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Archive for January, 2014


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Holding faith and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith – have made shipwreck. – 1 Timothy 1:19

– The jagged rocks of sin are all around.  Without sound ships and doctrine to navigate over or around them, shipwrecked souls will be the norm, rather than the exception. – Yours

Physical shipwrecks are never good.  Something has caused any water-going vessel traveling along a pre-set course, to sink in a sudden or steady storm. Even on calmer waters, failed or faulty navigational equipment can cause any vessel to veer so far off its intended route – it runs aground somewhere. Whatever weather it is, sailing unsound ships can cause disasters hard to recover from.

Likewise, we are susceptible to spiritual shipwrecks. They are not pretty.  Picking up the pieces of a shattered faith and putting it back together is a delicate process.  If we manage to make our faith sea-worthy again, one more wrong word … one more storm, can send it smashing back into the rocks. Winds of wrong doctrine (Titus 1:9) can send us veering miles off course, far away from deliverance.

Many words in our language have “ship” as a suffix. In the world, “relationship” and “partnership” are commonly heard.  In God’s Word, we have “worship” and “fellowship.”  A third one we hear quite often is “discipleship.”  All ships, physical or spiritual, need a pre-set course to follow – before setting sail.  A final destination has to be in mind before departing a port. Arrival depends on several factors.

All boats require some sort of steering mechanism to keep them heading in the right direction.  Proper and operational navigational equipment is needed to keep from veering off course.  Ballast is required to keep them balanced out on the water – sailing with an even keel.  To keep them from being tossed to and fro during rough weather (Ephesians 4:14).  To ensure stability during storms.

If we’re believers, then we are either following the world’s pre-set course to the grave (Job 30:23) – or the Word’s course of promise to our Father’s grace (1 Peter 1:13).  We can’t do both (1 Corinthians 1:21) – or we’ll likely get tossed to and fro with unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3).  Going back and forth between what sounds good in the world one day … and what sounds good in the Word the next.

God is our guide forever – He will guide us even unto death (Psalm 48:14).  Jesus is the Shepherd and Bishop of our mortal souls as Christians (1 Peter 2:25).  To keep us from careening off course when worldly cares and concerns creep into our hearts (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).  To keep us on the track of truth to redemption.  So we don’t suffer spiritual shipwrecks and come up short of salvation’s shore.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Also, take no heed unto all the words that are spoken, lest you hear your servant curse you.  For oftentimes also, your own heart knows that you yourself, likewise has cursed others. – Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

– For every man’s word shall be his burden. – Jeremiah 23:36

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone spoke exactly all the right words we’d like to hear – everywhere we went; every day?  Nothing but warm, well-wishes coming forth from truthful tongues?  When has that ever happened?  If we keep letting words we think are said the wrong way, in the wrong tone, and at the wrong times to ruin our days – we’re probably not going to have many of them.

From the time we get up, all it can take is wrong talk to us at some point after that, to wreck any good mood we may have had earlier on.  We can leave home with a super mood in the morning – then come back with a sour one that night – all because of words.  We may have been able to brush them off a bit before God with some decorum during our day out in public … until we got home (2 Kings 19:27).

Someone cursed at us.  Another said something upsetting.  One person uttered words most would perceive as harmless – but it was the “tone” they used with us.  What was it they “really” meant? However, we may never know how the words we’ve said to others have been likewise.  If we examine our hearts in this regard, we should see we’ve been on both ends of give and take at times (lead passage).

It is true that blessing and cursing should not come out of the same mouth (James 3:10).  However, the tongue is an unruly evil – full of poison – which only the truth of Christ can tame (James 3:8).  This truth is inside us by faith as Christians through the power of the Holy Ghost.  So we’re rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we learn Christ in time (Ephesians 4:20-32).

So we learn not to speak reckless, wrong, or grievous words.  One corrupt communication from a Christian can damage the testimony of many (1 Corinthians 15:33, Ephesians 4:29).  We have had our conversation in the world before (2 Corinthians 1:12).  It is now to be as it becomes the gospel of Christ (Philippians 1:27).  So we talk and walk worthy of God (Job 13:7, 1 Thessalonians 2:12).

Unbelievers do not have the power of the Spirit to set a guard over their lips (Psalm 141:3).  They are still going to communicate from the abundance of their hearts – which is the world.  Our tongues should be talking out of the abundance of ours – which is the Word (Luke 6:45).  No matter what others may say to us, we know how to answer them with graceful words, seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6).

God once put a man named Shimei – cursing up a storm – in the path of David and his men (2 Samuel 16:5-6).  How did David react (2 Samuel 16:11-12)? Our Father might just decide to do something similar with us.  Bidding unbelievers to speak bothersome words – at times we may least want to hear them. For Him to see how those of us proclaiming to be Christians respond – with blessing or curse.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Though he (Jesus) were a Son, he learned obedience by the things he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey him. – Hebrews 5:8-9

– “Obedience is the virtue that determines whether a person is a servant or a rebel.  Life of integrity is built on obedience of God’s statutes – and nothing else.” – Israelmore Ayivor

Obedience to God is mandatory for the salvation of all people.  We either mind God, or we don’t.  If we say we love the Lord, we obey His voice always, no matter what may be going on in life (Jeremiah 42:6). Obedience to the Word is the way of our life; it is the length of our days (Deuteronomy 30:20).  Obedience to the world is the way of rebellion; the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).

Never again will God offer us another sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:12).  If we should willfully sin as Christians, we are being rebellious and disobedient (Hebrews 10:26).  We are offending God.  We have gone backwards towards behaving like our former self (Jeremiah 7:24).  We have said to God we can do what we want, because we’re believers (Romans 6:1, Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16, Jude 1:4).

Yes, we are still going to slip up and sin because of our flawed flesh (Romans 7:18).  Just because the Spirit is dwelling in us by faith – doesn’t mean we won’t do things contrary to it (Romans 7:19-20, Galatians 5:17, 1 John 1:8,10).  We have to be extremely mindful when we do sin – and confess it to God.  So we can receive His forgiveness.  So He can cleanse us – and correct us (1 John 1:9).

So we learn to obey God, and not offend Him by repeating the same old sins over and over (Job 34:31).  Obedience means we repent from, and remit our sins.  Without zealously doing this daily, we’re disobeying God (Acts 17:30, Revelation 3:19).  Every disobedient act is a fall from repentance.  It is like hanging Christ back up on the Cross – and putting God to open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).

It’s hard to learn Jesus if we decide we can be disobedient whenever we want to (Ephesians 4:20-32).  How can we ever expect to follow the example of Christ’s steps (1 Peter 2:21), if we keep falling down – or stumbling on – the steps of the spiritual staircase to heaven through continued acts of rebellion?  Disobedience is rebellion.  It is not climbing the right way (John 10:1, 2 Peter 1:5-10).

God doesn’t need our help (Job 4:18, Isaiah 43:13). It is better to obey than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). No matter what works we are doing in His name – they mean nothing without obedience.  The reason for all our faith is the death and resurrection of Christ.  It is all vanity without this (1 Corinthians 15:13-17).  We are to make obedience of faith known to all nations first (Romans 16:25-26).

Edwin Cole once wrote, “Obedience is an act of faith; disobedience is the result of unbelief.”  If we say we believe in Jesus – then our obedience is not an option.  It is a demonstration of faith.  If we balk at having to behave the way we are commanded – then we do not have very much belief.  Any disobedience still signals ignorance and unbelief in us about the eternal wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

One obedient act shows belief.  One disobedient act doesn’t; it is a lack of discipline.  Abiding belief is required for God to do mighty works for us.  Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, and would not do mighty works there because of people’s unbelief (Matthew 13:53-58).  Also, if we ourselves want to work for God, we have to show belief in Christ first by obeying the truth (John 6:28-29, Galatians 3:1).

God warns us to take heed, lest there be in any of us an evil heart of unbelief as Christians (Hebrews 3:12).  We all came to the Cross with desperately wicked and deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) – and they stay that way if we keep disobeying.  God once winked at us in our times of ignorance about the disobedience of sin – but now commands all men to repent through obedience (Acts 17:30).

Obedience is the difference between our eternal deliverance and eternal damnation (lead verse). Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  The salvation of our souls is the end result of it – not the start, or the mid-way point (1 Peter 1:9). We have to remain steadfast in our confidence (which means “with faith”) unto the end, to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).

Hoping to that day for our Father’s grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Christ (1 Peter 1:13).  Just like Jesus did, we have to remain as humble and obedient children unto death; no longer fashioning ourselves to former lusts in ignorance (Philippians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:14).  We all once walked this way sometimes – but we can’t anymore without consequences (Colossians 3:7).

Obedience means we put off all anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy; and all filthy talk.  We are not to lie, one to another anymore (Colossians 3;8-9).  We are not to let ourselves be deceived by man’s vain words.  All for which things’ sake God’s wrath comes on the children of unbelief and disobedience – prayerfully not forever (Ephesians 5:6, Colossians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Jude 1:3-7, Revelation 21:8).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be. – James 3:10

– Let them curse – but You bless.  When they arise, let them be ashamed, but let Your servant rejoice. – Psalm 109:28

Shimei came tearing out of his house, hurling both curses and stones at David and his men.  One of them named Abishai said, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord, the king?  Let me go over – I pray of you – and take off his head (2 Samuel 16:5-6,9).” However, David knew better than to react so harshly and hastily.  He knew Shimei’s speech and behavior had been bid from above (2 Samuel 16:11).

Perhaps as a test from God, to see if David or his men would curse Shimei back.  Getting into a war of words – or weapons (2 Timothy 2:16).  David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).  People back then might have had a hard time believing this if David was getting himself into shouting or shooting matches with everyone who did not like him – or what he was doing.  Shimei certainly didn’t.

Shimei was from the house of Saul, the previous king.  Shimei cursed David, calling him a bloody man of mischief.  It’s why Shimei thought David had lost his kingdom (2 Samuel 16:8).  But – David thought God might requite him some good for not cursing back (2 Samuel 16:12).  So, he and his men just wisely walked away – with Shimei still cursing, throwing stones, and casting dust (2 Samuel 16:13).

Can a fountain send forth – in the same place – sweet water and bitter?  Can a fig tree bear olive berries?  So can no fountain yield both salt water and fresh (James 3:11-12).  Likewise, how convincing can the testimony of any Christian claiming to be following Jesus, sound to any lost or unbelieving person – if blessing and cursing words should be coming forth from the same set of lips?

If we have heard Jesus, and have been taught by God’s truth now dwelling in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17) – then we are to put off the conversation of our old man (Ephesians 4:21-22). We are not to be deceived, for evil communications corrupt good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33).  We are not to let such talk come forth from our mouths (Ephesians 4:29).

Oh, but the tongue – no man can tame.  It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8). Mankind has tamed the biggest of beasts, but our tiny tongues can still kindle a wildfire like hell.  One cursing comment from the mouth of a Christian can do that – damaging any prior testimony (James 3:6-7).  How can we possibly curb cursing words from blurting out – and replace them with blessing ones?

Our every word will be our burden (Jeremiah 23:36). We will be justified or condemned by them (Matthew 12:37).  However, Jesus Christ said that out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths will speak (Matthew 12:34).  What we fill our hearts with, has to eventually emerge from our lips.  These hearts are like vessels which can only hold so much, before something spills out in speech (Matthew 9:17).

Following or favoring any part of the world has to be partly reflected by our words.  They can appear quite Christian-like for quite a few days – full of seeming kindness, love, and compassion.  Then some care, complaint, want, or worry of the world walks in – and our heart speaks accordingly (Psalm 23:1, Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).  Making it very hard at times for others to believe anything we’ve said before.

God sets a blessing, and a curse before us each day (Deuteronomy 11:26).  However, back and forth our words can go – between the Word and the world. Blessing people one day, cursing others the next – both from the same mouth (lead verse).  The lost can’t hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14).  If they hear cursing words coming from Christians – why would they want to come closer to the Cross?

We are to let our conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:27).  Our communication is about things above – not below (Philippians 3:20).  Always exercising a good conscience, so our talk is void of offense towards God, and towards men (Acts 24:16).  So those who speak evil of us, may be ashamed for falsely accusing our good conversation in Christ (1 Peter 3:16).

Do we think God is not going to send us shouting and cursing people who don’t like us as Christians, similar to how He did by putting Shimei in David’s path?  To see how we respond?  Perhaps people who have been hurt by a church, or a previous cursing word spoken by us.  Those who can’t wait to catch us in our words – maybe hoping for some slander to slip out – like some did with Christ (Mark 12:13).

We can offer them the same hope of salvation as we have (Romans 8:24-25).  Having sanctified God’s truth in our hearts, so we speak such to others with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15).  No matter what they are saying or doing in return.  Or, we can keep the lost very cautious and uncertain about the Cross – by speaking hurtful or cursing words, to them or others.  And, nobody gets blessed that way.

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(Scripture from the KJV and NKJV)

– I listened and heard, but they spake not aright; no man repented of his wickedness, saying “What have I done?”  Every one turned to his course, as a horse rushes into the battle, – Jeremiah 8:6

– The more you defend a lie … the angrier you become. – Mitch Albom

Over the recent holidays, I watched one of those crime shows on TV with my parents.  This particular program had the usual suspects – five people with potential motives for two related murders.  Among them was a mother whose son had been previously killed by one of the later victims.  When she was brought in for questioning by the police, her demeanor was calm and innocent – at first.

The woman became increasingly louder and defensive as detectives started putting holes in her alibi.  Protests such as “I haven’t done anything!” started pouring forth from her mouth.  My dad pegged her as the killer half-way through the episode.  I asked him later how he was so sure.  He said, “It’s the people who holler and protest the most you have to watch.  They’re the ones usually lying.”

Kids can often get like this when they know they are guilty of doing something they’ve been told not by their parents.  Professing their innocence with loud protests such as “What have I done!?”  The parent will then counter with calm, firm words like, “You know exactly what you did wrong.”  In situations like this, loudness is a good indicator of lying – calmness is a good indicator correction is coming.

The child then stomps angrily down the hall, or up the stairs to their bedroom.  However, don’t they often stop after opening the door, and make sure everyone in the whole house hears their cries of  “This is so unfair!”?  This is frequently followed by a door slam – with an equally far-reaching noise. Christians who do not understand the purpose of God’s correction – may do similar things.

Protests of “What have I done?” are unwise when God corrects us as Christians.  As a sign of His great love – we will all undergo things like chastening (Hebrews 12:6-7 ).  It won’t seem joyous during it – but all discipline in life can hurt at times (Hebrews 12:11).  Try to remember, His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).  God never afflicts or grieves us willingly (Lamentations 3:33).

The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies (Ezekiel 18:32).  God is long-suffering with all of us – not wanting anyone to perish into the pit – but to come unto repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  This is a commandment for Christians (Acts 17:30).  We can no longer be ignorant about sin’s eternal wages (Romans 6:23).  It means we obey God unto death, just like Jesus did (Philippians 2:8)

Any claims we have of being faithful Christians means we are obedient to our faith.  Why?  Jesus – our only power to obey God – dwells in us by faith through the power of the Spirit (Romans 16:26, Ephesians 3:16-17).  We can’t claim innocence about sin anymore when corrected by God (Jeremiah 2:35). Obedience requires such.  Jesus is the author of salvation to all who obey God (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Christ shed precious blood for us at Calvary.  It is the very same blood sprinkled on our hearts daily as a salve for our sins (Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 1:2).  We have to learn not to offend Him anymore with them (Job 34:31).  If we are still walking around raising our voices at God, saying things like “What have I done!?” every time He corrects us; we don’t have the faith we may be loudly proclaiming.

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r(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And he said unto them, “Full well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your own tradition.  Making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have delivered; and many such like things as you do.” – Mark 7:9,13

– “They won’t listen.  Do you know why?  Because they have certain fixed notions about the past.  Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes – even if it were the truth.  They don’t want the truth – they want their traditions.” – Isaac Asimov, “Pebble in the Sky

A custom is a practice followed by people of a particular group, region – or religion.  It is a certain way of doing things which people can quickly get “accustomed” to.  Preferred customs eventually evolve into traditions – so-called “tried and tested” ways.  Creating human chains which can keep anyone – even great and aged Christians (Job 32:9) – from understanding God’s wisdom and judgment.

There are ways which may still seem right in our own eyes today as Christians – such as traditions – but the ends thereof are still the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).  Traditions often birth words like, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, or “We’ve always done it that way.”  As believers, we came to the Cross broken and undone – we all need fixing.  Tradition craves old ways; truth creates new ones (Isaiah 43:19).  

Jesus could not stand tradition.  The Pharisees questioned and criticized Christ about this.  Why would someone claiming to be a Jew – not keep Jewish traditions?  After all, the disciples of Jesus still did so (Mark 7:1-13).  However, it was in keeping with a Passover custom which set the guilty prisoner Barabbas free – and sent the guiltless Christ to the Cross (John 18:39-40, 1 Peter 2:22).

Is it any wonder why keeping tradition displeases God?  Tradition keeps us outwardly observing particular religious customs and ceremonies – even in Christianity.  Simple things such as having to conduct a Sunday service a certain way can become tradition over time.  God’s kingdom does not come by observing such traditions; it already dwells inside us (Luke 17:20-21).

Keeping any tradition is obeying man’s voice, often under the guise of obeying God’s.  Saul found out the dangers of listening to people first – not God (1 Samuel 15:23-24).  If we are conforming and performing dutifully per man’s traditions – we can keep our inner man and minds from being renewed daily through the regeneration of the Holy Ghost (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

Still, people keep traditions.  They can create a sense of order in a chaotic world.  New Year’s resolutions have become tradition for many.  People who make them somehow believe numbers on a calendar can create the perfect and permanent conditions for all the positive personality changes they desire.  The changes only God can create from within us.  Truth always trumps tradition.

God warns us to beware, lest any man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world – and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).  Perhaps no other person understood the dangers of tradition more than Paul.  The one who once tried to destroy the Christian faith he ended up preaching – in large part because of tradition (Galatians 1:23).

Before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-15), Paul went by the name Saul (of Tarsus).  He was brought up in that city at the feet of Gamaliel – a Pharisee doctor of Jewish law.  Saul was raised and taught this way – and he was zealous towards God in this manner (Acts 22:3).  Part of Saul’s zeal became persecuting people who belonged to this new sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 22:4, Acts 24:5).

Later in his epistle to the Galatians, Saul – now the apostle Paul, wrote this: “For you have heard of my conversion in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God; and tried to destroy it.  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many of my equals – in my own nation – being more exceedingly zealous of the “traditions” of my fathers (Galatians 1:13-14).”

As Saul, his zeal towards God focused on repeating and loving Jewish tradition.  Consequently, he began persecuting God’s church and its new Christians. Most Jew’s considered themselves God’s chosen few for salvation.  The new gospel he later preached as Paul, meant non-Jews – the Gentiles – could be saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).   Jewish tradition now countered God’s truth.

We will be redeemed by truth – not tradition.  We will be saved through repentance according to the Word – not repeating the same old traditions of the world – even in church.  For we know we are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver or gold, or from our vain conversations received by tradition from our fathers.  Christ’s precious blood will be enough (1 Peter 1:18-19).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Even so, the tongue is a little member – and boasts great things.  Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindles. – James 3:5

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown – but we an incorruptible one. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

Just as the tiny rudder of a great big ship can be used to control its movements, steering its direction along certain courses (James 3:4) – so can our tongues steer the path of these days God has given each of us.  Depending on what we say – or don’t. The commentary which comes out of our mouths can steer conversations into contention, confusion, or contentment.  The direction of our day follows.

Death and life are in the power of our tongues – and those who love it will eat the fruit thereof (Proverbs 18:21).  Words from our mouths can be hurtful and wounding – helpful and healing (Proverbs 12:18). Our tongues can touch off wildfires – the flames of which can be tough to tame (James 3:6).  Wars of words often ensue.  We’re warned not to do this as believers (2 Timothy 2:16).

What comes into us from the outside can’t defile us. But just like our bodies, our hearts and minds are vessels.  They can only hold so much in before something spills out.  What then flows forth from our lips can quickly defile us.  Wrong words from our tongues seal the deal of defiling our whole bodies (Matthew 15:11,18-20).  The damage is done once words are out (James 3:6).

It’s hard to hold our tongue back sometimes – but it’s much harder to take our words back once spoken. Even when we say we’re sorry – sorrow has been sown.  We could have reopened a wound in another person’s heart – scarred by a previous hurtful word spoken years ago by someone else.  It takes asking God to set a watch before our mouths at times – to keep the door of our lips closed (Psalm 141:3).

This is where temperance comes in as Christians. Just as a ship’s captain gently steers the course of any vessel with a rudder, so does a shepherd gently steer the course of any flock with a staff.  We have been born again of the Spirit as Christians (John 3:5).  We were once astray – but have now been returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).  All control now belongs to Christ.

Jesus now dwells in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So we start producing the spiritual fruit God requires – to show the results of our mutual abidance in each other (John 15:1-5).  One such desired fruit is temperance (Galatians 5:22-23).  Temperance is the practice of always controlling our actions and feelings – regardless of situation or circumstance.

It’s moderation and self-restraint in behavior and expressions.  So we don’t always act or speak on assumptions; jumping to conclusions (Joshua 22:1-34).  So we don’t always give people a piece of our mind with our mouth.  We’ve been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  So ours are no longer conformed to the world – but transformed to be like Christ’s (Romans 12:2).  To give us peace of mind.

Still, we are flesh.  Even with the Holy Spirit in us – the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.  They are contrary – one to the other (Galatians 5:17) – so we don’t always do or say the things we would (Romans 7:19-20).  In order to learn mastery – to be temperate in all things (second lead verse), we have to be taught so by the Master.  It’s essential to taming our tongues.

Everything we speak, starts as a thought.  These thoughts travel from our brains to our tongues.  For example, emotions often emerge from our mouths in word – when we’ve thought about things like love or hate long enough.  Once we start talking, people may want to stay with us – or walk away forever, depending on our words.  Once a person leaves because of them – it’s hard to get them back

As our minds are transformed daily by God’s truth, we should begin talking much more about the Word (Philippians 3:20) – and much less about the world. However, even speaking the truth requires some temperance.  Jesus didn’t always talk and teach. Christ also spent time praying and reflecting. When the Son of man did speak, it was always relevant to the situation.

The words which leave our lips about the Lord can go a long way to drawing the lost closer to the Cross – or driving them away (Romans 10:14, Ephesians 5:6).  Yes, whatever we say requires a tongue of temperance – whether it’s truth or not.  Remember, God always knows our words before we say them (Psalm 139:4) – and we will be judged for every idle word we ever spoke (Matthew 12:36).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But you, beloved – building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.  Keep yourselves in the love of God … looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. – Jude 1:20-21

– The church is a gift from God – assembly is required. – Church sign in Florida

Would you go live in a house being built for you if it wasn’t finished yet?  Perhaps the roof wasn’t on, the windows weren’t in, and the electrical and water hookups hadn’t been made.  You might go over one day and walk around inside the framework of your house.  You might imagine what it would be like when finished – but moving in was not possible yet.

Incomplete physical structures are unfit to live or work in.  They also have to be built a certain way so they stand firm and solid when fully completed. Otherwise, they are eventually going to suffer damage or collapse from shoddy workmanship or materials.  One bad storm can bring down any structure – physical or spiritual.

However, God always knows what He is doing (Deuteronomy 32:4) … His only Son was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).  Carpenters can’t just show up at a construction site one day and start guessing about what to do.  Imagine if Jesus had walked about on this earth with such an approach – without any knowledge of what God wanted done next.

Before a carpenter starts working on a physical structure, they have to know what they are building. They have to follow and abide by blueprints and instructions drawn up in advance.  First measuring, marking, and arranging the materials – before any construction starts.  These materials are then cut and shaped according to specifications.

Everything then begins to be fastened with nails, screws, staples, etc..  In the last stages of construction, the carpenter checks the accuracy of their work with things like levels, rules, and surveying equipment.  To make sure the building won’t fall – and is fit for someone to live or work in. The same goes for spiritual buildings (Isaiah 44:13).

We can’t have prefabricated buildings of belief to move into when we first become born-again Christians.  We can’t send our spiritual materials off somewhere to be put together.  So they are returned fully constructed a few weeks later.  They have to be built up in our hearts the right way from the start – starting with faith (2 Peter 1:5-11).

It takes longer.  We have to make sure one step is completed before moving to the next.  Jesus warned us about climbing the wrong way up to heaven (John 10:1).  If we start with temperance, then try to add faith – or start with faith, and skip the step of virtue – there’s a good chance we’ll have an up-and-down spiritual life – full of frustration.

Everything also has to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone.  So everything is constructed according to His plan for our spiritual life – not ours.  So the building is fitly framed together unto a holy temple in the Lord – for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).

As Christians, we can lay no other foundation than what has already been laid in our hearts by God from above – which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). How things are assembled from this point on is essential to our spiritual stability.  Unless the Lord builds the house – we labor in vain if we try to do it ourselves (Psalm 127:1).

We have to keep our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23).  A careful and persistent effort daily – to ensure we are not building our Christian lives upon any other man’s foundation (Romans 15:20). This can happen when one thinks they have become a believer just by associating with Christian things (Luke 6:32-34); but not by the Holy Ghost.

Even being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) – we can still build the wrong way – like adding worldly things to the Word.  We are God’s husbandry, and His building as Christians (1 Corinthians 3:9).  God gives us grace to be wise master builders.  We are to always take heed as to how our spiritual houses are being constructed (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).

Before anything else, we have to be positive about our calling and election (John 15:16, Philippians 2:12, 2 Peter 1:10).  If everything is assembled the way God has designed from that point on, He assures us we will never fall – if all steps are followed correctly.  So we won’t find heaven’s door locked (2 Peter 1:5-12).  We’re not there yet.

With proper construction, will be like a wise man who heard the words of Jesus – and did them (Luke 6:46).  Building his house upon the rock of God and salvation (2 Samuel 22:47).  So when the rains descended, and the flood came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house – it did not fall.  For it was founded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25),

If we assemble things only partially in our spiritual lives, or not in the proper order, problems are bound to arise.  If we build on the wrong – or a faulty foundation – our spiritual houses are likely heading for a fall.  We can’t see it when the weather is fair – but tiny fissures and cracks develop over time.  With each little shift in faith – with each little storm.

Then the big one hits.  Even with advanced warnings – homes can wash away.  If we failed to follow God’s instructions (Proverbs 8:33) – if we failed to hear Christ’s words – we’re like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  The rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat against it – and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:26-27).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But though He causes grief – yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.  For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. – Lamentations 3:32-33

If you have been a parent at any time in the past, did you ever have to discipline your children for disobeying you?  If you did, didn’t it pain and grieve you to punish a son or daughter when a certain situation required it?  You didn’t do it willingly – but you knew something had to be done to teach your child right from wrong.

Of course – if you were a child on the other side of the coin, how often did you hear Dad or Mom say something like “This is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you?”  And, you could not possibly see any sense to a statement like that.  You were the one receiving punishment.  How could a parent be pained by that?

Perhaps it was looking back on such times years later – when you finally understood your parents were really trying to help you through discipline when you were younger.  To keep you from trouble then, and still getting hurt by it today.  Something had to be done when they saw you heading down any potentially dangerous or deceitful path in life.

Hopefully, you finally realized any grief your parents caused you as a kid, was meant for your own good now.  Why would our loving Father in heaven be any different?  Who would want a God to go around arbitrarily afflicting and grieving people with punishment – without purpose – to determine eternal destinies (lead passage, Romans 3:5-6)?

Two of Charlie Brown’s most popular phrases were “Good grief!”, and “I can’t stand it!”  God cannot stand sin – the sin Scripture has concluded we’re all under (Galatians 3:22).  If we are Christians – we all know better now about the eternal wages of it (Romans 6:23).  Repenting from sin is not an option – but a commandment (Acts 17:30).

Meaning God is going to grieve us at various times – but never willingly (lead passage); so we learn Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).  According to His way – not ours.  But – we can’t learn Jesus the way God desires – unless Jesus dwells in us by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17). This is the only power we have to repent.

Old things have to pass away, so we can become new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are no longer just God’s creation as Christians – but His children again.  Our loving Father in heaven is now teaching us His way.  Not the way we may desire much of the time; but the way He’s designed it to be – by correcting and chastising us.

Happy is the man whom God corrects.  We are not to despise it when it happens (Job 5:17).  We are not to grow weary while we’re enduring His chastening (Proverbs 3:11).  It’s going to hurt God more than it hurts us.  We probably won’t see it that way as His children at first.  It won’t seem joyous – what punishment ever does (Hebrews 12:11)?

God’s commandments are not meant to be grievous (1 John 5:3) – but designed for our own good.  Our Father assures us we will be chastened as Christians (Hebrews 12:6).  It may often seem very grievous. However, it’s a sign of His love.  We have to learn not to offend God (Job 34:31).  Therefore, we are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19).

So He can continually guide us away from the troubles and sins of this world – and towards the sincerity and truth of His Word.  To keep us from getting hurt over and over by our old sins and their sorrows.  So we are not punished eternally by sin’s motions and wages (Romans 6:23, Romans 7:5, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:27-28).

Even if we think we are suffering wrongfully at the hands of others – we are to endure their grief.  This is thank-worthy with God – if our conscience is towards Him.  Even if we do well, and suffer grief for it – and we take it patiently – this is acceptable with God (1 Peter 2:19-20).  Remember, Jesus was fully acquainted with all we may face (Isaiah 53:3-10).

If we are Christians – and we do not fully understand this – guess what’s probably going to happen often? We’ll see God as creating grief – without having any cause to do so.  However, we cause our own grief when we walk around with any innocent  “What have I done?” mindset regarding sin (Jeremiah 8:6); or still proclaim our goodness (Proverbs 20:6).

If we are like this, we’re probably going to grumble a lot, about how could a loving God be causing us grief. This can go a long way towards grieving the Holy Spirit within us.  We’re warned not to do that (Ephesians 4:30).  Doing so can be the catalyst for blasphemy against the Holy Ghost – putting us in danger of eternal damnation (Mark 3:29).

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(KJV Scripture)

– And He that sat upon the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said unto me, “Write: for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:5

Everything new we have in life eventually gets old; some things quicker than others.  Even when we take some material object and restore it – it doesn’t last.  Time marches on – and it becomes old again. It’s a repeated process throughout our brief lives on earth (James 4:14).

Trying to become new or better people every January 1st – even as believers – is very unwise.  It’s trying to change, contain, or control our worldly situations and circumstances by meaningless numbers on a piece of paper called a calendar.  A calendar doesn’t know what any day will ever bring forth (Proverbs 27:1) – God does.

It’s also trying to do the same with God and His only Son.  Both who do not change – who will be the same yesterday, today, and forever (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8).  The only way all of us can become the new creatures in Christ which God wants us to be (2 Corinthians 5:17), is from the inside-out; not the other way around.

This can’t be done without Christ in us.  It’s why we all must be “born again” of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5) to enter into God’s eternal kingdom.  We can only learn Jesus the way God wants us to (Ephesians 4:20-32) – by Him giving us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

This cannot happen unless Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  So God can start to renew our inner man daily (2 Corinthians 4:16), and transform our minds (Romans 12:2).  This is through the continual regeneration of our souls by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

We can’t do it simply by trying harder to be like Jesus – without Jesus dwelling inside us.  We can’t do it by wishing or hoping we change because the calendar tells us to.  Without God’s help (John 15:5) – we can’t make the lasting changes He desires (Galatians 5:22-23).  To make our old creature new, once and for all – without going back.

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