Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for May, 2014


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But the tongue no man can tame … it is an unruly evil, full of poison. – James 3:8

– Therefore, if we seem to be religious, and we cannot bridle our tongues, we deceive our own heart – and our religion is in vain. – James 1:26

Just by putting the smallest of bits in the mouths of big horses, man has been able to get such creatures to obey him.  Mighty ships driven on the oceans by the fiercest of winds, can still be kept on course and controlled with the smallest of helms.  Even so, the talk from our tiny tongues can chart the course of our days.  They can bring forth obedience or disobedience – blessings or curses (James 3:3-5,10).

However, no man can tame them.  They are unruly. We can speak right words or wrong ones.  We can emotionally or spiritually poison another person just by the talk from our tongues.  We can corrupt any good manners we may have established, simply by the words we speak ( 1 Corinthians 15:33).  If we love life and want to see good days – we are to refrain from speaking evil and guile (1 Peter 3:10).

Death and life are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).  One slip of them can shipwreck the faith of even the closet brother or sister (1 Timothy 1:19).  Another slip can set off sparks and kindle a fire like hell (James 3:6).  Burning down spiritual buildings, consuming belief, and leaving Christian lives smoldering in the ashes.  We are not like the phoenix.  We cannot always rise from such ruin.

We are to ask God to set a watch before our mouths, and to keep the door of our lips (Psalm 141:3).  We can pray, preach, go to church, do charitable work – and appear to be very religious in the eyes of many others.  However, once a single wrong word escapes our mouth – it is on the lam.  It is not like a fleeing convict trying to make a breakaway – whom we can just go capture again and bring back to prison.

God warns us repeatedly about the power of our words to others … in His Word to us.  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one can break spirits (Proverbs 15:4).  We can increase the joy or sorrow of another.  We can wound their heart or mar their mind with thoughtless talk.  Just one careless word can reopen an emotional scar from years ago, or aggravate an inner wound from yesterday.

Be warned – we will all give an account of every idle word we speak on earth to God.  By our talk and communications below heaven – will be justified or condemned by our Father above (Matthew 12:36-37). However, only God can teach us to tame our tongues (lead verse).  This comes from being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) – when Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17),

So we are taught the truth with no lie – and learn to put off lying tongues (Jeremiah 9:5, 1 John 2:27).  So we learn to speak and act more and more like Jesus each day (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So we practice the gospel we preach (Romans 2:19-23, 1 Corinthians 9:14).  So we don’t just weigh in on whatever is going on in Christianity – but so our words start having weight – in showing the lost the way to the Cross.

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel. Taught according to the strictest manner of our father’s law – and was zealous towards God, as you all are to this day. – Acts 22:3

– But the zeal with which you play … relies on where you draw the line. – Jason Mraz

Adolf Hitler certainly had belief in a higher being. There are several historical records and writings supporting his claim to be some sort of Christian. Whatever this meant to Hitler, his zeal towards God in such a manner led to his developing a zero tolerance for the Jewish people and their ways. Because of this, he persecuted an estimated six million of them unto death in concentration camps.

The apostle Paul had zeal towards God, too.  Except he was born a Jew as Saul in the city of Tarsus – and taught according to the perfect manner of Jewish law (lead verse).  Paul developed a zero tolerance towards the new Christians of his day – persecuting them this way unto their deaths (Acts 22:4).  Wasting God’s church – more exceedingly zealous of earthly traditions than eternal truths (Galatians 1:13-14).

Two men of the human race – killing scores of other members of the human race; all because of zeal. All because both felt they were doing the right thing for God (Proverbs 14:12).  One wrote a terrible chapter in human history.  The other wrote nearly half of the New Testament.  If both men had zeal towards God – what was the difference between good and bad zeal? The answer is God Himself.

The One who is always the difference between wrong or right zeal, and whether ours is directed towards earthly or eternal things (Luke 12:33-34, Colossians 3:2).  Hitler steadfastly stuck with his worldly zeal to pursue and promote a political plan of his own mind and creation.  To chart his own course against the Jews, using our Creator as a covering for evil (1 Peter 2:16).  The results were tragic.

Conversely, Saul was struck down by God on the road to Damascus.  The Lord chose Saul to be a Christian that day … and made him the apostle Paul (Acts 22:5-9,16).  So God could then correct and redirect his zeal from the inside out, and set it in the right direction towards the Word – and His will (Acts 22:14).  So Paul could help others turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).  The results were truth.

This is not intended by any means to compare Hitler with Paul.  It is meant to make us attuned to the many dangers of becoming overzealous in anything we do throughout life … this includes Christianity. Being so can warp our judgement.  Too much wayward zeal can lead to us developing a near zero tolerance of certain people groups, religions, or general lifestyles (Matthew 23:13).

Having such a strict heart or mind like this leaves little space to extend any grace or mercy to others. Any religious rigidness does not permit much room to show or grow in either (James 2:13, 2 Peter 3:18). Having a zeal for the Lord does not mean we can deem and decide everything we do in His name as being right in our eyes – if they are still wrong in His (1 Kings 14:8, 1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 20:6).

However, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said “We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  Misguided men and women of God, mixed in with any type of overzealous mindset, can quickly go astray from His way.  They can teach or preach much misinformation when presenting God’s Word. Any pastor leading a church in such a way – can end up offending many of its members along the way (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Zeal is not wrong by itself.  It means great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or objective. Some synonyms of zeal are fervor, passion, and devotion – all admirable attributes for any Christian.  However, outward zeal can conceal many misguided intentions in the heart.  God will not be fooled (1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:12-13) … but it can take years for other people to find out they’ve been taken.

Sadly, to their graves at times.  Our human history gives us many tragic examples of what can happen when religious zeal runs rampant.  Under the cover of such zeal, Magellan’s thirst for personal glory finally led him fatally astray.  Then there were self-proclaimed godly men such as Jim Jones and David Koresh, who guided a total of 992 people to their deaths – all because of misguided zeal.

Elisabeth Elliot once penned these words: “It takes a while for revelry to turn to reverence, and much repetition of truth to eventually turn young zeal into habitual channels for good.”  Paul echoed this when he wrote, “It is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing (Galatians 4:18).  So, where does zeal cross the line from good to bad, and can it be prevented?

Out of control children and cars can cause a lot of damage.  Both have lost their steering mechanism. Kids are operating independently of a parent; cars are operating independently from a driver.  Out of control Christians or churches can behave the same way. Too much zeal of this nature can be a strong indicator someone besides God is at the wheel (Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 30:21, Micah 7:5).

Without such courses being corrected within us from above – the path to eternal damnation is still being paved before us.  This is where repentance enter the picture.  God’s goodness leads to it (Romans 2:4).  As many as He loves, He rebukes and chastens.  We all are to be zealous about repenting (Revelation 3:19). We are to be happy about correction  (Job 5:17) – but it might be painful at times.

No life change is easy.  It tends to upset “the way it has always been done” mindset.  If we still like any of our old worldly ways, repenting will not seem joyous. We will not likely see it as a sign of God’s love – but of His somehow messing with us again without rhyme or reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  However, divine discipline will happen.  It will hurt – but it’s meant to get us to heaven (Hebrews 12:5-14).

This keeps our zeal on the right course.  It is a contained flame of faith focused on our rewards up above (Colossians 3:2).  The wrong zeal is an out-of-control wildfire usually focused on the fleeting and passing (but often fun) things down here below (Matthew 6:19-20).  Wavering zeal crosses the line back and forth between the two.  It can become a type of spiritual tightrope walk (1 Corinthians 10:21)

Without daily and focused zeal regarding repentance (2 Corinthians 4:16), we’re in great danger of falling away.  This is serious.  It is impossible to be renewed again to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6).  A sure sign of misguided zeal is being more passionate about participating in Christian activities; repeating certain traditions and customs – than repenting according to truth (Mark 7:7, 2 Timothy 2:25).

Zealously crossing items off our Christian “to do” list is not repentance,  It all means nothing without the pure, fervent, and unfeigned love we are to learn if we are born-again believers (1 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Peter 1:22).  We will all be justified of our sins and saved – only by God’s grace and steadfast faith in Christ until the end (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 3:24, Titus 3:7, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:13).

The Pharisees tried justifying their words and works before men (Luke 16:15); despite having hearts that were still dirty – and in desperate need of cleansing from the inside out.  Jesus called them all hypocrites (Matthew 23:25-26).  Although they might have appeared outwardly zealous to others by honoring God with their lips and labor – their hearts were far from Him (Mark 7:6).

We can become the same if we are not fully committed to repentance.  This is all part of proper zeal.  If we should discover inner change is too difficult because of our Father’s sometimes painful and persistent correction, we can become zealous for Him in every area except repentance.  We can go about establishing our own righteousness without it, a misguided mistake made by Israel (Romans 10:1-3).

They certainly had a zeal of God – but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2).  They sought salvation by works of righteousness – but not by faith and repentance (Acts 17:30, Romans 9:31, Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5).  They did not submit themselves to God’s righteousness.  This means Christ is the end of the law unto all who believes by faith unto the end (Romans 10:3-4, Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:14).

Our hope and promise of eternal life through Christ was given because of God’s zeal towards us from the start (Isaiah 9:7, Titus 1:2).  Our Father’s truth set up an eternal throne in heaven to establish justice and judgement through Jesus forever (Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:31-33).  Christ became the final offering for sin (Hebrews 10:14), so justification can only come through the Cross (John 14:6).

Self-justification wreaks havoc with repentance. Without us having a good conscience towards the latter, faith can shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19).  If the focus of our zeal is zeroed in on external Christian activities – but not inner change – danger is on the doorstep.  We can be easily putting ourselves back on the broad way heading straight to eternal destruction and darkness (Matthew 7:13, Matthew 8:12).

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture):

–  But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book – even to the time of the end.  Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. – Daniel 12:4 

– Information is not knowledge. – Albert Einstein

We now have more information readily available at our fingertips than at any time before in human history.  If we are not careful – we will call this information knowledge.  If we are not careful in regards to God’s Word, we will call it knowing Him. Our Father warns us through Daniel this increase of knowledge is a sign of the end.  Many will run to and fro, to acquire more – and it won’t be enough.  

However, possessing knowledge does not mean a thing if we don’t know what to do with it.  Much wisdom is grief, and we that increase knowledge – increase sorrow (Ecclesiastes 1:18).  It just puffs us up in pride if we haven’t yet learned to edify others in true Christian love (1 Corinthians 8:1, 1 Peter 1:22). All this information – even about God – just fills our hearts until something spills out (Luke 6:45).

Knowing about Jesus to ourselves is a lot different from showing Jesus to others.  We have been given the mind of Christ as born again Christians (John 3:3-7, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  Are we learning to love, walk and talk more like Jesus daily by obeying the Spirit of truth (Ephesians 4:20-32, 1 Peter 1:22)?  Or, are we just increasing knowledge by learning more verses about Jesus – without living them?

We are probably doing the latter if we say Jesus is Lord of our life –  but we are still not doing what he says (Luke 6:46).  Such as not having learned yet to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31) – or, still not esteeming others better than ourselves like Jesus (Philippians 2:3-5).  Sharing Bible knowledge of Christ with the lost, must fall on disbelieving ears if we are not showing them Christ.

Knowledge is an idol otherwise.  We can increase our intelligence in leaps and bounds – and still find we are insensitive to others.  We can honor God with our lips (Mark 7:6) – loving how much we’ve learned about Him – without having learned how to love others.  In addition to an increase of knowledge, another end time signal will be the love of many growing cold as iniquity abounds (Matthew 24:12).

In general regards to this, author Daniel Keyes wrote the following: “I have learned alone that intelligence doesn’t mean a thing.  Here in your universities, intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge have all become great idols.  But I know one thing you’ve overlooked – intelligence and education that hasn’t been tempered by human affection, is not worth a thing.  Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts.

Keyes ends with this: “But all too often a search for knowledge – drives out a search for love.”  It is true. Any quest for more Bible knowledge can quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19).  We have been given amazing minds.  However, if they are not being transformed daily from the inside-out (Romans 12:2), learning His truth about love – we don’t know a thing as we should (1 Corinthians 8:1-2)

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.  In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not.  Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ – who is the image of God; should shine unto them. – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Many populated areas around the world still have a lot of nature nestled in nearby.  Along both sides of the Florida peninsula, there are numerous coastal cities and towns with turtle breeding grounds on nearby beaches.  When it is time for eggs buried beneath the sand to finally hatch, area residences and commercial establishments are asked to dim man-made lighting as much as they can.  Why?

Baby turtles have an in-born tendency to move in the brightest direction after their birth.  A natural beach without much – or any artificial lighting around – offers them the best chance of getting to where they are supposed to go … to the life-sustaining water of the nearby ocean.  If any artificial light is brighter, the same in-born inclination to lead the hatchling seaward, will lead them astray if they see it first.

Disorientation caused by man-made lighting results in thousands of hatchling deaths each year in Florida.  A baby turtle’s natural compulsion will immediately make it gravitate towards the closest and brightest light on the beach after being born – whether it is the right one or not.  The resulting glare causes the artificial light to seem overwhelmingly welcoming, no matter where it is relative to the sea.

In this regard, human beings are much like these baby turtles when born.  Right away from the womb, we are exposed to the bright lights of this world. Satan is their power source, and all of his ministers are the transformers.  They do not carry dimmer switches.  We should not marvel at how quickly they can get us to march off away in the wrong direction from the delivery room (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

We are disoriented and lost from day one.  Each and every beckoning light might appear to be the right one to finally follow as we grow up in the world. However, they can often just lead us right into another wreck in life.  Further and further we can move away from where we are supposed to go from the beginning – to the eternal and life-sustaining water of our Father’s Word (Revelation 7:17).

The pretty lights of this world make us easy prey for the one who is always preying on us like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).  Even if we are moving steadfastly forward in our faith – Satan does not stop (Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 5:9).  It’s the same with baby turtles. Even without artificial lights nearby – they can’t stop moving until they get to the water.  They are still easy targets for any predator along the way.

God dwells in light no man can approach (1 Timothy 6:16).  Satan’s lights are both approachable and appealing.  They are tantalizing and tangible, but they are not the truth.  Christ abolished death on the Cross – bringing life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10).  Despite this, death will not be fully destroyed until Jesus returns with salvation (1 Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 12:9-10).

Until then, we are to give all diligence – making our calling and election as Christians sure (John 6:44, 2 Peter 1:10).  We are to take heed the light in us, is not darkness (Luke 11:35).  Why?  We were all born with darkened hearts.  They are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  They stay unlit through life unless God commands His light to shine out of this darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Otherwise, we can deceive a lot of people (including ourselves) into believing we are Christians, never having God’s light shed aboard in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto them (Romans 5:5).  We can share a lot of Christ-like words, show a lot of Christ-like actions – without having any protection inside to shield or shade our souls from Satan’s shiny lights. The gospel is still hidden to us (lead passage).

Without being born again of the Holy Spirit at some point in life (John 3:7), we remain lost in Satan’s often likeable, but lying lights.  If we still believe we are Christians otherwise – we deceive ourselves, for we are still serving the devil (Deuteronomy 11:16, 1 Corinthians 10:21).  We are still submitting our Christian criteria to God for His approval – without submitting ourselves to Him (Romans 10:1-4).

It is easy to be a believer when we are walking around in a light we like to be bathed in.  When we receive worldly things and call them blessings from above – because God loves us so much to do anything but (Isaiah 45:7).  However, without receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are still blindly walking around in the wrong light (Isaiah 59:9-11) – all the while blindly believing it is the right light.

This can make us feel peaceful and safe in the protective-like shell of a Sunday sanctuary.  With our believing heads buried beneath the security of the sand – like baby turtle eggs (2 Corinthians 5:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 5:3).  Playing it safe is not the way to salvation.  When we are born again, we have to get moving across the sands of life towards eternal water. Shining our light to lead others (Philippians 2:15).

Someone once said we have to be careful about the light at the end of the tunnel – because it can just be the headlight of death’s long black train coming the other way.  So, if we are not sure what light we are walking in or towards at all times – we have to make certain (Philippians 2:12, 1 John 1:6-10).  Before darkness overtakes us forever – for letting wrong lights lead us eternally astray from the start.

 

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord has given me to edification, and not to destruction. – 2 Corinthians 13:10

It can often seem like any attempt to edify each other in love as Christians today – has fallen into the catch-all category of judging.  Even offering up a spiritual opinion can be met with such a call.  Thus, anyone’s sin open beforehand to others, can be a difficult matter to be brought up among believers.  Despite such sin preceding judgement – fear of being called judgemental can keep many silent (1 Timothy 5:24).

Maybe the human race has finally reached the point prophesied by God in His Word – where iniquity is abounding so much in the world – edifying Christian love has gradually grown stone cold (Matthew 24:12). Because we will just get a cold shoulder and stony stare from another if we speak edifying words.  We might get a “You’re just judging me” response.  Or, “You do the same, so stop telling me what to do.”

Edifying means building someone up spiritually or morally – or both.  It is where we get our word edifice.  An edifice is large and imposing building.  It can also refer to a complex system of concepts or beliefs.  Edification is not exhorting.  Exhorting means to encourage and lift up the spirits of others daily, so hearts do not become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Exodus 9:34, Hebrews 3:13).

We are God’s building as Christians (1 Corinthians 3:9).  Edification means we might have to lift up an entire Christian life completely up off its initial foundation.  If we should find it was built upon the wrong one from the beginning (Romans 15:20, 1 Corinthians 3:11), it is going to have to be completely torn down.  Then it has to be rebuilt the right way, according to God’s instructions (Proverbs 8:33).

This is when edifying gets tough, trying, and time-consuming.  The longer we build anything the wrong way in life – it is only a mere matter of time before something collapses to where the wreckage and ruin is great.  The same goes in building anything with God (Psalm 127:1, Luke 6:48-49).  Therefore, finding out one has built a Christian life upon the wrong foundation for a very long time, can be sobering.

Any “so be it” attitude at this point is dangerous to our soul.  Although we may know something has been wrong in our spiritual walk with God for years. we never fully calculated construction costs from the start (Luke 14:28).  Still, we let it be – and keep on building some other way than His.  Even though we run the risk of being called a robber by Jesus, being eternally rejected at the door to heaven (John 10:1).

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us – by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. – Titus 3:5

– Let us draw near with a true heart in all assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:22

When you were a kid, did you ever go outside and play in clean clothes your mother had just washed? How much time did it take – at times – for you to get them all covered with grime or grass stains again? When you came in, did your mom say something like, “Well, it sure didn’t take you long to get dirty, did it?” Perhaps this was followed by a heavy sigh, and “Guess I’ll just have to wash them all over again.”

A similar scene plays out daily for Christians.  Even though God’s Word resides in us by faith in Jesus (Ephesians 3:16-17), we still have to go outside into the world to live and work.  It often does not take long for our hearts to get filled and filthy with its grime.  If this dirt is not washed away on a regular basis by God, sin will begin to taint our talk once again (Luke 6:45, Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:8).

We know the benefits of regular bathing.  Clogged pores can create all kinds of skin problems if they remain uncleansed too long.  However, clogged hearts can create all kinds of sin problems if they remain unwashed too long.  We can wash outer skin daily with the soap and water of the world – but inner sin can only be cleansed daily – by the washing of our hearts with the water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

All hearts are desperately wicked from the womb – deceitful above all other things (Jeremiah 17:9).  This wickedness has to be washed away – so we may be saved (Jeremiah 4:14).  However, this has to be done from heaven.  God has to steadily scrub away our sins – washing them by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost.  If we resist our daily bath by failing to confess our sins (1 John 1:9), we remain dirty in them.

The longer dirt stays on clothes, the deeper it can set into the fabric.  It can often take repeated washings to remove any stains.  Likewise, the longer sin stays in our hearts, the deeper it can set into our souls.  It can take repeated washings from above.  Failing to repent on a daily basis is just repeating the sin cycle over and over.  Our old man cannot pass away if our hearts are not purified daily (2 Corinthians 5:17).

While this washing is going on, we are still walking around in the world and collecting more dirt from different sins.  More dirt requires more cleaning. However, this process will never make our heart completely clean and pure from sin (Proverbs 20:9). If we should ever believe we are completely clean from sin – we have made God a liar.  We deceive ourselves, and His truth is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).

If we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-7) – we have a well of water springing up inside us to eternal life (John 4:14).  We are still broken vessels if we should forsake this fountain (Jeremiah 2:13). However, if we believe in Jesus, we shall have rivers of living water flowing from our bellies (John 7:38-39).  We just have to bathe in it – for it is forever clean and pure, no matter how dirty our sins are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: