A key to happiness

Do You Want a Blessed Life?
Then Follow the Word of the Lord

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary: “What do you think about_____?” Sadly, most people’s answers are based upon man’s thinking and reasoning, rather than upon what God says on any topic. And that ignoring of God’s word, my friends, is one major reason why the world we live in is in such a mess! Do you want to change that and live a life filled with the blessings of God? Then I encourage you to focus on God’s word, the Bible. Hear it, read it, obey it, love the word of the Lord, and you will position yourself to experience a richly blessed life.

Luke 11:28  He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

•• A woman commented to Jesus that the mother who bore Him and nursed Him was blessed. Jesus replied that there was a greater measure of blessing (“blessed rather...”) available to all who hear God’s word and obey it.
 
•• Our modern world — at least the western world with which I am personally familiar — almost deifies man’s intellect and other human faculties. But Jesus said that those who are truly blessed are those who live in dependence on God’s word. I am reminded of the Proverb:
Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; [6] in all your ways acknowledge him...
•• Do you want to live a blessed life? Then I encourage you to live a life of trust in the word of God over and above the so-called wisdom of man. Let’s look at some of the multi-faceted benefits you will experience by grounding and building your life on the truths God has revealed in His word, the holy Scriptures that we know as the Bible.

1 Corinthians 15:2  By this gospel you are saved...

James 1:18, 21  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth ... humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

1 Peter 1:23  For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

•• We are saved, born again, given a new spiritual birth, by the “word of truth”.
 
•• It was 1969. I was on a temporary duty assignment at McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma, Washington. My girl friend (who later became my wife of 38 years) was witnessing regularly to me about Jesus Christ. She convinced me to buy a New Testament. I did, and I excitedly read that portion of the Bible every night, week after week. Finally the truths of God’s word added up, birthed faith in my heart, and caused me to joyfully embrace Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
• In that Bible I found “the gospel” (the Good News about Jesus), I found the liberating “word of truth”. And those words, the revealed words of God Himself, overthrew my carnal thinking and led me to place my trust in the Lord, rather than in myself.

John 4:39-41  Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him ... [40] and he stayed two days. [41] And because of his words many more became believers.

•• In 1969 I read His words, and I became a believer.
 
•• Today, in 2010, those same words of the Lord will have the same saving impact. Share God’s word with your friends and unsaved family members. There is power to save in the word of God. Don’t worry about what you will say to people. If they are willing to listen, just tell them what God’s word says about life and eternity.

John 5:24  I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

John 8:51  I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.

•• Hear and believe the word of the Lord, and you will experience this astounding blessing: you will “cross over from death to life”. In earlier centuries, adventurers traveled the world in search of the mythical fountain of youth. Yet right where you are, right at this moment, you have access to the fountain of eternal life. How? Simply by hearing and believing the saving word of God.
 
•• Jesus also promised that those who “keep [his] word ... will never see death”. My beloved wife of 38 years recently died. She was a born-again believer in Jesus for 44 years. Did she “die”? Sadly, yes. But consistent with the words of Jesus, it was not her soul and spirit that died, only her body, the earthly temple of her eternal soul and spirit. She herself is already with the Lord in heaven. Only the remains of her mortal body are buried on this earth. You might be interested in my Bible study on this topic entitled “What happens when a Christian dies?

Mark 13:31  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

Psalm 119:89  Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

•• Jesus said that His words will never pass away. that gives us a standard of absolute certainty in this ever-changing world. We can establish our lives upon timeless, enduring values, rather than upon society’s constant shifts.
 
•• God’s word is eternal, it stands firm (Psalm 119:89). It will outlast fads, In short, it will enable you to build your life upon solid rock (the Lord's word), rather than upon ever-shifting sands.

John 8:31-32, KJV  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; [32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

•• The truths contained in the word of the Lord (31) will “make you free”.
• Freed from error and the damaging results of living in error
 
• Freed from habits, addictions, bondages
 
• Freed to live a fruitful, productive life
•• Take Jesus’ advice and “continue in [His] word”. Read the word of God, pray over it, ponder it deeply, and obey it. You'll be blessed by doing so, and your life will be changed for the good.

Psalm 119:105, KJV  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalm 119:130, KJV  The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

•• We live in a world of moral and spiritual darkness. The entrance of God’s word into your life brings light and understanding (vs. 130). As the Scriptures are illuminated and made alive to you by the Holy Spirit, you begin to “see” as you never saw before.
 
•• God’s word prayerfully considered will also give you clear guidance. It will be like a lamp lighting God’s path for your life (vs. 105).

John 17:17  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

•• God’s word will have a “sanctifying” influence on you. It will set you apart from worldly ways and establish you more securely in God’s ways. And it will lead you into a greater walk of holiness, which is very pleasing to the Lord
 
•• God’s word in your heart will help you live a life of moral purity“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word (Psalm 119:9).
 
•• The Lord's word in your heart will help you to resist sin “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). That's one of the many reasons why it's so important to read, study, and take to heart the word of the Lord. It is a protecting influence against sin.

Ephesians 5:26  ...to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.

•• God’s word has power to cleanse us “from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2 Cor. 7:1) and thereby to lead us into greater holiness.

Romans 10:17, KJV  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

•• There is a physical hearing, such as listening to music. But there is also a spiritual hearing. In it, our ears hear the word of God, but it goes beyond that and penetrates deeply into our soul and spirit and produces faith.
 
•• I mentioned earlier how it was the entrance of the Scriptures into my heart — especially those that spoke of Jesus — that produced saving faith in me in 1969.

Acts 20:32  Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up...

•• A steady diet of God’s word will take a spiritual infant and turn him or her into a mature adult Christian.
 
•• Read God’s word regularly. Hear it preached by a Bible-honoring preacher. You will not stay the same. You will steadily, inevitably be built up in your faith and in your Christian walk.

John 15:7  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

•• The word of the Lord will energize your prayer life.
 
•• It will acquaint you with those things that are God’s will and those that are not God’s will. And that in turn will enable you to pray to Him with faith and confidence concerning your petitions (1 John 5:14-15).

Psalm 119:28  My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

•• God’s word, the Bible, will strengthen, encourage, and undergird you in times of great grief.
 
•• At the time of this writing (June 12, 2010), I lost my wife of 38 years to cancer three months ago, and my Dad to kidney failure last week. The grief has been great, at times almost overwhelming. But the foundation of God’s word in my life and the lives of my family members has strengthened and comforted us in both these losses.

Psalm 119:49, KJV  Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.

•• Even in the darkest hour, the word of the Lord to us can cause us to hope, not to give in to despair.
 
•• Since my wife’s and my father's deaths, both in the past three months, I have especially found hope and comfort in reading the Psalms. Most days I try to read five Psalms, and without fail there is something to be found in those words from the Lord that lifts up my heart.

Isaiah 55:10-11  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, [11] so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

•• God’s word is very powerful. It will accomplish that which God desires for your life. It will achieve the purposes of God concerning you.
 
•• Read God’s word; pray over the word of the Lord. Allow God to speak to you through it to give you an idea of His plans and purposes for you. Then confidently expect that God is able to achieve those same purposes.

Mark 16:20  Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

•• Mark 16 contains one of the biblical accounts of Jesus’ Great Commission. We are told (see also Matthew 28) to go and preach and teach His Word in all the world. And now, as then, the Lord will confirm the sharing of His word with “signs following”.
 
•• Preach the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ, and the Lord will save souls.
 
•• Preach divine healing, and the Lord will confirm His word by healing sick and infirm bodies.
 
•• Preach Christ’s victory over the devil, and the Lord will confirm this word by delivering people from Satanic bondages.
 
•• God’s word is not weak and timid. No! It has the force of fire and a hammer — “Is not my word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).

Matthew 13:23  But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (see also Mark 4:20)

•• God’s word heard and understood yields a crop. It will bear fruit wherever it is sown.
 
•• Sow His word like seed. Add it to your testimony. Share it with friends over coffee. Deposit it into your children’s hearts. Have His word always ready in your heart, and share it graciously when you can. It does bear a crop!

Proverbs 4:20-22  My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. [21] Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; [22] for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body.

•• God’s words are “health to a man’s whole body” (vs. 22).
 
•• God’s word teaches such health-enhancing truths as moderation, avoidance of addictions, renouncing bitterness and other destructive emotions in our hearts, and so much more. A life lived according to the word of the Lord gives us the best opportunity to live a long life in good health.

Matthew 7:24-25  Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. [25] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. [26] But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. [27] The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

•• God’s word heard and obeyed gives us a secure foundation against the great storms of life. When the wind, rain, and floods of this life aim themselves at you, if your life is built upon the rock of God’s word, your house, your life, will not fall.
 
•• By contrast, when the storms of life come against the one who does not build his “house” on the rock of God’s word, that house, that life, will “fall with a great crash”.

John 6:63  The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

•• A couple of closing thoughts concerning the blessings to be found from following God’s word:
1) Man’s thoughts, philosophies, and reasonings are essentially natural, earthly, and limited by finite human capacities. The thoughts and words of the Lord, by contrast, “are spirit”. They are spiritual, they are not limited by earthly considerations, and they are infinite in scope and power.
 
2) Man’s ways often lead to destructive behavior and even to death. God’s ways, revealed in His word, “are life”.

In closing, and to summarize:

“Blessed rather are those who
hear the word of God and
obey it.” (Luke 11:28)

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©2010, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.