Archive for the ‘SALVATION’ Category

KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways – James 1:6-8

– Don’t be double minded or you’ll be falling where you used to stand strong.  Don’t be double-minded or you’ll be talking to yourself, and yet you just can’t get along. – Double Minded, written by Nick Laird-Clowes, sung by The Dream Academy, copyright 1987

In general, physical storms all around this planet are formed by conditions of atmospheric instability.  Two opposite types of air masses collide and then begin spinning around each other.  When they evolve into turbulent tornadoes and hurricanes, the resulting whirlwinds can cause widespread destruction, and it can take years for some to rebuild and recover from.

Storms in the human soul start in a similar fashion. They are formed by conditions of spiritual instability. Two opposite types of life collide when the world and Word meet inside a double mind and begin turbulently spinning around each other.  The ensuing whirlwinds can destroy relationships, including one with Christ. Some can rebuild and recover; but some never do.

“Double minded” comes to us from the Greek word “dipsuchos” meaning a person with two minds or two souls.  It appears just twice in Scripture, both in the book of James (James 1:8, James 4:8).  However, all Christians must fully comprehend what it means at all times, as it is disobedience with fiery consequences forever if left uncorrected (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

If you say you are a Christian, but you often find faith and belief wavering, drifting, spiking, or plummeting – based on how life is going, or not – then you are not walking the right way with God.  You are not being steadfast, straight, confident, and patient on heaven’s narrow path that few find (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  Double minds prevent this.  .

Spiritual instability is a hallmark of doubting hearts, divided souls, and double minds.  It is a lack of faith, and it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6).  Even drawing back from faith a little bit upsets our Father’s soul, as it signals an evil heart of unbelief that cannot save, and puts one on perdition’s perilous and unrighteous road (Hebrews 3:12-19, 10:38-39).

We are not to cast away our confidence, for it has a great recompense of reward (i.e. heaven).  We have need of patience, that after having done God’s will, we might receive this promise (Hebrews 10:36-37). Confidence comes from the Latin “con fidentia.”  It means firmly trusting.  When people start losing it, they can get washed away in a tidal wave of doubt.

They might start questioning aspects of their life in the world, or in the Word.  They may begin opposing or disputing some of God’s truths, even if it’s silently inside the soul (Philippians 2:14).  Objections may be raised and dangerous aspersions could be cast upon Him.  In time, one can get to where they don’t know what or who to believe; a perfect double mind recipe.

Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:24).”  However, double-minded believers pray in doubt (1 Timothy 2:8).  Still uncertain and confused as to what being a Christian is all about, their loyalty stays divided between world and Word, usually based upon which one is working out the best.

God won’t tolerate such split service and devotion (1 Corinthians 10:21).  Deviating from the Word in any way, is in err from God’s ways, and our Father warns us many times not to (e.g. James 1:16).  A double mind can be masked with a lot of righteous words in front of the masses for years, but it’s always manifest and naked before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A double-mind exists when God is not in all one’s thoughts – and He knows every one (Ezekiel 11:5). God is fully aware if any person is wavering, slipping, or backsliding in spirit, despite what they declare with their lips (Mark 7:6).  If one is ever like this, it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27), always ready, able, and willing to lead a soul away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

So are mortal men and women disguised as believers following Christ, but who are false teachers lying in wait to deceive us with their cunning craftiness and sleight (Ephesians 4:14).  Hiding immoral, misguided, and ungodly agendas in dissembled hearts.  Grievous wolves trying to draw disciples away after them, and not sparing the flock in the process (Acts 20:29-30).

Satan and false prophets operate slowly and subtly. Because double-minded souls don’t have complete allegiance to God, they fall prey to these pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1-2).  Then, as the certainty of God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20) are questioned more and more because they’re not coming true, their ears get turned to unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Hearing swelling words of vanity sounding good at first, but they fizzle out quickly when the double minded soul realizes they were exactly that – vain. Meaning wasted time because they didn’t produce promised results if one bought a Christian product, read a devotional, followed a prayer plan, etc.  Still, they keep looking for something new to tell or hear.

A very accurate description of a double-minded and divided soul comes from the Scriptural sound website Got Questions as follows (with a couple of personal additions): “They are unsteady and wavering in both character and feelings.  They are quite restless and confused in thoughts, actions, and behavior.  They are always in some sort of conflict with themselves.

Those torn by this type of inner dissension can never lean with any confidence on God and His gracious promises.  They slowly become convinced they are never going to be granted.  Correspondingly, the term unstable is analogous to a drunk unable to walk a straight line, swaying one way – then another.  With no defined direction, they never progress spiritually.

God cannot grant His blessings on the double-minded. Those who mind earthly matters one day (Philippians 3:19), then mind Christ the next.  As Jesus said “No man can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other – or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).” (end Got Questions)

Mammon is wealth considered as an evil influence, or a false object of worship and devotion.  Pursuing it debases God.  It is a destabilizing factor causing faith to fluctuate.  Serving Mammon at any time shows Him where affections are really focused.  It tells God one believes there is still a better country down here, than what awaits up above (Hebrews 11:13-17).

We either love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) or we do not.  There is no middle ground.  As Edwin Chapin once said, “neutral men are the devil’s allies.”  Our Father always knows if He is the only master of anyone’s life.  If not, it puts one on a very dangerous and disastrous path.  It is the broad one leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

It is a direction that has to be corrected before it’s too late.  We are to present a singleness of heart towards all people no matter what the situation might be, with one totally undivided soul unto Christ and fearing God always (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).  The way to do this is doing what He tells us to do.  This does not mean obedience is easy, but it keeps us out of the pit.

God’s commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3). They are meant to grow us in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  A single heart cannot keep gravitating back to the world (Philippians 1:23).  Some ways to help stay stable are to meditate on the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8), keeping affections set on things above (Colossians 3:2), and thinking right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

Lastly and most importantly, a double mind is a tell-tale sign of being a false convert or nominal believer. This is a person who’s convinced they are a Christian, but became one by external means.  An example is creating their own criteria based on self-perceptions of goodness (Proverbs 20:6, Mark 10:18), and using a willingness to love and lend as some of the qualifiers.

Instead of the only way by being born again of the Spirit within (John 3:5).  This is when God convicts one with His sorrow about their sin, when there isn’t any doubt in His mind they are ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).  This is one becomes rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17) and receives an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Because false converts and nominal believers have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost from God, they cannot say Jesus is Lord of their life (1 Corinthians 12:3).  They have not been returned to the Shepherd of their soul (1 Peter 2:25).  They do not have Christ inside their heart to pull them back into the fold if they begin wavering and straying from the flock.

As Watchman Nee once wrote,, “People with mixed motives, those of a double mind, shall not be able to receive the baptism in the Spirit.”  Their heart is not right with God, and He knows it.  Just like it was with Simon, the sorcerer who said he believed, who’d been baptized in physical water, but who thought the Holy Ghost could be bought with money (Acts 8:13-21).

In closing, regardless of what creates a double mind and keeps it in an unsettled and wavering state of spiritual instability, there is always hope.  It is what faith and salvation are all about (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 11:1).  However, only God can balance and steady spiritual ships (like worship) – and keep them moving straight ahead on salvation’s narrow road.

Our Father does not do this automatically as it would negate His free will.  It takes a lot on our part, such as mutually abiding side by side with God every day, and humbly obeying Him unto death just like Jesus (John 15:1-6, Philippians 2:8).  It takes repenting of worldly ways so one does not keep repeating them. Again, this all can’t be done unless one is born again.

Even still, God says “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners – and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).” Only He can draw any lost and alienated spirit to the Cross (John 6:44).  When this occurs, He begins the inner renewal and regeneration of the soul, cleansing sins and purifying hearts continually unto salvation.

To paraphrase Matthew Henry, “Wavering faiths and spirits have bad influences on communications.  When they rise and fall, filled with secondary causes, there’ll be unsteadiness in all behavior.  If having one God to trust, love, and be governed by doesn’t keep a person steady at all times, a double mind exists in a divided soul heading down a very perilous path to damnation.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

–  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16

– A change in external circumstances without inner renewal is the materialist’s illusion.  As though man were only a product of his social circumstance, and nothing else. – Jurgen Moltmann

Magazine subscriptions only last so long.  If we don’t fill out a renewal form and submit it to the publisher before one runs out, we will not receive any new editions.  The subscription will stop or be interrupted. This can be intentional or unintentional.  We don’t want the magazine anymore, or we forget to renew.

If we are born-again (John 3:5), then we started becoming new creatures in Jesus the second we received this gift of the Holy Ghost from God (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We began submitting to a steady spiritual process of inner change and renewal.  This is called repentance and remission of sins (Mark 1:4).

Our repentance is to be done zealously (Revelation 3:19).  If we refuse, we will perish (Zephaniah 3:2, Luke 13:3,5, Hebrews 12:25).  We are renewed through the washing of regeneration by God’s living water (John 7:38) inside us, transforming our minds and hearts by His truth (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5).

It takes continual confession of our sins as Christians, as God is just to forgive (1 John 1:9).  However, it’s so He can cleanse and correct us, often through some not so joyful chastisement, so we learn not to offend Him anymore (Hebrews 12:11, Job 34:31).  If we’re not being renewed, we are backsliding into sin.

However, much like it is with a magazine subscription, God gives us free will ability to decide on whether to renew or not.  We choose each day whom we’ll serve and submit to (Joshua 24:15).  It is our Saviour or Satan.  If Jesus, we repent according to the Word.  If the devil, we repeat the world (1 Corinthians 10:21).

This is not establishing our own righteousness and submitting it to God for approval (Romans 10:3).  It is submitting to His righteousness, so we can show ourselves approved to Him.  Some ways to do this are studying the Word (2 Timothy 2:15), and following peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17-18).

The word renewal has a few definitions.  One of them is the repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken.  It requires fixing.  God will accept anyone like this at the Cross of Christ.  It does not matter if we arrive there all weary and worn, tired and torn, abused and abandoned, or bruised and battered.

What does matter to God is how we are renewed before finishing our race of faith (1 Corinthians 9:24). We are all commanded to be presented before Christ unashamed (1 John 2:28), faultless (Jude 1:24), holy, unreproveable, and unblameable (Colossians 2:22). Found in peace and without spot (2 Peter 3:14).

We can’t do this by any external and worldly method or means, ways or works.  We can’t just “try” harder. This is why New Year’s resolutions tend to falter or fail so soon.  We can only do it through inner renewal. Humbly obeying God like Jesus did to death, and abiding by His ways (Philippians 2:8, John 15:1-6).

We would be foolish to blame a magazine publisher for not sending us new editions if we just did not want to renew our subscription – or if we forgot.  The same goes with God.  We will be forever fools if we blame Him for sending us to hell, simply because we didn’t want to submit to Him for renewal unto salvation.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. – Hebrews 3:14

– Since you know this beforehand, beware – lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked. – 2 Peter 3:17

A generation or so ago (and before), the term “going steady” was often used in reference to two people – often high-school teenagers – who were seeing each other exclusively.  It is a term seldom heard in this regard anymore.  When two people get together these days, everything seems to be centered around having a “relationship”.  It has become a major milestone and part of many people’s lives.

When any relationship reaches official status, it is often shared on social media sites.  It is somehow a sign of “arrival” in life.  Yet some people have such strong desires to enter these relationships, they board the boat without really knowing where they want to go.  Still, they set sail.  Then, as soon as their ship hits rough seas, how often do we hear, “I wish I knew where this relationship is heading?”

So, maybe we should go back to saying “going steady” – and not just for earthly reasons.  Why? Because this world’s current message about many matters seems to be mixing in more and more with the Word’s.  The word “relationship” doesn’t appear in Scripture.  But – much of the talk coming out of the church today seems to be about how one can establish or improve their relationship with Christ.

Still, if we board any ship – physical or spiritual – and we don’t know where we’re going from the start; we are in big trouble before ever leaving port.  Without any set, steady, and straight course to follow out on the water – we’re going to get carried wherever the wayward winds and waves take us (Ephesians 4:14). Depending on their strength, we might move a little or a lot – but one storm can sink us.

Without a destination, drifting begins.  This principle applies to all ships, even if they are figurative in nature.  In the world, we have relationships and partnerships.  In the Word, we have discipleship, fellowship, and worship.  When we drift in any ship, our compasses will steadily spin, for we have no true course to follow.  To and fro we go.  When waters are calm, everything may seem fine; until …

We are not to be carried about with many and strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:9).  However, we are very likely to keep changing our courses if our ships don’t have a set one to start with.  We are apt to go after a doctrine which sounds favorable to us one day – then a different one the next (2 Timothy 4:3-4). However, Seneca once said, “If a man doesn’t know to which port he sails, no wind is favorable.”

Steadfast means having unwavering belief.  It is being devoted and true … faithful.  It is traveling along a straight course – smoothly sailing forward.  It is being even-keeled.  Steadily heading towards a predetermined destination, regardless of what life may be throwing at the boat.  On board any Christian ship – our final destination is salvation – but we’re still sailing out upon this world’s often rough waters.

If a storm hits, our spiritual ships keep moving ahead with steadfast faith, because we have God as a guide all the way to our destination of death – and our hopeful deliverance from it (Job 30:23, Psalm 48:14, 2 Corinthians 2:9-10, Hebrews 9:27).  But – Satan does not want anyone to get to salvation’s shore. The devil will try to devour anyone – even the most steadfast and faithful Christians (1 Peter 5:8-9).

As Moses led his people towards the Promised Land, many got tired of the trip.  Despite His protection and provision, their spirits were no longer steadfast with Him.  They no longer believed in God, or trusted His salvation (Psalm 78:8, 14-15, 23-29).  They flattered God with lying tongues – but their hearts were no longer right with Him; nor were they steadfast in His covenant (Psalm 78:36-37).

Salvation is a hope – a Promised Land no one has seen yet (Romans 8:24-25).  This hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls – at all times (Hebrews 6:19).  We are to stay on an even-keel course, unaffected by all the mixed and misguided messages and lies of this world; always abounding in the work of the Lord.  Steadfast of our faith in Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:58, Colossians 2:4-5).

This is all of grave concern to us if we ever believe we’re already saved before dying.  If we ever buy into this message, then why would we need God anymore as our guide all the way to death (Psalm 48:14)?  Why would we need Jesus Christ as the Shepherd and Bishop of our soul anymore (1 Peter 2:25)?  We’ve already told God we have dropped anchor and moored ourself on salvation’s shore.

What ship would we have to board again?  To where? What would we do with our time – in the meantime – while waiting for Christ to come back with salvation (Revelation 12:10)?  What would be the purpose for any further relationship with Jesus, if we’ve already been saved?  What steadfastness would we be in danger of falling from, if we have already reached our final destination (Matthew 24:13)?

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Though he (Jesus) were a Son, he learned obedience by the things he suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey him. – Hebrews 5:8-9

– “Obedience is the virtue that determines whether a person is a servant or a rebel.  Life of integrity is built on obedience of God’s statutes – and nothing else.” – Israelmore Ayivor

Obedience to God is mandatory for the salvation of all people.  We either mind God, or we don’t.  If we say we love the Lord, we obey His voice always, no matter what may be going on in life (Jeremiah 42:6). Obedience to the Word is the way of our life; it is the length of our days (Deuteronomy 30:20).  Obedience to the world is the way of rebellion; the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).

Never again will God offer us another sacrifice for sins (Hebrews 10:12).  If we should willfully sin as Christians, we are being rebellious and disobedient (Hebrews 10:26).  We are offending God.  We have gone backwards towards behaving like our former self (Jeremiah 7:24).  We have said to God we can do what we want, because we’re believers (Romans 6:1, Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16, Jude 1:4).

Yes, we are still going to slip up and sin because of our flawed flesh (Romans 7:18).  Just because the Spirit is dwelling in us by faith – doesn’t mean we won’t do things contrary to it (Romans 7:19-20, Galatians 5:17, 1 John 1:8,10).  We have to be extremely mindful when we do sin – and confess it to God.  So we can receive His forgiveness.  So He can cleanse us – and correct us (1 John 1:9).

So we learn to obey God, and not offend Him by repeating the same old sins over and over (Job 34:31).  Obedience means we repent from, and remit our sins.  Without zealously doing this daily, we’re disobeying God (Acts 17:30, Revelation 3:19).  Every disobedient act is a fall from repentance.  It is like hanging Christ back up on the Cross – and putting God to open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6).

It’s hard to learn Jesus if we decide we can be disobedient whenever we want to (Ephesians 4:20-32).  How can we ever expect to follow the example of Christ’s steps (1 Peter 2:21), if we keep falling down – or stumbling on – the steps of the spiritual staircase to heaven through continued acts of rebellion?  Disobedience is rebellion.  It is not climbing the right way (John 10:1, 2 Peter 1:5-10).

God doesn’t need our help (Job 4:18, Isaiah 43:13). It is better to obey than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). No matter what works we are doing in His name – they mean nothing without obedience.  The reason for all our faith is the death and resurrection of Christ.  It is all vanity without this (1 Corinthians 15:13-17).  We are to make obedience of faith known to all nations first (Romans 16:25-26).

Edwin Cole once wrote, “Obedience is an act of faith; disobedience is the result of unbelief.”  If we say we believe in Jesus – then our obedience is not an option.  It is a demonstration of faith.  If we balk at having to behave the way we are commanded – then we do not have very much belief.  Any disobedience still signals ignorance and unbelief in us about the eternal wages of sin (Romans 6:23).

One obedient act shows belief.  One disobedient act doesn’t; it is a lack of discipline.  Abiding belief is required for God to do mighty works for us.  Jesus was rejected in Nazareth, and would not do mighty works there because of people’s unbelief (Matthew 13:53-58).  Also, if we ourselves want to work for God, we have to show belief in Christ first by obeying the truth (John 6:28-29, Galatians 3:1).

God warns us to take heed, lest there be in any of us an evil heart of unbelief as Christians (Hebrews 3:12).  We all came to the Cross with desperately wicked and deceitful hearts (Jeremiah 17:9) – and they stay that way if we keep disobeying.  God once winked at us in our times of ignorance about the disobedience of sin – but now commands all men to repent through obedience (Acts 17:30).

Obedience is the difference between our eternal deliverance and eternal damnation (lead verse). Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  The salvation of our souls is the end result of it – not the start, or the mid-way point (1 Peter 1:9). We have to remain steadfast in our confidence (which means “with faith”) unto the end, to be made partakers of Christ (Hebrews 3:14).

Hoping to that day for our Father’s grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Christ (1 Peter 1:13).  Just like Jesus did, we have to remain as humble and obedient children unto death; no longer fashioning ourselves to former lusts in ignorance (Philippians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:14).  We all once walked this way sometimes – but we can’t anymore without consequences (Colossians 3:7).

Obedience means we put off all anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy; and all filthy talk.  We are not to lie, one to another anymore (Colossians 3;8-9).  We are not to let ourselves be deceived by man’s vain words.  All for which things’ sake God’s wrath comes on the children of unbelief and disobedience – prayerfully not forever (Ephesians 5:6, Colossians 3:6, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Jude 1:3-7, Revelation 21:8).

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(KJV Scripture)

– And saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were since the beginning of creation.” – 2 Peter 3:4

– “What are we doing here?  That is the question – and we are blessed in this – that we happen to know the answer.  Yes, in the immense confusion – one thing alone is clear.  We are waiting for Godot to come.” – “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett

Waiting for Godot was written by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.  It debuted to the French public in 1953.  Some have called it a performance where absolutely nothing happens – and yet the audience is glued to their seats.  They’re so completely captivated by it – some have a hard time leaving after it’s over.

Our lives on earth can seem like much of the same – much of the time. Nothing really happens – and yet our entire days can be often be filled with it.  We either feel captivated by life – or we feel like we’re being held captive; and we’re waiting for someone to come and set us free from our prison.  Regardless, we have a hard time leaving when it’s over.

Estragon and Vladimir are the two main characters in the play. The whole plot centers on the pair’s waiting for a mysterious man by the name of Godot.  They’ve never seen him, they don’t know what he even looks like – and they have no idea at what time he is supposed to arrive; or if he’s even coming at all.

However, it seems important enough for them to show up where they do – by a solitary tree upon a hill.  Whatever the meeting is going to be about – they have not been told.  Whatever it is, seems far better than anything they’re currently doing – or might do anytime soon.  Godot has somehow chosen to meet these two over everyone else – it must be that something good is awaiting.

They try all kinds of things to bide their time – in the meantime. It’s interrupted by a man named Pozzo – who they mistake as Godot. Vladimir then sings a song about a world the two feel trapped in. He begins to see in the midst of the tune – that although there is a notional evidence of time’s linear progression – he basically feels like he is living the same day over and over.

Near the end of the first act – a boy with no name arrives on the scene. The young lad tells Estragon and Vladimir he is a messenger from Godot.  Godot will not be arriving that day as they expected – but he will certainly be there tomorrow.  After the boy departs, they make a preliminary decision to leave – but make no real effort to do so.

What are they going to do if they do depart?  Where will they go?  What happens if Godot shows up right after they leave? What will they possibly miss out on?  Waiting for Godot seems like the most exciting thing to happen in some time. This action is repeated at the end of Act 2 – as the final curtain falls.

The Christian symbolism of Waiting for Godot is clearly evident – although Beckett continually denied any connections until his death in 1989.  It takes place on a hill – the two wait near a solitary tree.  Many believe this represents Calvary and the Cross.  Estragon and Vladimir have a discussion about the two thieves hanging next to Jesus from Luke (Luke 23:39-43).

Regardless of its true meaning, which Beckett took to his grave, the pair wait in vain for Godot to show – and he never does. Maybe this man of mystery was going to save them from their seemingly wretched lives . The two talk about suicide by hanging themselves during one scene – as a way out.  Maybe Godot was going to offer them a better choice.

God promised to send Christ back again with salvation (Revelation 12:10).  Only He knows when (Mark 13:32).  It could be today, tomorrow – or 100 years from now (Matthew 24:14).  Still we wait – or do we?  Do some believe this waiting has been in vain?  When Jesus went to Jericho, there were many then who thought the kingdom of God should immediately appear – and that was over 2,000 years ago (Luke 19:11).

Just like the boy in the play – have there been too many so-called messengers from God (Jeremiah 23:21) since the dawn of creation, telling us with certainty when He was coming to meet with us again – and He didn’t (2 Peter 1:20)?  Things are much the same as they’ve always been (lead verse).  Crying wolf too many times can cause too many people not to listen anymore.

Beckett wrote a play – God gave us His promise.  It’s why He sent us His only Son.  To defeat death, our bondage from birth – and give us the only hope of freeing ourselves from its sentence (Hebrews 2:9-15, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Corinthians 1:9).  What are we doing then while we wait for God – if we are still really doing so at all?

Do we keep pondering this promise – or are we teaching others about it?  If we are Christians, then we are to be preaching God’s Word – being instant, in and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  Not waiting or hesitating – or just hanging around as if we’re the only ones who have a meeting with Him .

In his book “The Mountains Echoed”, author Khaled Hosseini wrote, “Of all the hardships a person had to face – none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”  Waiting for anyone can be very hard sometimes – especially when they say they’re coming to get us – and we really don’t know when.  What do we do in the meantime?

Do we just bide our time with mostly idle conversations and trivial pursuits – like Estragon and Vladimir did while waiting for Godot?  As believers, we can’t do this.  We can’t hang around – not doing much of anything else – while we’re waiting for God. It’s not why He hung His only Son on the Cross for us.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– For they have sown the wind – and they shall reap the whirlwind … it has no stalk.  The bud shall yield no meat.  If it so does yield – the strangers shall swallow it up. – Hosea 8:7

– “It was such a celebrity whirlwind – it became hard to focus.” – Chrystie Jenner (ex-wife of Olympian Bruce Jenner after his success at the 1976 games)

Whirlwinds of this world are columns of air moving rapidly around and around – in a cylindrical or funnel shape.  They have lots of energy – but they’re also very tumultuous and twisting. We often hear about “whirlwind romances”.  Whirlwinds are really nothing more than confused rushes of air – not really having any direction – except to generally travel along the easiest terrain.  They can also be very destructive – and it can take years to pick up the pieces from damages they cause.

Modern life can make us feel like we are caught up in such whirlwinds much of the time.  Everyone and everything is moving about all around us – but we can soon realize we’re just spinning in tumultuous circles – with no real direction.  We’re just going where the whirlwind goes – but not where we are supposed to.  Any debris in the path of our whirlwinds gets picked up as we go – until it’s hard to see where we’re heading. Maintaining any focus is almost impossible with all the clutter.

A whirlwind of woes beset Job – falling upon him in 24 hours (Job 1:13-19).  Nobody could figure out why his worst fears were realized (Job 3:25).  His three friends weighed in with their opinions – all valid – but they weren’t the reason Job had to suffer so.  He had lost his focus.  Job had become so wrapped up in the whirlwind of himself – he became the “I” of his own storm (Job 29:14-25).  He could not see clearly.  It got to the point where his friends could no longer get through (Job 32:1).

It took God appearing out of His own whirlwind to humble Job – to remove him from his own glory and self-righteousness.  To give Job the proper focus again and correct his “I” problems (John 7:18).  The Lord spoke  – “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge.  Gird up your loins now like a man – for I will demand of you – and you will answer Me (Job 38:1-3).”  Job learned the hard way about being caught up in any whirlwind that steers one away from God.  Will we?

We are no longer to be children as Christians – tossed to and fro – and carried about with every wind of doctrine that blows (Ephesians 4:14).  We can create our own whirlwinds as believers if we’re not careful.  Our minds can get so cluttered with such things as the countless Christian products and teachings out there today – it can become hard to focus on where the Holy Spirit wants to lead us (Romans 8:1-14).  We can start to spin spiritually – even getting ourselves stuck.

Earthly whirlwinds tend to follow the path of least resistance – but they start to die down when they run out of energy. However, there are heavenly whirlwinds no mortal man – no mighty mountain – can resist.  They are focused.  God will have His way in them – for the clouds thereof are the dust of His feet. Our Father is slow to anger – but He will not at all acquit the wicked (Nahum 1:3).  The Lord’s whirlwind will be confusing to them – full of His fury and falling with pain (Jeremiah 30:23).

God pronounced His sentence against Israel’s wicked ways in Hosea, Chapter 8.  They had cast off what was good – and gone after other gods.  They had made alters to sin.  They had gone a-whoring away from God.  They had sown the wind.  Now they were going to reap the whirlwind of heavenly punishment (Hosea 8:3,7,11, Hosea 9:1).  Remember, we receive the Holy Ghost because of our desperately wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9). They remain wicked without daily repentance (2 Corinthians 4:16).

Repentance is not a recommendation for Christians – it is a commandment.  We are no longer ignorant about the eternal consequences of sin (Acts 17:30, Romans 6:23).  Our Father in heaven is long-suffering – not wanting any of us to perish – but that everyone should come unto repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Failing to repent means we are resisting the power of God in us (Romans 13:2-4).  Of course, if all our ways remain clean in our own eyes – we can have a hard time repenting (Proverbs 16:2).

We only have so much space to do so (Revelation 2:21).  God does not take pleasure in the death of anyone that dies – but desires all to turn to Him and live (Ezekiel 18:32).  However, God has limits.  If those who refused Christ on earth did not escape, how much more will we not escape if we refuse Him who speaks from heaven (Hebrews 12:25)?  Will God then laugh when our calamity and fear comes – will He mock us – when our destruction comes as a whirlwind (Proverbs 1:23-27)?

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Your silver is become dross; your wine mixed with water. – Isaiah 1:22

– Yet once more signifies the removing of those things that are shaken.  As of things that are made – that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. – Hebrews 12:27

– Wherefore, I put you in remembrance – that you stir up the gift of God which is in you by the putting on of my hands. – 2 Timothy 1:6

Did you ever attempt to mix two ingredients together, that weren’t really meant to be mixed together – perhaps two chemicals in a high school class?  If you did, hopefully no one was hurt – and your parents did not get a huge bill for a new lab.  When we mix wrong things together – the potential is always there for danger.  It can be extremely destructive – and often deadly – when two opposite elements of weather get mixed together and stirred up.  The aftermath of ruined homes and lives can shake our souls to the core.

Even when two or more elements/ingredients meant to be mixed together are blended – they have to be occasionally stirred or shaken afterwards to keep them more fluid and pure.  Liquid milk and chocolate powder mix don’t taste very good without being stirred together – until everything dissolves.  Cans of paint we have in the house have to be opened and stirred up well before we dip the brush in – so it goes on as a smooth coat when applied to a surface.  It’s all a principle existing in both the natural and spiritual realms.

When we’re born again, it is a baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11).  It should be felt – for a blaze is lit in our hearts.  A light of God’s love is shed abroad in them by the gift of the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).  It’s a flame that has to be kept burning – continually stirred and stoked so it doesn’t die out (third lead verse).  Our Father becomes a consuming fire in our souls (Hebrews 12:29) – His voice dividing the flames (Psalm 29:7). Like any physical fire – our spiritual ones need the right mixture of fuel to keep them burning cleanly and clearly.

If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, it’s a blaze that people usually take turns stoking and feeding.  Someone occasionally throws on more dry wood – someone else pokes a stick in now and then – to stir up the fuel.  Done properly, the fire steadily burns bright.  It makes people sitting closest to it feel warm – and we can see things more clearly the nearer we are.  Shouldn’t this be how the lost feel when they are around us as Christians? Shouldn’t the light we shine upon their path make them feel warm – and let them see life a little more clearly the closer they get to us (John 1:5)?

Faith, and belief of the truth are the fuels for our spiritual fires inside.  It is impossible to please God without the first (Hebrews 11:6).  We can’t be sanctified or saved without the second (2 Thessalonians 2:13).  Mixing in wrong things – often worldly wants and wishes – can leave us feeling “mixed up” as believers. They don’t profit our faith, belief, and trust in God (Hebrews 4:2).  They can create an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19, Hebrews 4:6-11).  In turn, this can stir up hate and grievous words towards each other (Proverbs 10:12, Proverbs 15:1).

How dangerous is this?  If we’re not mindful of the mixture – God can stir up things like adversaries against us.  Why?  When we go after other gods – such as worldly goods – before Him (Exodus 20:3).  This happened with Solomon (1 Kings 11:4-25). We also have to be careful about being unequally yoked with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14).  King Ahab ended up doing evil in the sight of the Lord – selling himself to do wickedness – who Jezebel, his unbelieving and unrepentant wife stirred up (1 Kings 21:25, Revelation 2:20-22).

Along these same lines, we should take caution we haven’t entered a life of seeming comfort and ease as believers (2 Corinthians 5:3).  When we have what we desire in the world – and life is going how we want – it’s easy to praise and worship God.  This was Job’s “hedge” – as the devil said.  So God allowed Satan to shake Job out of it – and it was painful (Job 1:9-19, Job 16:11-12).  Job’s worst fears were realized – for he had no reason to fear God (Job 3:25).  God can be against us when we forget to fear Him, and keep His commandments (Romans 8:31, Ecclesiastes 12:13).

So, we have to frequently stir and shake ourselves and others up – to wake out of sometimes deep spiritual sleeps.  This can arise simply by sitting in one place too long without much motion – just like limbs can go to sleep if we’re not moving.  Being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1-14) doesn’t always mean being led to the same place and seat every Sunday.  Sometimes we have to move with fear like Noah – and stirred to do something that seems to make no sense to anyone but God (Hebrews 11:7, 1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

All of this mixing, shaking, and stirring will culminate in the last days – and the end of this earth.  As believers, we are not to be soon shaken in mind – or troubled in spirit or word – when it happens (2 Thessalonians 2:2).  This world will be dissolved by fire one day (Isaiah 24:19, Isaiah 34:4, 2 Peter 3:12).  Nothing more will ever be mixed or stirred into it – or us again.  All the elements which have been shaken since creation will be removed – so only those which can never be shaken again may remain (second lead verse).

Right now in the hand of the Lord is a cup.  And the wine is red and full of mixture – and He pours out of the same.  But the dregs thereof are the wicked of the earth – and He shall wring them out and drink them (Psalm 75:8).  Those of us who end up in worship of the beast  – and receive his mark in our forehead or hand (so we cannot buy or sell) – the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.  Which will be poured out without mixture – and tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels – and in the presence of the Lamb (Revelation 13:16-18, 14:9-10).

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– Then Agrippa said unto Paul, “You almost persuaded me to be a Christian.” – Acts 26:28

– “A man hears what he wants to hear … and disregards the rest.” – Paul Simon

There was nothing more Paul could do.  King Agrippa had sat and listened patiently – perhaps even intently – as Paul told much of his life story.  From his days as Saul of Tarsus – imprisoning and persecuting Christians – to his life as an apostle preaching Christ after being struck down by God on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-6).

It “almost” worked.  Paul “almost” persuaded the king to become a Christian – but he didn’t.  It was all very convincing – but not quite.  So, what did Paul do next?  Nothing.  He didn’t try to persuade, pressure, or push King Agrippa any further – even though he knew the king believed the prophets (Acts 26:27).

We will all believe exactly what we want to believe – and hear what we want to hear – no matter who we are.  We can’t persuade people any further than they want to be persuaded. Well, we can try – but we will probably be viewed as being pushy if we do.  When we become pushy – it can cross over into pressuring very quickly.

When we feel like we’re being pressured into something – it’s usually unpleasant.  Most of us have probably experienced some sort of high-pressured sales pitch in our lives.  Many of these spiels can frequently smack of desperation.  Somebody wants us to buy into something – but we’re not really sure what it is they are selling – or what we will truly get out of it if we do.

As believers, we can’t be like this.  We can’t go around pitching God’s gospel as some sort of commercially-made product we have to pressure people into buying and trying (2 Peter 2:3). Well, we can – but doesn’t that make us come across as those pushy Christians?  We can easily appear as being desperate to the lost – especially if we are just trying to get them to attend church – before they have been persuaded and convicted by God to come to the Cross (John 6:44, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

If we do it this way – perhaps even trying to pound some people over the head with Scripture – are we not perilously close to proselytizing?  That’s attempting to induce someone to convert to a particular faith – Christianity not excluded – and/or recruit them into our religion.  If we do this, we are making that person twice the child of hell than ourselves (Matthew 23:15).

Persuasion to become a Christian must come from above – not below (John 6:44, John 6:65, 2 Corinthians 7:9-10).  The apostle Paul simply went around presenting the truth of the gospel as it was revealed to him from above.  He did this according to the persuasion and power of Christ working in his heart through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:19, Galatians 5:7-8).

Paul did not go around trying to get people saved – for he knew that he wasn’t yet himself (Philippians 3:12-20).  He knew salvation was a hope (Romans 8:24) – and that Satan would be a constant thorn in his side to give him the desire to stop following Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7, Philippians 1:23).  Paul simply kept pressing towards the mark for the prize of the high calling in God by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

When we witness to the lost and unbelieving – we’ve done all that we’re supposed to do – we’ve sown a seed (Mark 4:14). This seed is the Word of God (Romans 8:11).  From that point on, we are to move on and not look back (Luke 9:62).  God will send someone else along to water that seed – but it is He alone who provides any increase – and who alone decides what any seed becomes (1 Corinthians 3:6, 1 Corinthians 15:37-38).

If any human heart is fully prepared to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost – to become a Christian (Romans 8:9) – it is by God’s persuasion and decision alone. There is no other Saviour but God (Isaiah 43:11).  Unless we hold the keys to hell and death (Revelation 1:18) – we must never believe someone has become a Christian by our own efforts.  Perhaps Paul had a much clearer understanding of this – than many of us seem to have today.

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