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~

The Word of God Is Quick and Powerful (The Shorter Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word “quick” means living and real, for the Word of God is alive, unlike the average book that simply contains information that usually becomes obsolete and/or outdated. In contrast, our God’s Word is living and becomes more renewed and concise in the hearts of our own understanding. The word “powerful” is the Greek word energees, and means powerful in its action and effectual in its operation; the English word for kinetic energy comes from energees. One way that Hebrews 4:12 could read is that “the Word of God is living energy,” because the words in the Scripture are the very life and essence of God Himself.

God’s Word is also sharper than any two-edged sword dividing between the soul and the spirit. Sometimes we confuse the soul and spirit, using them interchangeably, quite often thinking they are the same thing. However, the wonderful Word of God shows us a unique distinction, for whenever the word “soul” is used in the Bible it means our breath life (Genesis 2:7). We were born with soul, and when we take our last breath — our soul is gone. On the other hand, the spirit that we have is a gift created by God and given to us at the very moment of our salvation (Romans 8:15, II Corinthians 5:5). The spirit gives man eternal life. The soul gives man physical life. I am told that science has yet to distinguish between where the marrow of any joint ends and where the joint actually begins, and thus there is no scalpel that could sever the two parts perfectly. True or not, the Word is so sharp that it can distinguish the difference. After all, God should know, for He formed, made, and created the human body.

Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void {useless}, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Contrary to some very popular thought (and ignorance), God is not dead! God is real, and His Word is not only quick and powerful but it accomplishes everything that it says it will do. The wonderful Word, which came from the mouth of God, He sent and gave to us, and is priceless; for all Scripture is the inspiration of God. Remember Psalms 107:20a, He sent His Word and healed them. Thus, God’s Word will prosper us, for we are those who have received His healing Word. God’s Word is also “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The word “discerner” means that it critiques, and what the Word critiques is the heart. The “heart” in the Bible represents our innermost being, where we think and talk to ourselves. The word “thoughts” means our emotions, and the word “intents” means our ideas or notions.

Hebrews 4:12 shows that the living Word will critique the very thoughts and emotions that men and women have about God. The living Word itself critiques the very thoughts and emotions of our hearts (Ephesians 1:17–20), guiding us into deeper understandings and revelations of God Himself.
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God’s Merciful Grace!

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

One day we received an e-mail from a woman wanting to know what our thoughts were regarding two religious denominations. I wrote her back and explained that as a Christian, I always endeavor to look at believers from God’s point of view, as God always looks at the heart, and He always loves us (John 3:16). I try to see the best in people and I am very happy to know that people love God, rather than worrying about where someone may fellowship around God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Romans 12:9 encourages us to “Let love be without dissimulation {or without discrimination}.” The next day she e-mailed back and stated that I was perfectly correct, then for about three pages she explained the evils of those two denominations, and warned me about how devilish and sinful they were (in her opinion). We have not been given the privilege from God to be dispensing condemnation or His wrath (Romans 12:19). She became a judge over other people and wanted to hold onto her anger about other churches and people simply because they did not go to her church or believe and practice her denominational doctrines.

We should be so blessed that God called us individually to His gracious Word, and be happy for all of God’s children. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 10:16 “And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” It is futile to worry about what other people may think or believe; as someone once said, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” In other words, it is next to impossible to change someone’s mind when they believe in a certain way ― right or wrong.

We would be much better off being concerned and content that we ourselves walk with God and that He has mercy and grace on our souls rather than worrying and being negative about what other people may or may not believe. We Christians could be much kinder, happier, and gentler, Christ-like people if we were more concerned about ourselves rather than worrying about what our Christian neighbors might practice or think (Galatians 6:10). Besides, what other people practice and think is honestly between them and God, and we really do not know for certain what people think in the heart of their hearts as stated in I Corinthians 2:11.

I Corinthians 2:11:
For what man knoweth the things of a man, save {except} the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Only God knows for sure what is in the heart of man “for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee” (I Chronicles 28:9).

Romans 2:1 reads, “THEREFORE thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.” This verse is quite expressive in reflecting that one’s judgments will always and ultimately return back to those who assume to sit as judges over other people (not in the laws of the land, but in spiritual issues of the heart).

Matthew 12:36-37:
-36: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
-37: For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

God’s merciful grace can be discovered and enjoyed anywhere by anyone because wherever you are, so is God, and where other Christians are, so is God because He dwells in believers without discrimination. Recognizing this is acknowledging the immensity of God’s merciful grace upon our own lives because we have not always walked perfectly with God and followed His will completely. Yet God still loves us and He has loved and forgiven us for our faults just as His loving grace and forgiveness is upon others who love and walk with Him to the best of their abilities.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:1 “JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.” This is the instruction from our Savior, and he always spoke for God: “For I {Jesus} have given unto them the words which thou {God} gavest me; and they have received them” (John 17:8). So the question is: Have we received the words of God, have we believed them, are we judged or are we not judged? If we judge not, then the promise of God is that we are not judged. Let us follow Jesus’ teaching of God’s words about judgment in Matthew.

Matthew 7:1-5:
-1: JUDGE not, that ye be not judged.
-2: For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete {measure out}, it shall be measured to you again {“for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”― Galatians 6:7}.
-3: And why beholdest thou the mote {a tiny splinter of wood} that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
-4: Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
-5: Thou {would be a} hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

The beam and the mote are literally the same things with this one huge exception: the beam is like having a figurative “telephone pole” stuck in one’s eye causing one to not have good vision (nor comprehension in terms of judging others), as opposed to a fragment, a small mote that may be in someone else’s eye.

Just to judge for judgment sake and being critical of others is as Jesus said, hypocritical, and the same judgments will always return back to the giver. Jesus is teaching us that it is quite easy to find fault with others, especially when other’s faults are the same as our own (Romans 2:21-22). One of the great lessons in this teaching by Jesus is that as we get healed in our lives from our own faults when we are not judgmental, then we become truly able to, first forgive, and then help another walk with God without judging each other.

Proverbs 26:20:
Where no wood is {such as the beam or the mote}, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer (to murmur, whisper, backbite, slander), the strife ceaseth.

In the context of Jesus’ teaching, the lesson shows us that judging others is having a beam in our own eyes, but when one stops judging, then he or she will become healed from that temptation to judge. Ultimately, then one can begin to help others out of this same temptation of nitpicking away at people they may love or acquaintances or even others they may not even know personally, whether they are living in or out of their spheres of influence. Judging is always detrimental, for with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Psalms 15:1-3:
-1: LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?
-2: He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in {or from out of} his heart.
-3: He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

As we become conquerors over our own shortcomings, such as being judgmental, then with God’s help we may show fellow believers the true graces that God has bestowed upon us can also become theirs. This is when we “clearly see” God’s merciful grace upon our own lives when our focus is to bless and help our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Romans 12:18, and 14:19:
-18: If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
-14: Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify {build up} another.

God sees the motive behind thoughts and actions and He looks at His children with unconditional love and not on the underlying doctrines of establishments to judge one group more chosen or special or holier than He would another. No one group can stake claim to having a corner on all the truth; I do not know it all and neither does anyone else. It is when people think they know it all that they end up shutting all the doors of true outreach and forgiveness, for they will begin to imagine that everybody else is wrong except for themselves. The same thing happened to the Apostles back in the Gospels: “And John answered and said {to Jesus}, Master, we {the Apostles} saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us” (Luke 9:49).

The Apostles shunned someone who was not following their religious practices, so Jesus further instructs them to “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9:50). Sure, not every place teaches everything accurately and more than likely, some will teach things that you or I do not agree with. If someone loves God and is fellowshipping with other likeminded Christian believers, then praise the LORD, because He is blessed and so are they.

I have no doubt that most Christian people are motivated and inspired by God’s Word, love, and grace, and to think evil or less of others is a waste of time. If they are teaching God’s Word and the people are blessed to receive it; then praise God for their efforts (Philippians 1:15-18); Paul wrote, “For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (II Corinthians 13:8). In other words, “the Word of God is not bound” (II Timothy 2:9) because God’s Word is always liberating and will always build up the believers with grace when it is planted in the fertile ground of the human heart.

“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). God is all love and His Word encourages us to be followers of Him with and in His love, and not allow the temptation in our minds of judging others who also love God and who are, according to Jesus, “for us.”

Ephesians 5:1-2:
-1: BE ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
-2: And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.

If we are blessed in our place of worship, then praise God for our ministers, teachers, and fellow believers. However, if we are being beaten down over and again with condemnation and hell fire, and if they are teaching us to dislike other believers from other places, then perhaps we should look for a better place to fellowship.

I do believe that there are wonderful ministers, teachers, and preachers living in almost every community who would love nothing better than to teach you the Scriptures, who are inspired by God to encourage, strengthen, and build up their congregation in love. If we need to move on for spiritual nourishment, we can be thankful that our former place of worship helped to propel us into searching for a better way, especially when we find it and our lives become ever more blessed for God’s grace and mercy in our lives.

Philippians 1:15-18:
-15: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
-16: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: {Paul was in jail for preaching ― no freedom of speech for a man of God back then!}
-17: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.
-18: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

I enjoy reading verse 18 above, from the Amplified Bible:

Philippians 1:18 (The Amplified Bible**):
But what does it matter, so long as either way, whether in pretense [for personal ends] or in all honesty [for the furtherance of the Truth], Christ is being proclaimed? And in that I [now] rejoice, yes, and I shall rejoice [hereafter] also.”

Paul’s teaching is that regardless of who preaches Christ there is cause to rejoice, yea to rejoice repeatedly, for he will rejoice as we also can rejoice. When Christ is preached, then people receive the Word of God, and the Word can make people free. God’s graceful Word will bless and strengthen people regardless of people’s motivations for preaching (though most preachers and teachers have only godly intentions). God’s Word will always profit (II Timothy 3:16) and give blessings to the recipient, for this is how God designed His gracious Word!

Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word {God’s Word} be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void {useless}, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God’s gracious Word encourages us to always look to Jesus rather than to look on man because the more we look at people, the more we will see error, the sin nature, and imperfection. However, the more we look to Jesus, the more perfect we will become and as we gain his perspective and incentive, we can learn to love believers to a much greater dimension. I Peter 4:8 encourages, “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Hebrews 12:2a (The Amplified Bible**):
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection] . . .

An honest concern and question for some people is: Which Church, or which group of people are truly the ones that God blesses? For some people the answer is obviously clear, the one they belong to! This is true; however, all believers have received an unconditional and eternal salvation in the sense that God Himself always looks at the heart rather than at the denomination or group we might belong to, “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).

God is love (I John 4:8, 16), and according to His Word anyone who is saved belongs to Him for eternity because God is no respecter of persons or groups. Anyone, anywhere, and under any circumstance can become saved and become a member of His household. We are members of the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:27), and we may fellowship around God’s healing Word with whomever we desire.

God is our Father and He is blessed when we are blessed; He is never upset simply because we go somewhere to learn more about Him Who counsels and comforts us in our deepest spiritual thoughts. God loves us unconditionally right where we are, and He never thinks ill of us for fellowshipping with His children and wanting to know more about Him: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). When believers are receiving spiritual nourishment at their place of worship, then who am I to say that they are wrong, devilish, or whatever? Nobody, that’s who!

I John 2:9-11:
-9: He that saith he is in the light, and hateth {disdains, dislikes} his brother {in Christ}, is in darkness even until now.
-10: He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
-11: But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

God has given to His children tremendous light and understanding through knowing His gracious Word and the only thing that will turn the light off (spiritually speaking) is to dislike fellow believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ with whom we will spend eternity. The Bible records that we are to, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5), and Jesus always loved people, he is all love, and he is our daily example.

Acts 2:47:
{The believers were} Praising God, and having favour with all the people {How many? All the people!}, And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Who adds to the Church of God? God! God brings people to Himself; He draws us to Him through Christ who is the mediator between God and men (I Timothy 2:5). God is the searcher of all hearts (I Chronicles 28:9; Psalms 139:1; and Romans 8:27), and God never makes mistakes; His calling us to Himself is by His grace, and this alone should humble our hearts just to know that we were allowed into His household (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Romans 11:29:
For the gifts {of God’s graces} and calling of God are without repentance.

The gifts we receive from God are always by His grace (including our eternal life, Romans 6:23, Ephesians 2:8) and our calling by God is without repentance, meaning that He never takes it back. Our God will never be sorry for calling you nor confess or even imagine for one second that He has made a mistake in calling you because He is perfect and His calling to you is by, with, and through His grace and mercy.

John 10:28-29:
-28: And I {Jesus} give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
-29: My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

We have a wonderful section of Scripture from the Gospel of Luke expressing a vivid mind picture of how to look on others, showing us Jesus’ perspective for perceiving other people who walk with God.

Luke 18:9-14:
-9: And he {Jesus} spake this parable unto certain {people} which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
-10: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican {a tax collector}.
-11: The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
-12: I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
-13: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven {a custom to show humility and reverence for God}, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
-14: I {Jesus} tell you, this man {the publican} went down to his house justified rather than the other {the Pharisee}: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

The Pharisee practiced “good works” of tithing, giving, and fasting ― believing that by his own works he was saved, that his works made him a great believer; however, let us notice what he did not do. He refused to humble himself before God; he believed that his way of religion made him a better man than the humble tax collector. He literally separated himself out from the entire human race, believing in his heart that he was better than other men. He never recognized that he himself was a sinner, unlike the publican who knew it was only by God’s grace and mercy that he could be justified.

The word merciful in the publican’s prayer in Luke 18:13 in the Greek Text is the word for “reconciliation” as in Hebrews 2:17. The tax collector was earnestly praying to be reconciled back to God (he obviously knew that he was a sinner and that he needed God in his life), while the Pharisee believed in himself that he was already reconciled above and more than other men.

The Pharisee was more concerned about the condition of others than of his true condition; he was convinced that he was saving himself by all of his works, yet Ephesians 2:8-9 reads: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” However, only the publican went home justified, and the word justified literally means, “just-as-if-I’d never sinned.” By being humble before our God, our God-given justification can be thankfully received and enjoyed within our hearts. Jesus, in the verses from Luke above, sums up a wonderful Proverb for us:

Proverbs 28:14 (The Amplified Bible*):
Blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) is the man who reverently and worshipfully fears {respects} [the Lord] at all times [regardless of circumstances], but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

The publican fits into the first category of a blessed man, while the Pharisee will inevitably run into trouble for hardening his heart against other people. Sure, there will be times in life when we are down, when we do not walk in the light, when we have fear and condemnation because of the sin nature. Yet when we do come back to God, back to the throne of God’s wonderful grace like the publican did, then we can enjoy blessed verses of healing Scripture demonstrating God’s loving comfort to us that will always build us back up and strengthen our lives so that we may continue walking for God.

Psalms 34:18 (The Amplified Bible*):
The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent {sorry}.

James 4:10:
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Our loving heavenly Father always sees our heart, and when our heart condemns us because we are out of fellowship, and we then realize it and become thoroughly penitent, God will forgive ― ALWAYS! The greatest blessings in life come to the believer when he can control his thoughts and actions (see James chapter 3) to be a blessing to his fellow man ― especially those who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10 (The Amplified Bible**):
So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers].

Enjoy your message because today is The Season for God’s Merciful Grace.

I John 1:5-9:
-5: This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
-6: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
-7: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
-8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
-9: If we confess our sins {to God}, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE, Old Testament copyright (c) 1965, 1989 by the Zondervan Corporation.
Used by permission.

**Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.

The Word of God Is Quick and Powerful (The Longer Version)

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

Hebrews 4:12:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word quick means to be alive or to impart life. It is the opposite of lifeless, for the Word of God is alive, living, and real, unlike the average book that oftentimes contains information that becomes obsolete and/or outdated. In contrast, our God’s Word is living and becomes more renewed and concise in the hearts of our own understanding. The word powerful is the Greek word energees, and means powerful in its action and effectual in its operation; our English words for kinetic, active, energetic, and exercised energy comes from energees. Jesus, when speaking about the Scriptures said, “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). Jesus understood just how quick and powerful the living Word of God can be when placed and believed in a believer’s heart, for those living words can sustain godly thoughts and intents that guide our steps along life’s path to the Creator of life.

Ephesians 6:17:
And take {receive for yourself} the helmet of salvation, and {receive also} the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

The word take in the Greek Text is the word for receive, receive to oneself; rather than to take; you see, we receive the protective helmet of salvation when we become saved, and we are also encouraged to receive the sword of the Spirit, which, as the Scripture points out, is the word of God. This sword is offered, not for impairment (as one normally thinks of the function of a sword), but to bless, to encourage, and to exhort our endeavors to enjoy life being immersed in the graceful quick and powerful Word of God. We have the God-given permission to receive our helmet of salvation and the word of God into our lives for they will help perfect our fellowship with our heavenly Father, and Christ Jesus, our risen Lord and Savior. One way that Hebrews 4:12 could begin is that “the Word of God is living energy,” because the words in the Scripture are the very life and essence of God’s power, as Peter confessed to Jesus about the spirit and life that were conveyed through the words he spoke: “thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68), and this is why the Word of God is still so quick and powerful to this very day.

God’s Word, even now “effectually worketh also in you that believe” (I Thessalonians 2:13), and the reason that the principles in the Word still effectually worketh is because of its life-giving properties. When and as the Word of God is believed in the heart it will produce “joy and rejoicing” (Jeremiah 15:16), for the Word is an enabling, spiritual powerbase that men and women of God may rely upon, not only in times of need but also in times of prosperity and abundance. Believing is how the words of God that we have placed in our hearts (Psalms 119:11) become energized into spiritual, living energy as it enlightens the human mind with “testimonies” that are “everlasting” (Psalms 119:144). The Word itself is a great and rewarding treasure (Psalms 119:62) when placed in the hearts of believers as they continue receiving the delights recorded and released from within the words of God.

God’s Word is also sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. Sometimes we confuse the soul and the spirit, using them interchangeably, quite often thinking they are the same thing. This misunderstanding causes no problems when found in the literature of man; however, in the powerful literature of eternity, they mean two separate things that when divided accurately will bring spiritual insight into our lives. The amazing Word of God shows us a unique distinction, for whenever the word soul is used in the Bible, it means our breath life (Genesis 2:7). We were born with soul at the very moment we took our first breath, and when we take our last breath – our soul is gone. The soul gives us physical, mortal life (I Corinthians 15:50). On the other hand, the spirit that we have is a gift created by God and given to us at the very moment of our salvation (Romans 8:15; and II Corinthians 5:5). The spirit gives us spiritual, immortal, everlasting life (Romans 8:11).

I was once told that science has yet to distinguish between where the marrow of a joint ends and where the joint actually begins, and thus there is no scalpel or laser (or two-edged sword) that could sever the two parts perfectly. True or not, the light in the Word is so brightly sharp that it can distinguish the difference. After all, God should know the difference, for He formed the human body, made the soul, and created the spirit within. Marrow imparts the essence of the life within the body, and the joints imply the movement of life, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The life of the soul gives one the ability to live here (on earth); the spirit gives one the ability to live there (in the eternity of everlasting heaven). So biblically, there is a huge difference between the soul and spirit and between the marrow and joints, yet they work in concert and in complete harmony with the quick and powerful Word of God to impart spiritual understanding and wisdom.

Isaiah 55:11:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void {or useless}, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Contrary to some very popular thought (and ignorance), God is not dead! God is real, and His Word is not only quick and powerful but it accomplishes everything that it says it will do, and will work as it promises when we believe (I Thessalonians 2:13). The wonderful Word that came from the mouth of God, which He sent and gave to us, is priceless, for all Scripture is the inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16), as Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Psalms 107:20 reads that, “He {God} sent His Word and healed them,” and this is why His Word will prosper us and reveal spiritual health to our minds, for we are those to whom God has sent His quick and powerful Word.

Jesus was also sent by God, as Jesus is the living Word (John 1:14), and he being the Word becomes our window into spiritual understanding. Jesus Christ is the golden thread that leads one’s heart to God Himself and is the reason God sent His Son to us. In our e-Booklet series, The Golden Thread (available in our online bookstore), we disclose from the Bible many of the details of the principles Jesus taught so that the reader may have and experience for themselves the spiritual rewards that he reveals throughout the Scriptures while bringing to light the realities of the living God. Jesus said in John 12:45, “And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” When and as we, from the Scriptures, see Jesus as the living Word, then we will see and understand that Jesus is quick and powerful – the living energy that God provided by his lovingkindness to sustain us. Even to this day, Jesus is what will prosper the believer from within, for he is the healing Word that we may invite into our lives (Revelation 3:20), as he leads us into “life eternal.”

John 17:3; and 25–26:
-3: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
-25: O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these {his disciples, believers like you and I} have known that thou hast sent me.
-26: And I have declared unto them thy name, and will {even to this very day} declare it {and why?}: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

In Hebrews 4:12, the Greek word for marrow is muelos, and from the word muelos we get the Latin word medulla. The Greek word for joints is harmos, and the only place in the human body where the two, the marrow (medulla) and joints actually connect are at the medulla oblongata located at the base of the brain. The medulla oblongata connects the brain and the upper spine. All other marrow in the human body is basically encased by bone, and bones connect to joints, muscles, ligaments, etc., rather than the marrow connecting directly to joints, and thus the medulla oblongata is the probable place in the body that Hebrews 4:12 is referring to with the words muelos and harmos. Verse 12 is stating the simple point that God’s Word can reach deeply in our lives, even into the innermost places of our beings to enlighten our hearts, and that just as the muelos and harmos have specific purposes and tasks that literally connect to every one of our body functions through the medulla oblongata, so can the quick and powerful Word positively affect every part of our spiritual well-being.

The words dividing asunder in Hebrews 4:12 do not literally mean to cut apart or to sever apart, but to separate between different things, to clearly distinguish separate parts, such as between the soul and spirit, or the joints and marrow, or the thoughts and intents of the heart. To experience God working in our lives we need to acknowledge what He gave to us, and that is specifically His Word, i.e., Jesus Christ – he is our Savior, and he is the embodiment of the quick and powerful Word living within our hearts to help direct and support our lives as we learn to walk with our heavenly Father.

God’s Word is also a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. The word discerner means that the quick and powerful Word critiques, and what the Word critiques is the heart. The heart in the Bible represents our innermost being, where we think and reason things out and make decisions. When we have the quick and powerful Word in our hearts, we can make discernments that are based on biblical truths and concepts. The word thoughts mean our emotions, and the word intents mean our ideas or notions that we can carry out in our actions. Thoughts lead to our intents, our intents will critique biblical endeavors to help us walk in a heartfelt relationship with God through Christ, our Savior, as promised. Just as the head (the inner heart), inspires the body into actions (or movements); the living Word inspires the individual believer’s heart into walking with God through Christ.

I John 4:9:
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live {moment by moment, even today} through him.

God’s Word and His love softens the most hardhearted hearts and warms the soul as it reaches into the innermost depths of our thought processes to enlighten our inner souls. The quick and powerful Word lifts up the downtrodden, comforts the bereaved, and encourages those who have lost hope, as the penetrating Word gives men and women the joy of inspiring them, individually, to become more Christ-like disciples. Romans 10:8 reveals, “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach,” and this word of faith (the Word that builds and strengthens one’s faith) is introduced in our own hearts by the Physician of the heart – Jesus Christ. He can bring us back up from the brink of all despair and from all the peripheries of hopelessness as he delivers and shows us the way into complete and endearing fellowship with our heavenly Father.

Hebrews 4:13 discloses, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” The two words to do are only one word in the Greek Text, and that is the word logos, and the logos means the Word of God, and according to the context, this Word of God is what He sees within the heart of His beloved children. God has given us His quick and powerful Word so that we have something uncommonly good and in common with Him, His wonderful, empowering Word. Receiving and enjoying this is the beginning of everlasting fellowship as His Word continues to permeate and uplift our hopes and dreams from within our hearts, and this is doing something wonderful before His eyes! The Psalmist wrote, “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart {are} to all generations” (Psalms 33:11), and yes, this includes our generation in this day and time. Just mulling the wonderful Word around in our minds and allowing the thoughts of his heart to filter up into our hearts will cultivate godly concepts and produce inspired actions, these are things God not only will never forget, but He will reward our efforts forever and ever.

Psalms 16:11; and 37:18:
-11: Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
-18: The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.

Folks so very often dispute and refute the words of life, never allowing the words in the perpetual manuscript of eternity to take root and spring to life in the fruitful ground of their hearts, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit” (Matthew 13:23). Oh what a blessing it is to really begin enjoying the fruitful Word of God that will produce eternal fruit that we may share not only with other believers, but with our heavenly Father, divine fruits such as love, joy, and peace. This is the reward that we have, as we “are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). To bring forth fruit with patience is to enjoy the benefits of the spiritual fruit for all eternity, because the Word of God “liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:23).

Psalms 119:111:
Thy testimonies {God’s Word} have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.

I Peter 1:25:
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you {and what is preached unto you “is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach” Romans 10:8}.

Hebrews 4:12 shows that the living Word will critique the very thoughts and emotions that men and women have, not only about life but also about how to be pleasing to God. The living Word itself critiques the thoughts and emotions of our hearts, guiding us into deeper understandings and revelations of God Himself (Ephesians 1:17–20), and of Jesus Christ who said, “I have given them thy word” (John 17:14), because, The Word of God is quick and powerful.

John 17:20–26 (The Amplified Bible):*
-20: {Jesus is praying to God his Father.} Neither for these alone {Jesus’ disciples in the first century} do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching,
-21: That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.
-22: I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one:
-23: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.
-24: Father, I desire that they also whom You have entrusted to Me [as Your gift to Me] may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me [Your love gift to Me]; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
-25: O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has failed to recognize You and has never acknowledged You, I have known You [continually]; and these men understand and know that You have sent Me.
-26: I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them.

I Thessalonians 2:13; and 5:23–24 (The Amplified Bible):*
-13: And we also [especially] thank God continually for this, that when you received the message of God [which you heard] from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the Word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it].
-23: And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
-24: Faithful is He Who called you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].

Hebrews 4:12 (The Amplified Bible):*
For the Word of God that speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of the joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.

*Scripture taken from THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
The Amplified New Testament copyright (c) 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission.