Promises of Psalm 103

Promises of Psalm 103

Psalm 103 PromisesGod has promised us so many things in His Word. There are almost too many to count. We read these promises everyday when we read God’s Word. Often we never give it a second thought.

But if we would take the time to really look at these rich verses, we will become amazed, strengthened, and feel secure in our life daily. We need to be reminded of God’s compassion towards us through His promises. Let’s live our lives embracing these powerful promises. It is a broad place to stand. No sinking sand, only solid ground.

Psalm 103 NLT

I would like to show you all God has promised us in this powerful Psalm. King David wrote this and it was his song of praise of all God has done and is doing. It talks about the Father’s love towards us. Amazing to get in your spirit and embrace it daily.

The beginning of Psalm 103 is a cry of praise to a powerful God. David knew where His strength came from.

Psalm 103:1 – 2 NLT
Praise the LORD, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me.

I love this because David was a man after God’s own heart. He understood and cherished His relationship with God as the most precious relationship he could ever have. David was quick to praise even in challenging times. He begins with praise and then starts telling of all of the wonderful things God has done and is doing.

Promises of Psalm 103

  1. Forgiveness for all our sins and does not punish, but loves us.

Psalm 103:3a, 10 – 12 NLT
He forgives all my sins… He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west.

This is the first of many promises David mentions. Note the importance of placing it first. It shows that David knew he needed forgiveness and how important it was for his life. All other promises pail in comparison. Placing it first above all other promises in this chapter shows David’s priority of needing forgiveness of all his iniquities.

God forgives us of all the wrong we have done. He doesn’t hold a grudge against us. Once God forgives, and He forgives because of what His Son accomplished on the cross, we are forgiven. No matter what you tell yourself, or others tell you; you are forgiven.

Did you know God is more ready to forgive then we are ready to repent? A broken spirit is the quickest way to spiritual wholeness. It almost sounds contradictory. Being broken and contrite before God will always open the door for God to heal and restore to wholeness. Being hard hearted, stubborn, or prideful does the opposite. It pushes you away from God because you are trying to do things on your own and haven’t given God control. It is His kindness that brings us to repentance.

Psalm 51:17 tells us that the sacrifice God wants is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, GOD WILL NEVER despise. Don’t stay in the place of bondage any longer, tell God you are sorry and ask His forgiveness. Repent means to not only ask for forgiveness, but to turn completely away from ever doing it again. You will feel free once you ask God to forgive you and walk away from it.

When we confess our sins and trust Jesus Christ, our sins are wiped away. They will not be held against us. We are freely and fully pardoned by the Lord and should forgive ourselves as well.

Forgiveness is not based on the magnitude of the sin, but the magnitude of the forgiver’s love. No sin is too great for God’s complete and unconditional love to wash away. The Bible does, however, mention one unforgivable sin–harboring an attitude of defiant hostility toward God that prevents us from accepting his forgiveness. Those who don’t want his forgiveness place themselves out of its reach.

Forgiveness means that God looks at us as though we never sinned. We are blameless before Him.

2. He heals us.

Psalm 103:b Amplified Bible
…Who heals [each one of] all your diseases.

Sin can make us sick, literally. Healing can come if we repent of our sin and receive God’s forgiveness. But that is not the only reason we get sick. Life happens. Our bodies do not last forever. accidents happen. God is not bound by the limitations of this world. He can overcome any threat in our lives—physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional.

Luke 5:12 – 13 NLT
In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he fell to the ground, face down in the dust, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you want to, you can make me well again.” Jesus reached out and touched the man. “I want to,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.

Jesus has the ability and the willingness to heal us. We are not bothering God when we pray for healing; we are expressing our faith and trust in him.

God’s healing can reach every level of our lives. His healing brings a joy and freedom that cannot be contained.

3. Redeems, rescues, and ransoms us from death.

Psalm 103:4a NLT
He ransoms me from death …

Amplified Bible
Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption…

We all are born into a sinful world. We all should perish and go to hell. But by Christ’s redeeming love, He rescues us from death and we will never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The Lord gives us absolute assurance: “I will rescue those who love me.” (Psalm 91:14) This passage does not give us license to be reckless. But it gives us the promise that when people and circumstances turn against us, God is for us.

Psalm 50:15 NLT
Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.

God promises to rescue us not only for our welfare, but for His glory. I love that! His name is at stake, and it will give Him all the glory. It is a win – win situation.

Psalm 72:12 – 14 NLT
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy and he will rescue them. He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him.

No situation is too difficult for the Lord. The greater our need, the greater the depth of his love and compassion is for us.

4. He crowns us with mercy and loving-kindness.

Psalm 103:4b, 8, 17 – 18 Amplified Bible
Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;…The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness… But the mercy and loving-kindness of the Lord are from everlasting to everlasting upon those who reverently and worshipfully fear Him, and His righteousness is to children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

The promise is like a glorious crown that decorates the brow. A crown becomes a metaphor of the quality of God’s nature. God has tender mercies toward us “sinners.” It shows of His compassion towards us.

Only God can make something beautiful that was once wretched. Everyone of us are precious jewels that God has made from lost souls like you and I. We are forever-beautiful because of all that God has done in our life. How many of you are thankful for God’s loving-kindness? Me too.

The gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is God’s ultimate expression of His love for us. Though he gives many other blessings, he can give no greater gift. The gift of the Holy Spirit is also an assurance of God’s love. Though it may be difficult to prove objectively, the Spirit gives solid assurances in our hearts.

Psalm 23:6 NLT
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

God’s love pursues us everyday. We can be certain that God will continually shower us with his mercy and guard us in his love.

Psalm 31:7 NLT
I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.

God understands our weaknesses and struggles without condemning us. He gives us joy to replace our anguish. Anguish means: excruciating or acute distress, suffering, or pain (dictionary.com).

God cares when we are in distress, or anguish, and has a remedy. He replaces it with His joy.

Obeying God will help bring healing, restoration, and fresh growth in our lives. We obey God because we are already loved, not in order to be loved. And as we obey, we are promised joy.

John 15:10 – 11 NLT
When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

Did you know that our obedience expresses our love for God? The more we obey God’s word, the more we truly love him and want to follow his ways.

5. He fills my life with good things so our youth is renewed.

Psalm 103:5 Amplified Bible
Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!

Wow! What a promise! God satisfies us with good things. What does that mean?

John Gill’s expedition of the entire Bible states about this verse:
With the good things in the heart of God, with his favour and lovingkindness, as with marrow and fatness; with the good things in the hands of Christ, with the fulness of grace in him, with pardon, righteousness, and salvation by him; with the good things of the Spirit of God, his gifts and graces; and with the provisions of the Lord’s house, the goodness and fatness of it; these he shows unto his people, creates hungerings and thirstings in them after them, sets their hearts a longing after them, and then fills and satisfies them with them.

Only God can give satisfaction to our souls. God is good. He is a good Father. His heart is good. His favor is good. His loving-kindness is good. His grace is good. His forgiveness and righteousness and salvation is good. Being filled with Who He is renews us and gives us strength just like an eagle.

Isaiah 40:29 – 31 Amplified Bible
He gives power to the faint and weary, and to him who has no might He increases strength [causing it to multiply and making it to abound]. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and [selected] young men shall feebly stumble and fall exhausted; But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.

I believe being filled with the Holy Spirit gives us energy to do what God calls us to do. Many times I have been quickened by the Holy Spirit and have suddenly gone from being extremely tired to feeling as if I could run around the city. This is a good reason to keep ourselves filled with God’s Spirit; we need all the energy we can get! God can empower you to face everything you need to do with renewed physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual strength.

The Holy Spirit will not energize us to be mean, hateful, selfish, or self-centered. He will give us strength and energy to do the things God has called us to do and to be kind, loving, diligent, and focused in the process.

6. God gives righteousness and justice to those treated unfairly.

Psalm 103:6 NLT
The LORD gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

He sees that justice is done to the oppressed. He is on their side. His law, his commands, his judicial decisions, his providential interpositions (just at the right time), are in their favor. This does not mean that it will he done at once; or that there will never be any delay; or that they may not suffer even for a long time – for this occurs in fact; but the meaning is, that God has their true interest at heart; that at proper times, and whenever and whereever there are any dealings of his in the case, his acts are in favor of those that are oppressed; and that there will be sooner or later such interpositions (cause to intervene) on their behalf as shall entirely vindicate their cause.

God only allows injustice to happen for so long, or a season, and then He intervenes. He is our defense in times of unjust treatments or false accusations. When we stand up and try to defend ourselves, we only end up looking bad and self-centered. But when we allow Christ to be our defense, the matter is settled. It doesn’t matter what man thinks, it only matters what God thinks. Again, He is our defense.

7. God knows we are weak and only dust.

Psalm 103:14 – 16 NLT
For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never bee here.

Reading these verses can almost make you depressed, but they are there to remind us that we are weak and frail.

Barnes Notes states:
For he knows our frame – Our formation; of what we are made; how we are made. That is, he knows that we are made of dust; that we are frail; that we are subject to decay; that we soon sink under a heavy load. This is given as a reason why he pities us – that we are so frail and feeble, and that we are so easily broken down by a pressure of trial.

He remembereth that we are dust – Made of the earth. Gen_2:7; Gen_3:19. In his dealings with us he does not forget of what frail materials he made us, and how little our frames can bear. He tempers his dealings to the weakness and frailty of our nature, and his compassion interposes when the weight of sorrows would crush us. Remembering, too, our weakness, he interposes by his power to sustain us, and to enable us to bear what our frame could not otherwise endure.

We don’t have to try and figure things out all by ourselves when we go through trials or temptations, God knows what we are made of…. dust. We can lean on God for His guidance and help. He wants us to lean on Him and cry out to Him. The promise is that in verse 17 God’s love remains forever with those who fear him. He is faithful to His covenant, to those who obey His Word.

This is only one chapter in the entire Bible that has so many promises in it. Thinking of God’s great love for us overwhelms me. His presence engulfs me. We are so blessed to serve a powerful, risen, all knowing and loving God. He keeps His promises from generation to generation.

Embrace God’s promises in Psalm 103 in your life today. They are for you and I to live by and stand on daily.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils
http://www.KrisBelfils.com
http://www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
http://www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Unlocking the Power of God’s Promises

Unlocking the Power of God’s Promises

Unlocking the Power of God Promises WPGod promises you and I many things, and unlike people who promise and renege (go back on a promise), God never will. He always fulfills what He promises.

God’s promises are seeds of faith, hope, and love. They are not given as options to enhance our lives occasionally, but as means that God can use to change our lives permanently. They are bridges that take us from the bondage of our old life to the freedom of our new life in Christ. They transport us from despair to hope.

2 Peter 1:3 – 4 NLT
As we know Jesus better, his divine power gives us everything we need for living and godly life. He has called us to receive his own glory and goodness! And by that same mighty power, he has given us all of his rich and wonderful promises. []He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in his divine nature.

When we fill our mind with the promises of God, God fills our lives with what we need. The promises empower us to overcome the doubts that erode our confidence. They open our eyes to the power and possibilities in Christ. They show us a new way to respond to life’s challenges and heartaches. They are God’s guides to our spiritual growth and vitality.  As you study these promises, here are four specific ways that they will encourage and strengthen you.

4 Ways God’s Promises encourage and strengthen you

1. God’s promises remind you of God’s love for you.

One of our greatest hindrances in times of trouble is our doubt that God is interested in our situation. Deep down, most of us assume that God doesn’t really care about our “little” problems because he is preoccupied with “bigger” things. But Jesus teaches us quite the opposite.

Luke 12:6 – 7 NLT
What is the price of five sparrows? A couple of pennies? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid’ you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows.

2. Let God’s promises enlarge your vision of what God can do.

When we take our eyes off of God, everything else is magnified. When we magnify God, everything else assumes its proper proportion. God’s promises are like corrective lenses, bringing our circumstances back into proper focus. They help us see life from an eternal perspective.

Romans 8:35, 38 – 39 NLT
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? … I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The Angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. When ever we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If we live our lives claiming God’s promises, nothing that life throws our way can come between us and God. Nothing can get in God’s way. Difficult circumstances are often when God reveals his infinite love and care for us most powerfully.

Psalm 138:8 The Passion Translation
“You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me!
Since Your love for me is so constant and endless,
I ask You, Lord, to finish every good thing
that You’ve begun in me!”

3. Let God’s promises overcome the power of discouragement and pessimism.

God’s promises break the spell that holds us in bondage to the lies, distortions, and deceptions of the devil. Many of us have a tendency to expect the worst. We assume that bad things will happen and brace ourselves for disaster.

We lose perspective because we look at our situation in the light (or the dimness) of human limitations and obstacles. But when the power of one of God’s promises breaks in, it’s like someone has turned on a bright light. We snap out of it and realize we have forgotten the most important factor in any situation: the God factor. As Paul says…

Ephesians 3:20 NLT
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

4. Let God’s promises show you new ways to respond in faith.

When we are stressed, we tend to lose our sight of the many possible responses to our situation. God’s promises expand our repertoire by reminding us that we can respond differently because of who we are and what we have in Christ. When we hear Paul say from prison,

Philippians 4:13 NLT
I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

We realize that our joy is based on our trust in God’s power, not our outward circumstances. God’s promises remind us that God works in ways we cannot imagine. We read in …

Leviticus 26:8 NLT
Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand! All your enemies will fall beneath the blows of your weapons.

A similar promise is found…

Joshua 23:10 NLT
Each one of you will put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.

The Israelites watched God destroy the armies of Pharaoh without their having to lift a finger.

God used David to overcome Goliath with a single smooth stone. God enabled Gideon’s three hundred soldiers to defeat the armies of Midian, and the Lord used one hundred and twenty disciples to establish the church in Acts.

The power of God working through his promises enables us to attempt the unthinkable, to endure the unbearable, and even to forgive the unforgivable.

The power of the promises is rooted in the character of God and the power of his word. When we plant the seeds of the promises in our heart, they will bear fruit that will nourish us through life’s toughest time. As the Lord promises in …

Isaiah 55:10 – 11 NLT
The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my words. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Trust God’s Promises

Let’s look at some promises on trusting God. This really is the beginning or foundation of standing on God’s promises. If we don’t trust God, we won’t believe His promises. If we don’t trust God, His Word will mean nothing to us.

2 Samuel 22:31 – 33 Amplified Bible
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to me because I trust and take refuge in Him. For who is God but the Lord? And who is a Rock except our God? God is my strong Fortress; He guides the blameless in His way and sets me free!

God’s ways are perfect. His Word has been tried and is true. He is a Shield to us and we can trust Him, take refuge in Him, and depend on Him. There is no one, nothing like our God. He is immovable and a place to hide in times of trouble. We are blameless because of His Son, and we are set free from sin, depression, distress, and so much more all because we trust in the Lord and stand on His promises.

Psalm 2:2 Amplified Bible
I am blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) because I seek refuge and put my trust in the Lord.

We are blessed when we trust the Lord. It brings us peace and assurance that we don’t have to try and figure things out, but that we can rely on the Lord to help us in any situation.

Psalm 18:2 – 3 Amplified Bible
The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower. I call upon the Lord, Who is to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.

There is always a result for our trusting in God and His word. In this case, God promises to be Lord, a Rock, a Fortress, A Deliverer, Strength, Refuge, Shield, Horn (projection) of salvation, a High and strong tower where the righteous can run to and are safe. We shall be saved from our enemies when we trust in the Lord for protection. All of these are promises for trusting in God.

Psalm 20:7 Amplified Bible
Some trust in Chariots, and some in horses’ but I remember (trust) the name of the Lord my God.

People have false security in so many things; Jobs, money, relationships, cars, their home, their education, how thing think, their own abilities, and so much more. If we replaced the words Chariots and horses, with some of the things I just mentioned, it would read like this:

“Some trust in jobs or money, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” “Some trust in education and their own abilities, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”

What this verse is saying is that anything earthly that you trust in can and will fail, but the name of the Lord will never fail us. Relationships will fade, homes can get burned up, education doesn’t promise you a job or income, cars, or our own abilities will fail us, but God will never fail. He is trustworthy.

Psalm 31:14 – 15 Amplified Bible
I trust in, rely on, and am confident in You, O Lord; I say, You are my God. My times are in Your hands.

God is the one who created us. He knows our beginning and our end on this earth. Our times are truly in His hands. We can be confident that He has our best interest at heart. Who else to trust in then our Creator and sustainer. It is a win – win situation. God wants us to trust and rely on Him, and in turn He takes care of us.

Psalm 56:3 – 4 Amplified Bible
When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?

There is something more important then life on earth; Eternal life in Heaven. Because of this, if man steals from us, tortures us, belittles us, ignores us, it doesn’t matter, they can NEVER take God away from us, no matter how hard they try or threat. People can take our cars, our homes, and even our friendships on earth, but they can NEVER take our relationship with God from us. That is why Christians have been targeted all over the world. We have something that no one can take away. We have a promise from the ultimate Promise Giver that brings life and freedom in the face of turmoil. It is something the world doesn’t understand until they make the same decision we have; Accept Christ as their Lord and Savior and live for Him on this earth. Giving God control brings FREEDOM!

Proverbs 3:5 – 8 Amplified Bible
I lean on, trust in, and am, confident in the Lord with all my heart and mind and I do not rely on my own insight or understanding. In all my ways I know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He directs and makes straight and plain my paths. I am not wise in my own eyes; I reverently fear and worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil. It shall be health to my nerves and sinews, and marrow and moistening to my bones.

These are my favorite verses in the Bible. I have lived by them all my Christian life. Don’t lean on and rely on anything or anyone else but the Lord. Put your whole heart, mind, and passions into it. Trust God’s wisdom. Don’t rely on your own understanding or insight. Whatever we do, wherever we go, God is with you, so keep Him first and foremost in your thoughts and life. Don’t get haughty and think you know everything, because you don’t. Fear and worship the Lord and turn away from anything evil. Turn away from anything that doesn’t please the Lord, anything that goes contrary to His Word.

Proverbs 29:25 Amplified Bible
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever leans on, trusts in, and puts his confidence in the Lord is safe and set on high.

Amen, Amen, Amen! Don’t fall in the trap of being afraid of people. Don’t get snared in trying to win their approval. Who is man that we want them to approve of us anyway? God is the only one we should desire for His approval. Put your confidence in God and He will set you on high. He will lift you up. He will even prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies (Psalm 23). That is the God we love and serve. Man will let you down. People will disprove of you. It is okay, because you have God’s approval. Nothing else matters.

Nahum 1:7 Amplified Bible
The Lord is good, a Strength and Stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of, and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him.

The Lord is good! He is strong and Who we can cling to in trouble. He knows everything about us, and understands us even when others don’t. We can take refuge and trust in Him always.

Hebrews 2:13 Amplified Bible
My trust and assured reliance and confident hope is fixed in Him.

Fix your hope, your confidence on the Lord. He is the best foundation to stand on. All other ground is sinking sand. God will never put you to shame for trusting in Him… Never! His name is at stake.

Psalm 25:3 NLT
No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced (put to shame), but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

Psalm 25:3 GNT
Defeat does not come to those who trust in you, but to those who are quick to rebel against you.

There is no better life than a life following God. It is so fulfilling, so joyful, so reassuring, and everlasting. The promises of God have so much power in them.

We need to search God’s word and allow the rich and wonderful promises water our faith, refresh our soul, and lead us into the life Christ made possible for each one of us today.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

I Pinky Promise

PinkyPromise3When you and I were children, there was a saying we’d often hear. I’m going to say the first half of the saying and let’s see if you know the 2nd half:

“Cross my heart and (hope to die)”
What was that child saying?
They were saying they’d made a promise, and if they were to break that promise they would expect something bad to happen.

Actually, the original phrase is a little longer:
“Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye.”

The only thing kids could think of that was worse than dying was sticking needles in their eyes – and I would tend to agree. Kids understand the importance of promises. In fact parents have learned that they need to be very careful what promises they make to their kids.

When I really want someone to promise me something I put up my pinky and say, “I Pinky Promise?” If the other person wants to make the promise, they will put up one of their pinky fingers and connect it with my pinky finger and shake on it and say, “I pinky promise.” If they “pinky promised,” in my mind, they would keep their promise. But often they didn’t.

As my girls were growing up I learned that if I told them that…
• I was going to do something for them
• I was going to take them someplace
• I was going to get something for them.
and then (for whatever reason) I didn’t do that, you know what they’d say to me?
BUT YOU PROMISED!

As children we learned that promises are important and need to be kept. God understands that and so He has repeatedly told us throughout the Bible that if He makes a promise He’ll keep it. And in the Bible one of the most significant kind of promises God made were called “Covenants”.

God has made many promises or covenants with us. But, unlike people in our life, he keeps his promises. God has “Pinky Promised” all of us many promises and He is true to His promises!

1 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

A promise is a declaration of some benefit to be granted.

The Webster’s Dictionary gives us this: One’s pledge to another to do or not to do something specified, narrowly, a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of a specified act.
Ground for hope, expectation or the assurance, often specified of eventual success.
That which is promised—To engage to do, give, make, obtain: to make to another a promise of; also, to give one’s promise to assure as “He will go, I promise you.” To show or suggest beforehand.

The word “promise” is used more than 100 times in the Bible, there are other terms implying the same thought. The Old Testament is a record of God’s promises to patriarchs, kings, prophets, Israel, lowly saints, and to the world at large. The Hebrew noun, []dither, is generally rendered “word,” but “promise is found in…

1 Kings 8:56
According to all that He promised: there hath not failed one word of all His good promise.

Nehemiah 5:12 – 13
That they should do according to the promise.

Another Hebrew word for “promise” is omer, meaning “saying.” This is the term used in “Doth his promise fail for evermore?” (Psalms 77:8) Also, Psalm 68:11 “The Lord gave the word.”

Psalm 105:42 RV
He remembered his holy word. (Holy saying)

This reminds us that God’s Holy Word is always a Holy promise (a pinky promise). From cover to cover of the Bible it is filled with God’s promises for us. One could say it is God’s promise book for all people.

2 Timothy 3:16a NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…

It’s divine promises must be God-breathed, and therefore impossible of not being fulfilled. Knowing this information makes me say farewell to any doubt and trust my God fully and completely.

Furthermore, His promises are backed by His faithfulness which runs like a golden thread through His Word. All writers of the Bible magnify God for His unfailing faithfulness to all generations. That’s a pinky promise if I ever saw one!

Deut. 7:9
Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which kept covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandment to a thousand generations.

Hebrews 10:23
He is faithful that promised.

1 Thess. 5:24 “Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.

God’s faithfulness, then, is our special ground of encouragement as we apply His promises.

Lamentations 3:23
Great is Thy faithfulness.

Looking just at the names of God, each one designates a promise:

-El Shaddai – Lord God Almighty
-El Elyon – The Most High God
-Adonai – Lord, Master
-Yahweh – Lord, Jehovah
-Jehovah Nissi – The Lord My Banner
-Jehovah-Raah – The Lord is my Shepherd
-Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that heals
-Jehovah Shammah – The Lord is there
-Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord our righteousness
-Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord who sanctifies you
-El Olam – The everlasting God
-Elohim – God
-Qanna – Jealous
-Jehovah Jireh – The Lord will provide
-Jehovah Shalom – The Lord is peace
-Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts

Let me pick one of those names, Jehovah Jireh, and share a promise:

Philippiains 4:19
My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Let’s look at one of God’s promises and dissect it today:

Psalm 34:17 NKJV
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears…

One of the biggest advantages of being righteous is the privilege of crying out to God or calling out His name with the assurance that He will deliver us. It is a privilege to call upon God; a privilege of prayer. There is no blessing superior.

Can you imagine what a world this would be if we couldn’t cry out to God for help? How sad, how helpless, how wretched if there were no God for the guilty, the helpless, the broken, the suffering, or the sinner to call to.

More scripture on calling out to God.

Isaiah 65:24
It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.

Psalm 91:15
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.

Psalm 145:18 – 19
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

…And delivers them out of all their troubles.

He often delivers them from trouble in this life.
He will deliver them literally from all trouble in the life to come.

The promise is not that they shall be delivered from all trouble on earth, but the idea is that God is able to rescue them from trouble here; that he often does it through prayer; and that there will be, in the case of every righteous person, a sure and complete deliverance from all trouble here after.

There are a few verses that go along with Psalm 34:17.

Psalm 34:6
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

The word “poor” here does not mean “poor” in the sense of a want of wealth, but “poor” in the sense of being afflicted, crushed, forsaken, desolate. The word “miserable” would better express the idea than the word “poor.”

…And the Lord heard him – That is, heard in the sense of “answered.” He regarded his cry, and saved him.

Psalm 34:19
Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

This is not to say the righteous have more afflictions then the unrighteous. But the righteous do have suffering and trials. The good news is that God sustains us in our trials. He supports us and makes beauty from ashes. He turns trials into triumphs!

As a Christian, we are never alone in the middle of any trial. God is always with us. Even when we go through deep waters, we are not alone.

Isaiah 43:2 NLT
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

Isn’t it amazing to realize all these verses are actually promises from God to help us in our everyday life? I love it! God tenderly holds us with these verses to reassure us that we have help in all situations. They are “Pinky Promises” from God that He never ever stops fulfilling!

I am excited for this new series we are embarking on. I need to get the promises of God in my heart and I believe you do too. We will grow and learn as we look as some powerful promises together.

Let me leave you with a quote from Dwight L. Moody:

“Take the promises of God. Let a man feed for a month on the promises of God, and he will not talk about how poor he is. You hear people say, ‘Oh, my leanness! how lean I am!” It is not their leanness, it is their laziness. If you would only read from Genesis to Revelation and see all the promises made by God to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to the Jews and to the Gentiles, and to all His people everywhere — If you would spend a month feeding on the precious promises of God — you wouldn’t be going about complaining how poor you are. You would lift up your head and proclaim the riches of His Grace, because you couldn’t help doing it!”
Dwight L. Moody

Your sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils
www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Parables of Lost Things – Sheep and a Coin

Parables of Lost Things – Sheep and a Coin

Parables - Lost and Found Sheep and CoinHave you ever lost something and spent a lot of time trying to find it? People lose things all the time. Here are a few things that are commonly lost:

‣money
‣purse
‣wallet
‣sunglasses
‣pen
‣phone
‣Ear ring
‣Your seat

Or how about:

‣your temper
‣your voice
‣your cool
‣your head
‣your patience
‣your dignity
‣Your mind
‣Time

There are so many things we lose everyday, but when we find them, we rejoice and celebrate! Today I want to look at a few things in the Bible that were lost. Last week we looked at the Prodigal Son. In the beginning of Luke 15 we read about a lost sheep and a lost coin.

Read Luke 15:1 – 10 HCSB

The Lost Sheep

A sheep was lost and likely knew it was lost. It knew it wasn’t with the other sheep or the Shepherd. They are just living and doing what they think is right, but without the Shepherd, they can lead them selves astray so easily.

Because of curiosity it strayed. Seeing a gap in the hedge it wandered from the rest, or nibbling away at the pasture, it drifted aimlessly in the opposite direction and became separated from the shepherd and the other sheep. This sheep represents the stupid, foolish, unthinking kind of wanderer from God. Happily it was overtaken by the seeking shepherd and brought back to the fold. Jesus is our good Shepherd.

Does the sheep come back saying “Oops, I’m sorry, I got lost?” NO! That sheep stays lost, and it might even say to other sheep; “Baaaa… leave me alone I am doing what I want to do!” until Christ finds it. That is why we preach the Gospel to everyone.

John 10:11 HCSB
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:14 HCSB
I am the good shepherd. I know My own sheep, and they know Me.

It is in Jesus’ very nature to save people. He seeks and saves the lost.

John 19:10 NKJV
for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

The man who owned this sheep that was lost, went to great lengths to find and rescue it. Even leaving the 99 behind just for one measly ole sheep. The Shepherd saw value in the lost sheep. This is true love. This is the love Jesus has for us.

Along with the sheep being lost, we read that a woman lost a silver coin and swept through her entire house to find it.

The Lost Coin

Read Luke 15:8 – 10 HCSB

The lost coin didn’t know it was lost either. It is an object. Something that has no heartbeat. It was lost at home. Does this not imply the possibility of the soul, precious in God’s sight, being lost even though in a Christian home, or in a visible Christian Church?

Are there those living where we do, and attending the church we do, who are not saved, who continue to be lost because of indifference on their part or ours? We should be like that woman who lost her coin and seek out and look for those who are lost. It should be a passion of ours to see the lost found!

The woman felt the loss of her coin as if she had no other silver piece. It was no comfort telling her that she still had the other nine pieces safe. Since she was poor, much depended on finding the lost coin and so she searched diligently for it.

Jesus was illustrating His own saving ministry among men, He tried to make those heartless Pharisees see that if a woman could exert all possible care in finding a coin of little worth, was He not justified in taking all possible care in winning back to Himself lost sinners whose souls were worth more than silver?

Further, if the woman was so happy over the recovery of the coin she herself had lost, to the point of calling her neighbors and friends to rejoice with her, then Jesus had every right to ask us to rejoice with Him, and with the angels, over the restoration of those repenting of their sins? Yes, He did have every right to expect us to be happy for the Kingdom of God when one soul comes to Jesus and is saved from utter damnation. This is building God’s Kingdom. This is God’s heart!

In the story of the Father and the Lost son we looked at previously, the father was heart-broken over the loss of his younger son. It was not enough to tell him that he still had another son with no desire at all to leave home. His father’s heart went out to the missing one in spite of his willfulness and wickedness.

Does God care about lost things?

Combining the whole chapter (Luke 15) as a whole, 3 stories in one Parable: The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Lost Son, is a better picture because in reality there is but one parable with three aspects.

We read, “So He told them this parable:” (Luke 15:3 HSCB) This is in the singular form. There is no break in-between each parable in this chapter. They all merge and blend together.

The three parables recorded in this chapter are not repetitions; they all declare the same main truth, but each one reveals a different phase of it.

Concern over something lost, and joy at the recovery of that which was lost, is the prominent note of each simile our Lord used. At the heart of this masterpiece of parable literature, the sheep, the coin, the son were all lost and all worth saving. It was serious to lose a sheep, worse to lose money, and worst of all to lose a son. A sheep is valuable, money more valuable, but man is the most valuable of them all.

It is interesting when we look at all three stories in the parable of Luke 15. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are represented and help in recovering the lost. First, We have Christ as the Good Shepherd, laying down His life to save lost sheep. In the second story, the woman sweeping the house for her lost coin, is an example of the Holy Spirit working through His Church (the saved) to save others. The Spirit’s work naturally follows the Shepherd’s task. In the third picture, the father represents Father God seeking his lost child. Here the Divine Father is before us all His abundant love to seek and save the lost.

Look, then, at the three pictures set out before us, they symbolize the whole compass of salvation, but each one apart sets forth the work in reference to one or other of the Divine Persons of the Trinity —

The shepherd – with much pain and self-sacrifice, seeks the reckless, wandering sheep.

The woman – diligently searches for the insensible, but lost, piece of silver.

The father – receives his wandering, returning son with the kiss of reconciliation.

Therefore, the three life-sketches are one, and one truth is taught by the whole three, yet each one is able to stand alone from the other.

Now all this said, Here is why these three stories or pictures were given. In order to find out we have to visit the beginning of Luke 15.

Luke 15:1 – 3 Amplified Bible
Now the tax collectors and [notorious and especially wicked] sinners were all coming near to [Jesus] to listen to Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes kept muttering and indignantly complaining, saying, This man accepts and receives and welcomes [preeminently wicked] sinners and eats with them. So He told them this parable:

Jesus saw these two groups of people coming to listen to him talk. He knew what was in their hearts. These three stories in this parable were given to expose the sinner and the saint. Both classes were represented here.

In this world there are those who know God and live for Him, and those who know God and don’t live for Him, and those who don’t know God, nor even think of living for Him. This parable was written to those who were lost and didn’t know they were lost. This parable was directed to the Tax Collectors and Pharisees. The known sinners and the religious people. Wow, what a contrast. I am sure the Pharisees thought what Jesus said didn’t apply to them. They were more ready to judge Him instead of learning from Him.

I have been watching the social networks like Facebook and Twitter and the reaction of the Supreme Court’s ruling of same sex marriage in all 50 states. To be honest, I see sinners and religious people barking out what they think and believe.

Jesus came for the lost. All of them. We can’t be quick to judge another person and what they have or haven’t done. Our place is to pray for them. Show them truth, but do it in love. I believe homosexuality is a sin. But I will not hate people for practicing it. There is too much hate in this world. I have seen both sides spew out words of hate an not love. I will not condone the homosexual life style either.

In the three stories in this parable we can truly apply the truths we find in helping those and ministering to those who are lost. There are four verbs that describe these three stores: Lose, Seek, Found, and Rejoice. We seek out the lost, find them, love them, and rejoice when they come home to Jesus!!!

Have you ever lost something of great value? If so, you may have had moments searching, retracing your steps, and asking others to help you look for your valuably lost item. Do you remember the joy you experienced when you found what was lost? That joy pales in comparison to the joy in heaven when even one sinner repents.

If you feel lost, I want to pray for you. If you have been judging and criticizing people for their lifestyle, I want to pray for you too.

Prayer:

Lord God, I ask for your forgiveness for any wrong we may have done in our lives, or looking at the lives of others. I repent (turn away) from my old life and look towards You and the new life You have for me. Holy Spirit may you be closer than my breath everyday. Jesus thank you for taking my place for all the wrong I have done. I rejoice in the Lost being found! I rejoice in You today. Amen.

It is God’s amazing grace that has saved each one of us. We once were lost, but now we are found in Christ! Let’s rejoice and be glad with others who were lost and become found!

Your once was lost, but now I am found sister,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Resources: Pastor Kris Belfils and “All the Parables of the Bible” by Herbert Lockyer

Parables of Lost Things – The Father and the Lost Son

Parables of Lost Things – The Father and the Lost Son

Parables - Lost and Found Mini SeriesWords are powerful. With our words we can speak life or death. With our speech we can put people in bondage or set them free. With the words we think or say we can bring healing or torment. James talks about the tongue being a rudder that steers the whole ship, or a bit in the horse’s mouth.

James 3:2 – 12 (Amplified Bible)
“For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature. If we set bits in the horses’ mouths to make them obey us, we can turn their whole bodies about. Likewise, look at the ships: though they are so great and are driven by rough winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the impulse of the helmsman determines. Even so the tongue is a little member, and it can boast of great things. See how much wood or how great a forest a tiny spark can set ablaze! And the tongue is a fire. [The tongue is a] world of wickedness set among our members, contaminating and depraving the whole body and setting on fire the wheel of birth (the cycle of man’s nature), being itself ignited by hell (Gehenna). For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea animal, can be tamed and has been tamed by human genius (nature). But the human tongue can be tamed by no man. It is a restless (undisciplined, irreconcilable) evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who were made in God’s likeness! Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing. These things, my brethren, ought not to be so. Does a fountain send forth [simultaneously] from the same opening fresh water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can a salt spring furnish fresh water.”

We can take a look at one of the parable’s of Jesus to see how much power words really have. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, there are three characters. Each one speaks words and acts upon them.

Luke 15:11 – 32 (Amplified Bible)
“And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want. So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs. And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better]. Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son [I no longer deserve to be recognized as a son of yours]! But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-]fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found! And they began to revel and feast and make merry. But his older son was in the field; and as he returned and came near the house, he heard music and dancing. And having called one of the servant [boys] to him, he began to ask what this meant. And he said to him, Your brother has come, and your father has killed that [wheat-]fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and well. But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in. Then his father came out and began to plead with him, But he answered his father, Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf! And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!”

This is the story of The Prodigal Son.

Prodigal in the dictionary means, “Wastefully, or recklessly extravagant, giving or yielding profusely; lavish, lavishly abundant, profuse, a person who spends, or has spent his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.”

We act upon what we say:

1. Younger son spoke – Younger son dwelt on what was going to be his “someday.” He asked his father: “… give me the part of the property that falls [to me].”( Luke 15:12)

The younger son had been thinking about this for some time and planned on asking his father for what was rightfully his… but this only comes when the father has passed away.

Action of his words:

“And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.” (Luke 15:13)

He wanted to go out and live his own life the way he wanted to live it. His actions reflected what he was thinking and again he acted upon it. He spent his money recklessly extravagantly. This is being a prodigal.

2. He came to himself

He spoke words to himself again:

“How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:17-19 Amp)

Action of his words:

“So he got up and came to his own father.” (Luke 15:20 Amp)

He acted on his words and left for home. But this time he had “come to himself.”

We Come To Ourself

We come to our self when we realize we can’t make it on our own. We come to our self when we see that all our choices have made big mistakes in our life. We come to our self when we give up control and give it back to our Heavenly Father. We come to our self when we go to the Father and ask Him to forgive us of our wrong we have done.

We all need to “come to ourselves” from time to time. If we don’t we will lead ourselves astray. We will “self-destruct” without God! We, as sinners, are slow to come to our self and go back to God, but God is quick to run to us as He sees our brokenness and repentive heart.

3. The Father saw his son from a far off and ran to him.

The Father always was waiting and looking for the son to come home. He longed for him to be home. For the father to see him from a far off, you know he was constantly thinking about the way-word son and looking for his return.

God always has His eye on us, waiting for us to move towards Him!
You might feel far away from God.
You may have distance yourself from Him for some reason. Know this; God has his eye on you, waiting for you to draw near.

“I do not know that the prodigal saw his father, but his father saw him. The eyes of mercy are quicker than the eyes of repentance. Even the eyes of our faithWhy are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. (Psalm 42:5 MSG) are dim compared with the eye of God’s love. He sees a sinner long before a sinner sees Him…. He was resolve to come, yet he was half afraid. But we read that his father ran. Slow are the steps of repentance, but swift are the feet of forgiveness. God can run where we scarcely limp, and if we are limping towards Him, He will run towards us. The father “saw” his son. There is a great deal in that word, “saw.” He saw who it was; saw where he had come from; saw the swineherd’s dress; saw the filth upon his hands and feet; saw his rags; saw his penitent look; saw what he had been; saw what he was; and saw what he would soon be. His father saw him.” God has a way of seeing men and women in a way you and I cannot understand. He sees right through us at a glance, as if we were made of glass; He sees all our past, present and future.”
C.H. Spurgeon (wrote in a sermon on the Prodigal Son)

The Father had prodigal love towards his son as he was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]. (Luke 15:20)

Other translations read:

“… fell upon his neck and affectionately kissed him.” (New Testament In Modern English)

His father extravagantly kissed him and loved on him. He was waiting and anticipating his son to come home. I am sure the father always had his son on his mind. Any loving father would.

His father showed more extravagant love for his son as he said to bring the best robe (festive robe of honor) and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. This signifies kingship, authority, rule and reign. I am sure the son didn’t feel like he deserved it. He knew what he did and where he came from. His father gave him all that, and a fatten cow to eat, and celebrate the homecoming with his friends. We act upon what we say!

The father spoke: 

“Bring quickly the best robe (the festive robe of honor and put it on him; and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. And bring out that [wheat-] fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry, Because this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:22 – 24 Amplified Bible)

When we stray it hurts the Father. The Father will mourn like someone is dead. He will ache in His heart until we come back like someone who has lost a precious jewel and longs to find it.

Action He took:

He lavished His love on the prodigal son and gave him even more than before! The Father sees you! He knows where you have been. He knows what you have done. He knows what you have spoken, and He knows your name!

We don’t have to worry about the past. God has wiped it all away the moment we repent. We don’t have to worry about our future because God has prepared ahead of time what we will need. All we have to do is trust God with our lives and allow Him to be the Father.

Anger and jealously will make us act first…

4. The older son’s actions:

“But [the elder brother] was angry [with deep-seated wrath] and resolved not to go in.” (Luke 15:28 Amp)

In this case, he took action before he spoke to his father. But his “actions spoke louder than words,” as the father pleaded with him to join in the celebration.

The older son spoke:

“Look! These many years I have served you, and I have never disobeyed your command. Yet you never gave me [so much as] a [little] kid, that I might revel and feast and be happy and make merry with my friends; But when this son of yours arrived, who has devoured your estate with immoral women, you have killed for him that [wheat-] fattened calf!” (Luke 15:29-30 Amp)

The older son spoke with jealously and anger. He didn’t understand why his father would lavish so much love on his younger brother after all the WRONG that he did. It didn’t make sense to him.

Mercy and grace never makes sense to someone who is not the receiver, only the one who receives.

When jealously and anger grips our hearts it paralyzes us. It makes us do things that are selfish. The older son was offended because all he could see is the “good” he had done and the “bad” his brother did.

Being critical or judgmental towards others is a sin. The older brother was just as guilty of wrong as the younger brother.

5. The father spoke:

“And the father said to him, Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was fitting to make merry, to revel and feast and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!” (Luke 15:31-32 Amp)

This parable was spoken to the tax collectors and Scribes and Pharisees.

Luke 15:1-2
“Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” (Luke 15:1-2 Amp.)

The church is likened to that of the older son. Maybe you have been a child of God most of your life. Do you get critical towards sinners? Do you cast a judgmental eye towards those that have fallen or that keep falling? We can get judgmental towards the lost ones that come in as they may not talk like us or walk like us. We can think of them as “less then” because of their past. This is sin! God wants us to let go of the judgment and celebrate the change in people’s lives. We need to rejoice over one lost sinner that comes to Jesus and treat them with respect and love. Love will always receive; jealously and judgment always pushes away.

What have you been speaking to yourself lately? Are they words of hope or discouragement? What have you been speaking about people lately? Are they words of hope or judgment?

Maybe you can relate more with the Prodigal son. Do you feel like you can’t come back to God because of your past? Do you feel lost and all alone? Do you identify with the prodigal son? Do you identify with the older brother?

God sees everything. He knows your name! We can come to God and ask for forgiveness no matter what we have thought, spoke, or have done. No matter what actions you have taken with your words, God is there waiting for you to embrace Him.

There is power in our words. Let’s do the right thing with our actions and run to God and experience His extravagant love He has waiting for you!

Prayer:
Lord, I need You. I am sorry for leaving You and doing my own thing, going my own way. Please run to me. I come back to you. I don’t deserve your acceptance, but I am so thankful you always give it to me. Today I turn from going my own way, and choose Your way. Thank you for Your forgiveness. Thank You for a new start. Amen!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Parables: “The Sower and the Four Soils”

Parables: “The Sower and the Four Soils”

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 7.09.34 PMOne of Jesus’ favorite methods of revealing the secrets of God’s Kingdom to his followers is by telling stories called parables. He uses various illustrations from everyday life to communicate spiritual truths to this diverse audience. Jesus refers to farmers, fishermen, and merchants as he draws ideas from their occupations. Not everyone understood what he was teaching, and sometimes even his closets followers needed Jesus to explain the meaning of his parables.

What is a parable?

In the Greek the word means: “a similitude (“parable”), that is, (symbolically) fictitious narrative (of common life conveying a moral), parable, proverb.” (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Definitions G3846)

The word parable is from the root word “paraballo” in the Greek. This compound word comes from “para” which means “to come along side or compare” and “ballo” which literally means “to throw” or “see” with.

The parables are used in giving one or more instructional lessons or principles and can be an allegory and may include inanimate objects (like trees, plants, or things) or people in various positions in society.

There is often a tension between good and evil or sinful and holy meaning that they can proclaim what is good versus what is bad and what is evil in contrast to what is holy or God-like.

A parable is often a significant comparison between two objects that may be used as a mirror image of a comparable object to teach a single concept or teaching.   Some of the key words that Jesus usually concludes the parables with are phrases that alert the listener to pay close attention to what was just said and may include such words as “He who has ears, let him hear”or “Most assuredly I say to you,” and “How much more.”

Jesus wants the listeners to focus on what was just stated in the parable so that they will comprehend what Jesus is trying to teach them. (http://www.patheos.com)

A Sunday School definition would be: A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

There are over 40 parables in the New Testament, but did you know there are also many in the Old Testament too? Did you also know that 35% of Jesus teachings were parables?

Jesus clearly gives parables to hide the meaning from those whose hearts are hardened.  Some of the parables are hard to understand but they frequently serve as object lessons that use experiences from life to clearly communicate a meaning for Jesus’ teachings.

Jesus quotes Isaiah the Prophet by saying:

Matthew 13:34 – 35 NKJV

All these Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.”

This is found in…

Psalm 78:2 NKJV

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.

The Disciples questioned why Jesus spoke in parables when He talked to the people.

Matthew 13:11 – 15 NLT

He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets (Greek: the mysteries) of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables.

For they look, but they don’t really see.

They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

When you hear what I say, you will not understand.

When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.

For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear,

and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cant see,

and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand,

and let me heal them.”

We are embarking on a new sermon series; Parables, from now to the end of Summer. We will be looking at powerful teachings from Jesus and applying them to our everyday life. You don’t want to miss a Sunday service during this series. Believing God will teach us mighty things to take us to a higher level in Him, Amen!

The Parable of the Sower and the Four Types of Soil

Jesus used common scenes from everyday life to teach new truths about the Kingdom of God. The amazing thing is that we can experience these truths here on earth to prepare us for that glorious day when Jesus comes to take His own to Heaven with Him. I am looking forward to that glorious day, are you?

Read Matthew 13:1 – 9 NKJV

Read Matthew 13:1 – 9 NLT

There are three elements to this parable: The sower, the seed, and the soils. I want to talk about all three elements in further detail to understand what Jesus was wanting the listener to understand.

1. The Sower.

In this parable the Sower is unknown. This story speaks simply of the fate of the seed sown, the different kinds of soil on which it fell, and the effect it produced. So who was Jesus talking about when He said, “Behold, the sower went forth to sow”? and in the New Living Translation we read, “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.” The words “Behold” or “Listen” implies we need to pay attention to what Jesus was about to say.

The Sower is…

a. God Himself.

Jeremiah 31:27 NKJV

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast.

God is saying here that He will sow in the house of Israel and Judah seed to bring forth man and cattle. We have such a persistent and over abundant Sower we serve. He constantly sows/plants seeds in our lives to grow spiritually, physically, financially, and so much more. God’s character is to bring growth and good things. God knows full well that much seed He sows falls by the wayside and yet He knows a great harvest is going to come. Many will reject, and many will receive what God has to say.

b. Christ Jesus.

Jesus even announces Himself as the Sower in Matthew 13:37 NKJV, “Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed.”  He is constantly sowing seeds in our life. What type of soil do you have when He sows? Let us be people who readily receive what Jesus teaches and allowing it to sink down into our spirit and bring forth good fruit!

c. Holy Spirit.

He is the One who brings inspiration for the sower to sow the seed, and waters it. Holy Spirit is like the wind which blows as it wills and every breathe of that Spirit is the Word of God. Life giving! His language is unexpected and life changing in our life. We know what it is like to have our spirit touched and inspired to scatter seeds for God’s Kingdom. We see someone hurting or needs encouragement and we are compelled to go and talk to them. That is the Holy Spirit sowing seeds in our heart, and in return, we sow seeds in others. Which leads me to my next point.

d. Every Christian.

In Commissioning us, Jesus spoke of the hearts of men as the field, and His Gospel as the seed to be cast everywhere.

Matthew 28:19 – 20 NKJV

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Mark 16:20 NKJV

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

What Jesus began to teach, His Apostles continued teaching. The Apostle Paul regarded his whole ministry as a sowing of spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 9:11 NKJV

If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

Acts 9:15 NKJV

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

From the time of his remarkable conversion, Paul knew that he was a chosen vessel for sowing the precious seed of the Gospel into the human hearts wherever an opening should appear among the Jews and Gentiles.

It is the privilege and obligation of all who are Christ’s to function as sowers. We are saved to serve and sow! Compared to the huge field of lost souls, the sowers are view.

God needs everyone of us to do our part to sow seeds into the hearts of those who do not know Him. We can do this by the spoken word, and also by our lifestyle. Is your lifestyle giving God a bad name or a good name? Are you sowing good seeds, or are they selfish, sinful seeds? The world is watching you. Be the best representative of Christ to your world!

Our heavenly Father, the Husbandman, exhorts us to pray that He would send more sowers into His field. Everyone! Not just the preachers and the teachers of God, but all of us should be sowing in God’s field.

The Greatest service any Christian can give is sowing the good seed of the Word. Words and works are seeds to drop in the soil of the hearts. We as Christians need to be sowing in season and out of season; devoted, yielded heartily, entirely and sincerely to this greatest of all tasks.

Sowing is hard work and may sometimes seem like fruitless work. Or it may seem like your works are wasted. But God’s Word promises us that we shall always reap the fruits of our seeds with Joy!

Psalms 126:5-6

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.

This is our Promise. No matter how fruitless our labor seems the Lord promises a joyous harvest. God is pretty much saying it is a done deal. Joy will come in the morning!

Remember that it is our job to be the sower. All the sower has to do is Sow. It is beyond our power to make the seed grow. The one obligation of the sower is to Sow, leaving the Holy Spirit to make well-prepared ground bring the fruit of the seed which we have sown.

We are responsible for sowing not for the growing. This has helped me throughout my years in ministry. It is not my responsibility to make you grow, only to sow the seeds and the rest is up to you and God. This frees me from stress and anxiety I can feel over the sheep in my care.

2. The Seed.

The seed to be sown is described in two ways. The seed is…

A. The word of the Kingdom.

B. The word of God.

All the seed must be sown. The whole counsel of God must be presented. The full Gospel is seed, that is, “the most vital form of the matter”

As to the nature of the seed we sow it is spoken of as being…

* Living and Incorruptible (1 Peter 1:22 – 25)

* Powerful and soul saving (Romans 1:16; 10:17)

* Heavenly and divine and will not return void (Isaiah 55:10 – 11)

* Immutable and everlasting (Isaiah 40:8)

* Engrafted and able to save. (James 1:17, 18. 21)

James 1:21 NKJV

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

As the “Word of God” is the seed and Christ came as the “Word of God” He himself is the seed. The seed we sow, then, is not only from Christ— It is Christ.

“The seed of the Kingdom is Himself the King.” He was consistent in representing Christ as the seed as well as the sower. He preached the Savior, and also was the Savior he preached. The Savior preached the Savior, Himself the Sower and Himself the Seed.

3. The Soil.

In this parable the attention is focused not on the sower or his seed, but on the soil and its reaction to the seed sown. Here we come to the importance of the parable, and importance we can not exaggerate.

This parable deals with the fundamental truth, namely the proclaiming of the Gospel to sinners, and being good soil to receive the seeds from the Word of life. Other parables deal with subsequent truths, and would not be understood without this one first.

Lets understand that these soils are different states of the heart and their reaction to the Gospel. Which one represents you?

Lets take a look at the different soils…

I. The Wayside Hearer .

Or the hearer with the closed mind. This condition of the heart receives the seed by ear, but no life comes from it.  The seed is on the surface but not in.

The people represented here are the hard surfaced souls who are destitute of spiritual perception or understanding. These people may be “religious” and attend regular church but the truth they hear is never received into their hearts.

The truth takes no hold because the heart is like a highway; the surface is hard and nothing can make an impression on it. The seed can not penetrate: therefore the “Birds” which symbolizes the “Enemy” can snatch it way. The truth takes no hold, when the Word is understood and received in faith, it is beyond Satan’s reach.

II. The Stony Ground Hearer.

Or the hearer with and emotional mind. In this instance the seed is received but does not take root. The seed is on and in but not down.

“The root of the matter” is not in them. When temptations and persecution arise, they quickly backslide. Depth of faith, and surrendered character are lacking. Hard heart is connected with superficial faith and character. There is no place to increase or grow. Only surfacy character is present.

The first soil represents those who take “No Hold” and the second soil represents those who take a “Superficial hold.”

“Violent emotion is a sign of shallowness and never lasts; but the tender heart leans to moral thoughtfulness, and where that is, the feeling is permanent.”

The stony place was where there was only a shallow layer of earth beneath which was hard rock. Some churches have too many of these stony hearts. What a blessing they would be, if only they had depth!

III. The Thorny Ground Hearer.

Or the hearer with the wondering mind. Here the seed takes root but bears no fruit. The seed is on, in and down but, does not come up. It is choked and typifies the pre-occupied people. The too busy people. The truth takes hold, but the hold is a battle by three foes or forces. Forces in opposition to the nature of the seed are:

a. The Cares of the World.

Worry, worry, worry over the things of this life. An anxious, unrelaxing attention to the business of this present life chokes the seed. A variety of interests, legitimate in their place, are allowed to dominate one’s life, with your relationship with God as just another department of the already highly departmental life.

Where does the worry stop and the trust in God begin? It has to begin in our minds. Do you really believe God cares for you? Do you really believe God takes care of you? It is a faith walk everyday trusting in Jesus. We have to remember that if His eye is on the sparrow, we know God watches over us. This takes away the worry and anxiety and then the word of God, or the seeds God sows on our hearts will germinate and bring forth much fruit.

Too many Christians allow spiritual impressions to come to nothing because of their submission to influences other than God. They place their attention instead on entertainment and family business, and things that make them feel good, instead of allowing a closer relationship with Jesus. These people, like Martha, “cumbered with much serving,” miss the joy and privilege of sitting at the Master’s feet.

b. The Deceitfulness of Riches.

In itself, riches can be a blessing, but the value of them is decided. Money can buy houses and food, but will it set a man free from Hell, or set him free from pain or sorrow? No! This is false security. We can have riches one day (striving to be rich all our life), and the next day it all be taken.

In the Greek, “Deceitfulness” can be translated as “Delusion.” Having an unhealthy drive to get rich deceives us or deludes us to thinking it is the most important thing. When we think like this, it crowds out what truly is important in this life on earth: Our relationship with God.

It is a hard road for those who trust in riches to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Our riches will fail us. Don’t rely on false security, but trust in the name of the Lord your God!

Psalm 20:7 NKJV

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;

But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

On the road trying to obtain wealth people can reason and think mistakenly. They scheme to do this or that and it falls empty, or corrupts the owner of it.

c. The lust of other things.

A few other words for lust can be:  longing, desire, or pleasures.

In the book of Mark we see his account of this parable. Mark adds; “the lust of other things” as another thorny ground element.

Mark 4:18 – 19 KJV

And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

The lust for other things can be translated as “The pleasures of this life.” Enjoyments, innocent in themselves, in which worldly prosperity enables one to indulge, smother the seed. So much of time is taken up for pleasure that only the dregs or the most worthless part of our energy and reasoning, remain for spiritual things. (Herbert Lockyer)

In the early stages of being a Christian there was growth and the promise of fruitfulness, but other things, or considerations prevented the fruit from ripening.

May the good Lord deliver us from becoming engrossed with earth and earthly things resulting in the neglect of the great realities of the soul and eternity. The rich young ruler wanted all of his possessions and he wanted eternal life. The reality is either Christ or potions, but not both. No man can serve two masters.

We have to be careful between the cares or worries of life, delusion of chasing riches, and having a lust for others things. They all can overtake us if we allow them too. Be aware and alert that you are not allowing them in your life when you are hearing the Word of God. Know the Word! Know God! Further, do everything in your power to protect your relationship with Him!

It is not saying that worrying or wealthy or lustful people are bad, or they don’t bear fruit. What it is saying is those  who get caught up in all these things don’t bring forth the fruit to perfection or completion. The fruit is choked or crowded out by all three of these thorns.

IV. The Good Ground Hearer.

Or the hearer with the stedfast, understanding mind. Those who were open to God and the things of God, and were resolute in keeping it. Because there was deep root in this instance, there was much fruit!

The seed was on, in, down and up! The seed had taken full hold. It had entered the whole soul, filling mind, heart, conscience and will. The Word was received, understood and yielded to, then it produced faith that bound them to Christ, and service to Him that glorified God and benefitted others.

This last soil is really the reverse of all the other soils. The seed takes root, does not quickly lose the moisture which would take away the life producing plant. The good ground hearers were the positive of this pessimistic parable.

Jesus said the good ground hearers produced different degrees of fruitfulness.

*Thirty fold – is lowest degree of fruitfulness

*Sixty fold – is the intermediate degree of fruitfulness

*Hundred fold – is the highest degree

Interesting that the degrees of hearing are three:

  1. The Wayside Hearer
  2. The Stony Ground Hearer
  3. The Thorny Ground Hearer

So is the abundance of fruit is three-fold as well. What amount of increase is your life yielding? Are you giving back thirty fold, a fair return; sixty fold, more heartening to the Sower than the former; or a hundred fold, a striking, wonderful and God-honoring return that is actually the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ?

Than the parable ends with, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” As we read the parable we must strive not only to be fruitful, but to abound in fruitfulness for the glory of God! We must give attention to how important it is to hear the Word of God and receive it for ourselves. Not only hearing and receiving, but understanding and obeying it if we want to be fruitful! How many of you want to produce good fruit?

A parable reveals truth to those accepting and appreciating it — concealing it from those resenting and abusing it.

One more thing about this parable: We are three times blessed, just like the Disciples were, in receiving and understanding and applying it. Let us be people who gladly and readily receive God’s word and His teachings with eager and hungry hearts: 30 fold, 60, and 100 fold, Amen!

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

Sources: Pastor Kris Belfils, All the Parables of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer, and notes from The WayFind Bible NLT.

God is Bigger Than My Selfishness (20 Things the Selfless Do)

God is Bigger Than My Selfishness (20 Things the Selfless Do)

God is bigger then My Selfishness - 20 Things the Selfless Do BlogBeing Self-absorbed, Feeling sorry for yourself, only thinking about yourself, maybe even being a narcissist. Do these words describe you? In today’s society people have grown very selfish. Everyone is thinking about themselves and their own personal agenda. Not many people are givers and see a bigger world than their own.

Selfish: adjective, “devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others, characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself.”

Lately, I have come across a lot of selfish people. Selfish people are usually unhappy. They are always talking about themselves, even when someone else shares a problem or pain, a selfish person will always make the conversation go back to themselves. Very seldom do they see the other person’s needs or point of view, only their own. Selfishness grieves God and it blocks growth in your life.

Everybody is bound to be selfish from time to time. Although many elements of our society may encourage it, selfishness just hurts other people, sometimes at little to no personal gain. A selfish person also ends up losing friends or loved ones because no matter how charming or interesting a selfish person may be, a relationship with a selfish person is hard to maintain. A truly selfish person would never consider the possibility that they are selfish. Many think selfishness and pride are good things, and that putting the needs of others above your own is for suckers. If you’re worried that you’re too selfish and want to be on the path to gratitude and humility, then let’s look at what the selfless do, and the Word of God, and learn from them.

Selfless: “having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.”

20 Things the Selfless Do

1. Selfless people put the other person’s need above their own.

Jesus is the best example of a selfless person. He was sent to earth to save the world from eternal damnation. He wasn’t about His own agenda, but His Father’s. He truly saw the bigger picture. It wasn’t about Him, but about the world, about souls. About people who were lost.

Philippians 2:4 ESV
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Proverbs 3:27-28 ESV
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.

Proverbs 19:17 ESV
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Far too often selfish people only see their wants and seldom see the needs of others. “I want this!” or “I want to become that!” When you become selfless and reach out to those in need, it is a good feeling.

Matthew 25:37- 40 NIV
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

I was at an outside restaurant the other day wanting some lunch because I was really hungry. I went to see if they would take a debit card for payment because I only had $2.00 cash on me. As I walked away when I saw the sign that read, “Cash only: No Debit or Credit cards,” I saw a homeless couple that attends our church from time to time. I walked over to say, “Hi.” The woman said she was really hungry. I opened my purse and pulled out my wallet and gave them all the cash I had not knowing if they would use the money for food or alcohol or drugs. When I got in my care to drive away I saw the woman in my rearview mirror getting up and walking to order food with the little money I gave her. The feeling of helping someone in need far outweighed the hunger pains I was feeling in my stomach. It was the right thing to do.

2. Selfless people acknowledge others and find out more about them.

One of the most valuable things you can do for someone is acknowledge their existence. Some people feel no one sees them in a crowded room. I have found that acknowledging people, even when I am in a hurry or don’t want to, will brighten someone’s day. Often it leads to a conversation. Ask them questions about themselves if you don’t know how to start the conversation. Asking questions about the other person will open them up and you will find out more about them. Anyone can tell others about themselves. But asking questions about them or their life shows you are interested in them. Listen more and talk less. It will help when you are trying to overcome selfishness.

2 Peter 1:5-7 ESV
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

Philippians 2:3 ESV
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

3. Selfless people allow God to increase in their life and they decrease.

John 3:30 Amplified Bible
He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]

John the Baptist knew his place when it came to Jesus. John was the forerunner. He had his own disciples and followers, yet John knew his place was to prepare the way of Christ and not build his own kingdom.

God needs to be the center of your life. We follow Him, He doesn’t follow us. Too much of self and not enough of God is a bad thing. It leads to a life of misery and sin. It leads to a wrong path and bad consequences. Aside from all that, who wouldn’t want more of God in their life? He is a good God. I encourage you to develop a craving for God and the things of God. In order to get more of Jesus, you have to give Him more of yourself!

Proverbs 14:14 ESV
The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.

When we decrease, we are nicer to people and value what God values. When we decrease God fills us up with more of His love, peace, joy, and all the fruit of His Spirit. Those are good fruit for people to pic!

4. Selfless people put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

Walking a mile in another man’s shoes can change your life for eternity. Of course, you won’t be able to actually do this, but you can put in the effort into thinking about the other people around you and considering how they might be feeling in any given situation.

Consider how your mother, your friend, your boss, or a random person on the street may be feeling before you take action, and you may find that the world isn’t as clean cut as you thought it was. The more you practice empathy and wondering what other people are going through, the sooner you’ll be able to give up your selfishness.

For example, before you start yelling at your waitress for giving you the wrong order, think about how she might be feeling. She might be tired from being on her feet for ten hours in a row, overwhelmed from having to work too many tables, or just feeling sad about something else; is it really necessary for you to make her feel terrible just to get what you want?

Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

1 Cor. 12:25-26
… so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

Gal. 6:2
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

1 Pet. 3:8
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.

5. Selfless people love their neighbor as themselves.

You can spend so much time thinking about your needs and desires and planning how to get them all met. You plan your day or your future. You are so self-absorbed. Roll that energy and effort onto others. With the same intensity you have for yourself have an intense love for others, even your enemies. This will bring freedom and happiness to your life.

Mark 12:30 – 31 NKJV
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 neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.

First we love the Lord with everything inside of us, and then we love others as we love ourselves. Do you do this or are you more in love with yourself than God or others? Selfless people are exactly that “less of self.” Selfish people are full of self. You choose?

6. Selfless people wait to speak and don’t interrupt others when they are talking.

Let them finish their sentence. Remember that your points can always wait. If it’s urgent (like if you have to leave) say “excuse me”. Selfish people often think that what they have to say is so important, and that what others have to say is so unimportant, that they can just jump in with their opinions at any time. Well, this is not the case. In fact, your opinion will be much better received if you wait your turn. Furthermore, you may change your opinion if you actually take the time to hear people out.

James 1:19 Amplified Bible
Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.

I have to say this is one my my pet peeves. When I am talking, it is most irritating when someone interrupts me and talks about themselves. It leaves the listener feeling sick to their stomach when they keep interrupting others and inserting things about their own life. This leads to my next point…

7. Selfless people take the time to really listen to others.

Do you listen to people when they talk to you? I mean, do you really listen? While they are talking are you thinking of something to say in response? Really listening to others is so important in building relationships. No one likes a one sided relationship where one does all the talking and never listens to the other.

Selfish people are notoriously bad listeners. This is because they are too busy talking about their own struggles, their own problems, and their own setbacks to take the time to listen to what their friends are saying. If you’re the kind of person who picks up the phone, talks at someone for half an hour, and then says goodbye, then you’re not taking the time to listen to what other people are telling you.

Any conversation should have about a 50/50 exchange of ideas, and if you’re monopolizing every conversation you have, then you’ve got to work on honing those listening skills the next time you talk to people.

Selfish people don’t care about other people, which is why they don’t really take the time to listen to them. Let’s read that same verse we did for point 6 here:

James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

Listen. Wait. Respond.
How many of our conflicts would dissolve or never even materialize if we:
▪ Listened to really understand a person’s concern or complaint,
▪ Waited… till our typically wrong initial impulse passed, till we’ve prayed, till we’ve asked clarifying questions,
▪ And then responded with patience, graciousness, honesty, clarity, and, if possible, brevity?

8. Selfless people easily give compliments to others.

Don’t just go on about how great you are. Take the time to let people know how great they are, whether you’re talking about their fashion sense, their personalities, or great decisions they’ve recently made. Or just compliment a perfect stranger if you’re waiting in line and like the stranger’s coat. Don’t give phony compliments just to suck up to people; give compliments because they really deserve them.

Proverbs 12:25
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.

Proverbs 15:23
A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!

We have good words inside of us waiting to come out to encourage others. When you see someone doing good, or dressed nice, or handling a situation well, let them know. It will encourage them to keep on keeping on.

I remember being a young mother with my oldest daughter. We were in a grocery store at the check out line and she was upset over something. I kneeled down to her level (she was around 2) and explained what was going on. She understood and wasn’t upset anymore. Then I stood up and paid the cashier. Upon leaving the line an older gentleman stopped me and complimented me on how I treated my daughter. He said most mothers would smack them around or yell at them to stop their bad behavior but that I didn’t. It was nice to hear. It made me think I wasn’t a bad mother after all. (you know how young mothers feel when they have never done it before)

9. Selfless people practice putting themselves last.

If you’re a selfish person, then chances are you’re always looking for #1, well, first. You’ve got to change that as soon as you can if you want to start living a life filled with joy and free of selfishness. The next time you’re doing something, whether you’re in line at a buffet or waiting for your seat on the bus, stop and let the other people have what they want first, whether it’s food, comfort, or ease. Don’t be the person who always thinks me, me, me and has to get everything first; remember that other people are every bit as special as you are, and that other people deserve to get what they want, too.

Make a goal of putting yourself last in at least three situations this week. See how much better you feel when you’re not constantly thinking about how you can benefit at any given time.

Of course, once you level out, you shouldn’t always put yourself last or you may find yourself in a situation where people are taking advantage of you. But it’s good practice to do this if you’re absolutely always putting yourself first right now.

Matthew 20:16 NKJV
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.

It’s okay if you are not first, or have the best seat. Find a place within yourself to be okay with it. Realize you are first with God. You are His favorite, just like everyone else is. Rest in God and His goodness that He won’t allow you to miss out on anything you need or should have. If you are to have it, it will come about at the right time or in due season.

10. Selfless people remember they are not more important than other people.

Selfish people are constantly thinking that they are the center of the universe and that the world should revolve around them. Well, you need to drop that thought like a bad habit. Whether you’re Madonna or Donna the hairdresser, you should think of yourself as the same as everyone else, not as somehow better because you’ve got more money, more looks, or more talent than the person standing next to you.

Practice being humble and modest. The world is a huge and absolutely amazing place, and you are just one tiny part of it. Don’t think that you somehow deserve more than other people because you are “you.

Feeling you are more important than others is a sign you are competitive. No one is better or worse than you. We are all the same: Humans.

Gal. 3:28 NKJV
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Comparing our growth with others can be intimidating. No one is better than you, but they may have experienced more or accomplished more than you have. Learn from these people and don’t compare yourself to them. Don’t be intimidated by your lack of knowledge. Be teachable and a forever student in life. You will grow if you decide to do this. Surround yourself with people who can take you higher in your walk with God, in your abilities, and in your character. If you surround yourself with people who don’t want to grow, or don’t want to be close to God, it will affect you. Always be striving to grow more and complain less.

11. Selfless people enjoy giving the spotlight to others.

You don’t always have to be the center of every party, or every conversation. Selfless people enjoy allowing others to speak and are truly interested in in them.

I have a friend who is always talking or talks over others when others are sharing their needs, or telling a story, or expressing something funny. I watch the other people when my friend starts talking over them and they shrink back and stop talking. When my friend talks it inevitably changes the topic and others never get truly heard. I feel for the others and try to get the conversation back onto what they were talking about. It is extremely hard to have a relationship with selfish people who always have to be in the spotlight.

Selfish people cringe when someone else goes in the spotlight because they always want it for themselves. Well, if you want to stop being selfish, then you have to not only give up the spotlight, but you have to enjoy letting other people take it. Stop trying to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral and let other brides have their time in the spotlight. Be proud of other people for achieving things instead of wishing it was you.

Romans 12:1
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

We should be willing to raise others up and allow them to shine for God’s glory. I enjoy raising up my leadership staff and allowing them to preach or teach or, give them public compliments. It is good for the congregation to know and for that individual to publicly be raised up.

12. Selfless people keep in touch with friends, family, and relatives.

No one is an island. We all need each other. It is good to keep in touch with the people in your life. Take the time to be with family and friends. Relationships take time. They are worth it.

Selfish people find it easy to lose touch with people because they know that they will always come back to them. Don’t think that your time is so important that you can’t call your own grandmother or spend your lunch hour with a friend and then expect other people to be at your beck and call when you do need them. Give people the basic consideration of wanting to know how they’re doing just because.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

13. Selfless people show an interest in others.

Listening to people is a great way to show interest in them. Another thing you can do is to ask people questions, from their opinions on the local news to their experiences as children. You don’t have to interrogate them to show a casual interest in them as human beings, and to let them see that you really do care what they think about or what they’re struggling with. When people talk, don’t just nod and wait your turn to talk, but slow down and ask them questions if they’re talking about something that they feel passionate about.

You can show an interest in people without overwhelming them. The next time you talk to someone, set out to talk 20% less and to ask a few more questions than you normally would and see how it makes you feel.

14. Selfless people help people they know during their time of need.

When your friends, family, or even your neighbors are struggling, you should be there for them. Maybe your co-worker has had a death in the family, or your neighbor has been sick for months; take the time to make them a home-cooked meal, call them, or give them a card and ask how you can help.

People may be reluctant to say that they need help even if they obviously do. It’s up to you to figure out when you can really help without being intrusive.

Hebrews 13:16 ESV
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Galatians 6:2 ESV
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

15. Selfless people know when to stop talking about themselves.

Selfish people go on and on and on about their needs, their struggles, and their desires. The next time you have a conversation with a friend, do a personal recap afterwards and see what percentage you spent talking all about you, you, you. If you feel like everything you said was about yourself instead of the world around you and that your friend hardly got a word in edgewise, then it’s time to turn that behavior around.

It’s okay to ask for advice, talk about your day, and mention your wants within a reasonable realm, but it’s not okay if you’re known to be the person who can’t see past herself in any social situation. For one thing, if you have a reputation for only talking about yourself, people will get the message and won’t want to hang out with you.

Proverbs 10:19 ESV
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 21:23 ESV
Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Honestly it is down right rude to always be talking about yourself instead of seeing and listening to other people and their needs and concerns.

16. Selfless people learn to compromise.

If you want to stop being selfish, then you’ve got to learn to compromise. This means seeing that it’s better to be happy than to get what you want, that other people have needs too, and that you can’t always get what you want. You don’t want to have a reputation for being so stubborn that people wouldn’t even think about approaching you with a difficult situation. Learn to listen to people, to weigh the pros and cons of any situation, and to be able to see the situation from another person’s perspective.

Don’t focus blindly on getting your way. Focus on understanding the situation from both sides. You don’t always have to be right or get your way.

Romans 12:18 ESV
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

John 13:34 ESV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

1 Cor. 13:4 – 8a NKJV
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.

When you truly love someone you will compromise to make your relationship work. Marriages end in divorce all because the couple was not willing to compromise. Selfish people will put being right or their own needs above the other and compromise never happens. Don’t let this be you. Learn how to compromise. This is a quality of the selfless.

17. Selfless people learn how to say, “Thank you.”

Selfish people think they deserve the best treatment and deserve to be spoiled, and that’s just not the case. If someone does something nice for you, whether they are complimenting you or giving you a ride to class, you should be grateful and thank them for their actions instead of just acting like it’s perfectly normal that they want to do favors for you. Don’t expect kindness or understanding and be grateful when it comes your way.

Selfish people think they “deserve” the best treatment at all times. It’s time to stop and think about all of the people who have really made your life better. It is not too late to thank them. I believe God has placed them in your life to be a blessing. We should be quick to thank others for their kindness, acceptance, and love.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Ephesians 1:16
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

18. Selfless people have learned to give up control.

Selfish people think that they have to choose every movie, plan every vacation, and get their way in every school or work-related project. Well, it’s time to take a step back and to let some other people do some of the deciding. Sure, it may be scary to go to that new Thai place instead of your favorite usual Italian restaurant, and sure, you may not like letting Mary have so much control over your latest report; but you’ve got to trust that other people know what they’re doing and to let them get their way, too.

Giving up control can help you relieve stress and be happier, too. Think about how much easier your life will be if you’re not obsessing over planning every little thing so that it goes your way.

Psalm 46:10 GW
Let go of your concerns! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth.

Every day, you have to decide who’s going to be in control of your life — you or God. Letting your spouse or friend decide something is easy when you place your trust in God. You can trust God that the decision someone else makes that affects you will work out for your good. You honor God and others when you give up your control. You might find out you even like it.

19. Selfless people spend time with people who are not selfish.

Join others who are kind and reciprocate kindness. Being with other selfish people, will not help you become a better person. We are very much defined by the company we keep. If you spend all of your time with other people who only care about themselves, then you won’t be a very considerate person. But if you spend time around an inspiring, giving person, you will be inspired to act in a less selfish way.

I am sure you can think of someone who is selfless in your life. You might have thought, “I wish I was more like them.” You can. The more you hang around the selfless, the more it rubs off on you. You are the company you keep.

Proverbs 13:20 GNT
Keep company with the wise and you will become wise. If you make friends with stupid people, you will be ruined.

1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.

2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

20. Selfless people have a heart of gratitude.

Make a habit of writing down all of the things you’re grateful for every Sunday or at least once a week. Take the time to think of each and every individual thing that makes your life really great, and don’t spend all your time focusing on the things you don’t have, or the things you wish you had, or all of the “If only” chants that can ruin your day and your life. Think of things that are going well for you, from your health to your plethora of friends, and feel happy about what you’ve got.

Selfish people are never satisfied and always want more, more, more. If you want to stop being selfish, you have to feel like you already have enough amazing things in your life. Any additional joys or gifts should come as a bonus.

Researchers studied the differences that occurs when people focus on their burdens, or themselves, versus focusing on what they’re grateful for. Simply acknowledging a few things you feel grateful for each day is a powerful way to create change. In fact, gratitude not only impacts your psychological health, it can also affect your physical health.

-People who feel gratitude don’t get sick as often as others.
-Gratitude leads to more positive emotions.
-Gratitude improves social lives.

Psalm 118:24
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Acts 24:3 ESV
In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.

God is bigger than your selfishness. He wants you to let go of self and cling to Him. We can trust Him with everything.

If you realize you are selfish, now is the time for change. Do some of or all of the selfless things on this list every week. Ask Jesus to be more like him. He moved with compassion and cared about others. He laid down His life for you. That is the ultimate selfless act anyone could do.

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com
www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com
www.KrisBelfils.Wordpress.com

Sources: Pastor Kris Belfils and http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Being-Selfish