A Year of Grace

365 Days of Grace From God's Word

Joy Filled Life!  

Psalm 1 – Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.

4 But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction. (NLT)

Today we consider the very first Psalm, which many scholars believe to be a preface or introduction to the entire Book of Psalms.  I have used the New Living Translation, but many may be familiar with other translations.  Verse one is often translated as: “Blessed is the man.” I like the NLT for this psalm.  The word translated as blessed is plural in the Hebrew.  The word is used to describe that which is produced in our lives by living a godly life.  A godly life is a blessing, no doubt, but I believe those who are blessed by living a godly life know joys that others often overlook.

From the very first chapters of the Bible, and throughout, we know that God created us to have a relationship with God.  A relationship with God creates many blessings which produces great joy.  God created us to be happy and joy filled!  Indeed, the New Testament is filled with verses that speak of this joyful relationship.  Consider just a couple of those passages: For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17); Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8); our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. (1 John 1:3-4).

Perhaps, one of the best known verses that speaks of this joy comes from Paul’s letter to the Galatians: the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).  Verses two and three of Psalm 1 tell us that we will produce this fruit in our lives if God is our delight.

Today, let us delight in the joy filled relationship that God desires with us.  Let us meditate on God’s Word, and be joyful!

Posted by Ramón Torres

Choose Your Words Wisely

James 3:1 – Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.

But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. (NLT)

The Book of James is a wonderful biblical book for exploring practical ways to live out the faith we have in a Triune God.  While James begins this section speaking about teachers in the church, the Word of God speaks to all Christians.  In this passage, James speaks about the words we use.  Verse ten is powerful: “And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”

It saddens me when I hear the way some Christians speak to and of one another.  I have always believed that the words we use speak volumes about our relationship with God.  If we are nurturing our relationship with God, it will change our words!  My father used to tell me: “If you can’t improve on the silence, don’t break it.”  I believe this is good advice.  It is often those closest to us that receive the brunt of our cutting words, especially when spoken out of anger.  Ephesians 4:31 tells us to get rid of rage, anger, and all harsh words.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:3 – “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”  When we are quick to see faults in others, but have not gotten rid of harsh words spoken in anger, we have a log in our eye!

I mentioned earlier about faith in our Triune God.  Remember, God is available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit.  In John 14:17, Jesus promises us that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth.  In John 14:26, Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us and remind us of all we need to know.  Let us seek the power of the Holy Spirit, asking the Spirit to help us choose our words wisely.

Today, let us allow others to see Jesus by the way we speak.  Let us not speak words that tear down, instead let our words truly encourage and strengthen one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11). 

Posted by Ramón Torres


John 13:1 – Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. 2 It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, 5 and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.  6 When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  7 Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”  8 “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”    Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”  9 Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”  10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them. (NLT)

Today we encounter a powerful passage of Scripture.  Much has been said and written about this passage, so let us consider just a couple of things.  First, it is important to note that foot washing was a task reserved for the lowest ranking servant in a household.  Of course, many households did not have servants, but everyone present would have known how humbling this was for anyone to perform, much less their Messiah!

When I consider that Jesus was God in the flesh, I realize that every moment of his earthly life was humble servanthood.  Whatever heaven is like, to come to earth in any fashion, much less as a poor peasant, is a powerfully humbling thing!

Secondly, let us consider what Jesus says in verses fourteen and fifteen.  Jesus tells us that we have been given an example to follow, and that we ought to wash each other’s feet.  Some Christian groups make foot washing an ordinance of their church.  I see nothing wrong with the ordinance of foot washing and have experienced the power of such services.  However, I read more into Jesus’ words than just washing of another’s feet.  By washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus shows us that there is nothing too low for a servant.  As Christians, we are all called to be servants – servants to one another, and servants to the world.  

How powerful our witness for Jesus would be if we lived as humbly as Jesus calls for us to live!  How different would the world be if Christians this day truly lived a life defined by humble servanthood? 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Secure in Whose we are

Mark 12:35 – Later, as Jesus was teaching the people in the Temple, he asked, “Why do the teachers of religious law claim that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 For David himself, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’

37 Since David himself called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with great delight.

38 Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. 39 And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.” (NLT)

Shortly before this reading took place, Jesus had arrived in Jerusalem.  As he entered into the city, he was hailed as the ‘Son of David’ by the crowds (Matthew 21:9).  This was a title for the Messiah, and it caused quite a stir among the religious and civil leaders.  Jesus quotes from Psalm 110, and asks how David’s Lord could also be David’s son.  Because Jesus silenced the teachers, the crowd was pleased!  Several theories have been offered as to why they did not answer Jesus, but it basically comes down to the fact that they did not understand the nature of the Messiah.  They looked for a political and military messiah, Jesus was/is a divine messiah – sent from God, indeed, God in the flesh!

Immediately following this short story, we have another story about the religious teachers.  It is not by accident that these two short stories are given together in this passage.  The first story teaches us that our Lord is above all others.  None come above Jesus.  The second story, of the religious leaders parading around, teaches us that many people like to appear as if they are above others.  Jesus, who truly was above all others, lived humbly and never used his true position for any worldly gain.  The religious leaders, who were just people like anyone else, used their positions for any gain they could receive. 

This teaches us that we must strive for humility.  Jesus had no need to appear more important than anyone else because Jesus was secure in who he was, and he was secure in his place in eternity.  We were created for much more than life here and now.  When we find security in who we are, and in whose we are, the need to appear to be more than what we are will disappear.

Today, let us celebrate whose we are, and what we were created for! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Willing to Follow

Romans 1:8 – Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. 9 God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son.

10 One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. 11 For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. 12 When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

13 I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now. I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. 14 For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. 15 So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. (NLT) 

In today’s reading, we encounter the burning desire that the Apostle Paul has to reach all people with the message of Jesus Christ.  In verse thirteen, Paul states that he had wanted to visit the church in Rome so that he could work among them.  The work that he had planned was to reach out to those who did not know Jesus.  This becomes clear in verse fourteen, where Paul writes that he has an obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world.  As in some translations, and in the original Greek, Paul writes: I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians (NKJV).  To the Greeks, anyone who was not a Greek was a barbarian.  So, Paul is not implying that any people were inferior, rather he is simply using the language of that day.  Nonetheless, we can see that Paul was willing to share the Gospel message with anyone, and everyone. 

Paul also states in verse thirteen that he had been prevented from visiting the church in Rome.  Paul was not saying that people or governments prevented this, but that he was divinely prevented.  We catch more of this thought in Acts 16:6 – “Next Paul and Silas traveled through the area of Phrygia and Galatia, because the Holy Spirit had prevented them from preaching the word in the province of Asia at that time. 7 Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there. 8 So instead, they went on through Mysia to the seaport of Troas.” Paul shared the Gospel message with all that he could, but he followed the Holy Spirit’s guidance as to where and with whom.  Likewise, when we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us, we will be led right to the person(s) with whom God wants us to share the message of Jesus.

I pray that each of us will allow the Holy Spirit to guide us.  As with Paul, it may not where we had planned.  I pray that we would be willing to set our plans aside when they are outside of God’s plan.  If we are willing to follow the Holy Spirit, there is someone this very day that we will have the opportunity to share the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ.   

Let’s be willing to follow the Spirit’s lead!   

Posted by Ramón Torres 

Good News, But Who Will Share? 

Romans 10:5 – For Moses writes that the law’s way of making a person right with God requires obedience to all of its commands. 6 But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven’ (to bring Christ down to earth). 7 And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” 8 In fact, it says,

“The message is very close at hand;
it is on your lips and in your heart.”

And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: 9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (NLT)

In this passage, Paul writes about saving faith – a faith that makes us right with God.  We should note that in this letter, Paul has already stated that it was impossible to be made right with God by keeping the law, because it was impossible to keep the law.  Romans 4:15 – “For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!”  So, that pretty much leaves out the keeping law as a way of being right with God! 

In verses six through eight, Paul is referring to Deuteronomy 30:11-14, and he adds his own commentary, which may be in parentheses in your Bible.  Romans 10:6 – “But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven’ (to bring Christ down to earth). 7 And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” Paul was stating that it should be obvious that we cannot go up to heaven, or go to the place of the dead, and return. The point here is that human works cannot obtain salvation. 

Paul then makes it clear that it is faith in what Jesus has done for us that makes us right with God.  Romans 10:9 – “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.”  We must understand that Paul is not separating believing and confessing.  Translating the Greek syntax makes it appear so to us – but we could also translate verse ten as: “For one believes with their heart and confesses with their lips and is justified and saved.”  We don’t have a two step process here.  Believing with your heart and confessing with your mouth need to go hand in hand. 

The message of salvation, of being made right with God, is Good News, but it is too good of news to keep to ourselves!  Because it is too good to keep to ourselves, Paul ends this passage with a call to being a witness.  No one can believe and be right with God if they have not heard, and they will not hear unless someone tells them.  Many Christians live under the assumption that everyone in our country knows this good news, but that is not the case.  Many people believe that Christians worship a God that wants to condemn people.  We need to share that God is loving, and that God does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:9). 

Today, let us share this Good News so that others may know and come to believe! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

More Difficult Than Paying Taxes? 

Mark 12:13 – Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. 14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? 15 Should we pay, or shouldn’t we?”

But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16 They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

17 Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  And they were amazed at him. (NLT)

In today’s passage, we have two groups that opposed each other coming together to confront Jesus. The Pharisees generally opposed Roman rule, while the Herodians, a political group, cooperated with Rome.  Perhaps they wanted Jesus to settle their disagreement.  We don’t know for sure, but the word ‘catch’ in verse thirteen implied an attempt by both groups to trap Jesus.

What I find to be so powerful about Jesus’ answer has nothing to do with paying taxes, and everything with being a Christian.  Jesus said to give to God what is God’s.  What exactly belongs to God? Everything!  Most importantly, for we who call God ‘our God’, our very lives belong to God.  God’s Word tells us: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

As Christians, we are not to live for ourselves.  Indeed, Jesus told us that if we try to live for ourselves, we will only lose our life.  Only in giving up living for ourselves can we discover life. (John 12:25).

Chris Tomlin had a popular song a few years back entitled, “You Are My King.”  A beautiful song!  In this song we find these words: “It’s my joy to honor you. In all I do I honor you.”  Today, let us honor God in all that we do, in all that we say, in all that we think.  Let us give back to God what belongs to God. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

Fan or Follower?  

Mark 10:46 – Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  48 “Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him.  But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  49 When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you!” 50 Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  “My rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”   52 And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road. (NLT)

Today we have two lessons in one from this familiar, but powerful, passage of Scripture.  First, let’s consider the crowds who came out to see Jesus.  While we are told that they followed Jesus, I believe that for many it was nothing more than curiosity.  If they really ‘followed’ Jesus, then they would have done everything they could have done to get Bartimaeus to Jesus.  In Mark, chapter two, we are told of some ‘followers’ of Jesus who were so determined to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus that they dug a hole in the roof and lowered their friend to him (Mark 2:4).  In this passage, we are told that the followers of Jesus yelled at Bartimaeus, telling him to be quiet.  In other words, they came to see Jesus, not to be bothered with someone who was in need.

I believe that when Christians refuse to be bothered by others in need, we are more blind than Bartimaeus!  When we refuse to recognize the human need that surrounds us, we are no longer ‘following’ Jesus.  When we fail to see that serving others is serving God, we have become merely a fan of Jesus, not a follower. 

The second lesson – do you find it just a bit curious that Jesus asks Bartimaeus what he wanted Jesus to do for him!  I mean, come on Jesus, he’s blind!  Yet, Jesus asks for a reason.  If we would truly see as Jesus would have us see, then our lives would radically change.  Jesus does give Bartimaeus his sight, and note what Bartimaeus does: “Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.” I’ve often wondered just how far down that road Bartimaeus followed.  Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, and to the cross.  Did Bartimaeus follow him all the way to the cross?  In my mind I like to picture Bartimaeus bringing all the blind and sick people he could find to Jesus.  I like to picture him actually ‘following’ Jesus, and not behaving as the crowd in Jericho.

I don’t know how far Bartimaeus followed Jesus, but I do know how far Jesus wants us to follow.  Jesus wants us to follow all the way to the cross, the place where we crucify our worldly desires.  Jesus wants us to bring to him all who are in need.  Jesus does not want us to be a fan of his, but rather a follower.

Today, let’s follow Jesus!  Today, let’s truly see who needs to be seen.  Today, let’s bring others to Jesus. 

Posted by Ramón Torres

We All Have Jesus

Acts 23:1 – Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” 2 At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. 3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourself violate the law by commanding that I be struck!”

4 Those who were standing near Paul said, “How dare you insult God’s high priest!”

5 Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.’”

6 Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, descended from Pharisees. I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.” 7 When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees believe all these things.)

9 There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously. “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said. “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” 10 The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.

11 The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (NLT)

In today’s passage we have some tense drama! Paul had been brought before the ruling council of the Jewish faith.  Remember, Paul remained a Jew his entire life.  In the early years of Christianity, Jews and Christians had yet to become separated into two distinct groups.  Paul was a great missionary, but his mission work was primarily to the non-Jewish people.  Bringing in different cultures was bad enough for some of the rulers, but Paul was also advocating that one did not have to adhere to the Jewish dietary laws, not to mention his radical teachings on the law itself.  This did not set well with many of the Jewish leaders.

So, here is Paul before the council, and things do not look good.  Paul surveys the crowd and recognizes that it was comprised of both Sadducees and Pharisees.  Paul capitalizes on the division that he knows exists.  He knew that the two groups were divided on the subject of life after death.  He makes one statement, and with that statement disorder breaks out: “I stand on trial because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead.”  Paul did not even mention Jesus, he did not even mention anything about whether or not one had to keep the law.  He simply mentioned a hot topic amongst the Jews, and division ruled.

While this may have been was a stroke of genius for Paul (or perhaps he was led by the Holy Spirit), I believe that when it comes to various hot topics, many Christians act in the same manner as the Jewish leaders. How many Christians cannot get past one issue without disorder reigning?  Consider some of the things that Christians have allowed to divide us: baptism, communion, ordination, style of music, biblical translations, the death penalty, sexuality, and the list goes on and on.  Like the Jews that Paul stood before, chaos could reign with the mention of any one of these topics, and quite possibly no one would even mention Jesus.

We have differences, each of us, but we all have Jesus.  Our task as Christians is not to make everyone think just as we think.  When we try, nobody wins, and everybody loses.  Our task is to model Christ, for that is the definition of Christian.  That does not mean that Christians cannot discuss amongst themselves their convictions, but it does mean that we must see beyond our differences.

Today, let us show others the Christ that lives within us.  For the sake of a hurting world, let us not argue our faith, but rather live it.

Posted by Ramón Torres

God’s Blessings

Psalm 107:33 – He changes rivers into deserts,
and springs of water into dry, thirsty land.
34 He turns the fruitful land into salty wastelands,
because of the wickedness of those who live there.
35 But he also turns deserts into pools of water,
the dry land into springs of water.
36 He brings the hungry to settle there
and to build their cities.
37 They sow their fields, plant their vineyards,
and harvest their bumper crops.
38 How he blesses them!
They raise large families there,
and their herds of livestock increase.

39 When they decrease in number and become impoverished
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40 the Lord pours contempt on their princes,
causing them to wander in trackless wastelands.
41 But he rescues the poor from trouble
and increases their families like flocks of sheep.
42 The godly will see these things and be glad,
while the wicked are struck silent.
43 Those who are wise will take all this to heart;
they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord. (NLT) 

Does God bring hardships upon those who do not follow God’s ways? Do those who lead a godly life prosper?  These are questions people have wondered about since the dawn of time.  I do not believe in a prosperity Gospel.  If it were true that God blesses those who follow God’s ways in a material way, then why are there so many poor yet godly people in the world?  However, when one reads a text such as the one above, the question remains: does God allow the godly to prosper?

Yes, God does prosper the godly! We must ask ourselves, however, what do we mean by prosper?  In this psalm, as in many others, we read about the godly having bumper crops, large herds of livestock, and large families.  In light of this text, consider the words of Jesus: “God gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 5:45).  How can we reconcile the words of Jesus with a passage such as the one above?

We need to consider the entire work of the Bible, and refrain from the temptation of pulling certain texts out context.  When I try to reconcile verses that speak of only the godly being blessed with Matthew 5:45, I consider what Jesus tells us in John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God does bless the godly, and God blesses them with life to the full! 

When we seek God in our daily lives, we find a fullness of life that the world cannot give.  When we do not live a godly life, we seek fullness of life in what the world offers, and that will always leave us frustrated and seeking even more from the world.  Jesus said: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.” (John 14:27).  When we follow God in our daily lives, we will find that what we once thought were deserts have been turned into pools of water, and the dry places of our lives into springs of water (verse 35). 

Verse forty two tells us: “The godly will see these things and be glad.” Let us walk with God in our daily lives so that we, too, will see the blessings we have been given, and be glad! 

Posted by Ramón Torres

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