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Archive for June, 2013


(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Talk no more exceedingly proud; let not arrogance come out of your mouth.  For the Lord is a God of knowledge – and by Him actions are weighed. – 1 Samuel 2:3

– TEKEL: You are weighed in the balances, and found wanting. – Daniel 5:27

Perhaps one of the most chilling scenes in Scripture is the fingers coming forth of a man’s disembodied hand, writing the words “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” upon a plaster wall (Daniel 5:5, Daniel 5:25).  It all happened in the midst of a great feast given by King Belshazzar for a thousand of his lords (Daniel 5:1).  Once the king saw the “hand, writing on the wall” – his festive countenance was changed to fear (Daniel 5:6).

These words at Belshazzar’s banquet spelled out his final fate in life from God.  Only the prophet Daniel could interpret them – as they were from above and not below (Daniel 5:13-15).  The news was not good.  Belshazzar’s kingdom had been numbered and finished.  It would be divided between the Medes and Persians.  As for the king, his days were done – being slain later that night (Daniel 5:30).

Belshazzar should have known better.  To humble his heart before God – before it was too late (Daniel 5:22).  His own father, King Nebuchadnezzar, was literally put out to pasture – and his heart made like the beasts.  He was fed grass like oxen. All because of pride.  Until the king knew the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men – and appointed over it whomever He would (Daniel 5:18-21).  Dad learned, the son did not.

In Job’s final speech to his three friends – he said: “If I have walked with vanity – or if my foot has hasted to deceit – let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know my integrity (Job 31:5-6).  We too, are being weighed daily by God in His heavenly scales (Isaiah 40:12).  Too much drink, too much false idol worship, and not giving God glory – tipped Belshazzar’s balance to death (Daniel 5:23-24).  What will tip ours?

A false balance – and too many weights are abominations to God (Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 20:23).  However, a just weight is His delight – for all the weights of the bag is His work (Proverbs 16:11).  Shouldn’t we be mindful then of who’s in whose scales? Maintaining a just balance is not weighing God’s actions.  We are to repent daily.  Humbly coming before the Lord – so we don’t get our wicked hearts hardened by pride – or before He does it for us (Jeremiah 17:9, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Exodus 9:12).

Wanting is never wise (Psalm 23:1).  If we’re wanting – can we be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 3:14)?  If we’re wanting – won’t we be trying to exact more than what God has already appointed us (Luke 3:13)?  If we’re wanting – aren’t we waiting?  Perhaps waiting for God to give us a worldly want – before doing something He wants us to by His Word?  Don’t wants create wrong weights – and waits – leading to unjust balances that could tragically tip any time (Proverbs 29:1)?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon – concerning the name of the Lord – she came to prove him with hard questions. – 1 Kings 10:1

– There are answers we’re not wise enough to see. – “The Riddle” by Five for Fighting, written by John Ondrasik, copyright 2006

Life is full of hard questions.  Still, the answers we may seek – the truthful responses – may be much harder to accept than the questions themselves.  Where we go in our quest for these answers – says a lot about our level of faith.  Do we turn to fellow believers first (i.e. church pastors, elders, etc.) – perhaps hoping they’ll give us softer answers and advice requiring the least repentance?  Or, do we turn to God first  – for many hard answers we can’t bear while on earth (John 16:12)?

Only God knows our hearts – He fashioned them while making us (Psalm 139:15).  Ministries can get blamed in time (2 Corinthians 6:3) if members attempt delving into heart matters of any other person.  What happens when a troubled person gets different responses from different believers – for the same hard question?  If we’re fools by trusting our hearts (Proverbs 28:26) – what would make any of us think we can answer the hard questions of other’s hearts?  Well, Solomon and Job did.

Solomon exceeded all the kings of earth for riches and wisdom (1 Kings 10:23).  When the queen of Sheba heard about this – she went to find out for herself (lead verse).  Loading up a very great train of gifts, she set out for Jerusalem – some 1,500 miles away.  After arriving, the queen communed with Solomon of all that was in her heart – nothing was hid (1 Kings 10:2-3). When her hard questions had been answered – his wisdom was more than she had believed from afar (1 Kings 10:6-7).

Job got caught up in his counsel to others – he said so himself (Job 29:21).  Men gave ear to his words and kept silent after – waiting to hear from Job again like waiting for rain.  They drank in his further counsel like a very thirsty person might with long-awaited water from the sky (Job 29:22-23).  Job chose out their ways – dwelling as chief among them (Job 29:25).  People followed Job more than God – and Job’s glory was fresh in him because of it (Job 29:20, 1 Corinthians 1:12-13).

Solomon soon developed a wife problem (1 Kings 11:3) – Job already had an “I” problem (Job 29:14-19).  Solomon’s heart was turned away from God – Job’s heart was turned towards himself.  They could answer hard questions from others about God and life – but they had a hard time maintaining a right faith “focus”.  Consequently, both men lost nearly everything they had – as a result of forgetting, not fearing, and not fully following God (1 Kings 11:6-13, Job 1:9:19).

God has hard questions for all of us – about Himself and His nature.  They are all unanswerable.  Our Father presented them to Job out of the whirlwind – and they humbled Job (Job 38:1 – Job 41:11).  He then hated himself for uttering things he did not understand – then repented in dust and ashes (Job 42:2-6).  If we are not humbled by those very same questions – are we not still haughty, high-minded, and prideful in thinking we can answer the hard “heart” questions of others?

Pride goes before destruction – and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).  Nearly everything Job had was destroyed by God – and Solomon fell out of favor with Him – in part for trying to answer hard questions they had no business trying to answer. Job’s fortunes were restored for humbling himself – twice as much as before (Job 42:10).  Solomon did not – and the Lord stirred up adversaries against the king until his death (1 Kings 11:14-25).  Both men had to learn hard lessons.  Will we?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Your silver is become dross; your wine mixed with water. – Isaiah 1:22

– Yet once more signifies the removing of those things that are shaken.  As of things that are made – that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. – Hebrews 12:27

– Wherefore, I put you in remembrance – that you stir up the gift of God which is in you by the putting on of my hands. – 2 Timothy 1:6

Did you ever attempt to mix two ingredients together, that weren’t really meant to be mixed together – perhaps two chemicals in a high school class?  If you did, hopefully no one was hurt – and your parents did not get a huge bill for a new lab.  When we mix wrong things together – the potential is always there for danger.  It can be extremely destructive – and often deadly – when two opposite elements of weather get mixed together and stirred up.  The aftermath of ruined homes and lives can shake our souls to the core.

Even when two or more elements/ingredients meant to be mixed together are blended – they have to be occasionally stirred or shaken afterwards to keep them more fluid and pure.  Liquid milk and chocolate powder mix don’t taste very good without being stirred together – until everything dissolves.  Cans of paint we have in the house have to be opened and stirred up well before we dip the brush in – so it goes on as a smooth coat when applied to a surface.  It’s all a principle existing in both the natural and spiritual realms.

When we’re born again, it is a baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11).  It should be felt – for a blaze is lit in our hearts.  A light of God’s love is shed abroad in them by the gift of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).  It’s a flame that has to be kept burning – continually stirred and stoked so it doesn’t die out (third lead verse).  Our Father becomes a consuming fire in our souls (Hebrews 12:29) – His voice dividing the flames (Psalm 29:7). Like any physical fire – our spiritual ones need the right mixture of fuel to keep them burning cleanly and clearly.

If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, it’s a blaze that people usually take turns stoking and feeding.  Someone occasionally throws on more dry wood – someone else pokes a stick in now and then – to stir up the fuel.  Done properly, the fire steadily burns bright.  It makes people sitting closest to it feel warm – and we can see things more clearly the nearer we are.  Shouldn’t this be how the lost feel when they are around us as Christians? Shouldn’t the light we shine upon their path make them feel warm – and let them see life a little more clearly the closer they get to us (John 1:5)?

Faith, and belief of the truth are the fuels for our spiritual fires inside.  It is impossible to please God without the first (Hebrews 11:6).  We can’t be sanctified or saved without the second (2 Thessalonians 2:13).  Mixing in wrong things – often worldly wants and wishes – can leave us feeling “mixed up” as believers. They don’t profit our faith, belief, and trust in God (Hebrews 4:2).  They can create an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19, Hebrews 4:6-11).  In turn, this can stir up hate and grievous words towards each other (Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 15:1).

How dangerous is this?  If we’re not mindful of the mixture – God can stir up things like adversaries against us.  Why?  When we go after other gods – such as worldly goods – before Him (Exodus 20:3).  This happened with Solomon (1 Kings 11:4-25). We also have to be careful about being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).  King Ahab ended up doing evil in the sight of the Lord – selling himself to do wickedness – who Jezebel, his unbelieving and unrepentant wife stirred up (1 Kings 21:25, Revelation 2:20-22).

Along these same lines, we should take caution we haven’t entered a life of seeming comfort and ease as believers (2 Corinthians 5:3).  When we have what we desire in the world – and life is going how we want – it’s easy to praise and worship God.  This was Job’s “hedge” – as the devil said.  So God allowed Satan to shake Job out of it – and it was painful (Job 1:9-19, Job 16:11-12).  Job’s worst fears were realized – for he had no reason to fear God (Job 3:25).  God can be against us when we forget to fear Him, and keep His commandments (Romans 8:31, Ecclesiastes 12:13).

So, we have to frequently stir and shake ourselves and others up – to wake out of sometimes deep spiritual sleeps.  This can arise simply by sitting in one place too long without much motion – just like limbs can go to sleep if we’re not moving.  Being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1-14) doesn’t always mean being led to the same place and seat every Sunday.  Sometimes we have to move with fear like Noah – and stirred to do something that seems to make no sense to anyone but God (Hebrews 11:7, 1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

All of this mixing, shaking, and stirring will culminate in the last days – and the end of this earth.  As believers, we are not to be soon shaken in mind – or troubled in spirit or word – when it happens (2 Thessalonians 2:2).  This world will be dissolved by fire one day (Isaiah 24:19, Isaiah 34:4, 2 Peter 3:12).  Nothing more will ever be mixed or stirred into it – or us again.  All the elements which have been shaken since creation will be removed – so only those which can never be shaken again may remain (second lead verse).

Right now in the hand of the Lord is a cup.  And the wine is red and full of mixture – and He pours out of the same.  But the dregs thereof are the wicked of the earth – and He shall wring them out and drink them (Psalm 75:8).  Those of us who end up in worship of the beast  – and receive his mark in our forehead or hand (so we cannot buy or sell) – the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.  Which will be poured out without mixture – and tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels – and in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 13:16-18, 14:9-10).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– For what man knows the things of a man – save the spirit which is in him?  Even so, the things of God knows no man – but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world – but the Spirit which is of God – that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.  Which things we also speak – not in the wisdom that man’s wisdom teaches – but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 2:11-13

– Never try to understand something from the outside. – Brad Melzer

Our Father in heaven is never the author of any confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Especially in the lives of believers – for we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost to be taught the things of Him.  By Him – and not man (lead verses).  It is impossible for Him to lie to us (Hebrews 6:18, 1 John 2:27). God is the Rock – His work is perfect – for all His ways are judgment.  A Father of truth is He – without any iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Still, Scripture can seem confusing, contradictory, imperfect, and even untruthful at times – even among long-time believers.

This is very understandable if a person is still lost and unbelieving.  For they have not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost – when Christ comes to dwell in their inner man by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).  The gospel is still hidden to them – and the preaching of the Cross is foolishness – for they are still presently perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 1 Corinthians 1:18). They remain natural men and woman trying to understand God and His Word from the outside-in – as if it’s a history book about Him – and not His story about us (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 3:16, lead quote).

It’s even understandable when new believers – or those trying to build their faith and trust on an unstable foundation – get confused with Scripture.  For they are still unlearned – and wrestle with Scripture to their destruction (2 Peter 3:17).  Being able to compare spiritual things with the spiritual takes time – but it’s a sign of healthy and steady spiritual growth.  With the Holy Ghost inside us – He begins to guide us into all truth with no lie (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).  This is given freely to us by Him – if His words abide in us – and we in Him; at all times (John 15:1-7, lead verses).

Christ once told a parable – about a parable – to illustrate all this.  Jesus was with the 12 disciples whom God had chosen – and some others whom He had not.  The Son of man said unto them “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God – but to them that are without – all these things are done in parables.  That seeing they may see – and not perceive; and hearing they may hear – and not understand. Lest at any time they should be converted – and their sins should be forgiven them.  Do you not know this parable? How then will you know all parables (Mark 4:10-13)?”

The only thing that makes anyone a Christian is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost – for many reasons.  We are none of God’s without it (Romans 8:9), we cannot say Christ is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3); and our Father has no power to quicken (make alive) our mortal bodies and raise us up to salvation when Christ returns (Romans 8:11, Revelation 12:10).  It is the Spirit inside us that makes us alive – our flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).  Otherwise, we may be going to church, Bible studies, etc., – and still be on the outside looking in (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 3:7).

As Christians, we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  We are to learn God’s Son the way He wants us to from the inside-out – and the only One inside our hearts is Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17, Ephesians 4:20-32).  We now learn how God’s Spirit speaks and teaches within us – so we can do likewise to others – with His wisdom and not our own.  Again, it takes time through continual repentance as our inner man is continually transformed, regenerated, and renewed from above (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

Slowly and steadily, we should learn from Him how to compare spiritual things with the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13).  Not to trivialize it – but it really is like connecting spiritual dots.  So one verse/passage gets connected to another – and another – and so on.  For the mystery which has been hid from ages – and from generations – is now made manifest to His saints (Colossians 1:26).  Some dots get connected quickly – others take years.  Some never do – and that’s for good reason (Ecclesiastes 7:16, Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

A clearer, pieced together, spiritual picture should being to emerge to us – so we can then share it with others; especially the lost.  No longer cherry-picking singular verses/passages from Scripture that may sound great to ourselves when posted on Facebook (for example) – but meaning nothing to unbelievers when shared – except to add to their confusion as to what Christianity is all about.  So perhaps they may start to think “This is making more sense to me now” instead of “This still makes no sense.”  So God might finally convict their hearts of sin with His sorrow – and give them the gift of the Spirit for repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

So any believer presenting Scripture through writings can slowly start to do so in a less sporadic or spotty fashion than they may have at one time.  So any Christian speaking Scripture in public can be more specific each time they do so – and perhaps less sputtering than they may have once sounded.  A more “jointed” spiritual picture is created in our hearts and minds.  So any of us knows how to answer every man – understanding both what we say and affirm (2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Timothy 1:7).  So Christianity doesn’t sound like a whole bunch of jangling noise (1 Timothy 1:6) – for that likely pushes people further away from the Cross – than drawing them closer.

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(KJV Scripture)

– And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:5

If we ever get up in the morning as believers with a mental checklist of what we have to accomplish that day to show and prove our Christianity to others – we’re probably going to have a difficult, confusing time showing God‘s love the way to the world that He desires?  Why?  Love was hung and nailed on the Cross for us.  It’s not something to cross off a Christian checklist hung on a hanger nailed to a door frame somewhere in our house.   Love becomes our whole being as we grow in the Spirit daily.  It is not restricted to a time slot in our day planners.

When we are truly “born again”, God commands His light to shine out of the devil’s darkness we live in since our physical births (2 Corinthians 4:6, Acts 26:18).  This love from above is shed abroad in our hearts by the gift of the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (lead verse).  The veil over our hearts gets lifted with Christ – and the wall between us and God gets broken with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:14-18, Ephesians 2:13-14).  A lamp of His love is finally lit in our souls.  Its light is the same light that should shine out from our eyes – to brighten the paths of those who still are wandering around in the dark (Luke 1:79, Luke 11:33-36).

Our Father becomes a consuming fire within us (Hebrews 12:29) – to continually burn up and clear out the underbrush – which can easily keep His gift from being stirred up and blazing bright (2 Timothy 1:6).  All branches on His vine not producing the spiritual fruit He desires are purged – so they may bring forth such fruit that makes us more like Christ (Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:20-32,).  This is the daily process of repentance.  It takes our constant abidance in God – and His Word in us (John 15:1-7, 2 Corinthians 4:16,).

So our hearts are constantly being renewed and transformed from the inside by the Word – not from the outside by the world. So Christ’s blood can be sprinkled on those hearts to put a salve on sin – and so spiritual growth can begin and be shown (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5, Hebrews 10:22).  So our love for others starts coming fervently and unfeigned out of purified hearts by obeying the Spirit of truth (1 Peter 1:22).  It becomes unintentional – not intentional.  Lists?  They’re for religion. Love?  That’s for Christianity.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And Elijah came unto all the people and said, “How long shall you halt between two opinions?  If the Lord be your God – follow Him.  But if Baal – then follow him.”  And the people did not answer him a word. – 1 Kings 18:21

Many people back in Old Testament days had trouble truly following God – just as we can Christ today.  Some blatantly worshipped Baal – an earthly, worldly idol.  They had their own priest named Mattan (2 Kings 11:18).  Others appeared godly outwardly with lip service – doing lots of religious things like the Pharisees in the New Testament – but their hearts were fully set on Baal and the goods of this world (Matthew 15;8).

In the lead verse above, some had believed Baal so completely and faithfully – they were positive he could summon fire down from heaven to Mt. Carmel – and begin the blaze for a burnt offering.  Elijah felt like he was the only one left who was truly following the true God.  So, Elijah put them on the spot – and their hesitation in answering seemed to confirm his suspicions about their allegiance.  They then proceeded to call on Baal from morning to noon – but no fire. Elijah then mocked their god (1 Kings 18:22-27).

What usually trips us up more often than anything else in our walk with the Lord as Christians – and causes us to stumble – is when we try to switch back-and-forth between the world and the Word.  We’re of two opinions.  We cannot drink of the Lord’s cup – and the cup of the devils; nor partake of the Lord’s table and the table of devils at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21).  We can try – but it usually makes for a very bumpy ride on the road to heaven.

Some call this straddling the fence as believers – the Word on one side and the world on the other.  The grass may be greener on the world side, but the grace is greater on the Word side. Grace is unmerited favor.  When we are on the world’s side, we tend to have a merited favor mindset – not an unprofitable servant one (Luke 17:7-10).  We’ll follow the Word outwardly – but inwardly our hearts are set on goods we think we may deserve from God – often by merely being a Christian.  We can always fool others – but never Him (Hebrews 4:12-13).

If we halt and hesitate between two opinions every morning we wake up – as to whom we choose to serve that day (Joshua 24:15) – the shiny and tempting lights of the world that Satan and his ministers like to blind our eyes with might be too bright (2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).  We’ll be like moths to a flame.  Except the fire will be just more of the devil’s deceptive darkness – disguised as a very luring light (Luke 11:35).

The name Baal has become synonymous with false gods and fake worship in much of modern Christianity.  It’s commonly accepted through etymology that  the name Beelzebub originated from Baalzebub. – the prince of devils or demons (Matthew 12:24).  What’s going to happen if the world and Satan start winning out over the Word – as they seem to be doing more and more in today’s Christianity?  What if we misuse Scripture to just to get what we want in this fleeting life?  Will those with the opinion of truly following God by the Word be the ones who are mocked this time around (2 Chronicles 36:16)?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian.” – Acts 26:28

– “A man hears what he wants to hear … and disregards the rest.” – Paul Simon

There was nothing more Paul could do.  King Agrippa had sat and listened patiently – perhaps even intently – as Paul told much of his life story.  From his days as Saul of Tarsus – imprisoning and persecuting Christians – to his life as an apostle preaching Christ after being struck down by God on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6).

It “almost” worked.  Paul “almost” persuaded the king to become a Christian – but he didn’t.  It was all very convincing – but not quite.  So, what did Paul do next?  Nothing.  He didn’t try to persuade, pressure, or push King Agrippa any further – even though he knew the king believed the prophets (Acts 26:27).

We will all believe exactly what we want to believe – and hear what we want to hear – no matter who we are.  We can’t persuade people any further than they want to be persuaded. Well, we can try – but we will probably be viewed as being pushy if we do.  When we become pushy – it can cross over into pressuring very quickly.

When we feel like we’re being pressured into something – it’s usually unpleasant.  Most of us have probably experienced some sort of high-pressured sales pitch in our lives.  Many of these spiels can frequently smack of desperation.  Somebody wants us to buy into something – but we’re not really sure what it is they are selling – or what we will truly get out of it if we do.

As believers, we can’t be like this.  We can’t go around pitching God’s gospel as some sort of commercially-made product we have to pressure people into buying and trying (2 Peter 2:3). Well, we can – but doesn’t that make us come across as those pushy Christians?  We can easily appear as being desperate to the lost – especially if we are just trying to get them to attend church – before they have been persuaded and convicted by God to come to the Cross (John 6:44, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

If we do it this way – perhaps even trying to pound some people over the head with Scripture – are we not perilously close to proselytizing?  That’s attempting to induce someone to convert to a particular faith – Christianity not excluded – and/or recruit them into our religion.  If we do this, we are making that person twice the child of hell than ourselves (Matthew 23:15).

Persuasion to become a Christian must come from above – not below (John 6:44, John 6:65, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).  The apostle Paul simply went around presenting the truth of the gospel as it was revealed to him from above.  He did this according to the persuasion and power of Christ working in his heart through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:19, Galatians 5:7-8).

Paul did not go around trying to get people saved – for he knew that he wasn’t yet himself (Philippians 3:12-20).  He knew salvation was a hope (Romans 8:24) – and that Satan would be a constant thorn in his side to give him the desire to stop following Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7, Philippians 1:23).  Paul simply kept pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in God by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

When we witness to the lost and unbelieving – we’ve done all that we’re supposed to do – we’ve sown a seed (Mark 4:14). This seed is the Word of God (Romans 8:11).  From that point on, we are to move on and not look back (Luke 9:62).  God will send someone else along to water that seed – but it is He alone who provides any increase – and who alone decides what any seed becomes (1 Corinthians 3:6, 1 Corinthians 15:37-38).

If any human heart is fully prepared to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – to become a Christian (Romans 8:9) – it is by God’s persuasion and decision alone. There is no other Saviour but God (Isaiah 43:11).  Unless we hold the keys to hell and death (Revelation 1:18) – we must never believe someone has become a Christian by our own efforts.  Perhaps Paul had a much clearer understanding of this – than many of us seem to have today.

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