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Archive for the ‘CONFUSION’ Category

BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Looking diligently, lest any fall of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. – Hebrews 12:15

– Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you – with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness towards life, or the Lord, arises out of false perceptions it brings that things aren’t quite working out how a person hoped they would at some prior point.  Notions of rewarding jobs, joyous marriages, riches, etc. – never materialized – and fault always lies with others (including God).  So, the bitter soul stews and simmers on, with unhealthy views of life.

However, instead of doing anything about it, often born out of a “why bother” mind, because nothing has really worked out before, the bitter person usually sits around a lot wallowing in self-pity.  Pointing critical, accusatory, and fault-finding fingers outward and skyward, but seldom back at themselves.  This type of blame game started back in the Garden of Eden.

All the while, bitterness slowly spreads like a spiritual toxin inside a soul.  However, it is hard to spot just by looking at a person, because a sweet smile on Sunday at church can hide a spirit soured by resentment the rest of the week.  Words spoken smoother than butter can mask bitterness in the heart (Psalm 55:21).  Still, God sees it all (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:13).

Our Father cannot show anybody a more excellent and better way, if they should ever be in the galls of bitterness (1 Corinthians 12:31, Acts 8:23).  Why? Well, with God, it keeps people bound in the bonds of iniquity and sin (Acts 8:23).  Bitterness is any feeling He has dealt (or is dealing) unfairly or unjustly, and this isn’t possible (Ezekiel 33:20, Deuteronomy 32:4).

Everything past in our life is required by God, and it will be this way as long as we live (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, how will He ever create a new path in the wilderness if we keep looking back over our shoulder in remembrance of the bad things from days gone by making us bitter now (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Repeatedly rehashing them leaves little room for future hopes.

God will never cause us grief or afflict us willingly – there always a reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  It’s just that we are not to know the times or seasons He has put in His own power (Acts 1:7).  Faith and belief says we trust in Him, and He knows what He’s doing – even if we don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We either grow better from trials and troubles, or bitter.

Bitterness is also feelings of resentment with God – and there can be a wide variety of reasons why.  One could be some private displeasure about blessings He certainly seems to bestowing on others from above – when we think we are the ones showing Him much more love than they are – and that we should be the recipients.  It creates a sense of indignation inside us.

When these feelings of resentment get released out into the open, expressed in words or actions, it is how Christianity can start feeling like it is nothing more than a tense, stressful contest.  It becomes ungodly. There’s lack of contentment.  Believers start unwisely comparing and measuring aspects of their walk with God against those of others (2 Corinthians 10:12).

In turn, this creates an uneasy air of contention, and generates confusion God never authors (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is a precursor to every evil work within the churches (James 3:14-16).  It births sinful pride and the evil rejoicing of boastings (James 4:16).  This is how believers become apostates by serving Satan more than God (Romans 1:25,30, 2 Timothy 3:1-2).

We are all prime candidates for bitterness, if we ever become weary of life, or in our walk with the Lord (Job 10:1).  Relationships, jobs, finances, Christianity, etc. – are not creating the better lives we hoped they would at their outset.  We can get to a point where we think “What’s the point?”  This is vanity – useless, a waste of time, and not producing desired results.

We have to be careful and prayerful our belief does not end up being in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Bitter roots cannot possibly produce the spiritual fruits God commands us to continually bring forth – meet for repentance (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).  Instead, they bring forth toxic, spoiled, and worldly fruits like resentment, anger, and envy.

Whatever the reasons for bitterness, they are all displeasing to God.  Bitterness prevents Christians from following peace and holiness with all men below heaven, and keeps them out because of it (Hebrews 12:14-15).  It breeds contention, birthed only from foolish pride (Proverbs 13:10), with others and Him. Contention creates conflict and friction – not peace.

Bitter Christians don’t think right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).  It means they cannot have victorious walks with Jesus in such vexed states of mind.  The final 13 paragraphs from the Charming Health website (with some personal additions and Scripture support) give an extensive and excellent description of bitterness, as well as the inner and outer damage it causes:

Bitterness is emotional suicide.  It’s like drinking poison, and then hoping the other person gets ill. People embroiled in bitterness have an incredible memory for the tiniest little details, and they wallow in puddles of self-pity and resentment.  They record every offense in their heart and head – more than ready to show others how much they have been hurt.

Bitter people defend and carry grudges constantly. They feel they have been hurt too deeply and too often, and think this exempts them from their need to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  Their hearts can overflow with so much resentment, they no longer have any capacity to love.  Bitterness takes their soul captive, consuming positive emotions, and robs them of joy.

Bitterness is frozen anger in latent form.  When it is manifested, it becomes a vicious malignancy making one extremely vulnerable to very unwise choices and decisions, developing destructive thought patterns infiltrating body and soul.  It saps the mind’s vitality. If allowed to fester unaddressed, bitterness can pave a path to seeking out vengeance and acts of violence.

Failure to confess and correct bitterness causes it to spread like a cancer no longer in remission.  Unlike a physical kind confined to just one body, bitterness is a spiritual kind infecting and sickening others.  It’s often expressed as anger, jealousy, dissatisfaction, or hate. It keeps focus below, on getting back or even, but not getting and staying on the narrow path to heaven.

It is true many life events can be unpleasant, causing grief and pain.  However, responding in any prolonged bitterness fuels more bitterness far down the road.  A reservoir of resentment is drawn upon over and over. It can be passed down to children and hold people in its vice-like grips.  It can even generate fiery, deadly feuds between families, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Some of these events can be quite sudden, such as the literal loss of a loved one, or a source of income. Some are subtler, happening more slowly over time such as the loss of reputation, social status within a group, or control.  Regardless, they all sow and grow bitter roots and fruits.  Resentment and bitterness are unacceptable to God as they’re self-defeating and sin.

Existing bitterness in a Christian means they are not abiding side by side with God, so He can burn up the unrighteous roots producing such resentment (John 15:1-6).  These roots cannot bring forth anything but rotten fruits defiling a soul.  Some of them are guilt, arrogance, frustration, surmising, melancholy, sloth, and envy, creating instability in mind and spirit.

Extended bitterness produces physical ailments like insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, fear, depression, and heart attacks.  Mental consequences are hyper-critical views and attitudes about life.  Nobody can do things right (including God) except the bitter person.  Those who associate with such souls may sympathize for a time, but can end up avoiding them, lest they get drawn in.

Still, we are responsible for what we say, think, and feel.  God’s plan is to make us better so we can enter into heaven – not bitter so we cannot.  What makes people so bitter are worldly attitudes they develop growing up, and then carry in life towards situations and others.  As Christians, we’re being transformed by His truth, so old ways aren’t conformed to again.

Continuing in bitterness is not rooted and grounded in God’s love within through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is building faith upon a faulty foundation (Luke 6:47-49, 1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is not repenting (Luke 13:3,5).  Perishing awaits, unless one is purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned and fervent love of all (1 Peter 1:22).

God cannot possibly work His good will and pleasure in bitter hearts (Philippians 2:13).  Those battling with Him and others in futile resistance to His ways, and in refusal to His voice (Hebrews 12:25).  It’s enough to wrestle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12), without having to get into bitter, resentful wars with heaven and the brethren as well.

If we are being humbly obedient to God (Philippians 2:8) we are submitting to His power inside us.  We are not to resist it (Romans 13:2), as it’s the only power we will ever get to put off all forms of malice (second lead verse).  External means or methods, including guidance from other Christians, cannot cure bitterness.  All they do is give place to the devil.

Characterized by hostility (not hospitality) bitterness brings forth unforgiving, sputtering, and backsliding spirits full of negative attitudes almost always plotting and scheming, along with grouchy and complaining mouths.  Love can certainly dispel it all, but it spells disaster if left uncorrected.  Satan’s job is to devour, destroy, and kill souls – exactly what bitterness does.

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture:

– But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. – 2 Corinthians 11:3

– The Scriptures were not given to us to confuse us – but to instruct us.  Certainly God intends that we should believe His Word with all simplicity. – M.R. DeHaan

The word simplicity means easy to understand.  It is something comprehensible and not complicated; plain and not perplexing.  Even if it is a detailed process requiring expounding, a simplistic approach makes it much easier to keep things in correct order.  Spiritual simplicity is an existence free from guile or deceit.

Conversely, subtlety is difficulty in understanding, or making elusive or hard to detect.  It is employing deceit to subvert and achieve goals.  One intent of subtlety is to corrupt a process undetected as long as possible.  If someone finally does notice, it’s often too late to reverse or repair the damage already done.

The teachings of Jesus are always correct – but the teachings of the devil are always corrupt.  Satan is the deceiver of this world, the night and day accuser of man (Revelation 12:9-10), and the master of all confusion and illusion.  There is no truth in him (John 8:44), but he can make his lies seem very believable.

Christ’s yoke is easy (Matthew 11:30).  The devil’s yoke yanks Christians around in dozens of directions daily, often duping them into thinking every new fad or doctrine in the church is the proper one to follow. For a while at least, until they find out it all did not satisfy their spirit as advertised (Proverbs 27:20).

Still, Satan remains subtle but pernicious (2 Peter 2:2), a seductive and persistent presence.  Roaring around the world he is the prince of (John 14:30) – as a spiritual lion who does not sleep, seeking souls to devour.  Steadfast Christians in faith are not exempt from his devices (1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

Believers who mind earthly matters (Philippians 3:19) and remain entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), stay ensnared by Satan’s lies, blinding their minds in unbelief from ever seeing the simplicity of truth (2 Corinthians 4:4).  The devil isn’t alone.  He has angels of light and right to help (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Unstable, wavering, and straying Christians walk in the err of confusion with God (Ephesians 4:14, James 1:6-8,16, 2 Peter 3:17).  They remain influenced by Satan.  If they turn aside after him (1 Timothy 5:15), they are now unbelievers who’ve departed God, and often see Scripture as contradictory and inconsistent.

These fall prey to itching ears and unsound doctrine. Turning from the truth and swerving to words making it sound as if God should be serving them (2 Timothy 4:3-4, 1 Timothy 1:6-7, Luke 17:7-10).  They also pervert certain passages or verses just so they can justify living in the world much like they always have.

Never realizing Satan or one of his ministers could be preaching from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12) or sitting in their pews (Revelation 2:13).  So, they continue on in disobedience and unbelief (1 Corinthians 14:33, 1 Peter 2:6-8).  Unsure of what God’s plan is for their life, and frequently doubting if there really is one.

So, they hatch their own plans, and do what is right in their own eyes (Proverbs 14:12).  Making things up to do in their mind (Numbers 16:28) – and hoping God doesn’t mind.  Then, they get confused after as to why things didn’t work together for good (Romans 8:28).  In turn, some simply stop doing anything.

As the lead verse indicates, there is a simplicity in Jesus clearly missing in today’s Christianity and the church.  Our Father is straightforward about many things, giving us commandments to humbly obey until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  These are not recommendations, suggestions, or advice to consider.

This is all so we can keep moving steadily and straight ahead along heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14), if we desire to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).  It is so we follow the process of repentance and do not fall away off course (Hebrews 6:4-6).  This gives place for Satan to set a new one (2 Peter 3:17).

God’s commandments only become confusing or unclear when they interfere with something else a person has already decided they are going to do in the world – or in the Word.  This is how false dreams or lying divinations start.  When people say “The Lord says” and He never spoke to them (Ezekiel 13:6-7).

Tony Khuon once said, “The goal of simplicity is to achieve the lowest amount of complexity – for the highest amount of fulfillment.”  God’s Word is full of simple sounding passages and verses about how He commands us to live as believers.  So our joy may be full, if fellowship truly is with Jesus (1 John 1:3-4).

For example, how to prove His will is found in Romans 12:1-2.  The key to happiness is found in Job 5:17 and Hebrews 12:5-11.  The way to enter His rest is found in Hebrews 4:9-10.  The pathway to a peace passing all understanding is found in Philippians 4:4-7.  And, Joshua 1:8 contains the only key to success.

All the above verses are clearly written and easy to understand.  There isn’t any doubt as to what God is talking about.  One cannot read them and then think, “I wonder what He really means by that?”  However, people with tendencies to over complicate matters in the world – are prone to do the same in the Word.

Unless they allow God to transform their minds daily towards His simple truths, they’ll stay conformed to the world’s way and keep on succumbing to Satan’s trickery (Romans 12:1-2).  They will see Christianity as complex, difficult, and thorny – and Jesus is not. It’s not why Christ wore a crown of thorns at Calvary.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– To whom he (Paul) expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus – both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning ’til evening. – Acts 28:23

– Desiring to be teachers of the law – understanding neither what they say, nor the things which they affirm. – 1 Timothy 1:7

It is never wrong for any Christian to share single passages or verses from Scripture with those who are lost.  However, doing so in any random fashion does not really help them understand the message of the Cross, any better than if they’d read the same alone. Regular sharing like this is not connecting the dots.  It marks one who isn’t learning how to compare spiritual things with spiritual from God (1 Corinthians 2:13).

It makes it hard for any believer like this to expound Scripture to the lost, and who don’t understand the gospel yet.  To them, it is foolishness and hidden because they are currently perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 4:3).  Expounding presents and explains something systematically and in detail.  It should always leave anyone with a better concept of what is being expounded, and less confused about it.

Expounding is also more convincing.  In regards to God’s Word, it is more capable of causing someone to believe He is true and real, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to stay on heaven’s narrow path (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14).  Expounding is also far more persuasive if we don’t require a Bible in our hands when people ask us questions about it; and we have to flip back and forth between pages to find answers.

Saying things like “Well, I thought that verse was in Jeremiah, but maybe it’s Jude.”  Followed by a long pause as we search unsuccessfully and remark, “I could have sworn it was in here somewhere.  I just can’t find it now.”  How compelling would any of these comments sound to a lost soul?  Wouldn’t it appear we did not understand what we are saying – unable to affirm our words with God’s (second lead verse)?

Remember, if we are Christians, we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have God’s Word dwelling within us at all times through the power of the Holy Ghost.  We have Scripture inside our soul wherever we may go.  So we do not go around saying things as, “I wish I could answer, but I don’t have my Bible now” – if anyone asks us questions about it.  We can still expound quickly, confidently, and correctly.

Our Father does not automatically give us an ability to expound.  We can’t expect or anticipate it to develop without participation on our part, and it certainly does not happen overnight.  We are to study Scripture on a steady basis to show ourselves approved to God – not other Christians.  This is so we can rightly divide His word of truth assuredly.  Without shame, delay, or doubt as to what we are saying (2 Timothy 2:15).

This is not all.  We have to rehearse what we are learning from God on a regular basis as He guides us into all truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27), teaching us freely how to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  This is so we can readily and practically apply the Word to any worldly situation. Sitting in church listening to Scripture, but doing little else with it, does not teach expounding (James 1:22).

There is a worldwide audience today of lost and unbelieving souls in a state of spiritual famine and starvation.  Such people are not famished by lack of worldly water or bread – but out of a longing hunger for hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).  Rehearsing to expound helps us prepare to feed anyone like this properly at any moment.  Providing malnourished souls with suitable spiritual food; if only for a while.

Expounding also helps connect what the lost can relate to, or understand in their world, to truths in God’s Word – a lamp unto our feet as Christians.  It should brighten their path at least a little while with the Bible (Psalm 119:105).  Learning how to expound keeps us ready to answer anyone in this manner with grace and relevance (Colossians 4:6).  It is so they don’t stumble as much and stay so distant from God.

For example, if we should find ourselves talking to athletes, we could expound to them how faith is similar to running a long race.  Moving ahead at a steady and patient pace – perhaps as in a marathon. And, how only person can win a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).  We could then add in talk about a need for spiritual discipline and commitment, just as one would require physically in the world if they desired victory.

When we rehearse to expound, it’s so we can take a person from point A to point B in Scripture.  Without skipping or forgetting steps along the way – or losing our audience somewhere in the middle.  The book of Acts gives us a great example of this.  Some Jewish believers were in strong contention with Peter about the Gentiles.  People they considered unclean human beings; and not worthy of God’s grace (Acts 11:1-3).

However, Peter had already rehearsed what he was going to say to them, in set order from the beginning (Acts 11:4); just in case a meeting like this ever took place.  As Peter knew how they felt about the Gentiles – a complete and conclusive response had to be ready at moment’s notice.  By expounding everything as to why Gentiles were just as worthy; the Jews held their peace at the end in agreement (Acts 11:5-18).

Because Peter prepared ahead of time, he was able to expound convincingly, and not come across sounding holier-than-thou to the Jews – because he knew he wasn’t (Romans 3:23).  Nor, did it appear to them Peter was showing off his Scriptural knowledge; but sharing little or nothing pertaining to the situation at hand.  We always want to help draw the lost closer to the Cross, not drive them further away from it.

Practice makes perfect just as much in the Word as it does in the world.  It involves rehearsing privately as Peter did for later use in public.  Musicians and actors don’t walk out on stage without rehearsing first, or they are bound to forget and skip some notes or lines. Likewise, we cannot expound the Word if we don’t learn how to rehearse.  It will just sound like we are randomly tossing out verses without rhyme or reason.

As we mature spiritually and learn the discipline to rehearse, we can help other believers also learn to expound more credibly.  There was a Jewish man in Acts named Apollos.  He was an eloquent speaker who was mighty in Scriptures and fervent in the spirit. Instructed in the Lord’s ways and teaching accurately in this manner.  However, his knowledge was limited, knowing only of John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-25).

When he began speaking boldly in the synagogues, an early missionary couple of the Christian church heard him.  Their names were Aquila and Priscilla, who had already lived, worked, and traveled with the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2-3, 18).  The two took Apollos aside and began expounding unto him the way of God more perfectly.  It was so he could go publicly convince other Jews that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:26-28).

Likewise, we should be expounding Scripture more perfectly with each passing year.  We are continually being transformed (Romans 12:2) and perfected by God’s truth, so it becomes a natural progression.  So our expounding sounds more and more complete and connected – and less piecemeal.  Resounding in the souls of others as immutable truths flowing forth from the living water of God’s Word in ours (John 7:38).

If we don’t learn to expound more perfectly, we will likely sound purposeful.  However, we’re not trying to add members to our church – only God can do this (Acts 2:47).  Sadly, some expound as an attempt to do so; or as a way to sell Christian merchandise (2 Thessalonians 3:8, 2 Peter 2:3).  Although we can persuade others about God with our expounding, we can’t do so to make them be a Christian (Acts 26:28).

However, we can never really learn or expect to expound Scripture without spiritual discipline.  It commands steadfast commitment and devotion to God – for this defines belief in Him.  It takes studying and rehearsing in private, so we always know what to expound with any type of public audience.  It takes exercising our spirit into godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), so we’re not labeled as hypocrites (1 Corinthians 9:14).

Only our Father is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), so our expounding will never be 100 percent flawless. Still, we should eventually get to a point through repeated rehearsing and practicing, where it never sounds to other people as if we’re merely expounding Scripture by reading from a prepared script or crib notes.  Or, as if we’re just ad-libbing without prior preparation.  “Winging it” isn’t the way to expound.

What we should learn is to be like Paul, and be able to sit down and expound Scripture to any number of people from morning until night – without having a Bible in sight.  Talking about any topic from God’s Word in systematic detail as Paul did with the Jews in the lead verse.  Starting from a specific point and leading to a definitive conclusion.  Leaving those who hear to decide if they believe or not (Acts 28:23-24).

In conclusion, expounding explains in great detail, in a set order.  It clears up truths from God’s Word with the lost, or even new believers who still wrestle with Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).  People who often see the Bible as being contradictory or confusing.  In turn, expounding births wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  It’s why God had soldiers pound nails into the body of His Son.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? – 1 Corinthians 14:8

– God has not called Christians to a playground, but a battlefield. – Billy Graham

There certainly seems to be an extremely vocal – but very confused and uncertain sound coming from much of the modern church and Christianity these days.  It is growing louder with every passing year – as the apostasy of man’s last days draw near (2 Timothy 3:1-7).  It shows no signs of being silenced soon.

It is becoming an almost mind-numbing and annoying noise to a growing number of people who might be secretly wishing it would just stop.  Sounding as if millions of Christians all around the world are absent-mindedly jangling their believer keys.  Everyone at once, with no real reason to do so (1 Timothy 1:6).

It is discordant.  It can sound like everyone knows how to play individual tunes of truth very well on their own spiritual instrument (Ezekiel 33:32).  However, it is rarely in harmony with heaven or others.  So few Christians seem to be following the score composed by the Chief Musician anymore (Psalm 19).

This is how vain (and profane) babblings about the Bible are born.  It is also how back and forth salvos of Scripture start.  They only increase ungodliness (2 Timothy 2:16).  Those partaking in such outbursts speak into the air (1 Corinthians 14:9), seemingly not caring how spiritually unfruitful it all is (Titus 3:8,14).

All the while, fewer and fewer Christians seem to understand what they are truly saying about God’s Word.  With more and more unable to affirm what it is they are saying by being able to completely back it up with Scripture (1 Timothy 1:7).  Some just put their own personal spin on it – and pass it off as His truth.

Some behaving as if they’re still natural beings trying to teach God’s Word with worldly wisdom (Proverbs 3:5, 1 Corinthians 1:27, 2:13).  Others appearing as if they’ve swerved from the truth; removed from the gospel they first heard.  Perverting God’s to serve worldly interests (1 Timothy 1:6, Galatians 1:6-7).

All in all, it creates much more clutter than clarity in Christianity – more confusion than contentment.  It leads to minds saying, “I really don’t know why I am doing all of this, so I might as well go have some fun while I do (1 Corinthians 15:19).”  Sadly, this can be a person’s whole approach towards life, and the Lord.

One person says a few words about God, someone else says different ones – yet nobody really seems to know why believers assemble together anymore (Acts 19:32).  Christians uncertain like this are generally restless, discontent, and confounded.  This is not belief in God; but disobedience (1 Peter 2:6-8).

These are the ones crying, “I just want to know what God’s plan and will is for my life.”  Such queries show muddled minds still corrupted by Satan’s subtleties; and uncorrected by Christ’s simplicity (2 Corinthians 11:3).  God tells us how to enter His rest and find His will in three verses (Hebrews 4:10, Romans 12:1-2).

This confounded playground atmosphere plays right into Satan’s hands.  The devil must delight as he sits in pews, or preaches from pulpits (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12) looking at foolish Christians having Sunday fun.  Who wants a mourning house when they can have one of mirth (Ecclesiastes 7:4, James 4:9)?

Faith does not equate to fun.  Who wants to wage war against the prince of this world (John 14:30), if they are having a good time in it with God’s Word?  This means one is still living in pleasure (James 5:5).  Still minding earthly matters and still entangled with the affairs of this life (Philippians 3:19, 2 TImothy 2:4).

The devil is a wrathful and wicked wolf who has been giving a short time by God to steal souls, to kill and destroy (Revelation 12:12John 10:10).  We can’t sit idly on the sidelines of this eternal battleground as a neutral party.  If we are not with Christ at all times, we are for Satan when we are not (Matthew 12:30).

This swirling air of steady confusion and questioning seeming to exist today shows people who are clearly not grounded in God’s love.  They have no inner root to produce spiritual fruits until death (Ephesians 3:16-17, John 15:16, Galatians 5:22-23).  Only worldly whirlwinds can be sown and reaped (Hosea 8:7).

So when the heavenly trumpet of truth keeps calling Christians to arms against the devil, who is going to bang on the battle drums with uncertain, having fun, or ho-hum minds?  If somebody does, any echoing strains will beat the air and go nowhere (1 Corinthians 9:26).  Meanwhile, Satan keeps roaring (1 Peter 5:8).

The only job God gave the devil was to deceive and devour the world (Revelation 12:9).  Shipwrecking faiths to such unsalvageable statuses, faith might not be found by Christ upon returning (1 Timothy 1:19, Luke 18:8).  Unable to detect it in those who avoided good warfare by siding with Satan (1 Timothy 1:18).

Of course, who’s going to have any desire to fight the good fight of faith, if they have already captured the flag of salvation from the outset (1 Timothy 6:12)? Who’s going to go back and hate their life in the world after that?  Risking the loss of it on the battlefield for eternal souls between God and Satan (John 12:25)?

Leaving such a conflict to Christians who actually sat down and counted the cost of their life beforehand – who understand one cannot win a war without fighting it first (Luke 14:28).  The ones who put on the whole armor of God daily to deflect the devil’s fiery darts. Doing all they can to stand up (Ephesians 6:11-17).

An uncertain sound is unsure.  It’s hesitant, wavering, and doubtful.  In Christianity, it can quickly lead to wicked and unrighteous debating about God’s Word (Romans 1:29).  Instead of believers simply abiding by it, and humbly obeying Him unto death just like Jesus Christ did (John 15:1-6, Philippians 2:8).

Sadly, there seems to be no air of debate among far too many Christians today about the certainty of their salvation (Hebrews 9:15).  Somehow having managed to defeat the devil, destroy the last enemy of death (1 Corinthians 15:26), and script the finishing of their faith before Jesus Christ ever does (Hebrews 12:2).

Leaving them to spend their remaining time living in pleasure and laying up treasures on earth (James 5:5, Matthew 6:19-20).  Enjoying the spoils of salvation’s victory before it’s ever won (Revelation 12:10).  Why would they want to go back out to the battlefield and get their uniform bloodied like Christ’s body was?

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. – 2 Peter 2:20

– “Wherefore, come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 6:17

Most of us have probably experienced the frequent frustration of attempting to untangle Christmas lights. It can be an extremely tedious and time-consuming process.  Even though we finally strung them out and hung them on our tree last year, and all the wires and lights seemed to be straightened out then, they have since managed to sit in some storage place and twist themselves into a tangled pile again for this year.

The word tangle means to twist into a confused mess, physically or spiritually.  Entanglement can start at any point in this process.  It means to not only get caught up in the snarled mess it makes, but finding it very difficult and sometimes very painful to escape. However, it’s far easier to untangle Christmas tree lights each year – than to ever finally separate and escape from years and years of life’s entanglements.

Christ did not hang upon the Cross for us to live like this.  However, only God can make straight again the crooked course He first created for us to travel upon this earth (Ecclesiastes 7:13).  This means we must walk His narrow and untangled path of truth all the way to heaven; and few find it.  The broad road to destruction’s door is paved with plenty of Satan’s likeable lies to get tangled up in (Matthew 7:13-14).

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  The world system today is no different from the Babylonian one existing all throughout the Bible.  It is a murky world of merchandise and purchase in where people love gifts and follow after rewards (Revelation 18:2,11, Isaiah 1:23).  A life where one always has to pay some sort of price to maintain a continued sense of satisfaction or gratification (Proverbs 27:20).

Either through spending money, sins of the flesh – or sometimes a mixture of both.  It is a steadily flowing stream of alluring pleasures (James 5:5), loveable lies, and subtly seductive temptations – all having a physical, emotional, or spiritual price tag attached. We know there are those who will go whoring after prostitutes or gigolos, but it is harder to admit when we go whoring after the way of Babylon (Hosea 9:1).

The world tells us the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  We just have to keep finding out where the fence is first – then figure out what is so much better beyond it for us to leave our side.  Still, some will always need to see, hear, or have some new thing (Acts 17:21) – even in Christianity.  Some revolutionary or exciting product, self–help program, or investment program to buy or try (2 Peter 2:3)

This all creates a twisting and turning road of near constant confusion – as the world presents one angle, then a different one to keep people deeply entangled and entrenched in its ways.  The longer this path of merchandise and purchase is pursued and followed, the more frustrating and time-consuming it can be to untangle from.  As always, the prince of this world is the pitchman holding the pitchfork (John 14:30).

As John Ritenbaugh writes, “The result is an unhappy world held hostage by the Babylonian system having its roots in human nature.  Because of this, it feeds right into inner desires for frequent changes and a variety of adventures as the answers to fulfillment in life.  It promotes contentment in the possession of material things (Luke 12:15), having much fun and excitement, and a variety of religious experiences.”

Ritenbaugh continues: “Its major fruits are easily seen in both the world and church these days as confusion of purpose, competition, disharmony, and disunity abound all around (1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Corinthians 10:12, Ephesians 4:3).  Far too many Christians are still clearly tangled up in the world’s web – separating themselves from each other, from the Spirit, and love of God by doing so (Jude 1:19).”

In conclusion, Ritenbaugh writes, “None of these factors gives a lasting sense of peace, fulfillment, or abundance according to God’s ways, because they’re not in harmony with His purposes.  They only produce short bursts of satisfaction.  Israel was often warned by God about such proclivity.  Still, they remained disastrously careless and curious – full of discontent, unsettled, and impatient ‘grass is greener’ yearnings.”

We are all in bondage to the world right from the womb (Galatians 4:3).  Caught up in its pollutions of idolatry (Acts 15:20), blinded by the devil’s lights (2 Corinthians 4:4), and tangled in his labyrinth of lies. Born as corrupt beings of flesh and blood who cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven by staying this way (1 Corinthians 15:50).  Unless we are spiritually reborn before we die, worldly chains cannot be broken.

We can’t be born again of the Spirit until God knows our hearts and minds have finally had it – fed up with always to trying live in alignment and agreement with the world’s ways.  Tired of longing for, living for, and loving its things we can’t take with us (1 Timothy 6:7, 1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, God knows we will only be sorry about sin for a season; and we will not be ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

When we are born again of the Spirit, it is a baptism of fire from above (Matthew 3:11).  It is an intense and complete purging of our hearts and minds from heaven, as God burns up all the worldly clutter within, untangling all the lines of Satan’s lies.  It’s an instant and clean escape from the world – but it is far from being permanent.  We still have to live in this world, surrounded by a daily smorgasbord of temptations.

The prince of this world (John 14:30) is going to do all in his power to prevent us from getting to a place he can never return to again – heaven.  Once salvation’s seed is sown with the Spirit – Satan gets busy.  When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted to suppress their thoughts towards God by getting them so busy in the steady production of bricks, they wouldn’t have any time to do anything for Him (Exodus 5:7-9).

Satan operates in much the same way.  Wanting us to get so caught up barging through busy days – trying to “do it all” – we barely have time to breathe; much less keep God in all of our thoughts.  This is the same type of prideful countenance as Satan’s (Psalm 10:4). This is how we can easily fall into condemnation with our Father (James 3:1), and how we can embark on a path to destruction (Ecclesiastes 7:16).

Although we become rooted and grounded in God’s love upon being born again, so spiritual fruits meet for repentance can be produced (Ephesians 3:16-17, Matthew 3:8, Galatians 5:22-23), worldly weeds can quickly creep back in.  Without zealously repenting of our sins daily, so God can continually regenerate our souls by the Holy Ghost, unrighteousness takes root once again (Revelation 3:19, Titus 3:5).

The daily cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things entering in – can choke the Word (Mark 4:19).  This is how ungodly worries and wants stress the spiritual soil of our hearts and minds (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 23:1).  Making them unfruitful – and producing wrong roots for unrighteous works of the same kind (Titus 3:8,14).  Satan is always ready to be their constant gardener (James 3:16).

There is more.  The liberty we have in Jesus frees us from the fear of death we are in bondage to all our lives (Hebrews 2:15).  It is not heavenly authority to do whatever we want in the world or Word until we actually do die.  Misuse of our liberty like this is an abuse of God’s grace (Romans 6:1-2,15).  It also trods Christ under our feet by counting the blood of the new covenant as unholy (Hebrews 10:29).

It means we are not standing or holding fast in our faith or liberty with Jesus – thereby allowing ourselves to become entangled with a yoke of bondage to this world again (Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:8, Galatians 5:1).  How do we repent according to the Word, if we are still repeating the world (Revelation 3:3)?  The latter means we are using our liberty for ungodly things (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16).

If we keep minding earthly matters, and making our bellies and bank accounts god (Philippians 3:19), and continue getting ourselves entangled in the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4) – we’re still lost in the dark despite any light we think is inside us (Luke 11:35). We are still ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  It will so be easy for him to snatch us in his snares, and take us captive at will (2 Timothy 2:26).

The devil can certainly keep us all snarled up in the world, and in our souls – and has his angels of light and righteousness to assist in hiding God’s light from us (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).  However, we also must be careful about being deceived by man’s vain words (Ephesians 5:6) – who through lusts of the flesh and much wantonness – allure those who have cleanly escaped – back into worldly bondage (2 Peter 3:18).

In summation, if we allow Satan to keep us tangled up in the world by staying ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), we are being disobedient to God. We are not repenting as commanded of ways keeping us all wrapped up in the confused mess this world creates each day (Acts 17:30).  It would be better if we had not known the way of righteousness – than known it – and turned away (2 Peter 2:21-22).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-7

– Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Jesus Christ. – Colossians 2:8

All of us can have our theories and thoughts about God and His Word – and they may not be as true as we believe (Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33).  They’re often not of Christ’s mind – but our own (Numbers 16:28, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  If so, we have created our own gospel; a blended brew of belief.  We have created a mix of worldly rudiments, life philosophies, traditions – and stirred it in with God’s truth.

However, by generating our own version of the gospel like this, we have been moved away from God’s.  If life keeps moving ahead the way we might want it to like a good movie – we will most likely never realize it.  Until He goes and does something not making any worldly sense.  It may even seem weak and foolish (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, 3:19).  It won’t follow along with our version of His gospel.

We usually get quite confused when such happens. This is likely because we had been living by leaning on our understanding of how our lives were supposed to “work out” for us.  There is a strong possibility we had been acknowledging God up until then only when life was going our way (Proverbs 3:5-6).  As singer Paul Simon once alluded to, we had been hearing what we wanted to, and disregarding the rest.

God warns us many times about all the words we listen to in life about Him.  Whose gospel are we truly heeding and believing?  Our own, another person’s, or His?  Is it a blended mix of all three?  Do we have to keep purchasing Christian merchandise to keep the faith (2 Peter 2:3, Romans 10:17)?  When all we have to do is buy His truth in our hearts – and not sell it to anyone (Proverbs 23:23, 2 Corinthians 11:9).

Jesus warned us all to take heed, lest any person deceive us.  For the end of this age can’t come until many are duped; as false prophets and Christs will arise to do so (Matthew 24:4-5.11).  Therefore, we always have to be sure we are believing – and being taught the whole truth.  Ensuring we’re not trapped in tradition (Mark 7:7), or building our life upon any worldly foundation/rudiment (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Allowing ourselves to be deceived in any way will easily move us away from His gospel to another.  It is disobedient.  It means we are still in darkness.  For we are not walking in the Word’s light – but still walking after the world’s lies – even those from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12).  We’re not to be partakers with those deceiving us with vain words.  Otherwise, we’re candidates for His wrath (Ephesians 5:6-8).

We also have to be certain we are not falling for false divinations from anybody (e.g. “God spoke to me last night and laid this burden upon my heart.”).  Even though such people may say “God says” … if their words are not causing us to turn from our evil way since youth (Genesis 8:21) – then He did not send them.  They are merely speaking words out of their heart’s deceit (Jeremiah 23:21-40, Obadiah 1:3).

We have to hold fast the form of sound words, and not words sounding good to our itching ears (2 Timothy 1:13).  God warns all of us such will be the case during the coming apostasy of mankind’s last days.  And – it seems many a day, they’re already here (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  Such unsound doctrine appears to be confusing many a Christian these days. God is never the author of it (1 Corinthians 14:33).

If we say we believe, we shall never be confounded (1 Peter 2:6).  If we are confused as Christians, we have caused it ourselves through some sort of unaddressed sin … such as being moved away from the gospel of God’s grace we first heard (Daniel 9:8, lead passage). We have mixed something into our faith simply not belonging there (Hebrews 4:2).  We have blended the wrong ingredients into our belief.

The only thing not belonging with the Word – is the world.  If we try combining the two, it creates a blended belief based on living a life trying to get the best of both – moving to and fro between all truth and all lies (1 Corinthians 10:21, Hebrews 6:18, John 8:44).  This is how we can get carried about with every wind of doctrine by moving toward the Word one day – away from it the next (Ephesians 4:14).

It is also how gospel perversion begins (Jeremiah 23:36, lead passage).  Perversion is most often heard in relation to sexual deviance, but rarely to Scriptural. It is the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state … into a distortion or corruption of what was first meant.  It is twisting the truth of His Word, into something worldly we like – leading to lying against the truth (James 3:14).

If our Father’s gospel is to have free course (2 Thessalonians 3:1), it must keep moving steadily down the narrow path to heaven (Matthew 7:14).  We must be on the same trail.  It if ever feels like we’re stumbling, straying, or stuck spiritually – then the chances are good we’re following some other version of His gospel.  If this should continue too long  – we may be in for a rude awakening (Daniel 12:2).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And their eyes were opened, and Jesus straightly charged them, saying “See that no man knows it.” – Matthew 9:30

– Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. – Abraham Lincoln

Would we ever do anything in life – if people never knew we did anything?  What would be the point of living?  What would we really do at our jobs if we couldn’t put it on a resume later?  Would we ever participate in competitive sports where nobody won championships – and no one received awards and trophies?  What would politicians do – if they knew it would never be put on the nightly news?

What’s the harm if we blow our own horns now and then?  Do we sometimes pretend it isn’t a big deal if nobody seems to notice us much?  Does it really not bother us if life starts to feel like we are blending in with the greenery and scenery, as alluded to in “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp?”  If we really did live a life of relative obscurity, what might our obituary look like?

Perhaps something similar to this: “John Doe, 85, passed away yesterday.  He never did much.  He will not be missed.”  However, this certain John Doe did thousands of good things in his life.  Although local library books could have been filled by them, pursuing personal praise and public notice wasn’t his earthly purpose.  Just like Jesus, whose deeds would have filled a few more books (John 21:25).

During a Passover feast, some of those around Jesus could not understand why he tried to avoid personal attention as much as possible.  Some of them said to Christ, “Depart, and go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, while he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:2-4).”

There are similar scenes throughout the four gospels where Christ charged the disciples to keep quiet about things he did, what he said … even about who he was. For example, when Jesus was on the road with them to Caesarea Philippi, he asked, “Whom do men say I am?”  After answers such as John the Baptist and Elijah – Christ charged them they should tell no man of who he was (Mark 8:27-30).

Was Jesus denying he was God’s Son?  In 1901, theologian William Wrede labeled Christ’s seeming quest for confidentiality the “Messianic Secret.” However, Jesus was not trying to keep a secret.  He just did not want to receive the reverence if his identity was revealed.  It did not belong to him. Christ was simply seeking God’s glory.  Speaking about himself wasn’t the way to do it (John 7:18).

The same goes for us.  Job learned a very painful lesson in humility because of his huge “I” problem (Job 1:11-19, Job 29:14-25).  Tooting our own Christian trumpets is not truth.  It tarnishes God’s glory by putting a varnish on ours.  Whatever glory we may be seeking for ourselves in doing any work for the Lord – is not His glory (Proverbs 25:27).  It is glorying in everything but the Cross (Galatians 6:14).

Pure and undefiled religion in God’s eyes – is the kind unspotted from this world (James 1:27).  It is when we work quietly and privately away from the public spotlight.  Serving all others with the unfeigned and fervent love God commands (1 Peter 1:22) – without fawning all over ourselves.  Without sounding the attention alarm by having to publish our works in the church bulletin – or post them on Facebook.

Christianity is not a contest.  We are to prove our own work, so any rejoicing will be in ourselves (Galatians 6:4).  We are not wise if we compare and measure ourselves with what other believers are doing (2 Corinthians 10:12).  Showcasing is often created when we do this.  Contention between Christians and churches follows.  Confusion, pride, and evil works ensue (Proverbs 13:10, James 3:16),

Until the day of Christ’s return – we are to have faith to ourselves (Romans 14:22).  We are to pray in private and fast secretly (Matthew 6:5-6, Matthew 6:18).  We are to let others who are strangers praise us – not our own mouths or lips (Proverbs 27:2). All Jesus did on earth was to go about His Father’s business.  Teaching the Word of truth, without having to boast about it.  The same goes for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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