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Archive for February, 2014


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Seeing as you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned love of the brethren – see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently. – 1 Peter 1:22

– Pure (def): – not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material.

Perhaps no other single verse in Scripture describes how any Christian should be at all times, better than 1 Peter 1:22.  It is putting into practice, persistent and passionate love for all people – regardless of situation or circumstance – by always obeying the truth of the Holy Spirit within.  Without ever wanting anything in return while on earth – not even the same kind of love.

Over time, as a person grows spiritually – nothing about their ways or words is fake or feigned towards anyone else.  Their love is free-flowing, not forced. It is not “intentional” – a word sadly used a lot in the modern church – but found nowhere in Scripture. Synonyms for “intentional” include words such as deliberate, calculated, and preconceived.  Do any of those sound very Christian-like to you?

Love pouring forth from purified souls has no angle or agenda behind actions.  There are no inner wants (Psalm 23:1) for any worldly wealth … desires which can often be behind feigned words used to sell people Christian merchandise (2 Peter 2:3).  A purified person has no misguided motivations for profit, from preaching or teaching God’s free message of grace (Job 21:15, 2 Corinthians 11:9). 

There aren’t any imaginations or expectations of what one might get back in the way of personal gain – by doing something good for God (1 Chronicles 28:9, Proverbs 15:27, Luke 17:7-10, 1 Timothy 6:5). Such motivations are always manifest before Him (Hebrews 4:13).  Instead, love is simply pure – without any preconceived purpose or plan behind it. It is a perpetual condition of the heart.

Christian love like this is a commandment from God – it is not a recommendation.  It is a continual change of heart which comes by repentance (Acts 17:30).  It is a daily renewal of the inner man – repeatedly being regenerated by the Holy Spirit.  So God can keep cleaning out from above – all the worldly clutter keeping one from practicing such love below (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

As spiritual fruits of repentance slowly begin to bloom and blossom (Matthew 3:8, Galatians 5:22-23), purified love begins to emerge out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith unfeigned (1 Timothy 1:5).  It does not start and stop according to our clocks of convenience.  Any other type of love mixed in is worldly, it’s not of the Word, and it is nothing in God’s eyes (1 Corinthians 13:2-3).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Remember not the former things; neither consider the things of old.  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth.  Shall you not know it?  I will even make a way in the wilderness – and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:18-19

– “I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll

It can be easy for any of us to go back to a certain point in time from our past – and decide things would be much different today – if we had just done things differently in many of our yesterdays.  Maybe we should have gotten in on a promising investment plan.  Maybe we could have taken that new job. Maybe if we would have married another mate – or no one at all – our life might not be so miserable.

If we are not careful, we can start to wallow in our wishes of what “should have, could have, and would have been.”  We can start to create a long list of ideal situations which would exist for us today. We should have more money, we could be higher on the corporate ladder, we would be happier – and so on. Except we may think we made the wrong choices somehow – and such things will never be.

We cannot spend our short time on this earth trying to redirect it to a “back then and when” point – and start over again.  All of what was written above – applies just as much in reverse (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Prosperous or poor – perfect or problematic, God requires what is past (Ecclesiastes 3:15).  Dwelling in it denies the evil time we are to redeem now (Matthew 6:34, Ephesians 5:16, Colossians 4:5).

Thoreau once wrote “Do not look back unless you’re planing on going that way.”  If we walked down any street with our head turned back over our shoulder – it would not be long before we started bumping into people, pets, and lampposts.  We might even step off a curb and get run over.  Evil might even be around the next corner – and we would never see it coming (Judges 20:34).

What lies ahead can be frightening – for it is always the unknown (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).  We can live in constant fear of having our worst fears realized (Job 3:25-26).  It’s why firm faith in God is essential for our existence; for He is always one step ahead.  If our Father declared the end of this world from the start (Isaiah 46:10) – He certainly knows the ends of our beginnings (Psalm 139:16).

It’s not wrong to reminisce – but remaining there as a want for what we may not have now; is.  Looking back like this is sin, for it is basically the opposite of faith’s meaning (Romans 14:23, Hebrews 11:1). Nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14). Still, how frustrating must it be for Him to make new paths in the wilderness, if we prefer driving down the roads of life looking in the rear-view mirror?

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh” – for she was afraid.  And He said, “No, but you did laugh.” – Genesis 18:15

– For I know the things that come into your mind … every one of them. – Ezekiel 11:5

Have you ever chuckled quietly to yourself over the remembrance of a funny memory from days past? Perhaps it was a private laugh lifting your spirit for a little while – or an amusing moment which made you smile inside.  Or, it might have been a little more like a silent snicker in your soul.  Maybe one directed at God – one of growing disbelief or doubt about any good thing ever happening to you.

One saying to Him something like, “Yeah, right – like any of Your promises are going to come true for me.” A laugh tinged with, “I am growing tired of waiting, time is passing, and I am not getting any younger.” Sarah did such a thing – and God heard her; even though it was within herself (Genesis 18:12, lead verse).  Even her husband Abraham had pretty much done the same thing previously (Genesis 17:17).

God had already promised Abraham an heir – but He did not say when (Genesis 15:1-4).  So, they soon tried to rush God by having Hagar conceive a child with Abraham.  After all, he was already 86 – and Sarah was barren (Genesis 16:1-16).  How much longer did they have to live?  How much longer would it take for the Lord to follow through on His promise? Would we wait another 14 years like they did?

The second time God spoke to Abraham about this matter, he was 99 (Genesis 17:1), and Sarah was 90 (Genesis 17:17).  This time, the Lord told him exactly when his heir would be born – and the child would be named Isaac (Genesis 17:19-21).  Sarah still had to laugh, saying, “Shall I of a surety bear a child when I am old?”  But, God replied,  “Is there any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:13-14).

All creatures are continually manifest before God – open and naked unto Him (Hebrews 4:13).  Our Father cannot miss things as if He was asleep, busy talking with others, or off on a trip (1 Kings 18:27). Heavenly mistakes cannot be made (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Muted laughs on our lips, silent thoughts in our heads, or quiet questions in our hearts, are all heard by Him above – loud and clear each time.

We have to be very mindful and aware at all times, about things we may think nobody else knows or hears – if we should believe they are tucked away for safe-keeping deep inside our souls (1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12).  We cannot get anything past God.  We cannot hide in a secret place where we may like to get away alone  – where He can’t see or hear us (Jeremiah 23:24).

God makes many promises for us throughout His Word.  We can speak persuasive and motivating words about them to others – but mock Him silently inside ourselves if we have not seen any of them personally come true yet.  Mocking mean teasing or laughing at someone in a contemptuous manner. Even if we are keeping such derision inside, He will know.  God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7).

Abraham and Sarah came close to doing so.  Still, the Lord delivered on His promise – and Isaac was born at the precise time He said it would (Genesis 17:21, Genesis 21:1-3).  However, it was all done exactly in accordance with His eternal purposes – not Abraham and Sarah’s earthly ones.  If we get impatient waiting for any of His promises to come true like they did – we can rush right into trials or trouble.

Despite having doubts, Abraham stayed with God throughout – and did not stagger in unbelief.  Even though the couple tried to rush the process through Hagar – they turned back to God when things did not turn out as expected (Genesis 16:1-16).  The two learned to wait by faith on God.  Against all hope of having a child at their ages, they believed He would perform as promised (Romans 4:18-21).

According to His plan from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).  It is why we wait upon God.  To prove and purify our motives and desires for doing anything in His name.  To show God if we are truly minding Him and His will, regardless of what might be happening (Jeremiah 42:6).  Or, if we’re just doing things of our own will and minds – like some thought Moses had done (Numbers 16:28, Jeremiah 14:14).

When Abraham and Sarah realized God is not rushed – a right thing happened.  When they finally waited for events to unfold according to His eternal plan; nothing went wrong.  The same goes for us.  If we don’t like waiting on God – including for the return of Christ – we might begin to silently laugh or scoff at Him; turning again to our lusts in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12, 2 Peter 3:3-4).  And, He will know when.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. – Hebrews 3:14

– Since you know this beforehand, beware – lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked. – 2 Peter 3:17

A generation or so ago (and before), the term “going steady” was often used in reference to two people – often high-school teenagers – who were seeing each other exclusively.  It is a term seldom heard in this regard anymore.  When two people get together these days, everything seems to be centered around having a “relationship”.  It has become a major milestone and part of many people’s lives.

When any relationship reaches official status, it is often shared on social media sites.  It is somehow a sign of “arrival” in life.  Yet some people have such strong desires to enter these relationships, they board the boat without really knowing where they want to go.  Still, they set sail.  Then, as soon as their ship hits rough seas, how often do we hear, “I wish I knew where this relationship is heading?”

So, maybe we should go back to saying “going steady” – and not just for earthly reasons.  Why? Because this world’s current message about many matters seems to be mixing in more and more with the Word’s.  The word “relationship” doesn’t appear in Scripture.  But – much of the talk coming out of the church today seems to be about how one can establish or improve their relationship with Christ.

Still, if we board any ship – physical or spiritual – and we don’t know where we’re going from the start; we are in big trouble before ever leaving port.  Without any set, steady, and straight course to follow out on the water – we’re going to get carried wherever the wayward winds and waves take us (Ephesians 4:14). Depending on their strength, we might move a little or a lot – but one storm can sink us.

Without a destination, drifting begins.  This principle applies to all ships, even if they are figurative in nature.  In the world, we have relationships and partnerships.  In the Word, we have discipleship, fellowship, and worship.  When we drift in any ship, our compasses will steadily spin, for we have no true course to follow.  To and fro we go.  When waters are calm, everything may seem fine; until …

We are not to be carried about with many and strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:9).  However, we are very likely to keep changing our courses if our ships don’t have a set one to start with.  We are apt to go after a doctrine which sounds favorable to us one day – then a different one the next (2 Timothy 4:3-4). However, Seneca once said, “If a man doesn’t know to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”

Steadfast means having unwavering belief.  It is being devoted and true … faithful.  It is traveling along a straight course – smoothly sailing forward.  It is being even-keeled.  Steadily heading towards a predetermined destination, regardless of what life may be throwing at the boat.  On board any Christian ship – our final destination is salvation – but we’re still sailing out upon this world’s often rough waters.

If a storm hits, our spiritual ships keep moving ahead with steadfast faith, because we have God as a guide all the way to our destination of death – and our hopeful deliverance from it (Job 30:23, Psalm 48:14, 2 Corinthians 2:9-10, Hebrews 9:27).  But – Satan does not want anyone to get to salvation’s shore. The devil will try to devour anyone – even the most steadfast and faithful Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9).

As Moses led his people towards the Promised Land, many got tired of the trip.  Despite His protection and provision, their spirits were no longer steadfast with Him.  They no longer believed in God, or trusted His salvation (Psalm 78:8, 14-15, 23-29).  They flattered God with lying tongues – but their hearts were no longer right with Him; nor were they steadfast in His covenant (Psalm 78:36-37).

Salvation is a hope – a Promised Land no one has seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  This hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls – at all times (Hebrews 6:19).  We are to stay on an even-keel course, unaffected by all the mixed and misguided messages and lies of this world; always abounding in the work of the Lord.  Steadfast of our faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:58, Colossians 2:4-5).

This is all of grave concern to us if we ever believe we’re already saved before dying.  If we ever buy into this message, then why would we need God anymore as our guide all the way to death (Psalm 48:14)?  Why would we need Jesus Christ as the Shepherd and Bishop of our soul anymore (1 Peter 2:25)?  We’ve already told God we have dropped anchor and moored ourself on salvation’s shore.

What ship would we have to board again?  To where? What would we do with our time – in the meantime – while waiting for Christ to come back with salvation (Revelation 12:10)?  What would be the purpose for any further relationship with Jesus, if we’ve already been saved?  What steadfastness would we be in danger of falling from, if we have already reached our final destination (Matthew 24:13)?

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Cast not away therefore your confidence; which has great recompense of reward.  For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God – you might receive the promise. – Hebrews 10:35-36

– Patience is tied very closely to faith in our heavenly Father.  When we are unduly impatient – we are suggesting we know what is best – better than God. Or, at least we are asserting our timetable is better than His.  We can grow in faith only if we are willing to wait for God’s purposes and patterns to unfold in our lives – on His timetable. – Neil Maxwell

Abraham and Sarah had need of patience in waiting for God to perform as promised – by giving Abraham an heir (Genesis 15:1-4, Romans 4:21).  However, they did not want to wait faithfully the first time. Abraham was 86 and Sarah was barren.  She was far past child-bearing years.  How long were the two supposed to wait on God – when He didn’t say how long?  It was time to take matters into their hands.

Sarah talked her husband into conceiving a child by their Egyptian handmaid, Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4) – casting away their confidence in God’s promise by doing so.  It all caused loathing between the two women (Genesis 16:4-5).  The son born a little later – Ishmael – was not what He had planned for the couple.  An angel of the Lord told Hagar that Ishmael would be a wild man (Genesis 16:11-12).

The first time God spoke to Abraham about this matter, He didn’t say when the child would be born (Genesis 15:1-4).  Maybe He wanted to see how long the couple would wait before trying to do it according to their clock.  Regardless, God’s timing was to set up the lineage leading to the birth of Jesus.  At precisely the right time He had planned all along for mankind – from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10, Titus 1:2).

After the first attempt to birth his promised heir – it would be 13 more years before Abraham would hear about this subject from God (Genesis 16:16, Genesis 17:1).  This time, He gave the set time when Sarah would conceive (Genesis 17:21, Genesis 21:2).  The couple had learned their lesson.  This time the two waited patiently for the promise.  Isaac was born exactly when God said he would be (Genesis 21:3).

This world today is filled with many wants, wishes, desires – and “must-have now” messages from the marketing arena.  A major corporation now runs commercials where one of the lines within is “Why wait – when you can have it now?”  We have our on-demand access to movies, and automated access to money.  If this is the way we like it as adults, aren’t we passing impatience on to our kids?

Paul Sweeney once wrote, “How can a society that exists on instant mashed potatoes, packaged cake mixes, frozen dinners, and instant cameras – teach patience to its young?”  Because of such things and more, patience can be a huge problem for anyone in modern society.  How can we teach it to our children if we have a hard time waiting for stop lights to turn from red to green while driving?

How can we teach tolerance to our kids, if we ourselves can’t stand getting behind a slow-moving car for more than just a few minutes – if that long?   What do the young ones learn when they see us getting antsy for having to wait in a check-out line for more than just a matter of 15-30 seconds?  How are they ever going to learn to wait on God if we can’t – especially if we are Christians?

However, if it’s any comfort – there is never anything new to God under His sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  The human race has always had problems waiting on God since the Garden of Eden.  Eve desired wisdom – and she didn’t want to wait.  When the serpent tempted her into taking a bite of the apple to get it – it was too much to resist (Genesis 3:4-6).  Eve’s lack of patience in waiting was eye-opening  (Genesis 3:7).

A failure of patience can also make us miss out on our Father’s positive promises – if prolonged periods of difficulty dash any hopes we had of ever seeing or receiving them.  We could also begin pointing the wrong fingers.  When a great famine hit Israel’s Samaria region – some resorted to cannibalism for survival.  The king of Israel got tired of waiting on God to end it (2 Kings 6:25-29).

God ended up being blamed.  “This evil is of the Lord; why should I wait for Him any longer!?” – the king cried (2 Kings 6:33).  If he had waited one more day – the famine would end how God had planned all along.  According to His timing and methods.  Who would have considered four hungry lepers, stumbling across an abandoned stash of army provisions as a way to end a famine (2 Kings 7:3-16)?

It didn’t get much better in New Testament days. When Jesus passed through Jericho – being near to Jerusalem – those that heard the Son of man speak thought the kingdom of heaven should immediately appear.  Why wait for Christ to be crucified and then come back for them sometime later?  What would they do while waiting in the meantime?  What if Jesus never returned at all (Luke 19:11-12)?

Do any of us think like this today?  There shall be those walking after their own lusts in the last times, scoffing at this promise of Christ’s return.  Some people will become weary of waiting for it, because everything will be continuing on just like it has since the beginning.  How long will we keep waiting for salvation later when things seem to worsening now – not improving (Matthew 24:12, 2 Peter 3:3-4)?

Patience means we wait upon God – even when we may not feel like waiting anymore.  Impatience causes us to rush.  A rushed life is undisciplined.  We can begin trying to speed up the process of receiving God’s promises as Abraham and Sarah did.  We can start succumbing to Satan’s subtle temptations – as Eve did.  We can begin blaming Him for evil things like famines, as Israel’s king did.

Our need of patience is extremely important with God.  Forms of the word (e.g. patience, patient, patiently) appear 52 times in the KJV.  Just because any spiritual seed is planted – does not mean it is going to prosper (Ezekiel 17:10).  Producing the spiritual fruit God requires of us, in keeping with His commandment to repent – can’t be done without patience (Luke 8:15, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).

We are to follow after patience, among several other spiritual disciplines (1 Timothy 6:11).  Sadly, waiting is not a trait normally learned by all the instant fixes the world often offers us for the troubles we face. However, if we should encounter any type of trial from God, we are to glory in it – not grumble.  For enduring such works patience.  Patience leads to experience; followed by hope (Romans 5:3-4).

Hope is the overriding reason for our patience with God – the promise of salvation.  However, hope seen is no longer hope.  We are all waiting patiently here below heaven for a hope and promise nobody has seen yet (Romans 8:24-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:8). We are to rest in Him, abiding quietly unto salvation, no matter what others may be doing while they wait (Psalm 37:7, Lamentations 3:26).

Keeping our confidence now – has great recompense of rewards later (lead passage).  The eternal ones promised to us by God, if we remain steadfast in our faith until the end (Hebrews 3:14) – doing His will daily while waiting for Jesus to return (Luke 11:2). When God’s grace, salvation, and kingdom will be brought to those of us who waited with patient faith (1 Peter 1:9, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10).

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