Think On These Things (Conclusion)

It comes down to the basic fundamental of Christian living.. Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

A summary of our series

We have looked at the 8 things that Paul commands us to think on:
1) Whatever is true: “The Word of God”
2) Whatever is honorable: “A mental consciousness that strives to harmonize with God’s truth”
3) Whatever is just: “My thoughts immediately go to the only One who is Just”
4) Whatever is pure: “We see the perfect, sinless and Holy Lamb of God dying for our sins and raising again.”
5) Whatever is lovely: “An ‘acceptable and pleasing’ part of Lovely is that we renew our minds and our thinking to what honors God.”
6) Whatever is commendable: “Let our thoughts drift to how we respond towards others when going through trials.”
7) If there is anything of excellence: “Is the thought that is in your mind an example of “excellence or merit”? Does it honor God and reflect upon His excellence?
8) If there is anything worthy of praise: “Unceasing praise to the just and gracious God. From morning till evening the grateful tongue should talk and sing, and glorify the Lord.”

Beach Scene with scripture
Photo Courtesy: Shirleen Wills

Once we have an understanding of the things that Paul is wanting us to think on, what should we do and what will we see. Well in verse 9 he says “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil 4:9 ESV) It’s pretty clear that we are to practice these things. Practice involves 1: Dedication , Maturity, and Repetition. It takes a level of commitment that drives us to perfect the achievement we seek. It also means that we can’t do it alone! We must depend upon the work of the Spirit in our lives to direct us and allow Him to help us focus on these things. We are to “fill our minds” with these things when “stinkin’ thinkin'” raises its ugly head. One commentary aptly summarizes it like this “As the Philippians practice what they have seen Paul doing they will make progress. They will see that it is not simply the “Peace of God” that they will find, but “The God of Peace” Himself will be with them.

Photo Courtesy of Shirleen Wills

When I look at the 8 things that Paul is directing us to practice, I began to notice one very common theme, and that is that when temptation is causing us to have “Stinkin’ Thinkin'” we are to turn our eyes thoughts and attitudes directly to Christ. Directly to His Word and listen to His Holy Spirit. Below is lyrics from an old hymn that I think is a good way to sum up this entire series!

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
Helen Howarth Lemmel (1863-1961)

O soul are you weary and troubled
No light in the darkness you see
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace

Alan Jackson version of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus“!
Music and Lyrics

I hope that you have found this study helpful to you as you come across times of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ and that you will memorize Philippians 4: 8-10 and recall it to your memory when you are troubled in your thoughts.

Think On These Things (Pt 4)

If there is any Excellence and Worthy of praise
Beach Scene with scripture
Photo Courtesy: Shirleen Wills

The last two things that we read as Paul is instructing us in how I like to phrase “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”, is to think on things of excellence and worthy of praise!

I have taken excerpts from “Precepts Austin”, which is an online commentary source that I believe to be accurate. The link to this website is listed below for your reference as well and to be able to go into even more depth on this subject.

1“Excellence (2703) (arete) refers to any preeminence (moral, intellectual, military). Arete is a term denoting consummate ‘excellence’ or ‘merit’ within a social context. To the Greek philosophers, it meant “the fulfillment of a thing.” Arete came to mean quality of life which made someone or something stand out as excellent. Arete never means cloistered virtue or virtue of attitude, but virtue which is demonstrated in life.”

When a thought enters your mind, you may begin to start wondering and questioning a situation. Use that opportune time to evaluate whether or not this thought is “Excellent”! Is the thought that is in your mind an example of “excellence or merit”? Does it honor God and reflect upon His excellence? If it does not, you know that you need to rebuke that thought and the devil who put it into your mind. 4Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you! (James 4:8)

1“Worthy of praise (31868) (epainos from epí = upon + aínos = praise) is literally “praise upon” and denotes commendation, praise, or approbation (an act of formally or officially approving). It means something which is worthy of being commended. The word can describe the act of expressing admiration or approval, praise, approval, recognition.”

For the believer, there is no greater call than to praise the Father, thanking Him, loving Him, and trusting Him in all circumstances. So when tempted to ponder something that is attacking your mind, think on what is praiseworthy and give the thoughts over to Him to ease the pressures that you face with those thoughts.

Charles Spurgeon noted just how important it is to praise the Father all day long. In Psalm 35:8, the psalmist uses the Hebrew word 1 “tehillah”, which means hymn or song of praise, praise in general – all day long. Spurgeon says: “Unceasing praise is here vowed to the just and gracious God. From morning till evening the grateful tongue would talk and sing, and glorify the Lord. O for such a resolve carried out by us all!”

As we come to the last of these 8 things, Paul reminds us to “Think on these things”! What does the bible refer to when we read “Think”? According to Strong’s Concordance, (G3049) defines the word used here as follows:
A thing is reckoned as or to be something, i.e. as availing for or equivalent to something, as having the like force and weight:

1) To reckon inward, count up or weigh the reasons
2) To deliberate by reckoning up all the reasons
3) To gather or infer
4) To consider, take into account, weigh, meditate on
5) To suppose, deem, judge
6) To determine, purpose, decide

So my fellow believer, when we are called to think on these things, we see the true remedy of “Stinkin’ Thinkin'” defined clearly in God’s word, right here! Determine to make the change in your (my) thinking today to use these definitions as we ponder “..whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent or worthy of praise”! The good news is that there is a promise after this teaching, and I’ll cover that in our last post in this series!

1 Precept Austin Commentary
2 Blue Letter Bible (Definition of arete)
3 Blue Letter Bible (Definition of epainos)
4 James 4:8

Think On These Things (Pt 3)

When thinking on whatever is Lovely and whatever is Commendable, we will be filling our minds with things that inspire the worship of God Almighty.

“Things that are lovely and
things that are commendable.”

True, Honorable, Just and Pure are the first four things that we are to think on in our study of Philippians 4:8-9. When trouble comes and the schemes of the devil are all around and we find ourselves in a battle with spiritual forces, turn to God to change your Stinkin’ Thinkin’! This next section calls us to think on things that are Lovely and things that are Commendable. As we start to examine these characteristics, ask God to let your mind ponder what those could be for you!

Beach Scene with scripture
Photo Courtesy: Shirleen Wills

Lovely (Acceptable and Pleasing)

We are next told to think on things that are “Lovely”. What does the Bible say regarding “Lovely”? How is it used and how do we think on it? Well, Strong’s Concordance defines Lovely (G4375) as “Acceptable and Pleasing”. We can certainly gain a lot of insight from what the Bible teaches us about what is acceptable and pleasing. An “acceptable and pleasing” part of Lovely is that we renew our minds and our thinking to what honors God. By asking ourselves that, we test what is from God to know that it is Lovely. (Romans 12:2) We continue to ask “Is what we are thinking about honoring Him, does it bring Him glory or does it focus on ourselves?” If it is God centered, it’s pleasing and Lovely. If it is not, we know to immediately reject that thinking and go directly to God for direction.

Questions that help us know if our Thinkin’ is Stinkin’ !
Ask yourself 3 questions:
1) Are my prayers “God-Centered”? (Psalm 62) (Psalm 16:1-2)
2) Is there un-confessed sin in my life that is allowing this thinking? (Psalm 66:18) ( Commentary) (1 John 1:9)
3) Am I hearing and responding to the Word of God in my life? (John 10:27)

As I’ve read and prayed through Psalms, it has helped me know God’s will better and has always provided the comfort and direction I’ve needed.

Eugene Peterson wrote about the Psalms in his book “Answering God”. I felt that the quote below was very helpful in my understanding the right perspective in my prayers to God. It is applicable today as it helps us relate to the questions we ask ourselves when seeking the right way to think on the things commanded by Phil 4:8.

“The Psalms were not prayed by people trying to understand themselves. They are not the record of people searching for the meaning of life. They were prayed by people who understood God had everything to do with them. God, not their feelings, was the center. God, not their souls, was the issue. God, not the meaning of life, was critical.”

Eugene Peterson, from his book “Answering God”

Commendable / Good Report

We are also to think on things that are “commendable or of good report”! What does that really mean we may wonder? Used in this context in Philippians, (Strongs G2163) we see that the concordance defines the word or phrase as  “things spoken in a kindly spirit, with good-will to others”. Interestingly, Commendable only appears in this context once in the Bible. Perhaps that characteristic could have a meaning we can use to apply to our thinking.

To focus on this one word “Commendable”, we can let our thoughts drift to how we respond towards others when going through trials. We must be careful to avoid the temptation to look for ways to get even or “one up” in our trials. We should know immediately that it is Stinkin’ Thinkin’. Jesus is our perfect example in how to respond to those who wish us trouble. Even as He was beaten, crucified, humiliated and was suffering a horrible death, He never lashed out towards those who were cruel to Him. Let’s follow HIS example and remember that it is God who will judge. Remember, we are called to think on how we should love those who cause us enough pain to have anger, animosity or harshness in our thinking. Read below where we see Peter pointing out what Christ did as He suffered for us.

1 Peter 2:20-23 (NKJV)

20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously..

When thinking on whatever is Lovely and whatever is Commendable, we will be filling our minds with things that inspire the worship of God Almighty. If we are in anguish, think about how we can best serve others, all to bring the praise and glory to Him. Worship Him in God-Centered prayers confessing our sin and responding to His call on our lives. Pray through the Psalms and lift Him up in your praises. Keep our thoughts on what He has done for us, not lashing out at others but praying for them and seeking ways to minister to them as Christ leads.

Thank you for sharing part of your day with me as we think together on ways to change our “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”! In our next study, we will examine what it means to think on “things of excellence” and “things that are worthy of praise”.

Think On These Things (Pt 2)

Thinking on the purity of the Son of God and what He did for me is the quickest way to thwart an attack of the devil.

..Whatever is just, whatever is pure,..

In our first study of the characteristics of things we are instructed to think on, the first two were: “things that are true and honorable“. We became aware of the need to start finding those things in our lives through scripture and apply them in our thoughts. We remember that truths such as Scripture, Salvation and our eternity with God came as some of the first thoughts to meditate upon. We know that honorable things are such that we change our thinking to align with Christ and what He wants for our lives and to think thoughtfully on how we can go about doing that. In this second of five parts we begin to think on whatever is just and whatever is pure.

Beach Scene with scripture
This part covers Just and Pure!
Photo Courtesy: Shirleen Wills

Our second characteristics study: Just and Pure

Just / Righteous

We look closer now on those words right before Just and Pure, which are: “Whatever is..”. “Whatever is”, is a pretty big phrase and could encompass a very broad area of thought. So what does he mean when he says “Whatever is Just“? A word study finds that the Greek word is “dikaios” (Strong’s Concordance G1342) and is used 33 times in the bible. It also means Righteous and that definition is: “One who is upright, virtuous, keeping the commands of God. One who is used of Him and whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God.” I would say that this is a very broad explanation as to “Whatever is”!

So when we ask ourselves to think on Whatever is Just and Righteous, where does scripture point us? Perhaps it’s not just Whatever, but more aptly “Whomever”, is where our thoughts should be! My thoughts immediately go to the only One who is Righteous and Just: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit!

I might phrase it this way: “Think on whatever are characteristics of the Just and Righteous God. Meditate on who He is and what He has done, is doing and will do in our lives. Think on the ways that we should honor, worship and praise Him.”

Here are some references we can reflect upon when thinking on Him:
God the Father: John 17:25, 1 John 1:9, Rev. 16:5
God the Son: Matthew 3:16-17, 1 John 2:1, 29, 3:7
God the Holy Spirit: Romans 8:10, 14-17

What are some other ways to think on what is Just? I’d like to hear your thoughts as well.


Beginning our search on what is “Pure”, we see the word in Greek as “hagnos“. (Strong’s Concordance G53). When I think of “Pure”, I think about what it means to be innocent, modest, perfect, chaste, clean, and holy. I have listed a few scriptures below that help me in forming thoughts as to what is “hagnos” when temptation comes my way.

References to apply to the meaning of Pure:
Wisdom from Him: James 3:17
Our hope in Him: 1 John 3:3
Our conduct in Him: 1 Peter 3:2

I think it important to allow our minds to ponder what examples we see in scripture on what is “Just and Pure”. We should cling to those things when the battle for our minds begins.

How I Try To Stop Stinkin’ Thinkin’: Mike Wills

Here are my tips when thinking of “Pure”:
• I try and focus on things like the innocent baby Jesus in the arms of Mary and why He came. (Innocent)
• I remember how Jesus lived a pure life having never sinned. He lived modestly and worked as a carpenter in a small village. Certainly not how the world would view a savior or King! He did this and set the example for all of us. (Perfect, Innocent)
• I think most importantly I see the perfect, sinless and Holy Lamb of God dying for my sins and raising again. He paid the price for me so that I can be with him forever. He offered salvation to any who would simply receive it and all I had to do was repent, believe and confess.(Holy)

Thinking on the purity of the Son of God and what He did for me is the quickest way to thwart an attack of the devil. It changes my perspective immediately and I’m sure that when you are confronted with the temptation of Stinkin’ Thinkin’ that you too will see a remarkable difference when you think on the purity of Christ.

There are many more examples that I could site here, but I think it important to allow our minds to ponder what examples we see in scripture on what is “Just and Pure”. We should cling to those things when the battle for our minds begins.

Part three of our study builds on the first two parts as we begin to think on “Whatever is lovely and whatever is commendable”. Be in prayer over this next part and ask God to open your eyes to what He is saying.

Think On These Things (Pt 1)

When temptation comes, resist it by thinking on these things.

..Whatever is true, Whatever is honorable (Phil 4:8)..

In our last post we talked about “Stinkin’ Thinkin’” and how our thoughts can wander and lead us into bad decisions. In a study of King David (2 Sam 11-18), we can see how his Stinkin’ Thinkin’ got him into serious trouble which ended in adultery, murder and the destruction of people’s lives. King David gave in to temptation because he didn’t flee from the opportunity. As believers, we know that in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God has given us a promise that we will never tempted beyond what we can stand and He will always provide a means of escape. It’s up to us to accept that means and obey what He is leading us to do. God’s word also points out in Numbers 32:23 that no matter how hard we try, our sin will always find us out. You can’t hide your sin from God and there is punishment for disobeying Him.

One of the most recited verses in the bible is found at Philippians 4:6-7 which tells us that if we are anxious about anything, to bring it before God and His peace will comfort us. If we read on however, we see that we are called to take matters one step further and to think and practice on a list of 8 things that will aid us in resisting and fleeing temptation. This verse says that we will not just have the “Peace of God” but also the “God of Peace” with us!

Beach Scene with scripture
Photo Courtesy of Shirleen Wills

I’d like to begin a brief five part study with you to better understand what these eight things are and how we can identify them in our lives. We will base this study on verse 8 which says; “Finally brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things….” If we can begin to apply these characteristics to our lives, I am convinced that we will grow in our sanctification in Christ. I would like to add that this study isn’t intended to be comprehensive, but rather a resource that can be easily read and applied to our lives.

Our first characteristics study: True and Honorable

Let’s begin with whatever is true. We know that without a doubt that the Word of God is true. Think about it! There is so much written in the word of God about the word of God. Psalm 119 explains in great detail about the truth of God’s teachings. Here are a few verses that you can click on to see how the psalmist explains the truthfulness of the word.
vs 105: Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
vs 130: The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
vs 165: Great peace have those who follow your law; nothing can make them stumble.

The gift of salvation that God has given to those who trust in Him is another truth we can think on. We read in Roman’s 10:8-13 a picture of the perfect love of God and His gift. We know it’s true that if we are saved, we will spend eternity with Him. We get to praise and worship Him and we get an eternity to thank Him for what He has done.

Another truth we can count on is that our savior will never leave us or forsake us! Deuteronomy 31:6 is a promise from God to the people of Israel where He tells them He will never leave them. We are His people and He will never leave us if we are saved. Jesus Himself promised us that if we are His people, no one can snatch them out of His hands. (John 10:28-30)

There are certainly many, many other things that are true in our lives that God has given to us. I would suggest that you build a list of the truths that He has given you and practice those also.

What does God’s Word say about honorable? I found a great reference that I thought I’d share with you here: 1 “It is a mental consciousness that strives to harmonize with God’s truth as found in Scripture and Christ. It transforms the content and habits of our thinking by aligning our values with God’s will. When our minds are renewed, our desires agree with God that his will is good, pleasing, and perfect (Rom. 12:2).” I believe that if we honor God in thinking about what His will for us is in the trials and temptations we face, we will be better equipped to stop the Stinkin’ Thinkin’!

Photo Courtesy of Shirleen Wills

Paul concludes this section by reminding us to practice these things and the “God of peace” will be with you. We started today by taking these first two characteristics and we learned to practice them daily. When temptation comes, we will be ready by thinking on what is true and what is honorable because we are prepared!

Remember to:

1) STOP and Think On What Is True:
- The Word of God – quote your favorite scriptures.
Your salvation and Your Eternity with Him! Dwell on these things in your mind and the temptation will leave you.
There is an endless supply of things that God has given us that is true. Use your own thoughts to remember those things and practice doing them.

2) STOP and Meditate On What Is Honorable:
Align your thoughts with His.
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and He will!
Ask Him to show you how to recognize and escape the temptation, and He will!

These are the first two characteristics for us to study in this passage. We will find that there are six more we can focus on when the temptations come.

Our next post will be on “Whatever is just, Whatever is pure”. If you have thoughts or an experience you would like to share, I’d love to hear about it. You can post it in the comment section or send to me directly via my email address:

Pastor Steve DeWitt, Nov 19, 2021

What are you thinkin’?

“The fact is, that if we don’t focus our thoughts towards Godly things, we open ourselves up to satanic attack on our hearts and minds.”

When your thoughts run wild…
Change your Stinkin’ Thinkin’!

Have you ever been mindlessly going through your day and suddenly you realize you’re all worked up over something? I know that in my life I have – and sometimes find myself doing it too much. I stop and ask myself “How did this happen, why is my heart racing and why am I getting angry or worried about this?”

I heard a phrase many years ago by my pastor and he was talking about why we dwell on ungodly things. He called it 1“Stinkin’ Thinkin’!”, and I took that as “Mike, get those bad thoughts out of your mind”!

I’m sure that by now we all have heard the 2proverb “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”! What the verse literally says is: “A worthless man devises mischief..” It’s what happens when we start running over stuff over and over again, getting more miffed as time goes forward. In my family growing up we called it “stewing and steaming”, but it really is “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”. We need to recognize that the source of these thoughts is the devil. He uses these thoughts to try and drive a wedge between you and the situation or other person. 3He is your adversary and “prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” He wants you to become that worthless man the scripture above talks about.

“The fact is, that if we don’t focus our thoughts towards Godly things, we open ourselves up to satanic attack on our hearts and minds.”

Mike W

That leads us to what I’d really like us to focus on:
Changin’ Our Stinkin’ Thinkin’!

So what kind of protection does the believer have against the devil and how can we change these thoughts that are in our minds? I’m going to share with you 3 techniques that I believe are the most easily applied and remembered.


Prayer: In your prayer time, ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize spiritual warfare in your life. We can rest assured knowing that He is 4interceding on our behalf continuously. We must remember to spend time in prayer everyday. No matter what else is going on – make the time no matter what. Seek out Godly prayer partners and pray with them asking God’s protection for them and their needs as well.

Prepare: Be prepared for the battle that is certainly coming your way!
1) Put on the 5full armor of God so that you will be able to withstand the “fiery arrows” that the devil is hurling at you.
2) Fill your mind with scripture! The study of God’s word is crucial to being able to refute the devil and his attacks.


Confess: When you realize that you have sinned by dwelling on and enjoying what you’re thinking, STOP IT! No matter what you’re doing, you’ve been given the insight from the Holy Spirit that you have sinned and now 6you must confess it.
Combat: Jesus gave us the best example on how to refute the devil. As he was being tempted, he always quoted scripture. Even when the devil twisted God’s words around, Jesus simply stated the truth of God’s word and the devil was forced to leave and flee.


Be Aware: Don’t let your guard down, Satan surely will look for another weakness in your life and will do everything he can to exploit it. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter reminds us to “Be sober-minded; be watchful..” Remember when Jesus was in the wilderness and being tempted, he rebuked the devil and the bible says that 7Satan left him looking for a more opportune time. If he came back after Jesus, surely he’ll come back after you and me.
Have a Plan: Re-focus your thoughts once you recognize what is happening. Ask yourself if your thought is coming from the Holy Spirit? If it is not say out loud “This is another lie of the Devil. James 4:7 says resist the Devil and He will flee from you”. Remember what Philippians 4:8-9 says about what to think on and then think on those things!!

I hope that some of these things I have mentioned in this post will help you as it has certainly helped me in my life!

1: “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”, Rev Ken Forrester, Rocky Creek Baptist Church, Greenville SC
2: Proverbs 16:27 (TLB)
3: 1 Peter 5:8 7
4: Romans 8:26-2
5: Ephesians 6:10-17
6: 1 John 1:9
7: Luke 4:13

Blessed Assurance! (Pt 5)

Blessed Assurance Pt 5: Conviction of Sin, Looking for Christ’s Return & Spending Eternity with Him!

In today’s devotion, let’s take a look at a couple of very distinct clues that show how we can know that we are saved forever! We will start by looking again at how sin can creep into our lives, but as He always does, Christ shows us that we are His by revealing the “Conviction of Sin” and the consequences (punishment) that result from sin. The final clue that we will look at today is how the saved are always “Looking for Christ’s Return & Spending Eternity with Him!”.

Conviction of Sin

I am writing to true believers in Jesus Christ, those who have accepted Him as their savior. There are several key verses that will describe specifically how we know we are saved regarding the conviction of sin in our lives. I want to first start out by reminding us that in Romans 8:1, if we are saved there is now no more condemnation of sin. What that means is that if we have accepted Him as our savior, all our past, present and future sins have been forgiven. But we still have a sin nature in our lives and until perfected when we die and enter heaven, will be battling on a daily basis. So if I know that I will sin but have been forgiven, why do I need to confess it? I believe that when we sin, we lose fellowship with Christ, but retain our salvation. For us to draw close to Christ again we must “confess our sins as He [Christ] is faithful to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 . We are convicted of sin through the Holy Spirit who lives within all believers. One of the many roles that He has is showing us right from wrong, and if we do wrong (sin) we are guided to the right way (John 16:3a). If you sin, you have an advocate with the Father and that is Jesus, His Son (1 John 2:1), and this itself proves that you are His child!

Punishment for sin

When I was a young boy growing up, I knew that my parents loved me dearly. Because they loved me dearly, they didn’t hesitate to correct me when I was doing wrong. Many people call that punishment, and they would be correct! In the same way, we as children of God need to be corrected when we mess things up (sin) and disobey God. There are plentiful scriptures about how and why God punishes those whom are His children. In Revelation 3:19, Christ clearly tells us that He chastises those He loves and that we are to “enthusiastically” repent. When I was punished as a boy, I remember my dad telling me that he loved me and that I should remember the punishment and not do wrong again. He told me one day I’d thank him for it – and he was right! In the same way we should thank God for showing us where we sinned and not do it again. If He punishes us, we should thank Him. You see, this is yet another way that we can know that we are His. Hebrews 12:5-8 elaborates further on this same message. At the end of verse 8, He says “8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons (NASB)“. If God is not punishing you, you probably are not one of His children.

Looking for Christ’s return
& Spending eternity with him

Together we have studied many ways to have assuredness of faith. In our last discussion, we look at one of the most exciting ways to know we are saved: “Looking For Christ’s Return & Spending Eternity with Him”.

It is so encouraging to read in scriptures how other believers reacted about Christ’s return. In 1 Corinthians 1:7, it says we are lacking in no gift and are “eagerly awaiting” the revelation of Christ. In Philippians 3:20 we are reminded that our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly wait for the savior, Jesus Christ and His return to take His people home! My 1pastor once said: “As Christians on this earth, this is the closest to hell that we will ever be as our eternal home is in Heaven with Jesus.”

Lastly, we have a home created for us personally by Jesus where we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him. In John 14:1-3, Jesus says the following:
14 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. NASB”

That last verse says it all for me! I look forward to joining Him one day. I know that I’ll be with Him forever, along with the millions who have gone before me. I know that He has a special place He has made just for me! He will come again to receive us to Himself! Oh Come Lord Jesus, Come!

If you have that strong desire to be with Jesus and yearn for that time ahead, and you are excited about His second coming and the eternity with Him in eternity future, you are most definitely saved! If it seems far fetched and not that big a deal to you, please consider this your invitation to join Him today!

The last installment in this series will discuss as a summary all the ways we can have assuredness of our salvation in Jesus Christ. I will share one more clue to knowing we are saved as well!

Ref: 1Travis Agnew, Sr Pastor; Rocky Creek Baptist Church; Greenville, SC

Blessed Assurance! (Pt 4)

Blessed Assurance Part 4: Hating Sin and doing it less, Loving other Christians

So far in our series we have seen many ways to help us know that we are saved if we are true believers in Jesus Christ! We have studied the following clues given to us: “Spiritual Warfare, Scriptural Assurance, The Holy Spirit’s Ministry, Answered Prayer, Obeying and Loving God’s Word, and Knowing the Truth”. Today, we look at two more ways to know that we are saved: “Hating sin and doing it less, and Loving other Christians”.

Hating sin and doing it less

As believers, we know that sin separates us from God and on our own we have no way to be with God. We know that Jesus’ sacrifice for us paid the penalty for our sins so that we may be saved, just by believing and asking Him to save us. But we still have a “sin nature” in us that is constantly at war with our saved spirit. Occasionally, we stumble and fall, committing sin against others and God. We know that God hates sin and it has a condemning result (Romans 6:23). We know we are to hate evil (Psalm 97:10) and love the Lord. Our hating sin is an indication of our salvation.

As a believer we relate in a new way! “ 1Because we abide in Him (Romans 6:6), we are no longer slaves to sin, but have an option to do good (Romans 6:14, 17-18). We will always be acutely sensitive to sin (John 1:7).” If we are growing in our faith we will begin to hate the sin that we commit and will abhor doing it. 1“A believer should see a decreasing pattern of sin in their lives, it means that his faith is genuine”. We will immediately confess our sins and He will forgive us (1 John 1:9). We have not lost our salvation, but our fellowship with Christ is broken. Confession restores our fellowship with Him and we learn from that not to do it again.

A decreasing pattern of sin in a believers’ life, means that his faith is genuine Dr. John MacArthur

If you are not seeing a decrease in sin or don’t think it’s that bad, reconsider if you have genuinely given your life to Christ. However, if we sin less and less, we know that our faith is real and that shows as a further indication of our assuredness of salvation.

Loving other Christians

As I have grown in my relationship with Jesus, I have seen a deeper love for my fellow believers. In 1 Peter 1:22, Peter says as we obey the truth that we have a “sincere love of the brethren and that we are to fervently love one another from the heart..” As we continue on in this passage we see that we are born again not of the seed which is perishable but imperishable through the living and enduring word of God. He gives us our strong desire to love, fellowship and care for each other.

He gives us the strong desire to love, fellowship, and care for each other

We also learn through scripture that the world will know we are Jesus’ disciples if we love one another ( John 13:35 ). Our lives should be the very example of love for each other as Christ loved us. The world sees our desire to love God and each other and they know whose we are. We are always being watched by unbelievers and they are looking for ways to discredit us. But if they see us caring for each other by the kindnesses we show each other and how we are unified in Christ, some may be persuaded to want to come and join us.

So ask yourself several 1questions to see if some of these describe you in any way.

  1. Do you care about other believers, or are you cold towards them?
  2. Do you respond positively to opportunities to give yourself to ministries?
  3. Do you look forward to having fellowship with other Christians?
  4. Do you look forward to times when you can study God’s word and spend time in prayer with other believers?
  5. When you see a need in another believer at your church, are you willing to provide money, time, prayer, resources, service, or even just to listen to them?

If you can honestly say YES to these questions, you can know you are His child and are saved. You see HE put those desires in your heart, not the world! Know that you are blessed beyond measure and thank Him for revealing to you that you are His. If you can’t say yes to any of these, perhaps you are not saved yet, but don’t be discouraged, you now can see that He is calling you to Himself even as you read this post. Why not ask Him to save you right now today?

Ref: 1Dr John MacArthur, “Strength for today – Assuredness of Faith”.

Blessed Assurance! (Pt 3)

Blessed Assurance Part 3: Obeying & Loving God’s Word, Knowing the Truth

Through the first two devotions, we have revealed several ways to know we are saved. Just to review; Satanic Attacks, Scriptural Assurance, and The Holy Spirit’s Ministry, and Answered Prayer, helped us to understand that signs of these in our lives should be clues of our salvation. In this devotion we will discover two more unique ways to know that we are saved. They are “Obeying and Loving God’s Word”, and “Knowing the Truth”.

Obeying and Loving God’s Word

There are many scriptural references on obeying and loving God’s word. In both the old and new testaments, we see how Obeying God’s Word is our source for instruction and guidance. We need only to make a stop in Psalm 119 to find wonderful references to Loving God’s Word and the benefits it gives us in our lives. As we study these passages, we begin to understand how it correlates to knowing that we are saved.

Obeying God’s Word

As children of God, that is those of us who proclaim Him as Lord, believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus is our savior and Lord of our lives (Romans 10:9-13), we are given a strong desire to obey His commands.

God’s word is essential in understanding the value in keeping His word. We see this in Psalm 19:9-11: “Moreover, by them Your servant is warned [reminded, illuminated, and instructed]; In keeping them there is great reward.” If you have a strong desire to obey His commands (John 14:15), that is another indication you are saved. The strong desire to obey, understanding its value and keeping His commands are more ways for us to have assurance of our salvation.

Here are some scripture references that you can look up in your study to help you understand how important it is for believers to obey God’s word.
Refs: Hebrews 4:12, Deuteronomy 11:1, 2 John 1:6, Luke 11:28, James 1:25

• Loving God’s Word

Do you love to read God’s word? Do you feel a sense of loss if you miss that opportunity on days that you couldn’t get to reading / studying it? Does your heart long for the opportunity to allow God to speak to you when you miss your quiet time? As we read parts of Psalm 119, I’m going to quote several passages that are specific to our study today. When you read it, ask yourself if you have those same desires that the author (King David) had.
Do you delight, love and meditate? (vs 47-48)
Do you seek Him with all your heart? (vs 10)
Are His words more important that money or possessions? (vs 72)
Are His words “sweet to your taste”? (vs 103)
There are multiple verses (see below) that talk about the “delight in obeying God’s Laws”. (Psalm 119: 14-16, 24, 35, 70, 77, 92, 167, 143, 174)

If you can answer YES to the questions above and you see yourself proclaiming the same delight as the Psalmist does, you are saved! This is a wonderful gift that God has given you; THANK HIM!

Knowing The Truth!

The scriptures show us that if we Know the Truth, we can know we are saved. The world (the unsaved), thinks as unsaved people would naturally, and we should not be surprised. But we are of God and He listens to us because we are His (1 John 4:5-6). When Thomas asked Jesus the way to heaven, Jesus replies that, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6 ). Later on in the book of John, Jesus prays for his disciples and all that are to follow in John 17:17 that God would sanctify them with truth as God’s word is truth! For those who believe in Christ, John 8:23 says “You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” As a Christian you should understand the word, and be able to handle it accurately (2 Timothy 4:2) So if you know the truth, you should KNOW that you are saved! Here is yet more proof of your relationship with Christ is firm.

A strong desire to love and obey God’s word, knowing the truth of His words, and being able to apply them to your life are clear indications that God has saved you and you can be secure in your relationship with Him!

In our next devotion we will add two more assurances that we are saved. We will see how “Hating Sin” and “Loving Other Christians” are indications of our salvation.

Blessed Assurance! (Pt 2)

Blessed Assurance Part 2: The Holy Spirit’s Ministry, Answered Prayer

In this series on assurance we have seen how the bible defines salvation. We found the first of several ways to understand how insecurity can creep into our relationship with Christ and attack our security. We’ve learned that “Spiritual Warfare” and “Scriptural Assurance” are two ways that we can know we are in fact God’s children. We have seen, using many scriptures, how those interact and again point to the sovereignty of God and His great love for us. Today, I’d like to dig into the next couple of ways that we can know that we are saved. “The Holy Spirit’s Ministry” and “Answered Prayer”, are distinct and clear ways of knowing without a doubt whose we are!

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry

As a believer, you know who the Holy Spirit is and many things about Him. You know that He was given to us as believers (1 John 4:13). As we look together into how He works in our lives, we will see how evidences of His ministry assures us of our salvation.

So let’s look at a few of His ministries towards us.
• Intimate fellowship with God
(Galatians 4:6): As believers, His Spirit draws us to Himself and comforts us as His dear children. Think of your dearest and closest friend here on this earth. That person who knows you best and cares for you no matter what happens. As close as that relationship is, a Christian’s relationship with God can be even deeper. Find comfort in knowing He has you and you are secure in Him.
Compelled to praise! (Ephesians 5:19): Do you feel the need to just cry out in praise to the Father? The filling of the Spirit produces that praise in you. In my life I find that I can’t help but shout to the Lord and glorify Him! There’s a song by Chris Tomlin called “You and I were made to worship“. I’d suggest that you listen to that song and know that if everything cries out from you – that is another sign of your salvation. Those who don’t love Him, can’t do that, nor do they want to.
Showing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) Are you seeing these in your life? If you look at the previous points here in this section, you can see other fruits as well. Do you feel compelled to pray and meditate on His words or sing out in praise? Those too are ways to draw nearer to Him in fellowship. These are more ways that He shows you that you are His!
Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-13): A partial quote is here: 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” As a new or older Christian you may not yet have discovered your gift from the Spirit. If you don’t see the gifts above, remember that there are a “variety of gifts, but the same Spirit”. If you are saved, you have a desire to know what God has equipped you with and you can easily find it. I would suggest that you start out by asking God to reveal it to you. He WILL! There are several websites that will guide you through the process. Here is one suggestion: Spiritual Gifts Test (It is free and confidential. At the end they will give you a detailed report based upon your answers. They will also ask you to create a login; go ahead as I believe that it is well worth it.)
Only through His Spirit you can say “Jesus is [my] Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:3 AMP): If you believe in your heart – and have confessed Him as Lord of your life, you are saved. Trust in Him and trust in the decision you made to follow Him! You will never regret it if you are saved!

“Let the Holy Spirit’s work in your life dispel the dark shadows of doubt1.”

Answered Prayer

It has been answered by evangelists and pastors for years when asked if God answered prayers, that He answers either “yes”, “no”, or “not now”. Whatever the answer to your prayer is, you got an answer to your prayer! So as we ponder answers to our prayers, let’s start with where our heart is when first approaching God with our request. Remembering at all times that God is faithful to His word. He says that if we are righteous before Him, our prayer to Him can accomplish much (James 5:16).

Inward or Outward?

When you begin to pray for a certain situation or event that is upcoming in your life, ask yourself what is the motivation? Are we asking things that are pleasing to Him (1 John 3:22), or are your motives driven by your own desires? I would encourage you to read 1 John 5:14-15. Here we are reminded that if we believe in the name of the Son of God, we are saved. Since we are saved we can come before Him confidently if we ask according to His will.

Let’s ask some more questions!

As we’ve now focused on what God’s will is in our prayer life, let’s look a little deeper and see where he has answered us! If we reflect on several questions, we can see just how God does answer prayer. 2For example: “Have you prayed for someones difficult situation and seen God turn it around to one of joy and blessing? Have you seen an unsaved person you’ve prayed for come to Christ? Has God filled a void in your life that you prayed that He would? Have you prayed for boldness in proclaiming the gospel and seen God working through you? Have you known forgiveness and a clear conscience after you’ve prayed to that end?”

How about other areas in your life? If you think on those things, you will see where God answered your prayers. Have you thanked Him for saying “no” when you came to realize what a horrible mistake it could have been if yes was the answer? Have you seen where only God could have accomplished something in your life? Have you ever stopped and said “Wow, that’s definitely a God Thing”? If you can truly answer “YES” to any of those questions, you most certainly are saved! Have confidence dear brother or sister.

In this section of our study, we have learned that the Holy Spirit’s Ministry and Answered Prayers in our lives will help us gain confidence in our salvation. We see again where the scriptures point us to security in Christ. The next attributes of assurance will be: “Obeying and Loving Gods Word” and “Knowing the Truth”!

References: 1,2From “Strength For Today” by Dr John MacArthur