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Archive for July, 2014


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Casting all your cares on Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7

– There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever. – Gandhi

Ann Voskamp once wrote, “Worry is faith gone wrong, because we don’t believe God will get it right.”  Worry is mental anxiety and unease – allowing our minds to dwell daily on difficulties or troubles.  Bringing forth brooding about future days we may never see – often accompanied by much over-thinking.  Worry saps our emotional and spiritual strength, and sabotages our joy (2 Corinthians 12:9, 1 John 1:4).

Our next days in life may never come – and if they do, they don’t promise us anything but another day to live by faith (Romans 1:17, Hebrews 11:1).  Still, as Carly Simon once sang “we think about these days anyway” – and we worry about them.  We tend to preface worry with “what ifs?” about days down the road – when we never know what a single one will ever bring forth (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).

“What if we don’t have enough money for our kid’s education or retirement?  What if we outlive money we have saved up?”  Or, “What if my fiance – the one I truly thought was my forever, develops cold feet and backs out of our engagement?”  We can even worry whether the person we may be with now is truly the right mate for us.  Even when we sense they might be wrong, we’re worried about being single – so we stay.

Then, there is always thought of what happens if we get sick and have to lose a lot of work – even having to quit.  We worry about how we’re going to cover sometimes huge medical bills without any income – or who is going to take care of us if we are single or widowed.  Worry begets more worry – and ends up with us fretting, a state of constant and visible worry. Fretting makes it hard to rest in God (Psalm 37:7).

Whatever the worry is about – we can carry it out to the utmost extremes – creating worst-case scenarios of near catastrophe.  Even Christians who may fear God and eschew evil are not exempt.  Such a calamity happened to Job after he got caught up in his own self-righteousness and pride.  Satan knew all about it and God allowed the devil to take everything from Job short of his life and wife (Job 2:6-9).

The thing he worried about and feared the most – took place within the space of 24 hours (Job 1:6-19, Job 3:25-26).  However, Job had become the focus of his own worship – wearing his righteousness and judgement like a royal robe and diadem (Job 29:14-25).  We too, should worry about His wrath if we get wrapped up in searching for our own glory (Proverbs 25:25, John 7:18).  God will not tolerate it.

Despite all our worries, anxiety over future finances can keep more people worked up – and staying awake at night than any other subject.  Still, many submit total trust to their fellow-man’s wisdom in regards to money (Proverbs 3:5, Jeremiah 17:5).  So-called financial experts everywhere try to predict how much money other people they don’t know – require for retirements they have no idea how long will last.

We are worth more to God than many sparrows.  We are not to fear the future, or worry about it (Matthew 10:31).  Worrying as Christians is not wise.  When we do, we’re saying we do not believe He knows all our future needs.  Not what we want down the road as a reward for all our earthly work, or need what the world says we need, but what He knows we require according to His Word (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8).

As Joyce Meyer once said, “Worry is like us sitting in a rocking chair – and rocking in it.   We’re always in motion, moving back and forth between one worry to the next – but going nowhere.”  However, worry is a very serious spiritual problem.  It signals a feigned and very weak faith.  We may pretend everything is fine in front of others – so they don’t add worrying about us to their own worries.

If we do tell them we’re worried about something, they may say “It will all be okay” – but how do they know it is?  It’s not wrong to encourage people and make them feel better about their worries – but the best we can offer is an extension of hope.  “I  hope you get that job, I hope you find the right person, or I really hope things get better.”  For all faith is based on hope – to futures only God knows (Hebrews 11:1).

We can’t fake worry with God – He knows all the thoughts coming into our mind (Ezekiel 11:5).  What matters to us, always matters to the Almighty – and our worries are continually manifest before His eyes (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We only make our worry matters worse, when we do not cast all our cares upon Him. Claiming faith in the Word while worried in the world – is not worship.  It is distrust – and it annoys God.

It is impossible to please Him without faith, and His soul takes no pleasure in us if we should ever draw back from it (Hebrews 10:38, Hebrews 11:6).  God promises to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ (Philippians 4:19).  We’re to be careful for nothing, but every thing by prayer and supplication, let our requests be known unto God (Philippians 4:6).  We let Him do the worrying.

If we cast our burdens upon God – He will sustain us (lead verse, Psalm 55:22).  Therefore, we are to take no thought of our life, what we shall eat, drink, or put on for clothing.  Worry causes nothing but strife, and it won’t add a single day to our life (Matthew 6:25-34).  Worry may even subtract days we could have spent serving the Lord – had we not spent so much time worrying about things He promises to handle.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Lest Satan get advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. – 2 Corinthians 2:11

– Even on the spiritual path, we have things we tend to cover up, or be in denial about. – Sharon Salzberg

“Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed.  It also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.  It’s based on the idea an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook.  Thus, people who pretend or proclaim the elephant is not there, have deliberately chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.

When we can’t see such an elephant, our heart and mind vision is being blinded or blurred.  Probable causes are being in some state of denial (failure to admit the elephant’s presence despite definitive proof of its existence), deception (an illusion the elephant appears to be far less imposing or important), or disbelief (inability to accept or recognize the elephant for what it is).  These do not remove the elephant.

It certainly appears Christianity has had an elephant in the room for a long time now – who goes by the name of Satan.  Sitting right there in his sanctuary seat each Sunday, even standing in the pulpit, smiling with delight as many either seemingly pretend or proclaim he’s not there (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12).  Tap dancing around the topic when talked about, or changing the subject matter completely.

These and other means of avoidance are deliberate attempts in refusing to deal with a real and present danger to anyone’s eternal deliverance.  It’s ignoring the devil’s presence, despite definitive proof of his existence in Scripture.  Whether called Satan, the devil, Lucifer, Beelzebub, or the wicked one – the one who doesn’t want us to get to heaven appears 169 times in the KJV (149 in the New Testament).

The devil roars around us like a lion.  Feeding us a daily dish of likeable lies, and blinding our eyes from seeing the truth and light of the Word – with his bright and worldly lights.  Christians steadfast in the faith are not exempt from his falsehoods (John 8:44, 1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 4:4).  Satan has his legion of angels to help – righteous ministers of light we shouldn’t marvel at (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

These powers and rulers of darkness we wrestle with daily (Ephesians 6:12), prowl around like predators seeking easy prey.  Trying to trick and trap us, and take us captive at will in their subtle snares of sin and temptation (2 Timothy 2:26).  This is their only purpose.  God has given Satan a short time (2 Peter 3:8) to deceive the whole world, accusing us night and day until Christ returns (Revelation 12:9-12).

Sitting like an elephant in the middle of our rooms, whispering in receptive ears “God won’t mind if you try to watch that immoral TV show.  Or, leaning over our shoulders as we sit at the computer saying, “Visit that questionable web site.  This one time won’t hurt.” Or, “Go out and have fun for a change.”  We will do any of these if we act like Satan isn’t there as a thorn in our side to cause problems (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Just as it was with Eve, the devil’s only purpose is to deceive us – unbelievers and believers alike.  Telling us his devices won’t devour or kill us.  They won’t make us deviate from the narrow path leading to the straight gate at heaven’s entrance (Matthew 7:14). However, some are already turned aside after Satan (1 TImothy 5:15).  Having fallen away from their own steadfastness – by falling for his ways (2 Peter 3:17).

Through denial, deception, or disbelief, they have decided they don’t have to deal with the devil until they die.  Even though Satan will be a giant elephant in every room they walk into until then – they won’t see him.  This is most likely because they’ve managed to save themselves (Jonah 2:9), having destroyed the elephant, and cast it into the pit before Christ has (1 Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 12:9-10).

(Note: First paragraph definition of “elephant in the room” courtesy of Wikipedia)

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KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving – let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God – which passes all understanding – shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

– We pray not to inform God or instruct Him, but to beseech Him closely.  To be made intimate with Him, by continuance in supplication; to be humbled; to be reminded of our sins. – John Chrysostom

Supplication seems to be a word not attached much anymore to how and why we pray – or who and what we pray for.  It is the action of asking God earnestly (serious in intention and purpose) out of our humble hearts.  It is not presenting Him a list of demands as if He has to keep proving and demonstrating His love for us – over and over again – by giving us what we want (Psalm 23:1).  Once was enough at the Cross.

God promises to supply all our need according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).  Therefore, supplication isn’t trying to get more for ourselves.  It is learning to love others more and transgress less ourselves – how and why God commands us to (1 Peter 1:22, Acts 17:30).  So our intent and purpose in prayer becomes seeking His constant help in keeping our hearts pure and purged from sin.

So, when God shows us compassion in forgiving our sins according to His truth, we can then show the same compassion to others in forgiving their sins against us (1 Kings 8:46-50).  Our Father’s mercy towards us in this regard – not giving us what we deserve each time we sin (Hebrews 2:2-3) – is to be our motivation for showing mercy to all others.  If we cannot, He will judge us without mercy (James 2:13).

Therefore, we have to keep our hearts purified from sins like haughtiness and pride (Proverbs 16:18, 1 Peter 1:22) through abiding side by side daily with God.  So He can keep burning bitter spiritual roots away (Malachi 3:2, John 15:1-6, Hebrews 12:15) – allowing better fruits to be brought forth.  So they grow to maturity and remain as a steady and ready supply to others (John 15:16, Galatians 5:22-23).

So when we pray each day with supplication, we go into a closet (Matthew 6:6), so nobody else but God can see or hear us.  Then, we begin presenting our proper requests to Him with thanksgiving – without thinking about getting any personal thanks from Him here on earth (Luke 17:7-10).  Then, confessing our sins and humbly asking for His help in keeping our hearts clean through His heavenly correction.

Not instructing Him to give us material things we may think we want or need – as if we know long before He does what such things are (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8).  This is just asking amiss, making requests for money or materialistic items to consume upon our own lusts (James 4:3).  This still shows worldliness – and keeps us enemies with God – who considers us adulterers and adultresses for such (James 4:4).

All so our prayers don’t start sounding fake or feigned to others, or start feeling mechanical and empty to ourselves.  As if praying to God is just something we’re “supposed” to do.  So prayer doesn’t wind up becoming a part-time practice – because it seems to be ineffective for the most part.  For we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – because Satan preys the same way (1 Peter 5:8-9).

When we practice praying with supplication as we walk in abidance with God’s ways – without trying to guide Him into ours – we shall ask what we will, and it will be done unto us (John 15:7).  We learn to start praying for others to walk worthy of God – and His ways as well.  So they increase in their knowledge of Him, and are strengthened with all might according to His power (Colossians 1:9-11).

We begin seeking the wealth and welfare of all others through our prayers and supplications (Ecclesiastes 5:9, 1 Corinthians 10:24).  Or we ask only for godly wisdom and judgment to be given unto us, without ever asking for anything personal for ourselves (2 Chronicles 1:10-11).  So we stop leaning on our understanding of prayer (Proverbs 3:5-6), and start experiencing a peace surpassing all understanding.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– “So then, because you are lukewarm – and neither cold nor hot – I will spit you out of My mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

– Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin.  They just want to be saved from the penalty of their sin. – Francis Chan

Don’t we all like to have our food reasonably hot or cold?  It just seems to enhance its overall flavor.  It brings out the taste of any seasoning better.  Much more so than if such foods were left out on an open table or kitchen countertop somewhere.  There, hot foods slowly cool off, and cold foods slowly warm up to room temperature.  They become lukewarm.

If we try tasting them in such a state, it is often quite unpleasant to our taste buds.  They would send us a warning sign something wasn’t quite right.  We would spit these foods out.  Hot or cold foods may have been sitting out for so long, dangerous and unseen bacteria such as salmonella start multiplying.  Food poisoning might result if we were to digest them.

The word lukewarm has many “not-so-positive” meanings – such as tepid, indifferent, perfunctory, non-committal, apathetic, and lacking conviction. Food fits the first definition – but not really the rest. Those apply more to emotional and spiritual feelings of being lukewarm.  We have all probably heard of someone getting a lukewarm reception; perhaps even receiving one ourselves.

It’s a half-hearted response.  Half-hearted means lacking interest or spirit.  This is not how we are to love the Lord as Christians (Deuteronomy 6:5).  God did not put His whole Spirit into us when we were born again of such (John 3:5), so we would live a life honoring Him with half a heart.  If we do, the rest of our heart has to be somewhere else (1 Corinthians 10:21, Colossians 3:2).

Any lack of passion as Christians can lead to passivity and apathy.  Any lack of commitment can lead to becoming comfortable and complacent.  Any lack of true worship from the heart (John 4;23-24) can lead to wrong works full of confusion, envying, and strife (James 3:16).  Any lack of interest or spirit can lead to indifference and insensitivity (Matthew 24:12). This can develop dull ears (Hebrews 5:11).

Lack of devotion leads to deviance from heaven’s straight path (Matthew 7:14).  Making us targets for the devil’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) and devices; increasing our ignorance of his subtle lies the less devoted we are (Genesis 3:3-4, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 2:11).  Remaining as novices – lifted in pride like this – and likely candidates to be taken captive at will (1 Timothy 3:6-7, 2 Timothy 2:26).

Any lack of the steadfast, moving forward daily faith God requires us to have unto the end for salvation (Hebrews 3:14) – leads to spiritual stagnation.  It’s a sense of feeling stuck in one place.  Air and water in such states quickly develop impurities from lack of movement.  They become very unhealthy to breath or drink.  Faith poisoning can result from any heart like this.  Bitterness can take root (Hebrews 12:15).

Salmonella can form on food sitting around too long. Sitting around too long as Christians can create problems for our salvation.  God requires us to move as we’re led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1).  Samuel was of no use to God when he started sitting around mourning over Saul.  God told him to get up and go – there were things still to do (1 Samuel 16:1).

Being in any of the lukewarm states of being above, such as apathy, makes it very easy for backsliding to be birthed among believers who may be stagnating, straying, or stumbling (Hosea 11:7).  This backsliding can feel perpetual (Jeremiah 8:5).  It stems from still being filled with some of our worldly ways – and not all of the Word’s (Proverbs 14:14).  It’s hard to climb heaven’s staircase this way (2 Peter 1:3-11).

All in all, it makes for a lackadaisical, lounging around and lukewarm walk with God for any Christian like this.  Some seemingly unconcerned about a salvation they feel is secure (Philippians 3:12-14).  This is the devil’s deception.  Satan wants people to believe they’ve already received a promise we’re all to wait with patience until the end for (John 3:17, Hebrews 10:35-36, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:9).

This is a very flippant approach to faith.  It is foolishly being nonchalant about salvation – a hope we all have not seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  It all fits the definition of a “devil-may-care” attitude towards God. Not really hot or cold – people professing faith just kind of lukewarmly hanging around waiting for Jesus to return.  However, maybe wondering if this will really happen at all (2 Peter 3:4).

God didn’t hang Christ on the Cross for us to be like this.  Much has been given to us – much is required (Luke 12:45-48).  Just as food sitting around too long in the same place can become lukewarm, so can a faith sitting around in the same place too long.  With lukewarm food, we can just spit it out of our mouth onto a plate.  If our faith should continue this way too long, God could spit us out into the pit forever.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Seek the Lord and His strength … seek His face continually. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

– Those who neglect to call on God have grown weary of Him. – Matthew Henry

How many times have we all lost or misplaced car keys?  What happened next?  Did we just stand there, throw our hands in the air, and say, “What am I going to do now?  All has been lost.  I guess I’m not going to drive anymore.”  One would hope not.  What did we set out to do?

Didn’t we go back and retrace our steps – back to the last place we knew we had them?  Didn’t we often find them somewhere along the way? Weren’t we diligent about our search?  How many times did we ever “not” find them – and actually have to go find a way to get new keys made?

Likewise with the Lord, we may have felt a keen sense of His presence before – but now it is gone.  If so, we may be saying/thinking things such as  “What am I going to do?  I’m lost.  I don’t have direction.” Such are signals we are not seeking for God very diligently with our whole heart (Deuteronomy 4:29).

God is where He’s always been – it is we who are not. Our Father fills the heaven and earth.  We cannot hide from His presence (Jeremiah 23:24).  God is acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:3).  Just like any wayward animal, He is always searching out and seeking His sheep (Ezekiel 34:11).

If we can’t find Him, it is quite probable we are filling our schedules with so many activities, we don’t take time to be still – and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). It is hard when we are harried and hurried to stay still very long.  Long enough to hear His still, small voice for further instructions (1 Kings 19:12).

Remember, when the Pharaoh oppressed Israel – he wanted them so busy making bricks they would forget God (Exodus 5:8-9).  The same goes today.  Being busy is not the sign of being a better believer.  It is better to have a dry morsel and quietness, than a house full of sacrifices with strife (Proverbs 17:1).

The devil has countless devices trying to get anybody to deviate from the straight path to heaven’s gate (2 Corinthians 2:11, Matthew 7:14).  So he can take us captive at will – and devour us (2 Timothy 2:26, 1 Peter 5:8-9).  Well, the longer we lose sight of God – the easier it is for Satan to bite us (Jeremiah 2:32).

If Satan can’t make us feel bad – he will keep us busy.  Dee Wieninger once wrote, “The devil wants to keep us busy, tired, and frustrated.  As long as Satan can keep us bombarded with our emotional, physical and psychological needs unmet, he will keep us from our spiritual need of a closer walk with God.”

If we have lost touch with the Lord, we’ve likely gone somewhere on ahead without Him.  We are trying to step outside and beyond the boundaries of mutual abidance (John 15:1-6).  Just like car keys, if we would simply retrace our steps, we would find God right where we left Him.

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