Faithful and Just

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

All too often when we read or quote a favorite verse of Scripture, its familiarity gets in the way of our complete understanding of the verse. Such may be the case with today’s verse, one of the most beloved and oft-quoted passages of Scripture. To begin with, we must remember that the topic is sinful behavior. The Bible says that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), therefore sin cannot go unpunished. A faithful and just judge must punish such behavior; to forgive it is neither faithful nor just. “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sin (Hebrews 9:22).

But the Bible also says, “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father. . . . Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 2:1; 1:7).

Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty for our sins. He died so that we don’t have to die, for God “hath made him to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God has further promised that “whoso confesseth and forsaketh [his sins] shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

God in His mercy and grace has declared it to be so. What was once devised as merciful and gracious is now “faithful and just.”

Because He is just, He cannot allow the punishment for our sin to be inflicted twice. Because He is faithful and has promised to forgive a penitent and confessing sinner, He will not only “forgive us our sins,” but “cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” thereby restoring the sweet fellowship broken by our rebellion.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). JDM

The day of the Lord is great and very terrible

Joel 2:1-14

It is most probable that while Amos and Hosea were messengers from the Lord to Israel, Joel was prophesying in Judah. One of his most memorable prophecies relates to a plague of locusts which fell upon the land.

Joel 2:1

It was such a visitation as might well create alarm, and call to humiliation and prayer.

Joel 2:2

The locusts were so many that they clouded the sun and caused darkness at midday. Vast flights of these destructive creatures are not unusual in our day, but the prophet’s description relates to some special and unusual plague.

Joel 2:3

It is so; locusts devour every green thing as completely as a raging fire.

Joel 2:4, 5

The Italians call a locust cavalette, or little horse: they are for number, speed, order, and noise, very similar to troops of cavalry.

Joel 2:6, 8

The order with which they march is wonderful to the last degree; no disciplined troops could possibly preserve their ranks more accurately.

Joel 2:9

Nothing can turn them aside; their march is onward, over walls and fences, hills and valleys.

Joel 2:10

Such is the misery of the poor people who see the fruit of their fields devoured before their eyes by a remorseless and irresistible foe, that for them all things are full of terror, and they feel as if the end of the world were come.

Joel 2:11

Though unheard of human ear, their Commander-in-chief, even the Lord of Hosts, makes his voice to be heard by the dense battalions of devouring locusts, so that at his bidding they push forward in their awful course. Well might the prophet say, “Who can abide it?”

Joel 2:14

If anything could avert so terrible a calamity, prayer would do it. True repentance is the only way to remove the rod from any people. O Lord, help us to cast out our sins, lest they compel thee to chasten us with sore affliction. Accept us, for our hope is in thy Son.


When distractions, fear and doubt,

Come from all the world without,

And like locusts plague the soul,

Lord, do thou their power control.


When the clouds of grief and care,

Darken down into despair,

When by grief we are laid low,

Then thy gracious kindness show.


Your Flesh Will Obey Your Commands!

Luke 17:6

Jesus said that when you finally decide to deal with the wrong attitudes that have stalked and hounded your life for so long, you must order them to “… be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea…” (Luke 17:6).

The words “plucked up by the root” are from the Greek word ekridzoo, which is a compound of the words ek and ridzo. The word ek means out, and the word ridzo is the Greek word for a root, like the roots of a plant. When joined into one word, the compound word means to rip out by the roots.

This is not a person who hopes the plant will be removed but does nothing to make it happen. Quite the contrary! This is the picture of a person who wraps his hands around the base of that plant, pulls with all his might, and rips the roots of that plant right out of the ground. He has made the determination that he is not going to stop until the ground he stands on is totally free from the roots of that nasty plant so that it will never produce life there again!

That’s the way you have to deal with wrong attitudes that have been deeply rooted in your soul for a long time. I guarantee you that if those attitudes have been at work in you for a long time, they are now deeply rooted in the way you think and behave. At this point, the only way they are going to be ripped out of your soul is by your determined choice to do whatever is necessary to rip them out. There can be no accidental deliverance from these attitudes. If your heart is to be liberated, it will only happen as you choose to be liberated and then do something about it!

Once you’ve ripped those attitudes out of the soil of your soul, the Lord Jesus said that we need to command them to “be planted in the sea.” The word “planted” is from the Greek word phuteuo, which would normally describe the planting of a plant. However, plants are not normally planted in the sea, so Jesus must have had something else in mind by using this word. The word phuteuo in this verse means to be permanently relocated to the “sea.”

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus said you have to command wrong attitudes to be planted in the sea? Why didn’t He tell us to throw them into the garbage pile? Why did Jesus say to permanently relocate those wrong attitudes in the sea?

The sea is made of salt water. Salt water won’t allow a plant to grow because the salt would kill the roots. So once a plant or tree is thrown into the seawater, it becomes a dead issue. No matter how hard you try, that plant will never grow again. Its life is gone forever! If you planted it in the garbage pile, it could reestablish its roots and grow again. But by throwing it into the sea, you have plunged those wrong attitudes into a place where they will never grow, never re-root, and never produce life again. Once in the sea, they are dead forever!

This is so very important in the context of this verse, for it tells us that Jesus doesn’t want us to be just temporarily relieved of these destructive attitudes; He wants us to be permanently freed of them. He wants them to become dead issues that never stalk or hound us again.

This is precisely how you have to look at the dead issues that you’ve spoken to and commanded to go. Once you’ve told bitterness and unforgiveness to leave, don’t ever allow them to take root in your life again! Even if your flesh would like to dwell on those old hurts again, don’t allow that bitter tree to come back to life! Bury it in the sea of forgetfulness so its roots can never regain a foothold in your soul.

Jesus told us to say to the sycamine tree, “Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” Notice the last phrase, “… and it should obey you.” The word “obey” is the Greek word hupakouo, which means to submit and to obey.

Your out-of-control emotions are just like an out-of-control child. That child will rant, rave, and carry on all day long until you finally stand up and tell him to straighten up and act right! In the same way, the flesh will pout, throw a temper tantrum, and carry on to a ridiculous extent—until you finally decide that enough is enough! When you make that choice to rise up, speak to your emotions, and exert your authority in Jesus Christ, your flesh WILL obey your commands!

  • If you don’t take authority over your flesh and emotions, they will continue to dominate and hound you.
  • If you’ll stand up to your emotions and plant them in the sea forever, they will obey you!

So today I must ask, “Isn’t it time for you to rise up and take charge of the situation in your soul?” Never forget that it is your soul, so you are responsible for what happens there. Even if others have wronged you, it is simply a fact that you are the only one who has the power to allow such a foul tree of bitterness to grow inside your soul. It is your responsibility to remove those bitter roots and be freed of that inner mess.

The Holy Spirit is present right now to help you make the choice to forgive, forget, and permanently walk free of the past wrongs that others have committed against you—or the wrongs you think they committed against you. Right now it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. What matters is that you uproot that tree of bitterness before it begins producing deadly fruit in your life.

So by faith, reach out and grab hold of the base of that ugly growth. Grip it tightly; pull with all your might; and rip those roots right of out of your heart. Then dump that gnarly tree of bitterness and unforgiveness permanently in the sea where it will never bother you again!


Lord, I thank You that I don’t ever have to be stalked and hounded by bitter attitudes and wrong thinking for the rest of my life. With the authority You have given me, I can speak to those attitudes and command them to go! I can speak to my flesh, and it will obey me. Rather than be conquered by my flesh, my negative emotions, and my wrong attitudes, I am asking You to help me rise up to take authority over my soul and clean up the mess that has been made inside my head. I know that with Your help, my whole perspective can change!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that it is time for me to rise up and take charge of the situation in my soul! It is my soul, so I am responsible for what happens there. Even if others did wrong to me, I choose to forgive, forget, and permanently walk free. Right now it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. What matters is that I uproot the tree of bitterness before it produces any more deadly fruit in my life. So by faith, I am reaching out to grab hold of the base of that ugly growth. I am gripping it tightly and pulling with all my might to rip those roots right out of my heart! Those old thoughts no longer have a right to operate inside me. They are now dead issues—cast once and for all into the sea where they can’t hound me anymore!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Do you have a wrong attitude that has been deeply rooted in your soul for a long time?
  2. If the answer is yes, are you ready and willing to rip that foul growth out of your soul today with the power of your spoken, faith-filled words and by your authority in the name of Jesus?
  3. There will be no accidental deliverance from these attitudes, so what steps do you plan to take to see that your heart is fully liberated once and for all?


God Places Our Character Development Over Our Comfort

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might humbly learn to obey:


It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decreesBe merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.” (Psalm 119:71; 31:9, 10) (See Psalm 119:67; Hebrews 12:10)


I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things:


We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we dont know why things happen as they do, but we dont give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep goingSee, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this… ” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9 – Living; Isaiah 48:10, 11a)


I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise:


Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before himWhat good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (James 2:5b; 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; Matthew 16:26) (See Proverbs 3:13-18; 4:7-9; 8:10, 11, 19-21; Luke 6:20; James 1:9)


I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God:


We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:8, 9) (See 2 Corinthians 4:7-11)


Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among men, most rightly blessed!


Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:3-5)



VIDEO His Birth and Our New Birth

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:19). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ



It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R

The Birth of Christ and the New Birth – Charles Lawson

Retelling the Story of the Birth of Christ and Repeating Our World’s Desperate Need to be Born Again–Evidence by Chastening from The Lord.


Everyday Moments

A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13

I piled groceries in my car and carefully exited my parking spot. Suddenly a man darted across the pavement just in front of me, not noticing my approach. I slammed on my brakes, just missing him. Startled, he looked up and met my gaze. In that moment, I knew I had a choice: respond with rolled-eye frustration or offer a smiling forgiveness. I smiled.

Relief flickered across his face, raising the edges of his own lips in gratefulness.

In everyday moments, a smile can offer relief, hope, and the grace needed to continue.

Proverbs 15:13 says, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Is the writer directing us to cheery grins in the face of every interruption, disappointment, and inconvenience life brings? Surely not! There are times for genuine mourning, despair, and even anger at injustice. But in our everyday moments, a smile can offer relief, hope, and the grace needed to continue.

Perhaps the point of the proverb is that a smile naturally results from the condition of our inner beings. A “happy heart” is at peace, content, and yielded to God’s best. With such a heart, happy from the inside out, we can respond to surprising circumstances with a genuine smile, inviting others to embrace the hope and peace they too can experience with God.

Dear Father, today as I cross paths with others around me, make my heart happy that I may share with them the hope only You can offer.

Encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

By Elisa Morgan 


In today’s reading we see the dynamic impact of a happy heart. It is interesting to note that our attitude toward our circumstances—not our situation—is the key issue. A wise person seeks out knowledge, which builds positive character rather than feeding (literally “grazing like cattle”) on those things that lead to foolishness. The oppressed are those who are bowed down or in great need, which can cause emotional turmoil. But we also see in verse 15 how those who are cheerful have a continual feast. The one who focuses on the God of compassion finds hope in difficult situations and also helps others to have hope.

Are you struggling today? Ask God to help you focus on Him with a joyful attitude.

Dennis Fisher

More Essentials of Meditation

Psalm 19:14

We have already explored three fundamentals of effective meditation. Today, let’s round out the list by adding three additional ones. Picking up where we left off yesterday, we will now consider:

4. Silence. What a struggle this one can be! How often do you sit down to pray and then end up doing all the talking yourself? The prophet Isaiah reminds us that “in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isa. 30:15). However, we’re not often quiet in prayer, are we? Sometimes we go on and on with our petitions but never actually give the Father an opportunity to respond. How can we ever truly know His heart unless we stop and listen to Him in silence?

5. Self-Control. This simply means admitting to yourself that you need to deal with some things in your life. God is continually refining us and shaping us into the men and women He wants us to be. As we surrender more and more to His will, we need to acknowledge these areas are no longer ours to control.

6. Submission. Finally, believers must submit to God. All of the prayer and meditation in the world will not make a difference in your life if you have a rebellious spirit. He desires to know you, use you, and mold you according to His best plan for you personally. This cannot happen if you do not intentionally submit to His work in your life.

Meditation can be hard work, but as with exercise, the rewards are well worth the effort. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, and make a commitment to start meditating today.

The Name of the Lord Jesus

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)

This is the first of 144 references to the name of Christ in the New Testament. The word “name” (Greek noma) occurs only about 95 times when referring to any or all other names. This fact is itself a sort of commentary on Philippians 2:9: “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.”

In biblical times, a person’s name expressed the character or attributes desired for a child by his or her parents. The reason for the name “JESUS,” which means “Jehovah saves” or simply “salvation,” was given by the angel: “He shall save his people from their sins.”

There is only one Savior, “for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12); but His name does save! “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).

Those who do receive Christ are thenceforth associated with His name—and therefore with His person and work. First, they are to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). They are then to order their lives in a way that honors His name. “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19).

He has given many gracious promises of answered prayer if we pray in His name, “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16). The final use of “name” in the Bible stresses our eternal identification with His name, for “his name shall be in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4) as we are united with Him in the age to come. HMM

Thou has destroyed thyself, but in Me is thine help

Hosea 13:1-14

Hosea 13:1

Humble walking before God brings honour, but proud and wilful sin is deadly. O for grace to maintain a lowly spirit before the Lord.

Hosea 13:2, 3

If men will have transitory trusts they must have transitory joys. If we love gold our joy will melt; if we live for fame, which is only the breath of man, it will dissolve and be gone as a vapour. God alone provides us an enduring portion, yet how few confide in him!

Hosea 13:4

Vainly do we look to our own works, or to false priests, Jesus alone can save.

Hosea 13:5

The Lord has not failed us in distress. We have tried and proved his faithfulness in times of great need; let us, then, be faithful to him in return.

Hosea 13:6

Oh, shameful ingratitude, the more mercies they enjoyed the more wickedly they behaved! Because God remembered them in his goodness they forgot him and grew proud.

Hosea 13:8

Our God is just, and terrible in vengeance. Sin provokes him, and though he is slow to anger, he is mighty to punish when the time of retribution is fully come.

Hosea 13:9

This is the sum of the whole matter. Man ruins himself; God alone saves him. Damnation is all of sin; salvation is all of grace.

Hosea 13:10, 11

Saul was such a king: men often covet useless things.

Hosea 13:12

It is not forgotten, but laid away for future judgment, as men bind up their title deeds and place them in a secure place. All our sins will be remembered at the last great day, unless they are blotted out by the blood of Jesus.

Hosea 13:13

He is slow to be born again, he puts off conversion. This charge can be brought against many awakened sinners. Why halt ye between two opinions? Death and judgment do not tarry. Hasten, O sinner, to be wise.

Hosea 13:14

Though first to be applied to the national resurrection of Israel, this passage has a grand outlook towards the resurrection of the dead. Believing in this promise, we hate our sins, and knowing that they are pardoned, we meet death with joy, expecting to rise from the grave in the glorious image of the Redeemer.


I knew thee when the world was waste,

And thou alone wast fair,

On thee my heart its fondness placed,

My soul reposed its care.


Can I forget the cloudy days

Of grief in which we met,

When in life’s lone and friendless ways

Thou didst not me forget.


Can I forget those words of love,

So tender and so true,

With which, when thou must needs reprove,

Thou didst so comfort too?


O never, never let me choose

Freedom from thy control;

O never, never let me lose

Thy sunshine from my soul.


It’s Time for You To Speak to Yourself!

Luke 17:6

When Jesus taught His disciples about the evil effects of bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense, He also told them how to uproot and remove offenses and unforgiveness from the heart. Praise God that Jesus didn’t just identify the problem and then leave us to figure out our deliverance by ourselves! He took it one step further and gave us the secret weapon for jerking those roots clear out of the ground and sending them to a place where they will never again produce their wicked fruit in us.

Jesus said, “… If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you” (Luke 17:6). Notice Jesus said, “… Ye might say unto this sycamine tree….” In order to get rid of these destructive devices, you have to rise up and take authority over them!

Jesus specifically said that you must literally speak to the sycamine tree. The word “say” used in Luke 17:6 is the Greek word lego, which means to speak, but the tense that is used depicts a strong, stern, serious, deeply felt kind of speaking. In other words, this isn’t a person who mutters thoughtless nonsense; this is a person who has made an inward resolution and now speaks authoritatively and with great conviction.

Your voice represents your authority; therefore, when you raise your voice, you release your authority. That is why you must speak to these attitudes and not just think about them. You can think all you want about removing those poisonous roots in your life, but your thoughts will not remove them. But when you get so tired of living under the stress and strain of bitterness, unforgiveness, and offense that you lift your voice and command these foul forces to go, they will finally begin to obey you!

I promise you, friend—if you wait until you feel like speaking to those ugly attitudes, you’ll never do it! If you depend on your feelings and emotions to motivate you, you’ll never be free of offense and unforgiveness. Your feelings and emotions will tell you that you have a right and a reason to feel the way you do. Your flesh will talk you into hanging on to those unprofitable, harmful attitudes. So make the choice not to listen to your negative emotions anymore; then start exercising your God-given authority by speaking to yourself!

It is time for you to accept personal responsibility for your inward condition. Stop blaming everyone else for all your bad attitudes, and acknowledge that there is something inside you that needs to be removed! Jesus said you must speak to that “sycamine tree” and tell it to go!

  • If you don’t speak to your emotions, they will speak to you.
  • If you don’t take authority over your emotions, they will take authority over you.
  • If you don’t rise up and conquer your flesh, it will rise up and conquer you!
  • So quit letting your emotions tell you what to think, what to do, and how to react.
  • It’s time for YOU to do the talking and to take command of your own thought life!

You have to treat bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness like they are enemies that have come to corrupt your soul. You must see them as bandits that have come to steal your joy, your peace, and your relationships. Would you throw open the door and allow a bandit to ravage your home? Of course not! In addition to using all the power available to you for removing that bandit, you’d probably command him to get out of your house! And I seriously doubt that you would whisper at him; most likely you would yell and scream as you ordered him out!

Likewise, you must decide not to tolerate this spiritual pestilence any longer, not even for a second. It’s time for you to raise your voice of authority and declare to these attitudes that they will no longer dominate you. And if you must, speak to these attitudes and command them to go again and again and again and again and again—until they are finally uprooted and removed forever!

You have to go for the roots! If you want to be free, it’s going to take an attitude that says, “I’m going to get to the roots of this beast and yank them clear out of my soul, and I’m not going to stop until I’m totally free!”


Lord, I intend to exercise my God-given authority and to raise my voice to tell these attitudes that they will no longer hound and dominate me! Bitterness, I command you to leave me in Jesus’ name! Unforgiveness, I refuse to be bound by you any longer, and I tell you to leave me right now! Offense, I will not be held hostage by you any longer, and I am telling you to flee from me in the name of Jesus! The Lord has redeemed me, and I refuse to allow you to operate in me any longer. I command you to go RIGHT NOW in Jesus’ powerful name!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!


I confess that I will not tolerate attitudes of bitterness and unforgiveness in my life anymore. I’m not going to just think about how bad these attitudes are and how I need to change. I’m going to lift my voice and speak to them like enemies of my soul that have come to destroy my life and ruin my relationships. I simply will not allow myself to be subjected to these hounding thoughts any longer. I proclaim that I am free of the memories of those who did wrong to me. I forgive them. I choose to let it all go. I am walking completely free from these attitudes and will not be controlled by them from this day forward!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!


  1. Don’t you agree that it’s time for you to stop only thinking about changing and to start doing something about it? Don’t you agree that you need to lift your voice and use your God-given authority to command bitterness and unforgiveness to release your mind and emotions?
  2. How would you react if you knew a bandit was coming to ravage your house? Would you throw open the door, let him in, and watch him freely move about your house? Or would you summon all the power available to you to get rid of him?
  3. Isn’t it time that you start using your own authority to speak to the spiritual bandits that have been robbing you in so many areas of your life?


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