HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly, following their advice, their plans and purposes, nor stands submissive and inactive in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down to relax and rest where the scornful and the mockers gather.
But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law, the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God, he habitually meditates ponders and studies by day and by night.
And he shall be like a tree firmly planted and tended by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper and come to maturity.
Not so the wicked, those disobedient and living without God are not so. But they are like the chaff, worthless, dead, without substance, which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked, those disobedient and living without God, shall not stand justified in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous, those who are upright and in right standing with God…
For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly those living outside God’s will shall perish…end in ruin and come to nought.
-Psalm 1 (Amplified Bible)
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit, that stops bearing, He cuts away, trims off, takes away; and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you, the teachings I have discussed with you.
Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. Live in Me, and I will live in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in, being vitally united to the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a broken-off branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.
If you live in Me, abide vitally united to Me and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
When you bear, produce much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
I have loved you, just as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love, continue in His love with Me.
If you keep My commandments, if you continue to obey My instructions, you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.
I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.
This is My commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you.
No one has greater love, no one has shown stronger affection, than to lay down, give up his own life for his friends.
You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.
-John 15:1-15 (Amplified)
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
-Galations 5:22-26, (NLT)
The Golden Rule
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
The Narrow Gate
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
The Tree and Its Fruit
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
-Matthew 7:12-23, (NLT)
God’s Mysterious Plan Revealed
When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.
And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.
God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.
Philippians 2:1-11 (New Living Translation)
Faith Brings Joy
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
-Romans 5:1-11, (NLT)
Have the Attitude of Christ
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
-Philippians 2:1-11, (NLT)
Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
-Ephesians 3, (NLT)