hope for in life? Who is your hope centered on?
Did you know that the Bible describes hopes that believers and unbelievers each have?
First, here are just some of the amazing hopes believers have. To begin with, all of our hopes are centered on the Lord Himself.
“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 NASB
“For I hope in Thee, O Lord; Thou wilt answer, O Lord my God.” Psalm 38:15 NASB
“O Lord, You alone are my hope. I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.” Psalm 71:5 NLT
Maybe you have already gone through the experience of placing a lot of hope in someone and being greatly disappointed in them or letdown by them sometime later. You might be asking yourself, “How can I be sure this won’t happen if I place my hope in God?” Consider the following verses in 1 Peter and Hebrews.
“Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 NLT
“These two things cannot change: God cannot lie when He makes a promise, and He cannot lie when He makes an oath. These things encourage us who came to God for safety. They give us strength to hold on to the hope we have been given. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and strong. It enters behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven, where Jesus has gone ahead of us and for us. He has become the high priest forever, a priest like Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:18-20 NCV
You may be wondering where is ‘behind the curtain in the Most Holy Place in heaven’? The Ryrie Study Bible says it is,” In the presence of God. Believers have as strong encouragement as Abraham had in his time, because Jesus has already entered into the presence of God and assures us of our entrance into heaven as well.”
This next verse is as fantastic as the ones we have just read. Not only is the Lord our hope, but He also gives hope to us! There is no way for you to live a hopeless life when your hope is placed firmly in the Lord!
“I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NCV
The Bible Knowledge Commentary by Walvoord and Zuck says about this verse,” Joy relates to the delight of anticipation in seeing one’s hopes fulfilled. Peace results from the assurance that God will fulfill those hopes. These are experienced as believers trust in Him. As a result believers overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Now consider the following wonderful hopes that are yours if you are a follower of Jesus Christ.
“But I will keep on hoping for You to help me; I will praise You more and more. I will tell everyone about Your righteousness. All day long I will proclaim Your saving power, for I am overwhelmed by how much You have done for me.” Psalm 71:14-15 NLT
“But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don’t know who we are. My dear friends, we are already God’s children, though what we will be hasn’t yet been seen. But we do know that when Christ returns, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He truly is. This hope makes us keep ourselves holy, just as Christ is holy.” 1 John 3:1b-3 CEV
“And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts.” Romans 5: 2b-5a NCV
“Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and gave us the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7 CEV
“The Lord delights in those who fear Him, who put their hope in His unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11 NIV
“But we belong to the day, so we should control ourselves. We should wear faith and love to protect us, and the hope of salvation should be our helmet. God did not choose us to suffer His anger but to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died for us so that we can live together with Him, whether we are alive or dead when He comes.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8 NCV
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says about this verse that,” the hope of salvation guards their heads from attacks on their thinking. The salvation they look forward to is deliverance from the wrath to come when the Lord returns…Followers of Christ have a sure hope; they are not as others who have no hope.”
“We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as His children, including the new bodies He has promised us. Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:23b-25 NLT
You might be asking, “Where can I get this patience from? I’m not a patient person by nature.” Reading the Bible regularly can greatly increase our patience and give strength to our hope.
“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. The Scriptures give us patience and encouragement so that we can have hope.” Romans 15:4 NCV
Maybe you are not a believer and are asking, “How can all these great hopes be in my life?”
“But we have the true hope that comes from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope.” Galatians 5:5 NCV
Now, consider what the Bible says about unbelievers’ hopes.
“Papyrus plants cannot grow where there is no swamp, and reeds cannot grow tall without water. While they are still growing and not yet cut, they will dry up quicker than grass. That is what will happen to those who forget God; the hope of the wicked will be gone. What they hope in is easily broken; what they trust is like a spider’s web.” Job 8:11-14 NCV
“What hope do the wicked have when they die, when God takes their life away? God will not listen to their cries when trouble comes to them. They will not find joy in the Almighty, even though they call out to God all the time.” Job 27:8-10 NCV
“I have not put my trust in gold, or said to pure gold,’ You are my security.’ I have not celebrated my great wealth or the riches my hands had gained. I have not thought about worshiping the sun in its brightness nor admired the moon moving in glory so that my heart was pulled away from God. My hand has never offered the sun and moon a kiss of worship. If I had, these also would have been sins to be punished, because I would have been unfaithful to God.” Job 31:24-28 NCV
“The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked are all in vain.” Proverbs 10:28 NLT
It is easy to see that one of the great benefits of becoming a follower of Christ is that God gives you powerful, sure, and complete hopes in place of weak, fragile, and empty ones.
Visit the Become page to find out how to become a follower of Christ starting this very moment.
What do you want the most in life? Huge question isn’t it? When was the last time you took some time to think about that?
Some people want to have better health. Some want to live a very long life. Others want to see their children grow to become successful adults. Still others want to find someone to marry.
Ask people around the world what they want most out of life and you will find high on their list of answers,” I just want to be happy.”
Did you know that God wants you to be happy too?
The biggest key to you being happy is making God the first priority in your entire life.
“Happy are those who are like this; happy are the people whose God is the Lord.” Psalm 144:15 NCV
Another vital key to you being happy is making the regular worship of God important in your life.
“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds – His name is the Lord – and rejoice before Him.” Psalm 68:3-4 NIV
“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” James 5:13 NIV
Another crucial step to you being happy is to regularly study God’s truths in the Bible and live by them.
“Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be happy.” Proverbs 16:20 NLT
“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is happy.” Proverbs 29:18 NLT
An additional key to you being happy is to serve other people. You might say, that doesn’t make sense, how can doing things for someone else make me happy?
Listen to what Jesus said to His followers,” You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” John 13:13-17 NKJV
Happy are you if you do them. Do what exactly? Do as I (Jesus) have done to you. And what did Jesus do? He washed His followers’ feet as a way of serving them in a humble and thoughtful manner in order to meet their need.
If you put God first in your life, make regular worship of Him important in your life, study His book the Bible regularly and live by it, and serve other people, then God can give you more happiness than you could ever obtain any other way.
“I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope.” Romans 15:13 CEV
According to http://geography.about.com the world’s population was around 200 million in the year 1 A.D., it was around 275 million in year 1000, it passed 1.6 billion in the year 1900, and in 2011 will be around 7 billion people.
China has the largest population of any country in the world.
http://www.internetworldstats.com says that in 2011, over 1.3 billion people live in China. This is almost as much as the population of the entire world just one hundred years ago!
The number 7 billion is too staggering to take in. All of these people have one thing in common – they are alive. However, they have not all found life.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14 NCV,” Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is wide and the road is wide that leads to hell, and many people enter through that gate. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to true life. Only a few people find that road.”
The NLT translates those verses like this,” You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it.”
There are several very important things the Lord Jesus tells us in these two brief verses.
First, He tells us that true life is found only in God’s Kingdom. If we were left to figure things out by ourselves, we would not know where to find true life. Since the Lord loves us so much, He tells us where to find it.
Second, He invites us to enter that Kingdom. He wants everyone including you to be in His Kingdom. He urges you to accept His invitation because He loves you and wants the best for you. You will only find His best inside His Kingdom.
Third, He tells us that only a few people will decide to enter through the gate and travel on the road that leads to true life.
Fourth, He tells us that most people will decide to enter a different gate that leads to an easy path, a more popular road. The people who travel on this road try to enjoy it while they are on it. While they are on this road they try to ignore God, make no commitment to God, and have no faith in God. They try to leave God completely out of their lives. Hell is at the end of that road. But it won’t be at the end of your road if you make the right decision.
We discover an amazing thing about the gate which leads to true life. This gate is different to any other gate. This gate is actually a person.
“Jesus said: I tell you for certain that I am the gate for the sheep. Everyone who came before Me was a thief or a robber, and the sheep did not listen to any of them. I am the gate. All who come in through Me will be saved. Through Me they will come and go and find pasture. A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy, I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.” John 10:7-10 CEV
Jesus proclaimed that when we come in through Him we are saved, we find pasture, and we have life in its fullest! What a tremendous gate He is!
What did Jesus mean when He said we would come and go and find pasture?
www.sheep101.info explains why pasture is important for sheep. “The pasture resource is often the most neglected part of the sheep enterprise, yet it usually provides the majority of nutrients to the stock. Well-managed pastures that are properly grazed have the potential to minimize feed costs and increase profits. Pasture is the most natural diet for sheep…”
www.wikihow.com says,“ Sheep will spend about 7 hours a day grazing. An estimated 2 acres of pasture is needed for 6 sheep.”
Jesus wants us to know that He will provide our most vital needs day after day. If we spend many of our waking hours each day acknowledging His presence in our lives, He can nourish our souls, just like the pasture nourishes the sheep. After we graze in Jesus’ pasture, we do not need to go to any other pasture to find nourishment. We can return to His pasture day after day and be filled each time with all that we need. Jesus’ pasture does not have bare patches or weeds. His pasture is nothing but rich soil from one end to the other producing the healthiest of grass which continues growing and is good for us.
Jesus made another incredible statement about how we can find true life. It is found in John 14:6 NLT ,”Jesus told him,’ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.’ “
Not only is Jesus the Gate we go through to find true life, He is that life! Jesus had a great ability to say a few words that had far reaching impact. This was one of those occasions.
A footnote in the Life Application Bible at John 14:6 says,” As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father. As the truth, He is the reality of all God’s promises. As the life, He joins His divine life to ours, both now and eternally.”
If I do not have faith in Jesus, if I have never received Him as Saviour and Lord of my life, then I do not have true, eternal life.
“Once you were dead, doomed forever because of your many sins. You used to live just like the rest of the world, full of sin, obeying Satan, the mighty prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.” Ephesians 2:1-2 NLT
God makes His marvellous life available to you and me because He is so merciful to us.
“But God’s mercy is great, and He loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, He gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.” Ephesians 2:4-5 NCV
“God has also said that He gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from His Son. And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life. All of you have faith in the Son of God, and I have written to let you know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:11-13 CEV
If you have never done so, right now you can place your faith in Jesus, and pray to God asking Him to save you and give you new life forever with Christ.
Many books have been written about how to obtain success. The best book on the subject is still the Bible. The Bible has a lot to say about how you can be successful in life. God wants you to succeed in life. Your success is important to God.
The first thing we need to know is what success is not.
“Then He said, ‘Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.’ And He gave an illustration: ‘A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. In fact, his barns were full to overflowing. So he said,’I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store everything. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, ‘My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!’ But God said to him,’ You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get it all?’ Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.’ “ Luke 12:15-21 NLT
The man in this story had a false illusion of what success was. He was a selfish man. His main focus was on himself and his possessions. He assumed he would live for a long time. He thought that what he worked for belonged all to him. He believed that what he owned would meet all of his needs for as long as he lived. He did not think that he needed anything else or anybody else in life. He had enough wealth to help other people with some of it but he was not interested in doing that. He left God completely out of his life. Many people alive today are like this man.
Jesus said that God called this man a fool. One thing is certain, when God calls someone a fool, that person is not a success.
Jesus also said, ‘Real life is not measured by how much we own’, and ‘a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.’ Therefore it is clear that a successful person is someone who has a rich relationship with God.
Consider another great story Jesus told,” Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but do not do what I say? I will show you what everyone is like who comes to Me and hears My words and obeys. That person is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the floods came, the water tried to wash the house away, but it could not shake it, because the house was built well. But the one who hears my words and does not obey is like a man who built his house on the ground without a foundation. When the floods came, the house quickly fell and was completely destroyed.” Luke 6:46-49 NCV
Jesus is saying that the person who comes to Him, hears His words, and obeys them is a success. Their house is built well because its foundation is on the right thing.
“Because of these things, this is what the Lord God says: ‘I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem, a tested stone. Everything will be built on this important and precious rock. Anyone who trusts in it will never be disappointed. I will use justice as a measuring line and goodness as the standard. The lies you hide behind will be destroyed as if by hail. They will be washed away as if in a flood.’ “ Isaiah 28:16-17 NCV
“But God’s truth stands firm like a foundation stone with this inscription: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Those who claim they belong to the Lord must turn away from all wickedness,’ “ 2 Timothy 2:19 NLT
‘The foundation that has already been laid is Jesus Christ, and no one can lay down any other foundation.” 1 Corinthians 3:11 NCV
Build your life on God’s truth and on Jesus Christ, and you will be a success. He will show you what true success is, and make it possible for you to realize it.
Before we become Christians, our ability to think has been corrupted and twisted by sin. So the world’s idea of what is success is totally inaccurate.
“Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to Him.” Romans 12:2 CEV
God’s way of thinking is far superior to ours. Therefore, the definition of success based on the world’s way of thinking is far inferior to God’s.
“ ‘My thoughts are completely different from yours,’ says the Lord. ‘and My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ “ Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
“We humans make plans, but the Lord has the final word. We may think we know what is right, but the Lord is the judge of our motives. Share your plans with the Lord, and you will succeed.” Proverbs 16:1-3 CEV
“Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 NLT
Many successful people are written about in the Bible. Consider the following verses and it is obvious what these people had in common.
“If you obey the laws and teachings that the Lord gave Moses, you will be successful. Be strong and brave and don’t get discouraged or be afraid of anything.” 1 Chronicles 22:13 CEV
“He (Uzziah) obeyed the Lord by doing right, as his father Amaziah had done. Zechariah was Uzziah’s advisor and taught him to obey God. And so, as long as Zechariah was alive, Uzziah was faithful to God, and God made him successful.” 2 Chronicles 26:4-5 CEV
“Be strong and very courageous. Obey all the laws Moses gave you. Do not turn away from them, and you will be successful in everything you do. Study this Book of the Law continually. Mediate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.” Joshua 1:7-8 NLT
“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was never another king like him in the land of Judah, either before or after his time. He remained faithful to the Lord in everything, and he carefully obeyed all the commands the Lord had given Moses. So the Lord was with him, and Hezekiah was successful in everything he did.” 2 Kings 18:5-7a NLT
“Early the next morning, as everyone got ready to leave for the desert near Tekoa, Jehoshaphat stood up and said,’ Listen my friends, if we trust the Lord God and believe what these prophets have told us, the Lord will help us, and we will be successful.’ “ 2 Chronicles 2:20 CEV
All of the people we just read about became successful in the same way. They all trusted in God. They were all faithful to God. They all studied and obeyed God’s teachings. And when they did these things, God gave them success.
God will do the same for you and I if we do all the things that they did.
What is the real meaning of life? Is the meaning of life determined by each person? Does life truly matter? What makes our lives so important anyway? Does anyone know the answers to these questions? Are there actual answers to them, or can we only guess?
The best way to find answers is to look for them in something or someone greater than ourselves, something or someone who will be around for as long as we need meaning, and something or someone who will provide meaning to us.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said,’ We are His offspring.’
Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone – an image made by man’s design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent. For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:24-31 NIV
This fantastic portion of the Bible answers all our questions and shows us how to find meaning in life.
God created the world and everything in it. He is Master and Ruler over heaven and earth. He does not need anything from anyone outside of Himself in order to maintain or improve the quality of His existence. These facts prove that God is infinitely greater than we are.
God gives all people life and breath and everything else. God gives us the abilities to live, move and exist. We are God’s offspring. God created and will always create all people everywhere. These facts prove that God will be around for as long as we need meaning in our lives.
A footnote at Acts 17:29 in the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible explains,” ‘Offspring’ is from the Greek word genos meaning race”, and that this refers to God creating the entire human race beginning with Adam.
God is not far from us. He wants us to seek Him and reach out for Him. He wants us to repent so we can have a living relationship with Him filled with meaning.
A footnote at Acts 17:27 in the NIV Life Application Bible explains,” God is known in His creation, and He is close to every one of us. But He is not trapped in His creation – He is transcendent. God is the Creator, not the creation. This means that God is sovereign and in control, while at the same time He is close and personal. Let the Creator of the universe rule your life.”
A footnote at Acts 17:30 in the Oxford NIV Scofield Study Bible explains,” ‘Repent’ is the translation of a Greek verb metanoeö, meaning to have another mind, to change the mind, and is used in the New Testament to indicate a change of mind in respect to sin, God, and self… Repentance is not an act separate from faith, but saving faith includes and implies that change of mind which is called repentance.”
God commands me to repent of my sin, change how I think about my sin. He commands me to stop making excuses for it, stop thinking it is no big deal, and start thinking it is as evil as God says it is and I must remove it from my life.
God commands me to repent because He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice. God’s judgment of everyone who ever lived adds tremendous meaning to our lives.
If we were never judged for our behaviour on earth, then what we did down here would not matter at all. If we could do any and every bad thing we wanted and get away with it forever, never having to answer to God, then it would be totally pointless for us to try to display any good qualities. Life would be meaningless and senseless.
But God will judge our thoughts, words, and actions. That gives all of them great meaning and importance. God will make sure evil is dealt with and His truth and holiness prevail. He is superior to us, He is supreme over us, He will have the last word in our lives.
Many places in the Bible give reasons why God will judge every one of us after we die.
One of the main reasons God will judge us is to demonstrate that Jesus did not die for nothing.
“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV
The following verses indicate that God will also judge us to show us that He is God, He is holy, He is ruler over all, He is more powerful than all, and He alone deserves to be worshipped.
“Because it is written in the Scriptures;’ As surely as I live ,’ says the Lord, ‘Everyone will bow before Me; everyone will say that I am God.’ So each of us will have to answer to God.” Romans 14:11-12 NCV
“Lord God All-Powerful, You have done great and marvelous things. You are the ruler of all nations, and You do what is right and fair. Lord, who doesn’t honour and praise Your name? You alone are holy, and all nations will come and worship You, because You have shown that You judge with fairness.” Revelation 15:3b-4 CEV
“The Lord All-Powerful will receive glory by judging fairly; the holy God will show Himself holy by doing what is right.” Isaiah 5:16 NCV
“But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from His throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness.” Psalm 9:7-8 NLT
The next verses explain that God will judge us to punish sinful behaviour that people thought they had gotten away with.
“God says,’ At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked.’ “ Psalm 75:2 NLT
“You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God, and to rescue the oppressed of the earth.” Psalm 76:9 NLT
“And yet you say,’ I haven’t done anything wrong. Surely He isn’t angry with me!’ Now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned.” Jeremiah 2:35 NLT
“I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. Earth and heaven tried to run away, but there was no place for them to go. I also saw all the dead people standing in front of that throne. Every one of them was there, no matter who they had once been. Several books were opened, and then the book of life was opened. The dead were judged by what those books said they had done. The sea gave up the dead people who were in it, and death and its kingdom also gave up their dead. Then everyone was judged by what they had done. Afterwards, death and its kingdom were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death. Anyone whose name wasn’t written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15 CEV
The verses that follow explain that God will not only judge us to punish sinful behaviour, but also to reward behaviour which was acceptable to Him.
“Then at last everyone will say,’ There truly is a reward for those who live for God; surely there is a God who judges justly here on earth.’” Psalm 58:11 NLT
“For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 NLT
“God will reward or punish every person for what that person has done. Some people, by always continuing to do good, live for God’s glory, for honor, and for life that has no end. God will give them life forever. But other people are selfish. They refuse to follow truth and, instead, follow evil. God will give them His punishment and anger.” Romans 2:6-8 NCV
“So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 NLT
These next verses show that God will also judge us because He will not allow the ugliness or filth of our sin to ruin His perfect kingdom.
“Your kingdom is built on what is right and fair. Love and truth are in all You do.” Psalm 89:14 NCV
“But God has promised us a new heaven and a new earth, where justice will rule. We are really looking forward to that!” 2 Peter 3:13 CEV
The following verses reveal that God is fully qualified to judge us and will make no mistakes.
“He is coming to judge the world; He will judge the world with fairness and the peoples with truth.” Psalm 96:13 NCV
“But, Lord All-Powerful, you are a fair judge. You know how to test people’s hearts and minds” Jeremiah 11:20a NCV
“But I know! I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10 NLT
Jesus said,” I promise you that on the day of judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.” Matthew 12:36-37 CEV
“Everything you were taught can be put into a few words: Respect and obey God! This is what life is all about. God will judge everything we do, even what is done in secret, whether good or bad.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 CEV
We can show God the greatest amount of respect by giving Him first place in our lives. Receiving Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives as Lord and Saviour is the first step to doing this.
We obey God when we live according to what His Word, the Bible, teaches. We also obey God when we follow the leading of His Holy Spirit.
If we do these things God will reward us when our turn to be judged comes, and we will discover immense meaning in our lives on earth.
A few years ago a celebrity in his 20’s was found dead in his apartment. Also found there were half a dozen different types of sleeping pills and pain killers. He once told reporters that the previous week he had only slept an average of two hours each night, his body was exhausted but he could not stop thinking.
There was a time in his life when another celebrity used to take more than 10 sleeping pills a night, asking his employees to get the prescribed pills under their names, and personally traveling to doctor's offices in other cities to obtain them. At other times he arranged for doctors to give him a sleeping drug by intravenous. One person said the celebrity relied on that drug like an alarm clock. Each night he would decide what time he wanted to wake up the next morning and at that time a doctor would stop the intravenous drip that delivered the drug. One night that drug caused his death.
Still another celebrity said he often took as many as 90 pills in a day. He said two thirds of them were sleeping pills. The rest were pain killers. He said he took pills from the time he got up in the morning to when he went to bed at night.
Peace was absent from the lives of each of these people. It is obvious from their stories that peace cannot be found in pills or popularity. Their money could not buy them peace either.
The web site stress.about.com once took a survey. The people who responded said the main causes of stress in their lives were their jobs, their finances, their personal relationships, their children, and their daily schedules. The site goes on to say chances are, many things in your life cause stress, and that stress affects your health and happiness.
As we can see, many people lack peace in their hearts and in their lives. How about you? Would you like to have more peace in your own life? Is peace missing completely from your life today?
Where can we find peace that will last and that will make a difference in our lives?
“I told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” John 16:33 NCV
“So Gideon built an altar there to worship the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace.” Judges 6:24a NCV
Peace is an important aspect of the Lord’s very nature. Real peace originates in the Lord. He is the source of the rich peace we need. Therefore we find the peace we long for in the Lord Himself.
In John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, a footnote at Judges 6:24 says - the Lord is peace, the author and giver of peace, temporal, spiritual, and eternal.
God and real peace go together naturally. Wherever you find one, you find the other.
“God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33a NCV
“May the Lord of peace Himself always give you His peace no matter what happens. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT
Not only is God filled with peace, but there is more great news for you. He wants you to know that He wants to give His peace to you too! That is why there are so many places in the Bible that talk about God giving His peace to His people. Consider the amazing verses which follow.
“Honesty and justice will prosper there, and justice will produce lasting peace and security. You, the Lord’s people, will live in peace, calm and secure.” Isaiah 32:16-18 CEV
“I will give peace to your country; you will lie down in peace and no one will make you afraid. I will keep harmful animals out of your country, and armies will not pass through it.” Leviticus 26:6 NCV
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show His favor and give you His peace.” Number 6:24-26 NLT
“The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 NIV
“‘I will give peace, real peace, to those far and near, and I will heal them’, says the Lord.” Isaiah 57:19 NCV
Jesus said to His followers,“ I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 NLT
“You are among those who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ, dear friends in Rome. God loves you dearly, and He has called you to be His very own people. May grace and peace be yours from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 1:6-7 NLT
We will have God’s peace when we confess to Him we are lost sinners and show we believe the Good News by receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior.
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1 NLT
“Stop quarreling with God! If you agree with Him, you will have peace at last, and things will go well for you.” Job 22:21 NLT
“For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared.” Ephesians 6:15 NLT
We will receive peace from God when we study His Word the Bible and apply its truths in our lives.
“I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for He speaks peace to His people, His faithful ones.” Psalm 85:8a NLT
“Those who love Your teachings will find true peace, and nothing will defeat them.” Psalm 119:165 NCV
“The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, says: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to My commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling like waves.” Isaiah 48:17-18 NLT
We will have God’s peace when we have full confidence in Him to take care of us, and when we thank Him for all we have.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, whose thoughts are fixed on You!” Isaiah 26:3 NLT
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
We will have God’s peace when we allow Him to direct our thinking.
“If people’s thinking is controlled by the sinful self, there is death. But if their thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.” Romans 8:6 NCV
“Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful.” Colossians 3:15 CEV
The results of God’s peace in our lives are wonderful.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 NIV
“Obey God and be at peace with Him; this is the way to happiness.” Job 22:21 NCV
Recognize that the Lord is Peace and wants to give peace to His people. Receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Study God’s Word the Bible and apply it in your life. Have full confidence in God to take care of you, and thank Him for all that you have. Allow Him to direct your thinking. Then you will experience the great results of God’s peace in your life.
Askville.amazon.com says that more than 3 billion books were sold in the United States alone in 2005.
www.bowker.com says, “Bowker's Books In Print® database offers valuable information on more than 7.5 million U.S. book, audio book, and video titles, as well as 12 million international titles, making it the industry’s largest bibliographic database.”
Wiki.answers.com says some reasons why people read are to improve language skills, understand complex topics, challenge their thinking, find an escape, and forget about their problems.
With the millions of books in print right now, why read the Bible?
First of all, the Bible says that it is a living Book. Hebrews 4:12-13,” God’s word is alive and working and is sharper than a double-edged sword. It cuts all the way into us, where the soul and the spirit are joined, to the center of our joints and bones. And it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. Nothing in all the world can be hidden from God. Everything is clear and lies open before Him, and to Him we must explain the way we have lived.” NCV
This means that the Bible is a very honest Book, letting us know exactly what God thinks of us and telling us exactly how to live to please Him before the day comes when we meet Him face to face.
Psalm 19 gives more great reasons to read the Bible.
Verses 7-8,” The teachings of the Lord are perfect; they give new strength. The rules of the Lord can be trusted; they make plain people wise. The orders of the Lord are right; they make people happy. The commands of the Lord are pure; they light up the way.” NCV
Verse 11 tells us the end result of all of these wonderful things,” By your teachings, Lord, I am warned; by obeying them, I am greatly rewarded.” CEV The NIV translates this same verse,” By them is Your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
Psalm 119 gives more marvellous reasons to read the Bible.
Verses 1-2,” Happy are those who live pure lives, who follow the Lord’s teachings. Happy are those who keep His rules, who try to obey Him with their whole heart. They don’t do what is wrong; they follow His ways.” NCV
Verses 9-11,” Young people can live a clean life by obeying Your word. I worship You with all my heart. Don’t let me walk away from Your commands. I treasure Your word above all else; it keeps me from sinning against You.” CEV
Verse 18 ,” Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your law.” NLT. The NCV translates this same verse,” Open my eyes to see the miracles in your teachings.”
Verse 24,” Your laws are my greatest joy! I follow their advice.” CEV The NCV translates this same verse,” Your rules give me pleasure; they give me good advice.”
Verses 34-35,” Help me understand, so I can keep Your teachings, obeying them with all my heart. Lead me in the path of Your commands, because that makes me happy.” NCV
Verse 40,” I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with Your goodness.” NLT
Verses 44-45,” I will keep obeying Your Law forever and ever. I have gained perfect freedom by following Your teachings.” CEV
Verse 52,” I find true comfort, Lord, because Your laws have stood the test of time.” CEV
Verse 54,” No matter where I am, Your teachings fill me with songs.” CEV
Verse 64,” Our Lord, Your love is seen all over the world. Teach me Your laws.” CEV
Verse 81,” I long for You to rescue me! Your word is my only hope.” CEV
Verse 89 ,” Lord, Your word is everlasting; it continues forever in heaven.” NCV
Verse 92-93,” If Your law hadn’t sustained me with joy, I would have died in my misery. I will never forget Your commandments, for You have used them to restore my joy and health.” NLT
Verse 101,” I obey Your word instead of following a way that leads to trouble.” CEV
Verse 133,” Guide my steps by Your word, so I will not be overcome by any evil.” NLT
Verse 143,” As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in Your commands.” NLT
Verse 162,” I rejoice in Your word like one who finds a great treasure.” NLT
Verse 165,” Those who love Your law have great peace and do not stumble.” NLT
Verse 168,” I obey Your orders and rules, because You know everything I do.” NCV
2 Timothy 3:16 gives more magnificent reasons to read the Bible,” All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right.” NCV
The opening sentence of the book of Mark says," This is the good news about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." Mark 1:1 CEV
It did not take long for this book to refer to something joyful. The purpose of the book of Mark, and of the entire Bible, is to tell us good news. On the other hand, when you watch the news on TV or listen to it on the radio, notice how much of it is negative. The goods news Mark refers to is about a person, a very special person - Jesus Christ. The Bible recorded many of the great things He said and did.
We feel deceived and disgusted when we are told an athlete we admired used illegal drugs to accomplish his or her feats. But Jesus did not use performance enhancing drugs or banned substances to do any of the incredible things He did. Jesus will never let you down because He is the Son of God.
1 Peter 2:6 says about Jesus, "The Scripture says: ' I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem. Everything will be built on this important and precious rock. Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disappointed. ' " NCV
Also, Jesus said in John 15:11, " I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy. " NCV. Jesus wants you to be filled with as much joy as is possible! As a matter of fact, another version of this verse says, "I have told you this so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!" NLT
Jesus also said in John 10:10, " A thief comes only to rob, kill, and destroy. I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest." CEV Another version writes the second half of this verse this way, " I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)." Amp.
Joy begins with Jesus.
When you find Jesus, you have just found joy.
Years ago it was said that to find real joy in life, think of the word JOY as an acrostic. You can find genuine joy by focusing your life on Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third. This is very true.
In the 1990's I came across an excellent TV program called The Joy of Music. The host was Diane Bish, a master organist. The program filmed her and other fine musicians performing great music at locations around the world. She once performed at a nearby city and I was happy to bring my mother to attend the concert.
There is a certain level of joy that can be obtained from hearing appealing, well-performed music. Consider the amount of money people are willing to pay for concert tickets. The human ability to make music was created in us by God. Animals do not have the ability to compose songs or make and play musical instruments. Imagine what the world would be missing if all music disappeared.
The highest level of joy that we can obtain in life cannot be found in music, entertainment, sports, travel, fame, money, drugs, sensual pleasures, career, possessions, or any other things.
The highest level of joy that we can obtain in life is found in Jesus. The joy He gives reaches our entire being.
Jesus said it Himself, "Yes, your joy will overflow!"
1. There is only one God. He is Master, Maker, and Sustainer of the entire universe and everything in it.
The Lord created the heavens. He is the God who formed the earth and made it. He did not want it to be empty, but He wanted life on the earth. This is what the Lord says: “I am the Lord. There is no other God.” Isaiah 45:18 NCV
2. God has always existed and always will. He exists in three distinct Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
No one has ever seen God. The only Son, who is truly God and is closest to the Father, has shown us what God is like. John 1:18 CEV
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19 KJV
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7 KJV
3. God is the origin, the ultimate source of all life, including human life. God creates each person uniquely, and they are a human being from the moment of conception.
You made my whole being; You formed me in my mother’s body. I praise You because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What You have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, You saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in Your book before I was one day old. Psalm 139:13-16 NCV
4. God gave His Son Jesus to the world so that He would sacrifice His life one time, dying on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all of humanity, coming back to life on the third day, making it possible for anyone to live forever with God by placing their faith in Christ.
“Joseph, son of David,” the angel said,” do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:20b-21 NLT
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me – that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day as the Scriptures said. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NLT
Only Jesus has the power to save! His name is the only one in all the world that can save anyone. Acts 4:12 CEV
Jesus told him,” I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 NLT
5. Our sins have separated us from God. We cannot live in the presence of a holy God in our sinful state.
You help all who gladly obey and do what You want, but sin makes You angry. Only by Your help can we ever be saved. We are unfit to worship You; each of our good deeds is merely a filthy rag. Isaiah 64:5-6a CEV
God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, He freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered His life’s blood, so that by faith in Him we could come to God. Romans 3:22-25a CEV
6. Anyone who rejects Christ and the salvation made possible through Him alone, will face eternal separation from God in hell, followed by the lake of fire.
Jesus said,” Enter through the narrow gate. The gate is wide and the road is wide that leads to hell, and many people enter through that gate. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to true life. Only a few people find that road.” Matthew 7:13-14 NCV
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. John 3:36 NIV
And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15 KJV
7. Anyone who receives Christ as Lord and Savior becomes born again, receiving new spiritual life through the Holy Spirit which lasts for eternity. This eternal life begins at the moment of salvation, continues in Heaven, culminating in the New Jerusalem in the presence of the Lord and all His people.
Jesus replied,” I assure you, unless you are born again, you can never see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3 NLT
What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18a NLT
He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. Titus 3:5-6 NLT
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth had disappeared, and there was no sea anymore. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Now God’s presence is with people, and He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone.” Revelation 21:1-4 NCV
8. Jesus Christ will return to this earth at any moment to take all His followers out of the world to be with Him forever.
We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 CEV
And just as it is destined that each person dies only once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ died only once as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again but not to deal with our sins again. This time He will bring salvation to all those who are eagerly waiting for Him. Hebrews 9:27-28 NLT
We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet Him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 NLT
9. The devil is an evil spiritual being opposed to God. He constantly seeks to do harm to humans. He will ultimately be punished by the Lord by being thrown into the lake of fire.
Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour. Take a firm stand against him, and be strong in your faith. 1 Peter 5:8-9a NLT
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:10 NASB
10. The Bible is God’s word to humans, inspired by God, inerrant, infallible, and the final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Proverbs 30:5 NIV
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