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Archive for December, 2014


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advised is wisdom. – Proverbs 13:10

– Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! – Isaiah 45:9

The simplest definition of “contention” means being opposed to something or someone.  Carried out to extremes, it develops a zeal to emerge as the winner in arguments or debates with anybody – including with God.  Contentment usually only comes with victories – while losses often generate contempt.

Any contention in life develops an existence of strife, discord, or disagreement with any number of people. It does the same with our Father above.  Contentious opposition to His ways can birth enmity or bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), leading to discontent lives of always questioning Him in an air of conflict and quarreling.

It’s a sign of having a carnal mind still conformed to the world; not renewed and transformed by His truth yet (Romans 8:7, 12:2).  It creates spiritual stress, struggles, or stagnation – and a burdensome, heavy yoke (Matthew 11:30).  It often creates a confusion God is never the author of (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Contention is a state of dissention with heaven.  It keeps hearts far from it – even though lips may speak many feigned words to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  It’s not growing in God’s grace, but it gives place to the devil – and space for his many devices of devouring (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:27, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

It is sin – for only by pride does it arise (lead verse). It is being at odds with God – at any time, for any reason.  It is disobedient complaining coming from a lack of faith and trust – and this is displeasing to Him (Numbers 11:1, Philippians 2:14, Hebrews 11:6).  It is walking contrary to His ways (Leviticus 26:27-28).

To contend, or being in any contention with God is ungodly.  Some synonyms for both words reflect this, such as conflict and friction.  It’s hard to walk with anyone in such disharmony (Amos 3:3).  People can only disagree with others for so long, before they say “so long.”  The same goes with God (Hebrews 3:12).

Contention implies God does not know what He is doing.  It suggests He is unfair (Ezekiel 33:20), lying (Hebrews 6:18), or wrongly judging because violence, spoiling, and strife abound (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  Those contentious with God tend to perceive their goodness or innocence (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).

However, our Father is always right – His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Contention with Him says He is not – and makes mistakes.  If we say we’re Christians, then we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We’ve been reconciled back to God into one body by the Cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:16).

Reconciliation means being brought into agreement and alignment with something or someone.  If we are Christians, then it is God.  Contention prohibits any concurrence with Him.  If we claim belief, then we always agree with God.  If we don’t, we are devoid of the truth, despite any claims to the contrary.

Our Father’s commandments are not meant to be grievous, but to grow us up into mature Christians (1 John 5:3).  Contentions against Him grieve the Holy Spirit – and we’re warned not to do this (Ephesians 4:30).  When we do, it upsets and saddens God.  It shows we haven’t learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Remember, our Father causes and creates all things in life – light and dark, good and evil (Isaiah 45:7). However, He will never grieve or afflict us willingly without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  Griping or grumbling about troubles or trials in life is not the way to grow spiritually and in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

We must look within at sin still not confessed and corrected as the source of any difficulty with Him.  Sin angers God, especially when committed by Christians who cannot be ignorant about His command to repent (Acts 17:30).  Otherwise, complaining and contention with Him are bound to begin (Lamentations 3:39).

If contentious arguing arises against God, it is being lifted up in the same arrogant pride that got Satan cast out from heaven (1 Samuel 2:3, Proverbs 16:18, Luke 10:18).  Christian novices are prone to prideful contention – and this puts them in danger of falling into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

New believers are unlearned and unstable.  They still wrestle with Scripture and require a lot of spiritual milk.  The Bible is hard to understand (1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:16).  It includes those who should be teachers by now; but who have to keep being retaught the first principles of God’s oracles (Hebrews 5:12).

Contention can also be fostered by failing to speak or preach wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  Instead, it is putting a personal “spin” on Scripture.  With catchy quotes or phrases sounding very spiritual and godly, but being unable to affirm them with His Word (1 Timothy 1:7)

However, this is swerving from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), and being removed to another gospel (Galatians 1:6).  This is how people get deceived by vain words (Ephesians 5:6).  Contention has likely led to rewrites of Scripture into many new versions so they sound more agreeable to man (Revelation 22:18-19).

Whatever the cause, contention is never a good state to be in very long.  Satan roars around like a starving lion, waiting to lead us away in err (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  The devil is our 24/7 accuser (Revelation 12:10).  Stirring up contention with God is a deadly device he uses to devour souls.

This doesn’t mean we will never be contentious with others – even with believers.  We were all raised in the world first, and have various viewpoints, theories, and opinions about life we may still be entangled in (2 Timothy 2:4).  Jesus has to untangle these so we stop minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19).

These can lead to sometimes heated disagreements with each other.  In the book of Acts, contention separated two brothers in Jesus.  What happened would be similar to a group of church elders today unable to agree on who to send on a mission trip. However, why it happened merits some examination.

Paul and Barnabas were at an impasse about whether to take John Mark – the cousin of Barnabas – as a third companion to go visit brothers in cities they had previously preached in.  They wanted to see how these brothers were faring.  The contention was so sharp, they went separate ways (Acts 15:36-39).

Scripture reveals they never met face to face again. Still, Paul later makes favorable mention of Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6), and expresses a desire for John Mark to join him in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).  Even though Barnabas and Paul disagreed, they did not end up making a mountain out of a molehill.

Also, keep in mind their dissension did not involve Scriptural content or doctrinal issues.  They did not engage in profane or vain babblings about the Bible (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16).  The split between the two men involved a personal dispute based upon a judgement call on who to take with them.

To their credit, neither Paul or Barnabas permitted the contention to sideline them from personal efforts in spreading God’s Word.  Yes, it was prideful and partial (1 Timothy 5:21).  However, they didn’t allow their inability to arrive at a decision to get them angry enough to sin more against God (Ephesians 4:26).

There will always be times when brothers and sisters in Christ will not see eye-to-eye in matters of opinion. However, the important thing is how we respond.  Do we mope, sulk, and stew because somebody didn’t agree with our point of view – or do we stay focused on doing God’s will, regardless of disagreements?

Paul and Barnabas pushed forward, putting their hand to the plow (Luke 9:62).  As a result, more work was done for God because of how they handled their rift. They didn’t permit it to spoil them spiritually.  They didn’t let it fester and end up getting the best of them in ignorance of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

There’ll be several situations throughout life leading to potential strife, dissention, or disagreement.  It’s even understandable between Christians, depending on the progress of their spiritual growth.  We still have to live in the world, but we have to watch with caution what we’re filling our hearts with (Luke 6:45).

Even with the Spirit inside us, our flesh lusts against it, and vice versa.  We don’t always say or do things we want to or should (Romans 7:18-19, Galatians 5:17).  However, contention is strife, and strife leads to evil works (James 3:16).  Individually, or in the churches where it has no place (1 Corinthians 11:16).

God tells us to take heed because we can easily be consumed if we continue biting and devouring each other in any contention (Galatians 5:15).  This shows a total lack of devotion to God’s ways and discipline in our walk with Him.  There’s no rest in life (Proverbs 29:9).  Contention makes people tense and on edge.

This is why we are well-advised to learn godly wisdom (lead verse).  It is letting God tame our unruly and evil tongues by His truth (James 3:8) – learning like David how to ask Him to set a guard over our lips (Psalm 141:3).  So our words are few and we refrain from rash talk (Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 10:19).

Strife in life leads to a lot of wrong, unrighteous, and ungodly thinking (Philippians 4:8).  Precious time is wasted and mental energy is spent dreaming up ways trying to prove a point on any topic, even Scripture, to those we disagree with.  Giving them a piece of our mind can’t lead to peace of mind (Philippians 4:9).

No thought can be hid from our Father (Job 42:2) – God knows them all (Ezekiel 11:5).  Even if we may think our contention is hidden to the masses in our mind, it is immediately manifest before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We can fool others with feigned and fake faith, but not God (Jeremiah 3:10).

We can also go out and speak the most convicting words about God – then come back home and rail accusations against Him behind closed doors about something we think He is doing wrong.  However God knows our abode; when we come and go.  If we rage against Him like this, it can’t be hid (2 Kings 19:27).

Many things increase vanity in this life and contention with God is one (Ecclesiastes 6:10-11).  It is counter-productive to bringing forth spiritual fruit meet with our commandment to repent of sins (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  Who are we to contend with God and command Him (Job 40:2)?

Contention with God shows Him we desire to establish our own righteousness and then declare it as such – just as the Israelites did.  However, it’s not submitting to His righteousness (Romans 10:3).  Instead, it is subversive and condemns Him.  If we do, we disannul His judgment, just so we can be righteous (Job 40:8).

Contention is everything but peace.  It is sin and it is ungodly.  We are to follow peace with all men, and holiness or we won’t see God (Hebrews 12:14).  If we should stay ungodly by blaming Him for our problems in prideful contention, and fail to repent of our ways, we will not stand in the judgement (Psalm 1:5).

Therefore, God tells us to avoid foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law. They are unprofitable, and vain (Titus 3:9).  Starting strife is like opening floodgates to release dammed up water.  So we don’t meddle with contention, we’re to walk away from it, before it begins (Proverbs 17:14).

However, there is one thing we all have to contend for – and earnestly, meaning intently and seriously.  It is the faith once delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  It is the kind Jesus wonders about; if it will be found upon returning (Luke 18:8).  It means we have to be in contention with the devil (Proverbs 28:4).

It means we have to hold fast.  It is keeping our souls from straying by having them firmly secured by the anchor of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  This is so we hold fast to instructions from God (Proverbs 4:13), the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23), and all that is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

It is so we can hold fast to the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).  So we hold fast and repent unto salvation as commanded – or perish (Revelation 3:3, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:3,5).  If we don’t it will be easy to backslide into contentious ways – and hold fast to deceit (Jeremiah 8:5-6).

Prideful deceit is the state of our heart from the start of life (Jeremiah 17:9, Obadiah 1:3, 1 John 2:16).  If we should keep slipping (Hebrews 2:1) back to it as believers, we swerve from a good conscience, to contention again with God (1 Timothy 1:5-6).  It’s how we veer off the straight path (Matthew 7:14).

Straying in any contention too long is staying in uncorrected sin.  It’s failing to consider the eternal consequences of disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If we remain in contention too long, we will have no excuse if God says to us when we meet Him, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– We are unprofitable servants.  We have done that which was our duty to do. – Luke 17:10

– And turn ye not aside; for then should ye go after vain things which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. – 1 Samuel 12:21

Most people who have jobs probably like and enjoy receiving small tokens of appreciation from time to time for their good work.  Every now and then, it is also nice to receive some raises, bonuses, and an occasional promotion.  Otherwise, who would ever want to keep working for any company that never noticed the efforts of those who worked for them?

Being unappreciated can cause some to start seeking new jobs elsewhere – maybe a different place where supervisors are known to openly show their gratitude for work well done on a regular basis.  Efforts usually feel much more worthwhile when tangible rewards are given.  However, such desires in any Christian doing work for God reveal a dangerous and worldly mind.  

A mind where believers expect recognition, love gifts, and follow after earthly reward or profit for all they do in the Lord’s name.  It is no different now than it was back in Biblical days (Hosea 9:1, Isaiah 1:23, Malachi 3:14).  However, we don’t do a little bit of work for God, then sit back and wait for blessings and rewards before going out to work some more (Luke 17:7-10).

All of the work we do for God is our reward.  It is not a means to get one.  It is reckoned of debt, not grace (Romans 4:4).  We’re to do our duty as commanded. Not for what we may think is due back in return – but for what God gave us at the Cross.  Christ paid the ultimate price.  Therefore, He doesn’t owe us a thing in life.  We are the ones who owe Him everything.

We are God’s unprofitable servants on this earth – not profitable employees.  The King is served by the field. It is not the other way around (Ecclesiastes 5:9).  We did not bring anything into this world, and it is certain we cannot carry anything out (1 Timothy 6:7).  All the earthly blessings we may think God is bestowing upon us in our life – will be left behind when we die.

God tells us to take heed if we depart from Him and turn aside after Satan in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19, 1 Timothy 5:15).  Part of unbelief is if we run greedily after the error of Baal (Jude 1:11).  Baal is where we get Beelzebub (2 Kings 1:6).  Satan is worshipped and served more if we think we should be served with profit from God.  It makes Him a liar (Romans 1:25).

This is holding the truth in unrighteousness, and it is having a foolish heart (Romans 1:18-21).  Such belief says He should be thanking and giving us His glory for being such good Christians (Mark 10:18) – falling all over us with worldly favor and blessings (Romans 2:11).  This is a lack of understanding.  It is seeking earthly good; but not seeking God (Romans 3:11-12).

A worldly mind equates work with wages.  Good and steadily dedicated work over time may be rewarded with a raise.  However, if we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5), we have been given Christ’s mind (1 Corinthians 2:16).  It says to humbly obey God until death just as Jesus did (Philippians 2:8) – without earthly profit or gain on the way (Jude 1:11).

God requires us to have an unwavering walk with His Son down heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14).  If we ever anticipate any worldly presents and blessings from Him for work we do, we don’t have the steadfast faith needed to be made partakers of Jesus at the end (Hebrews 3:14).  What we have is a desire for steady profit; which actually creates a stop-and-go walk.

We’re saying to Him we will obey and do our duty a short while – then stop and collect our reward first before we proceed any further (Luke 17:7-10).  It is telling Him we still have affections focused on fleeting worldly things as a reason to stay faithful; and not on things above (Colossians 3:2).  We are still laying up treasures for ourselves on earth (Matthew 6:19-20).

We are plainly letting Him know we are still seeking a better country here; and not willing to wait with the confidence and patience required for a better country awaiting in heaven (Hebrews 10:35-36, 11:13-15). However, what does it matter if we should gain a whole world of profit during our brief life (James 4:14) – if we lose our soul in the end (Mark 8:36)?

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– You shall not go up and down as a talebearer among the people.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds and go down into the innermost parts of the belly. – Leviticus 19:16 and Proverbs 18:8

– Gossip is the devil’s radio. – George Harrison

“Loose lips sink ships” is a decades-old American idiom that attained wide-spread popularity during WWII.  Originally created by the War Ad Council, it appeared on posters back then put out by the U.S Office of War.  It means beware of unguarded talk, as careless conversations may be of use to any enemy.

Loose lips breed gossipers and busybodies saying words they should not (2 Thessalonians 3:111 Timothy 5:13) – launching seemingly harmless talk such as “Guess what I heard about so-and so?”  We avoid trouble if we keep our mouth (Proverbs 21:23). Gossip means this hasn’t been learned (Psalm 141:3).

Gossip is ungodliness and being disobedient.  It is not having the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  Jesus didn’t go around spreading rumors, revealing personal secrets (John 2:24-25), or engaging in any chit-chat. Gossip is lots of idle talk.  We will all give an account of every idle word we ever say (Matthew 12:36).

So, what exactly is gossip?  It comes to us from the Old English word “godsibb.”  Up until the mid 1500’s, it meant a familiar acquaintance.  As time passed, its sense was extended to one who “engaged in familiar talk.”  However, by the mid 1800’s, gossip had come to mean trifling talk and spreading groundless rumor.

A gossip is sometimes referred to in Scripture as a talebearer or a busybody.  A Christian busybody is not very disciplined – but one who walks disorderly.  It is one who doesn’t work, for they are more focused on the personal affairs of others, in hopes to find some new thing to gossip about (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

Gossip is unsubstantiated hearsay often revealing juicy secrets one has about another (Proverbs 11:13). It has a way of coming back full circle to the person being gossiped about.  It returns loud and clear to their ears.  Even if whispered to begin with, gossip separates close friends in the end (Proverbs 16:28).

Gossip is frequently spread by a person under the guise of them being knowledgeable about something or someone.  This is how gossip gains a foothold and is able to spread.  However, it is not the same as just exchanging information.  The difference between the two centers on intent and why a person is talking.

Information is helpful, gossip is hurtful.  Gossipers have a secret goal to build themselves up by making others look bad, exalting themselves in the process (Luke 14:11).  They speak of the faults, failings, or shortcomings of other people – revealing potentially embarrassing or shameful details about them.

We are all prone to gossip.  It’s why we have to be very careful as Christians as to what we are filling our souls with, for our hearts will always speak out of their abundance (Luke 6:45).  Still, some are more apt to gossip than others depending on how they were brought up – or where they are now in their life.

Those raised in houses full of strife and busy lives hear more in the way of steady talk than those raised in quiet and reserved atmospheres (Proverbs 17:1). People who grow up in the former might become gossipers early on.  Those brought up in the latter usually let their words be few (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

Others gossip out of boredom.  They always need to see or hear some new thing or person to spike their interest and talk (Acts 17:21).  In several studies, boredom was the #1 reason why young people say they spread rumors.  When everyone is happy and getting along, it’s dull.  Gossip can shake things up.

A third group very susceptible to gossip are widowed women and men who can find too much time on their hands.  Once accustomed to children and spouses around the house, they now have empty hours to fill. Without godly thought as how to spend them, idle walking and talking easily begins (1 Timothy 5:13).

Whisperings is another word for gossip.  Christians engaging in either are in eternal danger.  It is a sign of turning aside after Satan and departing the living God (1 Timothy 5:15, Hebrews 3:12).  God can turn one over to whispering when the devil is served and worshipped more than He is (Romans 1:25,28-29).

Gossip generates slanderous communications and comments.  Slander is evil in every way and corrupts any good manners a person may have (1 Corinthians 15:33).  Being a gossip or slanderer requires one to become a busybody – or have another to be one for them – to provide the proper “dirt” on somebody.

A busybody meddles in the affairs of others.  They snoop and spy, being the investigator for the gossips and rumormongers.  Just like some widowers, people like this are not redeeming their time very wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17).  Being a busybody is just as worthy of death as being a murderer (1 Peter 4:15).

Whatever name we want to call gossip, all of them create a lot of contention in life.  However, just as any fire goes out without wood, so does strife cease when the talebearing stops (Proverbs 26:20).  All gossip is sin.  If we regard it in our heart we will have a hard time getting prayers answered (Psalm 66:18).

Loose lips can sink just as many spiritual ships (e.g. fellowship, discipleship, worship) as they do physical ones.  Careless and uncommitted walks with the Lord lead to careless talk and communications.  Unguarded talk such as gossip gives ample ammunition to our adversary, Satan – so he can devour us (1 Peter 5:8).

This is why it is eternally dangerous for Christians to keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), and staying entangled in affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4).  It means we will keep listening to Satan’s lies more than God’s truths.  Our walk and talk will follow whoever we are heeding and believing more.

Our words will become our earthly and eternal burden (Jeremiah 23:36).  In the end, we will be justified or condemned by all the things we said in this life – or spread like gossip (Matthew 12:37).  Gossip grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  It leaves one still stuck on destruction’s broad path (Matthew 7:13).

 

 

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