A Merry Heart (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Often we hear it said that it is best to not talk about religion, however, I do not agree with that statement, for when God lives in our hearts and we talk about the truth that is in our hearts and in our thinking, then “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). The outpouring of our inner joy composes a merry heart that becomes personally inspiring from within, and harmonizes our lives to God’s very nature (II Peter 1:4). When we Christians allow “the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord” into our minds and hearts, we cannot help but share the treasures of God’s lovingkindness towards us, and of His “grace and peace,” which has been “multiplied” in our lives, as this tenders a merry heart in believers.

II Peter 1:2:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

This knowledge compels us to thoroughly enjoy a merry heart as we speak of the graces of God. Another wonderful verse of Scripture is, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). When God comes into our lives and we begin thinking His Word, we literally become what His Word says we are, “Keep {or guard} thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The issues of life are those thoughts that define you as a person: for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (and you and me).

Nevertheless, if we cannot talk about the inner joy we have experienced in God’s Word, then we might unintentionally begin to suppress what we have received and felt in our hearts from knowing our Savior’s love for us. “He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15). The continual feast is the enjoyment of life to its fullest, walking hand in hand with God, with our Savior, and with fellow believers, so, on with the festivities!

Proverbs 27:19:
As in water face answereth to face {gives a reflection}, so the heart of man {reflects what is in the heart} to man.

Paul said of Jesus “he cannot deny himself” (II Timothy 2:13); Jesus never denied who he was to anyone or what he believed, rather he lived with confidence in who he was, and he is our example (Philippians 2:5). We have the God-given privilege to believe and to conduct ourselves as those who have allowed Jesus Christ and God along with their joy into our hearts.

II Corinthians 5:20:
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech {call} you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

We are ambassadors for Christ, regardless of whether or not we ever share God’s Word with anyone. It is true that at certain times it may be inappropriate to share God’s Word, for instance, when we are being paid to work; however, there are times when it is appropriate to talk about God’s wonderful Word with our families, friends, and acquaintances. Besides, everyone else is speaking up to tell us what they think and believe, while what we Christians think and believe is in regard to the salvation of our souls and our being reconciled to God and that we are in Christ’s stead ─ these are certainly things worthy to speak up about while we fulfill our calling.

King David in Psalms 16:9 wrote: “my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth” as he spoke of his coming Savior. Knowing and speaking of Christ causes our hearts to greatly rejoice, and a glad heart comes to us by speaking about the accomplishments of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Witnessing to others that Jesus died for our sins (and theirs also), that he was resurrected and seated at the right hand of God, that he is returning for us at some future moment to take us home, surely causes one to experience and enjoy a merry heart.

Today, so many believers feel hesitant to even acknowledge that they are Christians when an appropriate time to speak the Word presents itself. Often believers feel guilty by association because they see other Christians behaving incorrectly or hear unbelievers make fun of religion or of God’s people and so many Christians do not speak up. We are not in God’s secret service wherein we hide the joy of our hearts from the world around us until we arrive in church on Sunday morning, but we are in God’s family, with God-given permission to speak and conduct our lives as the ambassadors of Christ. This is our heavenly commission!

When Christians suppress godly issues of the heart, Christianity becomes more of a subculture rather than mainstream. God’s wholesome Word shines in our hearts and this we can speak about with God-given authority (Philippians 2:16).

Life’s spiritual principles and gifts are evidenced by receiving and giving, but if a Christian believer begins to suppress the free course of God’s Word, the receiving end of his or her life can become limited ─ stifled even. Nothing on this earth can quench a believer’s merry heart more than inaction to the truths he has learned and believed from within the Scriptures to be true. Jesus Christ has made us free (Galatians 5:1), and has given us many reasons to enjoy a merry heart, including eternal life (I John 5:10-11).

Proverbs 15:13:
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance {makes one glow with excitement}: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22:
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

To genuinely experience God and our Savior’s presence, let us seek to enjoy the benefits of having and maintaining a merry heart. Presently in grace, we have and enjoy a union with our heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, giving us every reason to experience the heavenly panacea that comes into our inner souls from the Physician of the human heart ─ Jesus Christ.

We can invite God’s healing Word into our homes and fellowship with Him around the accomplishments of Jesus Christ for us, as we bask in the love of God. We may then reach out to other people who come across our paths with the words of life that have been so graciously given to us. In Isaiah 55:11, we read “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” You see, when we speak of God’s Word, of His love, of His grace, and of our salvation, He will prosper and watch over those words that we have placed into our hearts to speak so that we may be assured of speaking words that will reach out with prosperous blessings to others who then also receive a merry heart.

True, some may shoot the breeze just to kill time, but we Christians can share the Word of life from our merry hearts and actually lead someone into eternal life, because when we speak the words of God, we are never alone, for Christ the Lord works within us to confirm the Word we speak.

Mark 16:20:
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.

Just in knowing that Christ the Lord works with us gives us every reason to radiate a merry heart, especially when we realize that he confirms the Word we speak. Now, what are the signs that follow? This can be something different for every believer; it is a personal blessing for talking in Christ’s stead, and God will become your “sufficiency” in this life as II Corinthians 9:8 promises, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, {so that you} may abound to every good work.”

Acts 14:3:
Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Philippians 2:16 reads, “Holding forth the word of life” for it is God’s Words that give us purpose, reason, and vitality (and also offers these benefits to those to whom we speak), and provides us with all the spiritual treasures needed to enjoy our lives with a merry heart.

“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.” ~Celia Thaxter~

“If we have the opportunity to be generous with our hearts, ourselves, we have no idea of the depth and breadth of love’s reach.” ~Margaret Cho~

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” ~Helen Keller~

“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.” ~Washington Irving~

“God has two dwellings: one in heaven, and the other in a meek and thankful heart.” ~Izaak Walton~

A Merry Heart (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Often we hear the phrase “you cannot talk about religion and politics.” However, I do not believe this is a true statement, for when God lives in our hearts, then “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). It does not really matter what people say we should not talk about when the truth is in our hearts, and in our thinking. And as we allow God into our lives we cannot help but share the treasures of His lovingkindness towards us, and of His graces of which we are partaking. Another wonderful verse of Scripture is “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).

When God comes into our lives and we began thinking His Word, we literally become what His Word says we are. Nevertheless, if we cannot talk about the inner joy we have in God, then we could unintentionally begin to suppress the inner joy we have in our Savior, and with God’s healing Word.  Paul said of Jesus “he cannot deny himself” (II Timothy 2:13), Jesus never denied who he was to anyone or what he believed, rather he lived with confidence in who he was, and he is our example. We have the God-given privilege to believe and to conduct ourselves as those who have allowed Him into our lives and hearts.

II Corinthians 5:20 – Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech {call} you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

We are ambassadors for Christ, regardless of whether or not we ever share God’s Word with anyone. It is true, that at certain times it may not be appropriate to share God’s Word, like when we are being paid to work, however, there are plenty of times when it is appropriate to share God’s Word with our families, friends, and acquaintances.

Today so many believers feel hesitant to even acknowledge that they are Christians for so many reasons, one being that some feel guilty by association when they hear of another Christian behaving incorrectly and unjustly project this attitude of guilt upon themselves. If we heard about a bad doctor, do we stop going, or do all the doctors stop receiving patients? No! Neither should believers. We are not in God’s secret service, but in His family, with God-given permission to speak and conduct our lives as the ambassadors of Christ. This is our heavenly commission.  When Christians suppress godly issues of the heart, Christianity becomes more of a subculture rather than mainstream.  Life’s greater principles are evidenced by receiving and giving, but if a Christian believer begins to suppress the free course of God’s Word, the receiving end of his life can become limited. God through Jesus Christ has made us free, and has given us many reasons to enjoy a merry heart.

Proverbs 15:13 – A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance {makes one glow with excitement}: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22 – A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

To genuinely experience God and our Savior’s presence, let us seek to enjoy the benefits of having a merry heart, having a union with our heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. We can invite God’s healing Word into our homes and fellowship with Him around the accomplishments of Jesus Christ for us, as we with our families bask in the love of God. We may then reach out to other people who come across our paths with the words of life that are graciously given to us from the written word of our Father of Lights.

Philippians 2:16 records, “Holding forth the word of life” for it is the Word of life that gives us purpose, reason, and vitality, and the Word of life gives us all the spiritual treasures to enjoy our lives with a merry heart.

The Knowledge of Christ (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Once there was a man who hated Christians. He persecuted them at every opportunity; he put them into prison, and gave his vote to have them executed by stoning them to death. He carried written permission from the leaders of his day to go anywhere, into any home, and forcefully drag out men and women and take them to jail. From the depths of his heart he loved God, and walked faithfully and blameless before others who believed in his religion and he somehow did this with a clear conscience. Yet he was a very religious man who prayed and worshiped the same God we pray and worship. He believed in his heart that the Christian movement came from the pits of hell.

I have no doubt that I would not allow him into my home or around my friends because his very presence could mean death. He thought in his heart that he was a great believer and that he was doing the right things before his God as he personally anticipated the coming of the Redeemer.

This man lived in the first century as a Pharisee, he had the best schooling that money could buy. He also had the right credentials as he sat under the greatest, first century teacher of the Old Testament Scriptures, named Gamaliel (Acts 5:34, Acts 22:3), and he was one of Gamaliel’s favorite pupils. This man was Saul, also known in the Scriptures as Paul (the difference in the two names is that Saul comes from the Hebrew spelling, while Paul is from the Greek).

Acts 22:4 – And I {Paul} persecuted this way {this way represented the followers of Jesus Christ who was, is, and shall always be “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6} unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

I Timothy 1:12-13:
-12: And I {Paul} thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
-13: Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious {an insulter}: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Ignorantly in unbelief means that Paul did not have the right information to believe correctly, even with all his religious training in the Scriptures which foretell and announce the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul completely missed the truths in the Scriptures that reveal Jesus Christ to be the promised Redeemer and the Savior of humanity.

One day when Paul was on the road to Damascus he, for the first time in his life met Jesus Christ, and as we know from the Scriptures, Paul had an immediate change of mind and heart, because he for the first time in his life saw the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Paul in Acts 9:5 “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” Can you imagine?

Personally — if I were Paul — this meeting would have given me a heart attack! Yet, Paul recognized the error of his ways, changed his mind, and he became one of the greatest believers this world has ever known, he received perhaps more revelation and inspiration than any man or woman has received in all of history.

The great Apostle Paul from that day forward dedicated his life to teaching and showing others the depths of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. Paul helped believers receive an understanding of the healing Word by preaching Jesus Christ, who in turn reveals the righteousness of God to our inner hearts, as His Word continues blessing our lives with spiritual truth.

Philippians 3:8-9:
-8: Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered {or allowed} the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ {there is nothing as precious as learning about Christ},
-9: And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

Discovering our Lord and Savior in the Word of God is a rewarding adventure in this life as Jesus said, the Scriptures testify of me (John 5:39). It is Jesus who opens up our understanding to the Word of God, so with him the words in the Word begin making perfect sense. Luke wrote: ”Then opened he {Jesus} their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45).

II Peter 1:2:
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

Grace and peace is something we may expect to receive simply by going to our Bibles and looking for the knowledge of Christ, who is according to I Corinthians 1:24, ”the power, and wisdom of God.”

Grace and peace being multiplied in the Apostle Paul’s heart is what changed his life around and presented to him great deliverance, and this will also bless us with the inner comfort of having grace and peace in our hearts through discovering the wondrous knowledge of Christ.

The Knowledge of Christ (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Once there was a man who hated Christians. He persecuted them at every opportunity, put them in into prison, and gave his vote to have them executed by stoning them to death. He carried written permission from the leaders of his day to go anywhere, into any home, and forcefully drag out men and women and take them to jail. From the depths of his heart he loved God, and walked faithfully and blameless before others who believed in his religion and he somehow did this with a clear conscience. He was a very religious man who prayed and worshiped the same God we pray and worship. He believed in his heart that the Christian movement came from the pits of hell. I have no doubt that I would not allow him into my home or around my friends because his very presence could mean death. He thought in his heart that he was a great believer and that he was doing the right things before his God as he personally anticipated the coming of the Redeemer. This man lived in the first century as a Pharisee, he had the best schooling that money could buy. He also had the right credentials as he sat under the greatest teacher of the Old Testament Scriptures (“Gamaliel” Acts 5:34; Acts 22:3), and he was one of Gamaliel’s favorite pupils. This man was Saul, also known in the Scriptures as Paul (the difference in the two names is that Saul comes from the Hebrew, while Paul is the Greek).

Acts 22:4 – And I {Paul} persecuted this way {“this way” represented the followers of Jesus Christ who was, is, and shall always be “the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6} unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

I Timothy 1:12-13:
-12:  And I {Paul} thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
-13:  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious {an insulter}: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

“Ignorantly in unbelief” means that Paul did not have the right information to believe correctly, even with all his religions training in the Scriptures which foretell and announce the coming of Christ, the promised Messiah. Paul completely missed the truths in the Scriptures that reveal Jesus Christ to be the promised Messiah, the Redeemer, and the Savior of humanity. One day when Paul was on the road to Damascus he, for the first time in his life, met Jesus Christ, and as we know, he had an immediate change of mind and heart, because Paul for the first time in his life saw (mentally perceived) the true spiritual realities of Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to Paul in Acts 9:5 “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest!” Can you imagine?

Personally – if I were Paul – this meeting would have given me a heart attack! Yet, Paul recognized the error of his ways, changed his mind, and he became one of the greatest believers this world has ever known, he received perhaps more revelation and inspiration than any man or woman has received in all of history. The great Apostle Paul from that day forward dedicated his life to teaching and showing others the depths of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. Paul helped believers receive an understanding of the healing Word by preaching Jesus Christ, who in turn reveals the righteousness of God to our inner hearts, as His Word continues blessing our lives with spiritual truth.

Philippians 3:8-9:
-8:  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered {allowed} the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ {there is nothing as precious as learning about Christ},
-9:  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

The Greater Love (Part One)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

This commandment of Jesus was first given back in the Gospel of John chapter 13:34-35, when he called it “the new commandment.” This new commandment is to love in a specific way, “as I have loved you.” Coming to know Jesus from the Scriptures is how we learn how he loved, for his love was and still is the love of God, and it is available today to love as Jesus loved.

John 15:13 – Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Jesus in explaining who has the love of God says “greater love hath no man.” The word “man” is the Greek word for “one,” for “no one” other than Jesus at this time in the Gospel of John had this greater love to apply and enjoy. This is why he said “But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you” (John 5:42). Then, Jesus says that it would take this greater love in order for him to lay down his life for his friends. Have you ever considered yourself as a friend of Jesus? Well he considers himself your friend! This greater love that Jesus was referring to is what is now available from God because of the sacrifice of Jesus laying down his life for us.

John 13:37-38:
-37: Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
-38: Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.

Peter was willing, he considered the task of dying for Jesus, yet Jesus knew that even with all the good intentions of Peter to want to help, if it meant dying, Peter would never be able to carry it through. Human (man’s own) love never really allows one to make that ultimate sacrifice for others. In war, of course it is a different story, for it is kill or be killed. However, Jesus obviously knew that Peter would not be able to lay down his life and would even deny him. No one had the spiritual love to carry out God’s will for the redemption of humanity other than Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Today, because of the ultimate sacrifice, crucifixion, and torture that Jesus endured we now have every right into all the love of God that Jesus displayed. I would like to close out this Bible byte by quoting from the Epistle of Romans.

Romans 5:6-8:
-6:  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
-7:  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
-8:  But God {who was in Christ, II Corinthians 5:19} commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.