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Archive for the ‘DILIGENCE’ Category


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– “And why do you call me Lord, Lord – and don’t do the things which I say?” – Luke 6:46

– Blessed are they that hear the word of God – and keep it. – Luke 11:28

Every time we call ourselves a Christian, we are invoking the name of God.  Being Christian is not a label or lip service – it is humble and obedient life service until death (Philippians 2:8).  Therefore, it is not a title we should use flippantly or toss around loosely.  It is a steadfast state of heart and mind; rooted and grounded in God’s love with Jesus as our soul’s anchor (Ephesians 3:16-17, Hebrews 6:19).

So, we repent of our sins and become new creatures in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Daily renewing and transforming our inner man into conformance with the Word – so the world’s ways are washed away by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost inside of us (2 Corinthians 4:16, Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5).  It is so Christ-like character becomes continual – and not conditional – as we learn Jesus (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Therefore, if we’re not consistently practicing what we preach (1 Corinthians 9:14), if we are not traveling down the narrow trail of His truth we teach (Matthew 7:14), or if our walk doesn’t constantly match up with our talk, then our hearts are still far from God and heaven (Mark 7:6).  We are merely deciding if we want to “be Christian” or not – choosing to play the part according to emotions or worldly conditions.  

Such a mentality means our faith is flawed.  It is full of holes – hollow and not holy.  Being Christian when we want to, or only when we feel like it – is building our belief upon convenience – and not the rock of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is a shallow, shaky foundation set on shifting sands (Luke 6:47-49).  It’s a feigned show; maybe a charade to gain or maintain man’s admiration or advantage (Jude 1:16).

It is a “do as I say – not as I do” attitude to being a Christian.  We may believe we are walking as children of light – but we’re not if we are only shining it when we want to (Ephesians 5:8).  It means the light inside us – is still darkness (Luke 11:35).  We are still blind children of God trying to guide the lost unbelievers – whose minds are still being blinded by the god of this world (Romans 2:19-23, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

God’s love should be like a prism, instantly hitting our heart and shining out to the world in many different directions, without delay or diffusion.  This spiritual light was lit inside our heart when we were born again of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).  Regardless of where we are, or who we are with – everything we do and say should instantly reflect the presence of having learned Jesus Christ in our life (Ephesians 4:20-32).

“Being Christian” involves a multitude of things.  It means we are to esteem others better than ourselves, showing God we are using the mind of Jesus we have been given (Philippians 2:3-5, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  It means we love our enemies, bless people who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who may despitefully use or persecute us (Matthew 5:44, Luke 6:27, Romans 12:14),

Otherwise, why in heaven’s name are we saying we are Christians – and what on earth are we calling ourselves such for?  All “being Christian” then means is we’ve been moved away to a gospel of our own creation – one perverting God’s Word for personal purposes or pursuits (Galatians 1:6-7).  It means our belief is in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2), we’re using God’s name likewise, and Jesus died the same way.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– See then that you walk circumspectly – not as fools, but as wise.  Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. – Ephesians 5:15-17

– Things never go wrong at the moment you expect them to.  When you are completely relaxed – totally oblivious to any potential danger – that’s when things go wrong. – C.K. Martin

Did you ever have a chore, job, or task – either where you worked or while at home – requiring your utmost concentration and focus throughout?  Maybe it was a major project necessitating continual communication between two or more people … perhaps pertaining to the construction of something.  Regardless of what it was, you knew that a steady hand, keen eye, and an attentive mind were called for at all times.

Whatever the nature, you knew one false move, any failure to follow a single step in a set of instructions – such as forgetting to turn something on or off at a precise time – could have catastrophic results.  One little slip – one bit of sloppiness could spell disaster. You knew you had to be alert and aware, carefully operating without haste – to keep something from falling down or apart – now or in the future.

All of this wariness described above fits the definition of being circumspect.  It is a word derived from both the Latin “circumspectus” – meaning to be cautious – and “circumspicere” – meaning to look around.  It is how all believers are to walk and follow Jesus – so we are not seen as fools in God’s eyes.  Our days on this earth are evil, and we must do everything we can to evade it (Matthew 6:34, lead passage).

In the classic country tune “I Walk the Line” sung by Johnny Cash, we hear these words: “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine – I keep my eyes wide open all the time.”  Lyrics like these could fit quite nicely into Proverbs.  Why?  God tells us to keep our heart with all diligence (constant care); for out of it are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).  The substance of a diligent man is precious (Proverbs 12:27).

God also tell us to keep our eyes wide open – always watching what’s going on around us.  Staying sober and vigilant as the devil roars around like a starving lion daily trying to devour even the most steadfast Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9).  We’re also to watch as we don’t know what hour Jesus is returning – and we don’t want to be found doing something other than His will (Matthew 24:42, Luke 12:43, Revelation 3:3).

Therefore, Christian circumspection is the quality of always being alert, wary, and on guard against things going wrong.  Unwilling to take any risks without thinking prudently beforehand about all possible consequences, prior to doing or saying anything.  It requires daily submission and humble obedience to God, persisting in prayer, and resisting Satan (1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 4:7, Ephesians 6:11-18).

It is a daily walk of weighing all possible outcomes against each other.  It is asking ourselves questions such as “Is this going to give an appearance of evil to another (1 Thessalonians 5:22)?”  Or, “Is this going to cause a brother or sister to stumble in their walk with God (Romans 14:21)?”  Just like Uzza, people we don’t even know can die if we fail to circumspectly seek His counsel first (1 Chronicles 13:3-11).

Circumspection means taking heed unto ourselves – diligently keeping our soul and God’s commandments (Deuteronomy 4:9, Joshua 22:5).  Continuing in His sound doctrine and speaking words becoming such – so we do not start doing things to the contrary (1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Timothy 4:16, Titus 2:1).  So we don’t get tossed to and fro – or get moved away to another gospel (Ephesians 4:14, Galatians 1:6)

Therefore, we are well-advised to take fast hold of God’s instructions, for such is our life (Proverbs 4:13, Proverbs 13:10).  If we do not, we will die, going astray in our greatness of our folly (Proverbs 5:23). Folly means lacking normal prudence or foresight.  If we are hasty in our spirit, we exalt this folly.  If we are circumspect, we are slow to wrath and of great understanding (Proverbs 14:29).

In today’s Christianity, any church presenting an image to their members of having fun, entertainment, and excitement with their faith, will likely find few circumspect Christians in their pews.  Circumspect believers are ready to hear God’s Word – not have a good time with it (Ecclesiastes 5:1).  A rocking, rowdy service is not their idea of church; much preferring a house of mourning – not mirth (Ecclesiastes 7:4).

Words such as fun, entertainment, and excitement don’t appear anywhere in the KJV.  Sober, vigilant, diligence, and watch are found several times.  Our Father warns us all against being spiritually asleep throughout Scripture.  For there is a sinister spirit by the name of Satan who must delight in sneaking up on snoozing or unrepentant saints to take captive at will (2 Timothy 2:25-26, Revelation 3:2-3).

Christians are to be children of the light – and of the day; not of the nighttime or darkness.  We are not to slumber spiritually – but to stay sober and watchful. Putting on our breastplate of faith and love, and salvation’s hope as a helmet (Ephesians 6:13-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8).  Girding up the loins of our mind and staying sober to the very end in hopes of receiving His grace (Ephesians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:13).

The more we learn circumspection in our Christian life, the more it should reflect in what comes out of our mouths.  We have had our conversation in this world (2 Corinthians 1:12).  If our talk remains centered on worldly things, full of idle or idol words, we’re still minding earthly matters (Matthew 12:36, Philippians 3:19).  We’re still entangled with affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4).  Our walk will follow.

We cannot do this and be circumspect in all things as God commands according to His Word – for we are still talking about worldly gods such as favorite movie stars or pro athletes (Exodus 23:13).  We are still freely and foolishly following idolatry – not keeping ourselves from it by fleeing (1 John 5:21).  Far from circumspection, for we haven’t separated from such yet (1 Corinthians 10:14-15, 2 Corinthians 6:16-17).

Although God does not respect any person (Romans 2:11), it seems quite certain He is well-pleased when we have learned how to be circumspect.  Carefully walking around soberly and wide-awake daily (Titus 2:12) as we grow in His grace (2 Peter 3:18).  Not giving any place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27), and thoroughly thinking through all we say and do in keeping with His truth – ready to redeem our time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. – Psalm 127:1

– And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets – Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building fitly framed together grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  In whom you are also built together – for a habitation of God through the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:20-22

A few months ago, I watched “This Old House” on PBS.  It was an episode where the cast and crew visited a town in New Jersey hit extremely hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Several homes had been totally destroyed – and wreckage from them still blocked some roads.  Others houses had visible damage externally, but were still standing.  However, the show wasn’t there for such things.

They were in the town to inspect several homes which still looked perfectly fine from the outside.  However, these homeowners were quite concerned about the overall soundness and stability of their foundations. When jacks were used to lift one particularly large house completely off its foundation, what was found stunned one of the show’s most seasoned house builders.

The home had been set atop a perimeter of bricks – all about 5 inches deep and wide. They had been barely set in the ground – but were bearing the entire weight of the building.  There weren’t any l-shaped anchor bolts mooring any of the bricks to the frame. This one was salvageable.  With the home still up on jacks, a deeper and firmer foundation would be created and put in place – before setting the building back down.

The second homeowner was not so fortunate.  Her home’s foundation had shifted and settled so much over the years – from previously smaller storms and floods – the house was unsafe to live in anymore. Little, tiny cracks and hairline fissures had also slowly formed and appeared in the cement over the years, compromising the structural integrity.

To the naked eye, her house appeared perfectly sturdy, and livable in from the outside.  She had shared it with her mother for years.  Many memories were made there before the mother finally passed away a few years ago.  It broke the host’s heart to break the news to the lady left behind.  Her house would have to be entirely torn down and rebuilt upon a new foundation.

We can all look perfectly fine from the outside to others – and still be falling apart inside, even as Christians.  Every little life storm can slowly erode and eat away at our faith and belief.  This is why we have to absolutely sure at all times what foundation we are building our Christian lives and homes upon. Who is bearing the weight of our spiritual structures? Ourselves – or Christ?

A while ago, I saw a preview for a popular TV show. Something tragic had happened, and a woman in the background said, “If anything in life is built upon an unstable foundation, the chances for failure are not probable – they are certain.”  We have to be diligent at all times that we are building upon the Son of man’s foundation; and not that of any another man (Romans 15:20).  So we don’t fail spiritually.

Sin causes spiritual damage in our hearts from the very start of life.  Slowly, it eats away at our soul. We may not see or sense it for years until our world comes crashing down with a big storm we never saw coming.  If so, it will be like the first lady’s home above. We had a shallow and earthly foundation – shaky and barely set into the ground – bearing the weight of all our burdens and cares.

There was no anchor for our souls – mooring our hearts to heaven (1 Peter 2:25).  Like the second lady’s house – several small life storms slowly shifted our faith back and forth – until we really didn’t know what foundation we were set upon (1 Corinthians 10:12).  Little, tiny cracks and hairline fissures slowly appeared in our faith over time, compromising our spiritual integrity.

However, it is all still salvageable – but only with a salve and salvation from above. Therefore, man can lay no other foundation in life – except Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11).  This can only happen if one is born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-7).  This is when Jesus comes to dwell in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost – so we’re always rooted and grounded in God’s love (Ephesians 3:16-17).

So our foundation of faith can be laid the right way in our hearts – and our spiritual homes can be built up from the inside out.  Even still, God warns us to be wise – and take heed how we build (1 Corinthians 3:10).  The longer we build upon faulty foundations, the more painful it will be when our spiritual houses have to be torn down – and built up again the right way by godly edifying (1 Timothy 1:4).

God prepared an eternal kingdom for us all to inherit from the foundation of this world (Matthew 25:34). We just cannot go about blindly building our belief and faith without receiving instruction from heaven – and expect to make it there if we ignore it.  We are to take fast hold of His instruction, and not let go – for it is our life (Proverbs 4:13).  We will die without it (Proverbs 5:23).

If we refuse God’s instruction on how we are to construct our Christian lives (2 Peter 1:5-11), we err – and despise our souls (Proverbs 10:17, Proverbs 15:32).  We will be no different from the one who heard words from heaven and didn’t do them – building his house upon an earthly foundation.  Then, when the streams beat against it vehemently, it fell – and the ruin was great (Luke 6:48-49).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Keep your heart with all diligence – for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Being diligent is being careful – persistently without pause.  Sadly, we can sometimes take better and more consistent care of our cars than our hearts. These hearts we have are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  It takes dedicated diligence and discipline throughout every day to guard them.

To keep them from being distracted, discouraged, and disappointed by all of Satan‘s subtle devices.  We cannot be ignorant of them – or he will gain advantage of our hearts, minds, and souls (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Without our shield of faith, his fiery darts will hit and ignite blazes in them – time and again (Ephesians 6:16)

We are to give all diligence to our faith, then adding to it virtue.  To virtue, we add knowledge – to knowledge, temperance.  To temperance we add patience – to patience, godliness.  To godliness, we add charity (2 Peter 1:4-7).  These all keep our hearts from being corrupted by the world again – and from being blinded by its bright lights (2 Peter 1:4,9, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

We have to live in this world.  However, we are to no longer lust and long for the lies it offers – of which the devil is father of (John 8:44, Titus 2:12).  Still, we are going to witness immoral and ungodly behavior wherever we go.  We can’t avoid such things completely – unless we are literally living under a rock.

Jesus Christ said such things cannot defile us by themselves (Matthew 15:11).  But – our hearts are like vessels – containers which are continually filled and emptied with either the world or Word.  We are to be diligent as to which one we keep more of in our hearts.  Before they are filled to the brim – before they break and burst – and something hurtful comes blurting out of our mouths (Matthew 15:18-20).

If we are holding more of the world – we’re withholding space for the Word – and vice versa. Whatever abounds – is bound to come forth in our words and actions – for out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  And, life and death are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).

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