Archive for February, 2013

(Scripture from the KJV)

– Of making books there is no end … and much study is a weariness of the flesh. – Ecclesiastes 12:12

Plato once said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Well, perhaps it should be the brother of education and learning as well. Abraham Lincoln never went to college. In a short autobiography written in 1859, the future 16th president described his education like this: “All my formal schooling took place when I was young – in the way of reading, writing, and ciphering. The little advance I now have upon this state of education – I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.” (Source: American Presidents (11th Edition) by David C. Whitney).

Especially in modern times, more and more people seem to be acquiring more and more knowledge – often at great expense – simply for the sake of doing so.  With the explosion of the internet in the past 20 years – we are bombarded daily with all kinds of information that must be filtered and processed by our limited minds.  Daily decisions get harder to make with this deluge of data. The prophet Daniel warned that in the last days, many will run to and fro – and knowledge will be increased (Daniel 12:4).

As Christians, we should always be very careful and prayerful that we are not learning a bunch of Bible verses – simply for the sake of learning them – without asking the Holy Spirit on how to compare them with other spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:13).  If we don’t, then we can easily and frequently start quoting them to others in an often – almost clinical “matter of fact” manner – to show off our Biblical “book knowledge” to others.   We are not in tune with the Holy Spirit as to if they actually apply to any circumstance or situation we are encountering.  

When we present the Word like this – it sometimes leads to nothing but back and forth exchanges of our Scriptural “smarts” or “stupidity”. They usually fall on mostly deaf ears. It only serves to puff us up – or pull us down against each other (1 Corinthians 8:1). Sadly, we can spend years like this – always searching and learning Scripture – thinking we have eternal life but never being able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (John 5:39, John 16:13, 2 Timothy 3:7, 1 John 2:27).

Too much knowledge and too little love can kill common sense – even among Christians (1 Corinthians 8:1). Verses we may use as our own personal mantras to get through difficult times can be totally meaningless to someone who is lost. Love always edifies others – but too much Bible learning can paralyze us from responding the way God has commanded us to first and foremost. Remember love covers all sin (Proverbs 10:12, 1 Peter 4:8).

Instead of being sensitive to every situation we encounter daily as Christians – as to how we can show others God’s love immediately – we’re searching our brains to find what we think is that one verse that will somehow be the perfect and quick solution to whatever the difficulty, problem, or trial may be. This is very close to striving about words to no profit (2 Timothy 2:14). We can get so overly focused on trying to find and say the right thing – that we can forget that all we have to do sometimes is go the extra mile with someone – with our mouths mostly shut (Matthew 5:41).

Yes, we are to study to show ourselves approved to God – but not to others (2 Timothy 3:15). As with any area of life we are directly involved in – we should be continually broadening our scope of knowledge – even if we may not be using it in our day-to-day lives. But if all we are doing is studying – and never showing others we’ve discovered how to apply what we’ve learned – we’re nothing more than talking heads. Is this how some who are lost see many Christians? Confucius once said, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

Perhaps the last thing any unbelieving person wants to hear from us first is some verse we may like – but which they will probably forget as soon as we walk away. Wouldn’t they rather see us show them God’s love first – so they will remember it much longer than sharing a snippet of Scripture? And in the process of doing so – we may actually start comprehending and understanding a little better each time what God’s love really is – instead of just learning about it?

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(Scripture refs from the NKJV and KJV at the end)

– For every house is built by some man; but He that builds all things is God. – Hebrews 3:4

Through faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. All things were made by Him – and without Him was not anything made that was made. Even though the things we see are temporary – and the things we cannot see are eternal, the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.

Even his eternal power and Godhead; so that we are without excuse. We are constant witnesses to the worldly – but temporary home – He has built for us under heaven. Anything we believe is a permanent structure (including churches) – then constructed below upon this earth – must be built by Him. Otherwise, all the labor is in vain.

For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him – and His pleasure alone. God is before all things – and by Him all things consist. Our every breath is in His hands – we cannot live, move, or have our being without Him. Heaven is God’s throne – and the earth is His footstool.

What house can we build Him then on earth to contain Him? God does not dwell in temples made with hands – neither is worshipped with men’s hands – seeing He is Lord of heaven and earth. Anything we build upon earth – Christ must be the cornerstone and foundation – for the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against it. If not, the slightest storms of life can easily topple whatever was constructed.

When we forget our Maker is the Maker of all things – we are only building desolate places for ourselves here on earth without Him. Our Father in heaven can take away – even violently – any house here in the world when we fail to remember it is He who provides all the material to make anything. As Christians, we are God’s building on earth – whether it is inside a physical structure or not.

It is a building fitly framed together growing unto a holy temple for the Lord – for a habitation of God through the Spirit. We must be always mindful we are building on the foundation of Christ – and not of another man. All the earthly tabernacles will one day be dissolved – only our eternal and heavenly home built by God will remain. We don’t want to find ourselves unclothed and naked when that time comes.

(Scripture refs in order of use: Hebrews 11:3, John 1:3, 2 Corinthians 4:18, Romans 1:21, Psalm 127:1, Colossians 1:16-17, Revelation 4:11, Daniel 5:23, Acts 17:28, 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 2:6, Isaiah 66:1, Acts 7:49, Acts 17:24-25, Matthew 6:18, Luke 6:48-49, Job 20:19, Hosea 8:14, Habakkuk 2:12, 1 Corinthians 3:9-16, Ephesians 2:21-22, Romans 15:20, Amos 9:6, 2 Corinthians 5:1-3).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And hope makes not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us. For when we were yet without strength – in due time Christ died for the ungodly. – Romans 5:5-6

It’s very hard for someone who has never been able to give or receive human love – to comprehend or understand the incredible breadth, length, depth, or height of God‘s love for them (Ephesians 3:18). Without being able to do this – even as Christians – it makes it equally hard to accept His love or show it to the lost and unbelieving. However, human love is what we learn first – wrought with worldly conditions and expectations. These are based on factors such as money, emotions – even the calendar as in yesterday. Worldly love ebbs and flows dependent on the waves of life. God’s love is different – it is perfect (1 John 4:18) – often referred to as “agape” love. It does not peak or plummet depending on external and earthly circumstances and situations.

When a person is “born again” of the Spirit – the blood that Christ shed at Calvary is the same blood God sheds abroad in their hearts through the gift and power of the Holy Ghost (lead verse). A new heart and new spirit has been given from above (Ezekiel 36:26). A new creature in Christ begins to develop – and old fleshly and worldly things start to pass away (2 Corinthians 5:17). The born again person now bears the marks of Christ in their body (Galatians 6:17). It’s only at this point can any of us even begin to start comprehending God’s perfect love for us and the whole world (John 3:16). Our Father’s love is as strong as death – and it’s this love the breaks our bondage to it from birth – for that is why He sacrificed His only Son (Song of Solomon 8:6, Hebrews 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 1:10).

Upon the giving of the Holy Spirit, God begins a daily process of transforming minds and hearts – regenerating the inner man continually throughout life (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16). The mind of Christ has been given to a believer – and slowly over time – the way of Christ is learned (1 Corinthians 2:16, Ephesians 4:20-32). God begins teaching how to compare spiritual things with the spiritual – no longer from a natural “outside-in” approach (1 Corinthians 2:11-14). Every dead branch in the heart not producing any fruit is cleared away – so new and healthier spiritual growth can occur (John 15:1-5, Galatians 5:22-23). Fleshly and lustful ways of the former man – are slowly replaced with the faithful ways of the reformed man. All the while – day-by-day – God is steadily directing hearts into His love and unto the patient waiting for Christ’s return (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. – 2 Corinthians 4:4

– Mama always told me not to look into the eyes of the sun – but Mama, that’s where the fun is.  – Bruce Springsteen, “Blinded by the Light” – copyright 1973.

Deer have terrible vision – about 10 times worse than humans. This is why we generally see them moving about just after dawn and just before dark.  These are the only times of day when they can go foraging for food – for it’s the only opportunity they have to find and actually see what they are eating – before the sun gets too bright or too high in the sky.

Despite the differences in vision quality between deer and humans – both have the initial reaction to blinding lights – they freeze. Nothing can be seen as whatever the light source is drowns out what can normally be seen in lower light.  Human eyes can adjust – the eyes of deer cannot.  They are literally blinded – unable to see even some objects.  This is why they freeze motionless in the headlights of approaching cars – and never see what hits them.  

All light – no matter how bright it may appear – is not necessarily God’s light.  Jesus warned us to “take heed lest the light in us is not darkness (Luke 11:35).  The gods of this world are the goods of this world – and the devil is their governor.  Satan only savors the things of man – not God (Mark 8:33).  We should not marvel then when the devil and his legions transform themselves into angels of light and ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Satan’s lights are all lies – for he is the father of them – there is no truth in him whatsoever (John 8:44).  But they lie in wait for us – and try to lure us away from the light of God in the way of worldly things like materialism, money, and fame – if we are not very careful and prayerful.  Someone once said we should always be mindful about any light appearing at the end of a tunnel in our lives – it could be the headlights on the lead engine of a long black train coming the other way.

The devil is the ruler of darkness – an invisible power we all wrestle against (Ephesians 6:12).  According to Nova, if the entire known light spectrum was spread and stretched out flat on a U.S. map – it would reach from New York City to Los Angeles.  However, the visible light spectrum that humans can see would be no longer than the width of a dime.

There are so many things invisible to the naked eye we will never comprehend.  However, all darkness and all light – are all the same to God (Psalm 139:12).  Only He knows what’s in that darkness – and only He can reveal the deep and secret things hidden within and bring them into His light (Daniel 2:22).  This is why we need God’s light shining in – and out from our hearts and eyes – through Christ at all times (Luke 11:33-36, 2 Corinthians 4:6).

As Christians, we have been called out of our past darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 2:8).  We are now walking as children of His light – not after Satan’s lies anymore (Romans 8:1, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5). We are to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12).

We are to be a lamp to those who still sit in their darkness and in the shadow of death – with God guiding us into the way of peace (Luke 1:79).  Therefore, we must always maintain our confidence (faith) that we are a guide to the blind – a light of them who are still in darkness (Romans 2:19).  Otherwise, we will all be like deer frozen in the oncoming headlights of fast approaching cars – and never know or see what hits us.

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(Scripture refs – in order of use – at the end from the NKJV and KJV)

– How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him? – Hebrews 2:3

God is long-suffering and patient towards all mankind – He made all of us and is not willing that any should perish – but for all to come to repentance. Our Father in heaven takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. What He desires is for all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. However, the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

From our times as children, we have known the Holy Scriptures – to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. However, heaven is not a birthright. We are all born as flesh and blood beings into a corrupt and polluted world – neither of which can inherit the eternal kingdom of God.

Even though God does not appoint any of us to wrath at birth – He does not automatically appoint any to righteousness either.  We must be “born again” at some point in our lives – so God can come to dwell in our hearts by faith in Christ through His Holy Spirit.  So we no longer remain natural men and women still trying to learn God – who is a spirit – from the “outside-in” by our own flawed and finite human wisdom and understanding.

Without the Holy Ghost in us while we live – we cannot be sanctified.  We cannot become furnished and prepared for the Master’s every good work on earth.  Without the Holy Ghost in us when we die – we cannot be saved – and have our mortal bodies quickened and raised up on that last day.

Therefore, do not neglect such a great salvation.  Now is always the accepted time – for we never know what a single day will ever bring forth.  Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.  See then, that we do not refuse Him who speaks – for if they did not escape who refused Him that spoke on earth, how much more shall not we escape if we turn away from Him that speaks from heaven?

Be warned from Scripture:  Continued and defiant rejection of God, failure to learn from His heavenly correction and discipline – and failing to retain Him in our knowledge – is eternally dangerous.  This can make Him turn us over to reprobate minds and make us do all kinds of things we may not want to.  If it continues unabated, our Father in heaven can cut us off without remedy forever.

(Scripture refs in order of use: 2 Peter 3:9, Ezekiel 18:23, Ezekiel 18:32, 1 Timothy 2:4, Titus 2:11, 2 Timothy 3:15, 1 Corinthians 15:50, 1 Thessalonians 5:9, John 3:5, Ephesians 3:16-17, John 4:24, 1 Corinthians 2:11-16, John 5:39, 2 Timothy 3:7, 2 Timothy 2:21, 2 Timothy 3:17, Romans 8:9-11, Hebrews 2:3, 2 Corinthians 6:2, Proverbs 27:1, 2 Corinthians 6:1, Hebrews 12:25, Romans 1:21-32, Job 34:31, Proverbs 29:1, Luke 16:26).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory – but for men to search their own glory is not glory – John 7:18, Psalm 25:27

Job had a huge “I” problem – Satan knew it and so did God. When we read Job, Chapter 29 – we can see how big of an earthly blessing mindset vs. an eternal rewards blindness problem Job had. His glory was fresh in himself and his bow was renewed (Job 29:20). People could not wait to hear Job speak and hear his wisdom concerning godly matters – they kept silent at his counsel (Job 29:21-22).

When he was done – they waited for his next speech like the rain (Job 29:23). Job called himself personally blessed when people listened to his word (Job 29:11). He even went looking for causes he didn’t even know about yet – which further blurred his “I” sight (Job 29:16).

Because of the glory Job gave himself first – and because of his hedge of family, friends, and livestock – God gave Satan permission to take everything from Job but his wife and life. And, in the span of one day – the devil did just that (Job 1:3-19). Even though Job did not curse God nor sin as a result – it took some time for him and his friends to figure out why it happened (Job 1:22).

Pretty much all of the book of Job covers this – many opinions offered up as to why such bad things had befallen such a good – and godly man. But, Job’s glory was in himself – and God stripped him of it through Satan – removing the crown from Job’s head (Job 19:9). Suddenly, Job wasn’t feeling so blessed anymore (Job 19:10-20).

When we die, any glory we think we may have attained or obtained while living – will not descend into the grave after us (Psalm 49:17). As Bruce Springsteen once wrote, our glory days will pass us by in the wink of a young girl’s eyes. However, God glory is from everlasting to everlasting – and He will not give it to anyone else (Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 60:19).

That is the glory He has called us into by Christ Jesus for eternity (1 Peter 5:10) – not our own here on earth – especially as Christians. If we don’t like that – it could end in near disaster for us just like Job – who finally did “get” who gets all the glory (Job 38:1 – Job 42:15).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– 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 thought and intents of the heart. 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. – Hebrews 4:12-13

If any of us are concerned about invasions of our so-called privacy – and the apparent and increasing intrusions of it – we are most likely going to have a very difficult walk and relationship with Christ as believers. Our Father fills the heaven and earth. There are no places we can go to hide from His presence – no secret locations we can go to “get away” from it all – that He does not know about (Jeremiah 23:24).

Every wrong, immoral, or evil thoughts we may ever have – and the imaginations we have behind them are known by the Almighty (Ezekiel 11:5, 1 Chronicles 28:9). They are divided between His truths and Satan’s lies. However, we can all get so caught up in the business (and busy-ness) of our everyday lives that we frequently forget He passes by all of us continually – and don’t perceive He is watching us every second (Job 9:11).

We can easily believe there are things about ourselves that no mortal living soul will ever know about – and that may be true. Some may think there are secrets they can live with their whole lives and take to the grave with them. We can mask them from man – but it is all continually manifest before God from cradle to grave.  Our Father in heaven is our guiding light all the days of our lives – even unto death (Psalm 48:14, Luke 1:79).

And, we will all one day give an account of ourselves to Him. God will judge all the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to His gospel (Romans 2:16). All the hidden things of the darkness in our lives will be brought to light – and the counsels of our hearts will be made manifest when we meet Him (1 Corinthians 4:5). Every idle word we ever spoke will be judged (Matthew 12:36). Whatever was spoken in the darkness will be heard in His light. Anything we ever tried to hide will made known – and everything we may have ever attempted to cover up will be revealed (Luke 12:2-3).

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(Scripture from the KJV)

– Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God – which is in us in Christ Jesus the Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

If God did not love us – He never would have sacrificed His only Son to die for us (John 3:16). Our Father would have left us here stranded and alone and fending for ourselves – trying to face life and deal with all its complexities, confusions, and contentions without any help from above. That’s not how He designed us – but it’s how we many of us can live when we lean on our own worldly wisdom and understanding of things (Proverbs 5-7).

However, God’s strength to help us overcome these things and handle them rests in our weaknesses – when we glory in our infirmities. To those of us like this who are humble – He gives grace to – which is sufficient for all things … so that the power of Christ can truly rest upon and help us (2 Corinthians 11:30, 2 Corinthians 12:9). To those of us who exalt ourselves, remain prideful, and stay clothed in our own righteousness – God will resist – even as believers (Job 29:14, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:5). And, He has His ways of humbling us when we do (Matthew 23:12).

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