The Lord loves righteousness and justice…

the earth if full of His unfailing love.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.” (Psalm 33:5 NIV). I have to admit that I started getting discouraged when I started thinking about the first part of this verse and how the Lord loves righteousness. That’s because I know how sinful I am and I know that I can’t measure up to His perfect standard.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Later in the day, I realized that I was feeling badly because I was only focusing on His righteousness and justice. I neglected to consider the rest of the verse about His unfailing love. I had temporarily forgotten about His mercy and grace. As I contemplated the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross which satisfied God’s righteousness and justice; my hope was restored.

Then I went to Walmart and as I approached the checkout lady, I noticed that her name tag said Mercy. I was quite surprised but, I think that God led me to this checkout line at Walmart to remind me of His mercy. I remarked on what a beautiful name she had and that her name reminded me of God’s mercy for us through Jesus Christ. She agreed and said,

“Yes He is merciful.”

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

This Bible verse is a great reminder that the Lord has made each day; therefore, we should rejoice and be glad for each one that He gives us. However, there is one specific day that I think should make us rejoice and be glad above the rest.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.   

There are many special days that the Lord has given me to rejoice and be glad. These are significant days in my life. Some include, the day of my birth, my wedding day, the days my children were born and the day of my salvation.

January 1, 1989, is the day that I prayed to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. This was the day the Lord made for me to rejoice and be glad because He planned that I should hear, understand and respond to the Gospel message.

3 Shocking Biblical Statements About Your Tongue

Why your words are one of the most important things about you.

The Bible talks about the tongue as a symbol for the words we speak. Our words and the way we use them can make a lifetime impression for good or evil. I can still remember saying words in high school that I regret over 40 years later!

Over the decades since then, I’ve said many more regrettable words. Sometimes I’m shocked at what’s come out of my mouth! It’s no wonder the Bible book of James has some strong things to say about our tongues and the words we say.

Here are 3 shocking statements about the tongue from James 3:

Shocker #1. Your tongue is the most powerful part of your body.

Our tongues are small, but what a powerful punch they pack!

Here’s what James says:

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,…

…rivers of living water will flow from within them. John 7:38

This Bible verse contains a wonderful promise from Jesus for whoever believes in Him to have rivers of living water flow from within them. But what does that mean?

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

Before I became a Christian at age 27 I tried many things to fill the void in my life. I pursued peace and contentment in all the wrong ways. I always came away feeling dissatisfied. It was like I was drinking up everything the world had to offer but my thirst remained unquenched. I was parched and I didn’t know what to do.

But, as I look back I am thankful that the things I believed would help left me feeling empty. I am so glad that the Lord didn’t allow me to be satisfied with anything less than what He wanted to give me. I am so glad that He gave me living water.

How to Know if You are Truly Saved

7 tests from 1 John 2 which bring assurance of salvation.

Can someone know that they’re truly saved? Many don’t think so, however 1 John 5:13 says “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” (emphasis mine) Yes, it is possible to KNOW for sure that we are truly saved and have eternal life. The Bible book of 1 John was written for this purpose.

I’ve written previously about some of the doubts I’ve had about salvation and God’s love. This is a common issue for those who take eternity seriously. We want to know assuredly that we are saved.

How do we know? First, we know that we are saved because of God’s faithful promise of salvation. Here it is as expressed in Romans 10:9-10:

9 If you openly declare 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 openly declaring your faith 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.” (NLT)

But in addition to God’s promise of salvation, 1 John was written to give added assurance and in chapter 2 there is a list of 7 tests that we can use to evaluate our faith and see if we are truly saved.

Here are the 7 tests which can show us if we’re truly saved:

Test 1. Keeping God’s Commandments

Through Him all things were made;

…without Him nothing was made that has been made. John 1:3

Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3) I remember almost 30 years ago, when God begin working in my life. It was the year before I received Christ as my Lord and Savior and as I was reading a Christian book, I remember pausing for a moment and saying “yes Jesus.”

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.   

Then I stepped outside and I saw the trees in a whole new way. I noticed the leaves gently blowing in the breeze and I had this strong realization for the first time that they were alive. I suppose I had always thought of trees as one dimensional and inanimate objects.

But that day and moment, I remember thinking God is real and I am surrounded by life.

Why 500 Years of Catholic & Protestant Church Separation?

5 Solas of the Reformation and why they are essential.

Times of church separation can be awful, such as when the church I was raised in went through a split during my senior year of high school. It was devastating. But sometimes a separation is necessary to reform an unhealthy situation. Such was the case with the Reformation, which is often considered to have launched on October 31, 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church. The theses were tenants of change needed to reform the Roman Catholic Church (RCC).

This is our son Danny in front of the building in downtown Copenhagen. Can you read the inscription: “Soli Deo Gloria?”

Luther was not the only reformer, nor necessarily the best. Other reformers included John Calvin, John Hus, Huldrych Zwingli, Peter Waldo, John Knox and John Wycliffe. In fact, later in life Luther himself made mistakes and said things that Christians must repudiate. However, in general, the Reformation of the church was necessary and included reforms that we need to learn from today.

The Roman Catholic Church has accomplished remarkable good, while at the same time has needed immense reform. Here are some of the things I admire about the Roman Catholic Church:

  1. Remarkable acts of charity over the centuries and continuing until today.
  2. The sense of history and tradition.
  3. An officially consistent pro-life
  4. Missionary outreaches over the centuries.

But there were and are some issues of great concern. These issues resulted in the Reformation and church separation into many denominations such as the Lutherans, Presbyterians, Reformed, Anglican, and so on.

I recently wrote about the importance of not majoring on minors. But the issues of the Reformation were definitely not minor and deserve a review on this 500th anniversary.

So, in this article I’d like to cover 5 of the most essential reforms, which have come to be known as the 5 solas.

Here are the five solas of the reformation and why they necessitated a church separation:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

How can we drive out darkness from this dark world we live in? Martin Luther King Jr. answers that question in this great quote. Darkness cannot drive out darkness and hate cannot drive out hate. Only the light can drive out darkness and only love can drive out hate.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

On August 21, 2017, we had a solar eclipse that was visible here in the United States. This occurred because the moon came between the earth and the sun, blocking the sun’s light and causing the sky to darken for a few minutes. Then as the moon continued its orbit, the sun became visible again, driving out the darkness and revealing the light of day once more.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness because we need the light of the sun to do so. But, what if the sun had not reappeared and we were stuck in darkness? I realized how dependent we are on the sun for its light, heat and to grow the food that we eat. The sun is so powerful and essential for life.

Leave the broken, irreversible past in God’s hands…

…and step out into the invincible future with Him.

This quote by Oswald Chambers is a welcome invitation for us to leave the broken, irreversible past with God and step into the invincible future with Him.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

On New Year’s Day, January 1, 1989, I attended a Presbyterian Church service that was refreshingly different. The music was upbeat and the band sang a song about saying goodbye to the past and moving forward in keeping with the theme of the day.

 

The Pastor spoke about how people look forward to a new year because they enjoy having a clean slate and a fresh start in life. He explained that in the same way, because of Jesus’ death on the cross, a person can be forgiven for all of their sins, have a fresh start and a new life in Him that lasts for all eternity.

 

The music and the message were medicine for my soul. I wanted forgiveness and a new life with Christ, so I went home and prayed asking Him to forgive my sins and become my Lord and Savior.

In trouble to be troubled…

…is to have your trouble doubled.

When we are in trouble, the last thing we need is to have it doubled. But, so often that can happen if we react to our problems with anxiety and worry. The unintended result is that we double our trouble and make things worse.

This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.

It is so natural and human to become troubled when we encounter trouble and I am certainly no exception. But, by the grace of God, I believe I have learned some helpful tools.

In addition to daily prayer and Bible reading, I use Google as a quick way to locate Bible verses. Recently, I have been searching for verses on hope. Biblegateway.com and other Bible websites have key word search options to locate verses and have Bible commentaries as well.

In addition, watching and listening to the news can cause me to feel troubled. So, I limit myself and only watch the local and world news once each day. Some days I only watch one or the other but I don’t re-watch the news. I pray as I watch and then change the channel or turn off the television when I am done for the day.

We will all experience trouble in varying degrees as a result of living in a sinful and fallen world. Sometimes we are victims of another person’s actions and other times we bring it on ourselves.

Regardless of the source, the Bible clearly tells us that we can expect trouble in this world and in life.

Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble.” (NIV)

And Job 14:1 says,