Fruits of the Spirit In-depth Study and Application “Peace”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”  – Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of peace is so crucial in the life of a believer. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon refers to it as an exemption from the rage and havoc of war. That sounds a lot like what Jesus said in John 16:33. He said that in Him we have peace when in the world we have tribulation. In other words, when we abide in Christ, the True Vine, we bear the fruit of tranquility in tumultuous times (ref. John 15:4).

Hallelujah! Paul said in Philippians 4:7 that this peace, which is a gift from God, reaches past our finite wisdom and human reasoning and keeps our hearts and minds. Yes, it keeps us in good cheer according to John 16:33. We abound in the Joy of God’s protection! Let’s look at the fruit of peace in real life application. Mental and emotional warfare may manifest in the form of anxiety, depression, anger, mood swings. The enemy sends such attacks to hinder effective communication with family members, team mates, and co-workers. Warfare may be overthinking a situation or misreading body language. It could be a lack of focus or lack of accurate prioritizing and planning. All in all, The Enemy’s desire in all of these is to stop your growth, destroy your relationships and cancel your future.

However, when you are connected to Jesus Christ, you have access to the best counselor, consultant and coach: The Holy Spirit. Jesus called Him the Comforter in John 14:26 and John 15:26. Yes, the Holy Spirit or Spirit of Truth leads, guides, and keeps the truth before us. He keeps us centered in our identity and focused on our assignment. He keeps us aware of the enemy’s tactics and gives us strategies for winning. Hence, there is a  byproduct of divine peace within us!

Lets Pray! Father, in Jesus name, I thank you for your Holy Spirit. Thank you for releasing your truth into my life and producing peace within me. I receive that peace into my mind and heart right now. Holy Spirit of Truth, I ask you to lead me and guide me. I ask you to speak to me as I make decisions in this life. Make me a conduit of your peace:  a peacemaker so that others can eat of Your good fruit in Jesus name, Amen!   

More Scriptures

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” -Matthew 5:9

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

The Top Thing to Do When You Feel Forgotten

Written by Dr. Faith Pierce

“Do I matter? Has God forgotten me?”

Have these refrains been reverberating in your head?

Maybe you are used to shoving your needs aside to prioritize work, an aging parent, or a selfish spouse. But time continues to zoom by while your life is stuck on idling. 

Take your co-worker, for instance—former co-worker, that is. Now that the big boss has bestowed her a promotion, she saunters into the office with a new Prada purse and pinstripe suit.  

What about your raise? When is it coming?

At the end of another blurry week—when “desire fulfilled” (Proverbs 13:12) feels more foreign than a French menu—do you question whether God sees you? If He cares about what you are going through? Is the Lord too preoccupied to keep track of yourpuny plight?

Working at a ministry which features so many in need of so much, I never exhaust the list of hurting souls to attend to. Getting lost in their needs is easy as exhaling.

What is more, Does God care about me?—a taboo thought—strives to sneak in with every breath.

Straggling back to my office one Monday—muddled between miserable and morose—I barely notice the approaching man. 

The brisk bounce in his steps announces his tenacity to tackle the day with joyful eagerness. 

So contrary to my mood. 

As the guy passed, he tosses two infectious words my way. 

“Hi, Sister!” 

Brief, but bursting with meaning.

His chipper tone is not what perks me up. It is that he captures my core identity: a fellow Christian—a sister in the faith. A split second is all it takes for him to highlight the one thing that matters in the midst of my melancholy. I’m a daughter of the Most High! 

Reality is registering. Of coursethe Father has not forgotten me. As though building on the man’s words, God assures my heart. “I’ve seen what you’ve been through, dearest. You’re never alone.” 

That brief encounter was like a spritz of fresh oxygen to my spirit, I have to pass it on to you. This is how we are going to do it: read one line, then do accordingly.

  • Scrutinize your hands. (Yep, I am doing it now.)
  • Flip them palm-side up, and examine each hand. Do your palms look identical? (Mine do not, because of a couple of moles on my left hand.)
  • Aside from the meandering lines etched on each palm, what else is there? (I spot said moles on my left palm.) 
  • Rub your right palm with your other hand. Appreciate the texture of that palm. Then do the same with your left palm.

Why are we doing this, you ask? 

To imitate God. After all, He gazes at His palms—a lot—and for good reasons:

Can a woman forget her nursing child? Will she have no compassion on the child from her womb? Although mothers may forget, I will not forget you. I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are always in my presence (Isaiah 49:15-16, GWT).

Next time doubts squawk, “God’s forgotten you!”, look down. 

Peer at your palms.

Remember that He will never forget you. 

Ever.

Since His palms bear a tattoo of your smiling face, why should you frown? 

Dr. Faith Pierce is a licensed psychologist in California. She has a PhD in Clinical Psychology and an MA in Theology.  Other than her name, which is a pseudonym, everything else about her is true.

Is it Bad to Compare Myself?

Do you sometimes feel like you are less than enough? My dear friend, I hope this resonates with you today. You are God’s creation; He made you exactly how He wanted to. You are not lacking. You were dreamed up and made uniquely with characteristics all your own.

We always hear “comparison is the thief of joy.” But what if our perspective of comparison is skewed? We try so hard not to compare ourselves to others because all we come up with are negative ways in which we are lacking. Stop hating what you are NOT, and start loving what you ARE!

As humans, comparison is a natural thought process. It is how we relate ourselves and things to reality. If done in a healthy way, it is essential to growth and maturity. Telling ourselves to stop thinking will just result in shame and guilt.

Abandoning comparison would be disregarding the desire to be more like God. We are told to renew our minds to be more Christ-like. We can rewire HOW we think!

Guide your thought process. Abandon envy, jealousy, pride, and self-pity. Call out the godliness others have applied in their lives with humility and grace. Build them up! Thank God for how He made your brother or sister in Christ.  Then pray and apply God’s characteristics in your own life.

Ask Him to shepherd you in those areas in need of maturing and ask for peace in the season of life you are in, with the knowledge that it may differ from someone else. Relate everything not to a person and their differences from you but to God’s character, the truth of His Word and the foundation of what it says about your identity.

We are all different. However, sometimes this knowledge drains us of joy and replaces it with insecurity. Instead, let us allow it to fuel our growth!  We are beautifully and wonderfully made.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 

Pray this prayer with me today: “Dear ABBA Father, thank You for how you lovingly and intricately pieced me together.  When I am feeling worthless and unloved, help me to stand on Your promise that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  I destroy all lies from the enemy that make me compare and envy others.  I pray that I would be an encouragement and bolster to others that calls out the godliness and identity in them.  Help me to renew my mind constantly and be more like You every day.  Please be my Shepherd, Lord, and help me to grow and mature.  Help me to love You, love others, and love myself as Your creation. Amen. 

Why the Enemy Will Lose with God on Your Side

Why the Enemy Will Lose with God on Your Side

 
 

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Through Him we are made CHAMPIONS! Jesus is a champion, a conqueror. He has victory over sin, He conquered death, hell and the grave. He is a champion for our salvation.

The enemy targets you in the areas you have the most calling! As a champion through Christ you can prevail in these areas and start walking in your destiny. God empowers us everyday to even greater victories because He gave us the heart of a champion. “For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

With the heart of a champion we are called to rise above. Our confidence is born in faith; there is no longer room for fear. We have to confront our fears and seek freedom. By renewing your mind, you are given insight into right and wrong, given a deeper meaning of God’s character and how He operates, and given strength to become more like Him even when faced with great adversity.

It takes great humility to be a champion! You have to die to self daily. We have to take up our cross, deny our former ways, and walk in newness of life through Christ who lives in us. Surrendered to Him with His Champion Heart, we are infused with the strength, discipline, resilience, determination and commitment needed to have victory over the enemy!

“But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” Romans 6:17-18

“When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:20-23 

Pray this prayer today: Dear Father, I thank You for the sacrifice you made for me and for conquering death, hell, and the grave.  Thank you for empowering me by placing Your champion heart and spirit within me.  Help me to walk in my full potential in You to have victory over the enemy that wants to steal my destiny.  Help me to rise above in confidence born in faith and grant me humility to take up my cross and walk in newness of life surrendered completely to You.  Amen.

God’s Light in Us

God’s Light in Us

 
 

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Written by Kat W.

We have free will and live in a fallen and broken world. That is why we have temptations, sin, sickness, death, heartbreak, etc. I’ve been in a season of struggle, a struggle of belief and focus on what’s the truth. I felt lost in the sense if what I’m doing and if the direction I’m heading in is truly my calling. Anxiety had been overwhelming me in waves where I couldn’t even look up anymore. The word failure kept repeating in my thoughts.

This is what the enemy loves to do. He keeps picking at the same weakness and wound. He does it until it captivates your complete focus on that sin, on that problem, feeling, drama, on that mistake you made. The devils main purpose and goal is to make you believe in a lie, something entirely opposite from God’s truth.

The enemy will attack your identity because you were created in the image of God. He will attack your life calling with distractions so that you cannot do the will of God. He will attack your joy with selfishness and pride so that you cannot have the gifts God has given you. He will attack your thoughts with lies and so that you cannot live out in God’s truth.

It is very easy to let darkness in and consume us. As  Christians we need to say no to darkness and walk in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) If God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all, then He should be and is our source of light. He is the deliverer from all darkness and obstacles to joy.

Yesterday, I was encouraged at the thought of being a light to someone in darkness. I believe that is a huge part of our calling as believers in Christ Jesus. God is light, therefore we are the children of light. God is with us and in us, His light should shine out of us each and everyday.

Today I want to encourage you in your struggle and whatever darkness might be surrounding you. YOU ARE LIGHT BECAUSE IN YOU IS THE LIGHT. Remember to keep your focus on God and His truth. Today start thinking of how you can show God’s light in another persons darkness. It might even be as simple as giving someone a compliment or even praying for that person.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”-Ephesians 5:8

How to Live Without the Fear of Rejection

Rejection is a spirit or feeling that almost everyone has been affected by in their lives. It is a predictable and common tactic of the devil to use this spirit to undermine and assault people to cause them to limp through life with a skewed perspective, believing that they don’t belong. Rejection causes us to have low self-esteem and self-worth.

Even King David, one of the Bible’s greatest men struggled with rejection. There were many opportunities in his youth that gave the enemy entrance into his thoughts. David’ older brothers mocked him and seemed to view him as insignificant. His father Jesse also seemed to reflect this belief about David. He didn’t even call David when Samuel asked to see all of his sons (1 Samuel 16:1-13). The Psalms are filled with David’s struggles and his desire to connect with God.

Because we live in a fallen world with imperfect people, we will all have opportunities to believe lies. Perfectionistic, demanding parents may unknowingly communicate a wrong message. Trauma from sexual abuse or attacks will cause us to believe lies.

Like David, we can be free of rejection and insecurities. God’s plan for us is always redemptive, knowing that our adversary is always on the prowl. God desires that we walk in the fullness of sonship, believing that we belong to the family of God, and that He is a very present Father. When we have revelation of sonship instead of an orphan spirit, we will begin to not only survive, but thrive.

How do we go from rejected to belonging?

First, we must recognize that because the enemy comes many times when we are children, we grow up with wrong thoughts that become a mental stronghold. Thoughts are processed through this stronghold give even more credence to our wrong belief.  We need to seek revelation by the power of Holy Spirit to identify these strongholds. Once we realize how a belief system has been operating, we need to seek God and His word to dismantle it. Holy Spirit can reveal truth in the darkness and bring freedom. Believing and applying God’s work can help us rebuild our thoughts into healthy mindsets.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” As we think and meditate on God’s truth, we will begin to walk in freedom.

 

Is it possible to heal from childhood sexual abuse?

Today, people everywhere are struggling through life with damaged emotions and broken hearts. They’ve endured a lot of negative things, causing untold damage that needs to be dealt with. But too often, these hurts are simply swept under the rug in an attempt to make them go away.

Through my own life experiences, and from helping others through this process, I’ve discovered that although God wants to help those who really want emotional healing, there are some very important steps these individuals must take for themselves. If you want to receive emotional healing, one of the first steps you must take is to face the truth. You can’t be set free while living in denial. You can’t pretend that certain negative things didn’t happen to you.

I’ve come to realize that we’re experts at building walls and stuffing things into dark corners, pretending they never happened.

I was four years old when I was sexually abused from a fifteen year old boy. It was a dark memory that I kept suppressed for about twelve years, until I confronted the truth of what happened. For years I made myself believe that it must have been a bad dream or even something I saw on tv by accident as a kid. I finally made the decision to ask my mom about this memory that I couldn’t shake.

Why don’t we want to bring things like that into the open? We’re afraid of what people will think. We’re afraid of being rejected, misunderstood, or unloved by those we care about or that they might have a different opinion of us if they really knew all about us. The feeling of unworthiness and filth is overwhelming. That’s what the devil wants, he wants you to keep quiet. His goal is to make you feel alone and unloved. That is why it is vital for you to speak up and allow light into the darkness.

There’s something about verbalizing it to another person that does wonders for us, but use wisdom. Choose someone you know you can trust. Be sure that by sharing your story with someone else, you don’t simply put your burden on that individual’s shoulders. Also, don’t go trying to dig up old hurts and offenses that have been buried and forgotten.

When I finally worked up the courage to share with someone what had happened early in my life, I actually began shaking and crying in fear. It was an emotional reaction to the things I’d kept buried within me for so long. Now when I talk about my past, it’s as though I’m talking about somebody else’s problems. Because I’ve been healed and restored, my past doesn’t bother me anymore.

Nobody can be set free from a problem until they’re willing to admit they have one.

Do you want to be free of the shame and trauma of your past? Download our prayer guide from Dr. Frank Meadows here!

Even though our problems may have been brought upon us because of something done against our will, we have no excuse for allowing the problem to persist, grow and even take control over our entire life. Our past experiences may have made us the way we are, but we don’t have to stay that way. We can take the initiative by taking positive steps to change things, and most importantly we can ask for God’s help.

I encourage you today to get whatever hurt you have out in the open. Find someone to pray with. Don’t just let them pray, pray yourself for your own healing out loud. Remember the devil wants you to stay quiet. Fight it with God!

Face the truth—it can be the beginning of a happier life!

Alignment

By Keiko Chibana-Shinn | Rediscovering Prayer

There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows. Ezekiel 47:9

We all live by faith. We wake up every morning with some level of faith that takes us out of bed and makes us believe that we will make it through another day. It’s as if we each have our own well, where we draw out the source of energy, hope, and love we need to make life happen. For some, the well is half empty, for others half full, for some the well is overflowing and to others, their elected cisterns are so dried up that the well itself is found crumbling from excessive drought.

The question of faith is not whether it exists or not. For everyone believes in something. Even the faithless have faith in their faithlessness. The question is, How does one qualify faith? Faith feeds identity. Therefore your faith has the ability to define your identity and the quality of your character.

The Word of God defines faith in saying:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Anyone who holds this definition of faith will see successes in this life. It’s a truth that can affect the trajectory of our lives in the natural plane as well as in the supernatural. To have faith is to have confidence. Faith is meant to be unleashed without any limitations. However, it can be a safe feeling to remain confident in your own strength and abilities rather than trusting Jesus to be your true source of faith and confidence. It’s easier to set limits on your faith. But faith has a completely different look and feel when you truly believe that Jesus has called you out of the boat to walk on water.

Jesus says:

…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jn. 4:14

Streams of living water belong to Jesus. He is not only the source of strength in our lives but He himself is the well of salvation. The faith He imparts saves us from every demonic power and all influence of evil desires. The power that makes abundant life possible is eternally sustained by His Spirit. We are made in the image of God and therefore have the capacity to sustain everlasting water, meaning we can behold His grace and Spirit. It is by faith that we draw out His grace and move in step with His Spirit for the journey ahead of us.

For this very reason, we are to align our perspective to that of Jesus’ knowing that every trial is an opportunity to build our character through His abundant grace imparted to us. This is what ultimately builds a character of faith that unleashes the promises God has made in the here and now. For we are a new creation in Christ. The old is done away with, the new has come. Let the everlasting waters continually flow in and through your identity as a child of God. For there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. His grace is more than sufficient for us. For whoever activates faith in Christ for daily living, wears His splendor for all to see.

Jesus has the power and authority to examine the health of your character. If willing, He can transform our character by the strength of His Spirit to support the type of faith that can raise the dead to life, heal the sick, resurrect dreams, and restore the brokenhearted. To have faith in Christ is to also have the character to withstand the effects of disillusionment, cynicism, and setbacks. Let us add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and a faith characterized by love that covers a multitude of sin. The evil one will not prevail because your character has no entry point for his schemes to succeed. Jesus will always have the final Word.

We are called to be confident in that He who began a good work in us will complete it. He wants us to add to our character a fierce determination to persevere, to commit, and maintain a spirit of constancy in the plans, giftedness, and purposes God has placed in our hearts to execute. Let renewed passion, the eternal waters surge up from within so that the character of your faith says “Yes!” and “Amen!” in response to what Jesus has already promised you. Let the  prayer of our hearts be:

In times of hardship, in times of momentary drought, fatigue, and uncertainty may You, Lord, instill in me an unbreakable character to say “I stand with You til the end. Make my heart to be faithful as yours. So come. I receive You as my fountain. I release my man-made cistern that cannot hold your eternal waters. I renounce the wanderer spirit within me, the idols, excuses, and distracted living. I take hold of your passion for life and choose to keep my focus on you. Let your everlasting waters flow through me. For wherever the river flows, everything will flourish. Everything will flourish within me. For Your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Additional Verses: Jer. 2:13; 2 Cor. 3:17–18; Matt. 14:29; Jn. 10:10; 1 Jn. 5:4; Gen. 1:27; 1 Thess. 5:15; 2 Cor. 5:17; Ro. 8:1; 2 Pe. 1:5-7; 1 Pe. 4:8; 2 Pe. 1:4; 2 Cor. 12:9

Raise Children of Character

You are Your Child’s Personal Trainer: Raising Children of Character

A personal trainer is a fitness professional who instructs and suggests an exercise program to meet the goals of clients.  A trainer critiques a client’s strengths and weaknesses, develops a plan with the client for improvement, provides feedback, and holds the client accountable to his/her fitness goals.

Make a list of character qualities that you would like your child to develop.

The Bible describes our parental role of training our child by recounting the story of Abraham in Genesis 18:19.

I have singled him (Abraham) out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just.  Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.

Your goal is to train your child to do what is right and just, based on God’s principles.

It is important to have a plan and be intentional in helping your child develop good character.  Your child will be blessed if you teach him/her to follow the Lord’s paths.

  • Plan a set time to teach your child God’s principles; during mealtimes, before bed, or first thing in the morning.  If you are separated from your child, teach him/her through e-mail, phone calls, text messages, or letters.
  • Listen to your child’s questions.
  • Understand what your child knows and understands about a topic.
  • Use the principles of Scripture as your guide in helping your child choose the correct thinking or right path.
  • Help your child understand how to apply the Scriptures to his/her life.
  • Instill in your child a habit of turning to the Bible for answers to life’s questions.
  • Use teachable moments throughout the day.
  • Follow the example of Deuteronomy 6:6-7.  Talk about God’s ways throughout your day.

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.   Repeat them again and again to your children.   Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

  • Use experiences that you and your child encounter to reinforce an idea that you have previously taught him/her.

From the family archives: 

When our daughter was 5 years old,  we went into a small store to do some shopping.  Upon returning home, my daughter proudly showed me a pretty bracelet.  I was horrified!!  She had taken it without our paying for it.  We had been talking about honesty and right here was a “teachable moment!” Even though it was inconvenient and embarrassing for me, we returned to the store in order for her to return the bracelet.  My daughter explained to the cashier that she had taken it without our paying.  The sales lady was very kind, took the bracelet back, and thanked our daughter for her honesty.  That day, my daughter had an experience which reinforced our discussions about the need to be honest and live according to God’s principles.

  • Find the right time.
  • If you see an opportunity to teach, but don’t have time at the moment, postpone the discussion until later.
  • If you or your child are too emotionally upset, delay the discussion until you are both calm.
  • If you need to correct your child, but are in the presence of many people, take your child to a quiet place and talk about the misbehavior.

Use Media as a teaching tool.

  • Negative and corrupted values are constantly presented to your child.
  • Talk with your child about TV shows, advertising, movies, the Internet, music, video games, magazines, and signage.  Discuss how media lines up with Christian values.

Use conflicts between family and friends to show your child what to do in a   particular situation.

  • Use travel time to talk with your child.
  • Talk about something you see “out your window”, such as litter, inconsiderate drivers, or the homeless.
  • Talk about school-related topics or other topics that concern your child.
  • Reinforce positive behavior that you notice in your child.
  • Compliment specifically on your child’s honesty, kindness, or good habits.  Your child will tend to repeat those things that please you.
  • Remember that it takes 6 positive comments to cancel 1 negative comment.
  • Pray with your child about the things that concern him/her.
  • Your child is most receptive to your teaching at bedtime.  Use this relaxed time to pray with your child about things that worry him/her.

Plan family activities that teach good character.

  • Do community service.
  • Perform an act of kindness.  Write a note or make a picture to thank someone.
  • Read books on character.
  • Play  “What Should You Do? Make a set of cards describing real-life situations and ask your child what he/she would do. Talk about your child’s response to the situation.  Lead your child in discovering God’s path.
  • Play  “How Does It Feel?  Have conversations about how characters feel in real-life situations, movies or books.

Your turn!  List more family activities that would develop good character in your child.

You need to live your own life with godly character as an example to your child. You are your child’s most important role model and a powerful influence.  Be clear about what your values and beliefs are and pass them onto your child.

As a parent:

  • Read God’s Word.  The book of Proverbs is a practical guide and provides wisdom in daily living.
  • Guard your heart and look at your motivations carefully.
  • Confess your sins to God and others.
  • Pray with a friend about your spiritual and emotional needs.
  • Find someone or a community group who will hold you accountable.
  • Pray for wisdom.
  • Pray with a friend for each other’s children.
  • Attend church.

Try Something New

Ask the Lord to give you opportunities and wisdom to teach your child to do what is right.  In your own life, model the habit of turning to God’s Word for answers to life’s questions and commit yourself to obeying God.

Verses for Encouragement

Ask the Lord for wisdom in teaching your child.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  (James 1:5)

Be determined to live according to God’s Word.

How can a young man (young woman) keep his/her way pure?  By living according to your word.  (Psalms 119:9)