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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Here is the patience of the saints: Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. – Revelation 14:12

– Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6

Impatience in life is marked by ungodly attributes such as anxiety or complaining.  Impatience with God is marked by the same things.  It’s a feeling one gets when something is just not happening as quickly as expected.  It’s a restless wanting or ache to do or get something – and something/someone is preventing it.

Impatient people have trouble waiting for anything, and pride is a common cause.  Often wanting others to serve them in a timely fashion, in accordance with anticipations based on their inordinate opinion of themselves, even if only in their mind.  Otherwise, contentions are bound to begin (Proverbs 13:10).

Long check-out lines at the store, or short traffic light times annoy them.  Almost everything in their life takes on an air of urgency or emergency, even if just imagined in their head – as is usually the case.  They easily get aggravated when delays and interruptions, whatever the cause, interrupt their schedule.

An impatient Christian sins because it’s a lack of faith (Hebrews 11:1).  It shows reluctance to wait on His promises not yet seen to come true.  They don’t like waiting too long for worldly things, much less those of the Word.  Hold-ups irritate, creating impatient traits such as cursing or murmuring (Philippians 2:14).

Impatient people also have a tendency to exaggerate the importance of their daily activities.  Whatever they’re involved with matters much more than what anyone else is – even among family, friends, or co-workers.  If anything or anyone interferes with their efforts to have a productive day, they get annoyed.

However, the words important and productive do not appear in Scripture.  As Solomon wisely pointed out many times, our life is vanity and vexation of spirit (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 2:11,17,26, 4:4,16, 6:9) without salvation.  Vanity means useless, a waste of time – not producing end results one desired at the outset.

We all arrived upon earth as creatures subject to vanity (Romans 8:20).  When we die, all claims of belief in God will have been in vain, if we did not endure all He commanded (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 12:20).  We failed to hold fast in patient faith; and forgot what was preached to us (1 Corinthians 15:2).

Salvation is our expected end in this life (Jeremiah 29:11).  It is a hope we are to wait with patience for – for any hope seen is no longer hope (Romans 8:24-25).  This patience is one of the many spiritual fruits God commands us to produce continually until our death (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, John 15:16)

Fruits to be brought forth meet with our repentance to salvation (Matthew 3:8) – to keep us climbing up heaven’s staircase the correct way (2 Peter 1:5-8). Impatient rushing in this world can cause us to skip or forget steps, and make us slip a little or take a tumble (Hebrews 2:1).  Spiritual impatience can do the same.

It’s why we must be diligent and make our calling and election by God sure.  If we do, then He promises us we will never fall.  We will take each step with Him in steadfast patience (2 Peter 1:10) – so an entrance will be administered abundantly unto us at the end into heaven’s everlasting kingdom (2 Peter 1:11).

Otherwise, Jesus will call us a robber and thief for climbing up the wrong way (John 10:1).  Spiritual stealing works the same way as the physical kind. People who don’t want to wait and do things legally to acquire an item desired, will rob.  Physical theft leads to prison; spiritual theft to death without deliverance.

Why is having patience so crucial prior to and for salvation?  One reason is because our Father is a God of patience and consolation.  Without patience we can’t learn to be like-minded, one toward another in Jesus – nor receive each other with any forbearance and tolerance; as God is to us (Romans 15:5-7).

Another reason is patience purifies our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9).  If we’re impatient in the world one day, and patient the next, we are still wavering in our walk with God (Ephesians 4:14).  This is having a double mind (James 1:6-8).  It is trying to eat and drink at two tables simultaneously (1 Corinthians 10:21).

In the same vein, patience purifies our motives.  It shows God if our prayers are amiss, asking for things just to consume on our lusts (James 4:3).  Or, do we trust Him to know our needs before we do (Matthew 6:8)?  We are to be content with what we already have – and not want (Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 23:1).

If we ever want anything from God, then we have impatience within us to deal with and correct.  Why? Because our Father is going to try our faith to work patience in us, and we are to let this patience have her perfect work.  So we may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing from God ever again (James 1:3-4).

A third reason is we’re all running a spiritual race of faith.  If we were running something like a marathon, we wouldn’t sprint out of the starting gate and run as hard and fast as we could right off the bat, or we’d be exhausted in the first few miles.  Instead, we would set a steady, straightforward pace from start to finish.

Even then, we might not win.  There could be other contestants better conditioned, and who trained with much more discipline and commitment than we did. Spiritual training is very similar.  If we are doing it in accordance with the Word, we are to lay aside the weight of all sin that so easily besets us in the world.

This is so we can run with patience the race of faith set before us.  Even though we have a heavenly cloud of witnesses along the route rooting us on, we are to be looking ahead at all times towards the finish line. Only Christ is waiting there to hand us our eternal crown of victory if we endure (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Patience commands moderation and self-restraint.  It means we learn temperance.  This is another fruit to be produced (Galatians 5:23), and another step on heaven’s staircase (2 Peter 1:6).  Spiritual growth should show more abstinence from worldly things and ways each year, and more abidance to the Word.

It all plays an integral part in patiently running our spiritual race as the apostle Paul wrote about as follows:  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may obtain it.  And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.

Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible one.  I therefore so run – not with uncertainty.  So I fight – not as one who beats the air (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).”  Running around to and fro aimlessly without a steady direction, purpose, or focus (Colossians 3:2) – is vainly beating the air.   

Sadly, it seems we are living in a world teaching less patience each year.  We have so many on-demand devices and programs available, we can get used to having things now – not later.  This is coupled with an incentive-laced system of earning gifts or monetary rewards for many purchases we make (Isaiah 1:23).

However, impatience is never a new thing to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  We see examples throughout Scripture, starting off with Abraham and Sarah not wanting at first to wait for Isaac to be born in God’s timing.  Instead, they rushed the matter with Hagar, who birthed the wild child Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-15).

Also in the Old Testament, Esau’s impatience cost him his birthright (Genesis 25:24-34).  We see impatience in the New Testament with the Prodigal Son, who did not want to wait until later to receive his inheritance. So he got it, wasted it, and began to be in want as the swine dined better than he was (Luke 15:11-16).

Impatient behavior leads to hasty words – towards each other or heaven.  It is hard to let words be few, when stewing about in impatience (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Hearts can only hold so much before something spills out of a mouth (Luke 6:45).  Blessing and cursing from the same ought not to be so (James 3:9-10).

We must never be ignorant about any of this, as impatience is a powerful tool the devil uses to pull us away from the truth.  To keep us bustling about in bursts and flurries of impatient activity in the world he’s the prince of (John 14:30).  Reaping nothing more than the whirlwind being sown (Hosea 8:7).

The devil roars around like a starving lion.  Trying to devour us in impatience – to gain advantage with deceptive devices we can’t be unaware of (1 Peter 5:7-8, 2 Corinthians 2:11).  We should not marvel. Satan and his angels are transformed into ministers of light and righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Deceiving the whole world is the only job God gave Satan upon casting him out from heaven (Revelation 12:9, Luke 10:18).  We are warned by our Father to let no man or the devil ever deceive us (Mark 13:5). Heavenly wrath comes down upon His children who succumb to such disobedience (Ephesians 5:6).

Deception thrives on impatient people.  It is often those who are greedy for gain (Proverbs 15:27) or fame.  They want such with no desire to count the cost beforehand (Luke 14:28) and put the time in. Instead, they dream of instant riches or success; and think becoming a Christian meant instant salvation.

Scam artists and con men use deception to prey upon such desires.  They dupe people into believing there’s great gain down the road, by getting them to buy into likeable lies along the way – until it is too late to do much about it.  It is how Bernie Madoff “made off” with so much.  It is how Satan makes off with souls.

Jesus said “By your patience possess your souls (Luke 21:19).”  If we have no rule over our spirit, we’re like a city of old broken down by invading forces – and no longer with walls (Proverbs 25:28).  Uninvited and ungodly guests like impatience walk in unhindered and take up residence in our hearts and minds.

Their landlord is Satan, who is always ready to lead us away in err to faith shipwrecks.  If so, it’s because we failed to grow in patient grace (2 Peter 3:17-18, 1 Timothy 1:19).  We had no time to hear people out in any matter, or give them benefit of the doubt.  We were too busy rushing about in unsaintly impatience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Who did hinder you, that you should not obey the truth?  This persuasion does not come from Him who called you. – Galatians 5:7-8

– Wherefore we would have come unto you – even I, Paul, once and again – but Satan hindered us. – 1 Thessalonians 2:18

We can never blame any disobedience to God – on God.  Our Father’s commands aren’t meant to grieve us (1 John 5:3), but to grow us up in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  To stop us from serving sin (Romans 6:6) by serving Him, and to keep us humbly obedient until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  Thus, He’ll never hinder our obedience (lead verse); never tempting us to commit any sinful, disobedient act (James 1:13).

If we are ever persuaded to disobey God; then do – it is from sinful lust still in us.  It hasn’t been confessed for forgiveness (1 John 1:9), then corrected with His chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11).  If God punishes to right us, then we go out and disobey the same way, we offend Him again with sin.  We did not learn our lesson (Job 34:31).  It means we’re still conformed to this world in some fashion or form (Romans 12:2).

Satan hinders us from many things (2 Corinthians 12:7, second lead verse) such as obeying God.  If we’re drawn away from Him by lust, we have been enticed by the devil and erred from God’s way.  Lust conceived brings forth sin.  Sin when finished brings forth death (James 1:14-16).  Succumbing to worldly temptation means we’ve yielded to tools Satan uses to swerve us away from His truth (1 Timothy 1:5-6).

The devil gets advantage of us if we become ignorant of such devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Failing to obey God means we have failed to resist Satan so he will flee (James 4:7).  We have failed to put on our whole armor of God each day.  We have not done everything our Father commands to withstand the devil, and his fiery darts of disobedience during our evil days upon this earth (Ephesians 6:13-18, Matthew 6:34).

We give plenty of place to Satan when we disobey God (Ephesians 4:27), because we’ve chosen to serve and worship him more than God, changing His truth into a lie (Romans 1:25).  If so, God has power to make us sin so many other ways (Romans 1:26-31). Despite knowing His judgement of death against such; we do them.  Taking pleasure because we still prefer worldly lust over godly love (Romans 1:32).

Each time we willfully sin as Christians, we turn aside after Satan again (1 Timothy 5:15).  This, after we had been released from his power (Acts 26:18) upon being born again (John 3:5).  When we disobey this way, we have departed from our Father in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19) – counting the blood of the new covenant as unholy (Hebrews 10:27-29).  There’ll never be another final sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10).

Hinder means to create difficulties for something or someone, causing delays or obstructions.  Tragically, there’ll always be Christians who think God’s promise of sending Jesus back is still far off – or never going to happen (Ezekiel 12:27-28, 2 Peter 3:4).  They say in heart, “The Lord delays His coming (Luke 12:45)” – so they delve into disobedience without delay, as if there’s no more hell to pay (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

God will never create difficulties for us, causing us grief or affliction, without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  If there is anything hindering us in bringing forth all the spiritual fruits He commands us to produce – meet for our repentance unto salvation, we cannot point fingers at Him (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Matthew 3:8).  We can’t say “What are You doing (Job 9:12)?” – as if He is at fault.

Why?  Because the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement … but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness (2 Peter 2:9).  There is condemnation to Christians who live as such – and it still leads to death if unconfessed and uncorrected.  Only mortifying the deeds of the body through the Spirit leads to life (Romans 8:1,12-13).

If there is any hindrance to this, it is only because we still want to keep on living in the world like we always have.  Loving its things (1 John 2:15-16) and filled with our own ways.  This is why believers backslide – often perpetually (Proverbs 14:14, Jeremiah 8:5). Leaving little in Satan’s way to hinder him and lead worldly Christians away in err (2 Peter 3:17); and making a shipwreck of their faith (1 Timothy 1:19).

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” – Luke 10:41

If we want to keep Christ in any Christmas, then we keep our love of this world’s things out of it (1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, it is just a catchy slogan about Jesus, without much truthful teeth behind it.  Some people may already be encumbered, perhaps even overcome with many misguided worldly thoughts and financial worries about this impending holiday season.

With hearts and heads already wrapped around the earthly hustle and bustle the last few weeks of each year can bring along with them.  Concluding with the arrival of Santa Claus on Christmas, when more visit emergency rooms than any other day.  When nerves finally get stretched out too far and too tight like an elastic band until they snap from all the strain.

Holidays can press upon a soul and create internal stress before beginning.  A barrage of Christmas ads before Thanksgiving may have already killed the so-called “holiday spirit” in many.  Still, a lot of people will likely feel they “have” to do all kinds of cooking and cleaning, send out cards, put up decorations, trim trees, and go visit special people – or have them visit.

It all harkens back to a story from Scripture about another special visitor.  No, it was not Jolly Ole St. Nicholas – but Jesus.  Christ had entered a certain village where two sisters named Martha and Mary received and welcomed Jesus into their home.  Right away, Martha set about in a whirlwind of busyness – encumbered with much serving around the house.

Most probably fixing a meal, doing some cleaning, and a bit of straightening up.  In the meantime, Mary simply sat at the feet of Christ, listening to the words God’s only Son had to say.  Well, it did not take long for Martha to get a little upset – because Mary wasn’t helping out.  Martha asked Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”

Christ answered her, “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen the good part which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:38-42).”  Matthew Henry once wrote, “Martha was for much serving; plenty, variety, and exactness.  Worldly business is a snare; keeping God’s Word from getting to our souls.”

Every season of Noel can bring mind-numbing and discordant noises not in harmony with heaven, nor in tune with His truth.  Along with laundry lists of what people think they “have” to do – trying to keep as many people pleased as possible (Galatians 1:10).  It can be exhausting if our heart is not right with God. Keeping up appearances; trying to seem “merry.”

Instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus like Mary and hearing what God’s Son has to say (Luke 6:46).  So, if we want to keep Christ in each Christmas, we keep the Word in it – and throughout our lives.  Otherwise, we’re always in danger of being overcome by bondage again to worldly clocks and calendars – observing days, months, times, and years (Galatians 4:9-10).

“The Christmas Guest” is a poem by Helen Rice.  It is about an old widowed man who owned a shop … and who almost missed the message of the season.  As the cock was crowing on Christmas morning, he was told by the Lord to expect His visit that day.  He had been busy getting everything “just right” like Martha did for Jesus.  Now, he waited to hear footsteps.

Sitting quietly inside his festively decorated shop, he listened carefully for any noise outside his window – not wanting to miss the knock heralding the arrival of Jesus.  However, Christ never showed up … or did he? The man rose in anticipation each time he heard a sound outdoors, soon followed by a knock.  Each time, he opened the door to three different visitors.

The first was a shabby beggar clad in ragged clothes looking for better shoes and a warm coat.  After he left, an old woman showed up a short time later, cold and looking for some hot food – and a place to rest (Luke 3:11).  The third visitor was a lost child who had wandered away from her home too far.  Each time the old man helped with a joyful and glad heart.

However, it was now getting very late and he was getting very worried.  Where was Jesus?  Heading off to bed thinking he had misunderstood the message about the promised visit, he prayed for an answer. Jesus replied, “Three times my shadow crossed your floor – three times I came to your lonely door.  For I was the beggar, the woman, and the child.”

The old man had not entertained angels disguised as strangers unaware (Hebrews 13:2), but Jesus himself. The cock crowed that Christmas morning.  However, he did not deny Jesus three times like Peter did – but had acknowledged Christ thrice (Matthew 26:34,75). Will we do the same this season, or will our worldly whirlwinds keep getting in the way (Hosea 8:7)?

Keeping Jesus Christ in our life at all times begins with keeping Jesus Christ in our hearts at all times. We can’t do this without being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  So when times like holidays roll around, we don’t put on a show of Christianity.  Rolling our eyes around in our heads as we put on phony smiles and false fronts, or speak fake words of love.

When we receive the gift of the Spirit from above, we become rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17).  We are returned to the Shepherd of our soul (1 Peter 2:25).  We receive a firm anchor for our spirit (Hebrews 6:19) so we don’t drift to and fro with this world’s motions (Ephesians 4:14) – all entangled in its deceits or cares (Mark 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).

So production of spiritual fruits He commands begins, as we grow up in His grace (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23, 2 Peter 3:18).  So we can show all others and God we are learning Christ from the inside out (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So our love is purified as it flows fervently and unfeigned to all, and is no longer purposeful lust (1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Peter 1:22).

So our hospitality is without grudging (1 Peter 4:9). So our charity is cheerful as purposed in our hearts – not out of worldly wants or desires to get something back while on earth (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8, Luke 6:35, 2 Corinthians 8:12-14, 2 Corinthians 9:7).  So God’s grace becomes sufficient always; so the power of Jesus may rest upon us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Otherwise, keeping Christ in Christmas, or any other season is nothing but a catchy slogan about Jesus with little truthful belief of His Word behind it.  This creates spiritual spikes and dips depending on what calendars dictate.  Leaving holes in the heart to fill up again after holidays are over, unless Jesus and God have truly been there all along (Ephesians 3:19).

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

– For He is like a refining fire and a fuller’s soap.  And, He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver – that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. – Malachi 3:2-3

In order for it to perform as designed, steel has to first be treated with heat at various temperatures depending on what it is to be used for.  Flexible and bendable steel used in things like metal springs or hoses is exposed to hotter degrees.  This is a type of refining process called tempering.  It is so the steel in these instances of being treated with higher heat can withstand years and years of use and abuse.

Although the outer surface might get dinged up or dented quite a bit along the way, the steel won’t snap or break because of improper tempering.  It’s able to serve according to its intended purpose for a long time.  Another type of refining heat process burns away impurities called dross from precious metals such as silver and gold.  If not, they wouldn’t be as pretty to look at, nor have much value or worth.

Well, we are all valuable and worth more than gold to God.  It’s just we are all born with a lot of dross and untempered hearts.  This is why must be born again (John 3:5) at some point before we die, for there is no other way for our Father to refine us with His fire, except from within.  We have many worldly impurities for Him to purge – and frail, flawed, infirm flesh to temper and strengthen (Psalm 39:4, Romans 6:19).

We can’t do any of this with an external power we are never given by God to begin with (John 19:11, Acts 17:28).  However, if we have already received the Holy Ghost upon being born again, it was a baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11).  We should remember feeling it inside instantly when God shed His love abroad in our dark hearts back then, commanding His light to shine out from them (Romans 5:5, 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Since that time, we have had a spiritual blaze burning inside our body.  This is God’s refining fire.  We have to constantly keep it stirred up so that nothing of the world quenches it (2 Timothy 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Subsequently, if we humbly obey God unto death (Philippians 2:8), and abide with Him side-by-side until then, He will purge and burn up all roots and branches of unrighteousness (John 15:1-6).

Even still, we should never think it strange concerning any fiery trial God uses to try us (1 Peter 4:12).  They are to teach us suffering like Christ endured (1 Peter 4:13), to work patience (James 1:3), and purify our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9).  All trials are required by God (Ecclesiastes 3:15).  All of them must have an earthly and eternal purpose as He will never grieve or afflict us willingly (Lamentations 3:32-33).

Still, trials are never joyous (Hebrews 12:11).  Just as there can be heated ones in a human courtroom, the same kinds can be handed down from heaven.  Some can make us feel like we have been tossed into a fiery furnace of affliction for far too long at times (Isaiah 48:10).  However, raging against God with railing accusations of Him not being fair is not the way to cool things down (2 Kings 19:27, Ezekiel 33:20).

Accepting by faith our Father is trying to temper, refine, and purify our soul from the inside out, and acknowledging Him in all ways as we walk through the fire of trials (Proverbs 3:6), is a far better way to not get burned.  If we fully believe as those young Jewish men thrown into an actual furnace did, God will walk by our side through the flames, so we can emerge without even being singed (Daniel 3:10-27).

Tried by His holy refining fire, strengthened within and tempered by the power of His heavenly might (Ephesians 3:16-17), and souls purified with heat like precious silver and gold in His sight.  So we can stand fast and firm in our faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) – yet remain flexible and bendable enough to bear years of potential abuse and accusations from those who still resist or refuse the truth (2 Corinthians 11:4).

Unless we go back and follow worldly gods after each refinement.  We will know if we’re still minding earthly matters and setting affections on them (Philippians 3:19, Colossians 3:2).  Our conversation will follow (Exodus 23:13), with corrective consequences to consider.  God may have to turn up the temperature knob on His refinery of affliction (Daniel 3:19), so we learn lessons now and don’t get burned forever.

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– He who heeds the Word wisely shall find good – and whoever trusts in the Lord; happy is he. – Proverbs 16:20

– God may allow His servant to succeed when He has disciplined him to a point where he does not need success to be happy.  The man elated by success but cast down by failure is still a carnal man.  At best his fruit will have a worm in it. – A.W. Tozer

The world will give us 1,000-plus suggestions and solutions throughout our lives on how to become – and stay happy.  Some may seem to “work” for us – for various amounts of time.  A successful and strong marriage – or lots of bucks in our bank account – can deceive us into making that decision we are finally “happy” once and for all.  Until our worst fears are realized one day – when it goes away (Job 3:25).

Until perhaps – a person who swore up and down they would love you forever and never leave – gets up the very next morning and walks away without warning.  Or, maybe a major medical event drains life savings; money you may have set aside to enjoy retirement.  A once happy time has led to hardships, hurt, and heartache, and people start hunting for happiness all over again.  It can all be exhausting. 

This world’s ways to attain and maintain happiness are all quite cosmetic and conditional – contingent upon its motions and our emotions.  Trying to stay happy like this often puts us on a daily roller-coaster ride of highs and lows.  Somewhere on the straight and flat parts when we can breathe, we attempt to figure out if we are truly happy inside our hearts, or if saying such is just hollow words from our lips.

Empty souls lead to envy and covetousness (Titus 3:3, Luke 12:15).  We might see what someone else has in the way of possessions – or look at ways they are living – and it appears to be making them happy – so we try to follow suit.  Without us ever really knowing if they’re masking happiness with fake smiles and feigned words – but who are also still searching for lasting satisfaction inside (Proverbs 27:20).

God – and the ways of His Word to attain happiness are to provide us a continual and steady sense of contentment and happiness.  It’s internal, so this feeling should always stay the same, regardless of any external situation (Philippians 4:11).  All of God’s promises are yeses (2 Corinthians 1:20).  We truly can attain such happiness without it ever wavering; but it has to be achieved His way (Proverbs 1:7).

Happiness starts with heavenly discipline – and He assures all born again Christians (John 3:5) this will happen because of His love.  It will not seem joyous – and we won’t feel happy while it’s happening to us (Hebrews 12:6-11).  However, God’s intent is for us to yield all the peaceable fruits required to be brought forth in keeping with His commandment to repent (Matthew 3:8, Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30).

Therefore, “choosing” or “deciding” to be happy as a Christian is not the way it works – for such will lead to the same spiritual highs and lows this world’s way to happiness creates.  It puts us on a roller coaster ride full of sudden dips and rises in our faith.  Therefore, our road to lasting happiness begins with heavenly discipline – and we’re to be happy when God corrects us.  We’re not to despise His chastening (Job 5:17).

All of this daily discipline is designed to teach the patience God requires of us to endure until the end – and made partakers of Jesus Christ (James 5:11, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  This means our salvation.  We may have to endure many temptations and trials, depending on how much of our old worldly man God has to correct (2 Corinthians 5:17).  We are to count it all joy; regardless (James 1:2-4).

So, when we suffer for righteousness’ sake, we will be happy (1 Peter 3:14).  So, when we are reproached for the name of Christ, we’ll be happy (1 Peter 4:14). So, we learn to be happy having faith to ourselves (Romans 14:22).  So we do not turn Christianity into a competition – and a battle for happiness between believers – for such leads to every evil work before God (2 Corinthians 10:12, James 3:14-16).

If we are not continually happy as Christians, we have nowhere near the trust in God we may claim – nor are we really following in Christ’s steps (lead verse, Luke 6:46, 1 Peter 2:21).  Our happiness is still contingent on a constantly changing world.  It all usually hinges on whether life is basically going the way we want it to – or not at any given time – not upon a God who never changes (Malachi 3:6).

A.W Tozer, who wrote the lead quote above, once said that if we want to be happy as Christians, we have to be made holy from above – for this is God’s desire for us the second He draws us to the Cross (John 6:44, 1 Peter 1:16).  From this point on, we should be simply seeking to know – and to do His will each day (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:17) – and leaving it to Jesus the matter of how happy we are.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.  Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? – 2 Corinthians 13:5

– Such loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin. – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Most of us probably go see a doctor for regular yearly check-ups, or take our cars to a mechanic for routine maintenance every few months.  Why do we spend the time and money to do these things?  Well, even though it can be hard to hear unsettling news about major health or vehicle issues, don’t we want to be told about them sooner – so we minimize chances of more serious problems arising later?

Isn’t it so we can start taking corrective measures in hopes of completely fixing what is ailing ourselves or autos – and then preventative ones to keep them from happening again in the future?  It’s like the old adage from Ben Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  It means we try to keep bad things from happening to begin with, then try to fix bad things after they’ve happened.

If we start taking preventative care like this daily, we lessen chances of catastrophic failure in the future. However, the more we let things slide (Hebrews 2:1) – the harder and longer they can become to fix, if at all.  All too often, though, we can have a “Well – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mind.  Nothing seems wrong on the surface – so why mess with it?  This is the beginning of running things into the ground.

With our body, we may feel sound physically with no major pains.  Although we know we might not be exercising, sleeping, or eating properly – everything just “kinda sorta” appears alright in our eyes.  With our autos, they seem to be running smoothly … with no strange sounds coming from the engine or brakes. Then we wake up really sick one day, or we find our car in the ditch on the way home from work

With faith, we may feel sound spiritually with no major pains or problems.  Then, God tries our faith. To see if it’s sound.  To test out our patience and see how we resist and handle Satan’s temptations (James 1:2-3).  If we haven’t been exercising our faith into godliness to always have a conscience void of offense towards Him and men … we will fail this faith exam every time (Acts 24:16, 1 Timothy 4:7).

Along with proper faith exercise, we have to self-examine ourselves to see if our faith in Jesus Christ is healthy or sick – if it is real or feigned (lead verse). We are to do the check-up alone with God, not with other Christians (Deuteronomy 13:3, 2 Corinthians 10:12).  They cannot examine a heart and soul only He can see (1 Samuel 16:7).  We have to avoid a faith shipwreck at all costs (1 Timothy 1:19).  

So we maintain a healthy spirit, continually bringing forth fruits meet for repentance (Matthew 3:8, John 15:16).  So we grow up into aged, sober believers – always sound in faith (Titus 2:2).  Ensuring Christ alone is authoring our faith to the end – so we enter at the straight gate.  Passing the last test; making the grade by God’s grace (Hebrews 12:2, Hebrews 3:14, Matthew 7:14, 1 Peter 1:13).

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. – Numbers 12:3

– Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity – and receive with meekness the engrafted word – which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21

God didn’t choose a proven leader, powerful speaker, or long-time preacher to guide the Israelites through the wilderness.  Our Father did not favor someone famous in any congregation at the time (Numbers 16:2).  Nor did He choose someone who saw himself as being tough and strong.  Somehow able to handle everything life threw at him, and somehow prove to everyone he could.

No, God chose the meekest man living on earth at the time (lead verse).  One who wondered why God selected him.  Because he was not very eloquent with words – being both slow of speech and tongue (Exodus 4:10).  It is widely believed Moses stuttered. Although God knew Aaron was a better speaker, He chose Moses.  To speak His words – because of meekness, not might (Exodus 4:14-15).

As with Moses, God is seeking the meek of this earth to spread His message of the gospel.  People to guide in judgement, teach His ways (Psalm 25:9), and to increase with His joy (Isaiah 29:19).  The meek do not seek praise, glory, or attention.  They serve the Lord, but prefer remaining unspotted from the world in the process (James 1:27).  Happy having faith to themselves (Romans 14:22).

Both gentleness and meekness are not signs of any weakness.  They are evidence of God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Teaching us how to be patient, temperate, and long-suffering with all others – just as He is towards us (2 Peter 3:9).  Becoming, and then being meek week after week may be seen by some as a sign of being a wimp, but there’s a difference.

Being a wimp is withdrawing from a course of action or stated position, and it’s seen as one being feeble and cowardly.  Being meek is humbly staying on a steadfast course all the way to the end (Hebrews 3:14) – but not afraid to take a stand with Scripture. It is faithfulness, not feebleness.  Understanding God is steering our ship until death, and giving us the words to speak along the way (Psalm 48:14).

Meekness is among one of the many virtues our Maker requires us to acquire as we climb up the staircase to heaven’s narrow gate (2 Peter 1:5-11, Matthew 7:14).  So we do not keep falling down – or so Jesus doesn’t shut the door when we get there, calling us robbers for climbing the wrong way (John 10:1).  If we want to meet God, and live with Him forever, we have to learn meekness always.

It is one of the several fruits of the Spirit we are to constantly bring forth – for it is in keeping with God’s commandment to repent (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  It is not a recommendation from heaven for salvation (Luke 13:3,5).  Slow, but steady production of such fruit has to continue until then (John 15:16).  A mark of spiritual maturity to God and others is meekness always.

So those chosen from above by God like Moses (John 15:16, 2 Peter 1:10), become truthful and humble servants.  Ones who are gentle unto all – apt to teach with much patience.  In meekness, instructing those who oppose themselves.  If God by chance should give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, so they can then recover themselves out of Satan’s snares (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture references at the end)

– For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses … neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15

– God picked me up and helped me through, and shined a light on the one thing left to do – and that’s forgive you.  Seven times seventy – if that’s the cost, I’ll pay the price. – “7×70,” written and sung by Chris August, copyright 2010

Unforgiveness may be one of the best ways Satan accuses us – and gains advantage over us time and again throughout our lives.  It is one of the many devices the devil uses in his daily endeavors trying to devour our souls.  Even the most steadfast Christians are not exempt from such attempts.  We cannot allow ourselves to become ignorant of such tactics Satan employs to keep us away from the truth.

We don’t forgive other people for their sake – but for the sake of Jesus.  Just as God is long-suffering and forgiving of our sins against Him – we are to be just as long-suffering and forgiving towards other people for their sins against us.  One of the first things we cannot forget to do when we pray is to forgive others – so God can forgive anything we do against Him.  If we don’t, how can we call Jesus the Lord of our life?

How many times are we supposed to forgive others? After all, people can do so many hurtful or harmful things to us throughout our lives.  Can we ever stop doing it?  Can we ever say, “No, God – I’ve done enough forgiving?”  When Peter asked a similar question to Jesus, Peter thought God’s number of perfection would be sufficient.  However, Christ replied “Not seven times, but seven times seventy.”

That’s 490 times – or seven times a year for 70 years.  This is the average lifespan of man.  Doesn’t this cover forgiveness for an entire life?  As Desmond Tutu said, “Forgiveness frees us from a life of ungodly feelings and actions.  It is essential to spiritual and emotional wellness.”  Redemption in Christ’s blood means we forgive.  If we are not as ready to forgive others as God is us – we are not ready for heaven.

(Scripture references in order of use: Revelation 12:10, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:10, 2 Peter 3:9, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:46Matthew 18:21-22, Psalm 90:10, Colossians 1:14)

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying “The Lord will surely deliver us; this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.” – Isaiah 36:15

– Faith all grown up is trust. – Adam LiVecchi

Trust in life – or in the Lord – cannot be earned and learned by talking about it.  We can’t “make” other people develop trust in us just by the movement of our mouths.  We can’t “make” other people trust in the Lord – by telling them they must – no matter how much may we have learned to do so.  Some may have to go through tough trials before they learn to trust in God as their constant refuge (Psalm 62:8).

However, there are vast differences between putting our trust in people and placing trust in God.  If we attempt to cross the lines of understanding between the two, it can be the catalyst for much confusion.   Distrust with people can develop when someone we thought we were going to trust a long time, does one questionable thing – then another; making us slowly start to doubt their overall reliability.

This makes it hard to fully trust such a person again. The more it happens, the more we learn how to distrust.  The more we learn distrust, the more we learn how to become cynical.  The more cynical we become, the more disbelieving we become.  The more any negativity enters a Christian mind – the more it feeds unbelief – and endangers salvation (Romans 11:20-21, Hebrews 3:12-19, Hebrews 4:6,11).

Cynicism and distrust give birth to mockery.  Mockery can arise from disbelieving anything good is ever going to happen – because one has pretty much lived a life of bad luck and tough breaks.  They may have believed many worldly truths – only to be burnt by as many lies.  It all creates a “Yeah, right – like any good is ever going to happen” mind.  It is not a good one to have with God (Galatians 6:7)

Trust between at least two humans is almost always two-sided and mutual.  It is an “I’ll trust you, if you trust me” outlook.  It is an “I’ll always be there for a person – but they’d better be there for me exactly when I need them” attitude.  It can take years sometimes to develop solid trust – and a single lie told in two seconds to destroy.  However, this trust is often based on our prior desires of being served

If we put initial stock in any program, person, or product – isn’t it because we want them to produce results, perform, or satisfy the way we want ahead of time?  Would we sink money into an investment program, if we had little faith our finances would improve as we might expect them to beforehand?  If we sense anything is going to fail us in advance, why would we proceed any further with trust?

If we were to hire a new baby-sitter, and they showed up late the first night – well, we might give them a second chance.  However, what if they arrived late that second night, and kept us from important dates with people?  What if we found out they did not put the kids to bed on time?  What if they asked for more money than advertised?  Would we say we trusted the baby-sitter or recommend them to others?

Would we keep buying a food product with a bitter taste – hoping it would somehow taste better – but only if we keep pulling out our wallets ?  Would we keep buying and driving a certain make of car always seeming to break down?  These are all examples of how easily we can stop trusting people and things – simply because they’re not serving our wants and desires; especially when money is involved.

Isn’t it easy to say we trust in God when He seems to show up exactly on time, every time – performing dutifully like a rugged old car or truck we have had for years.  Or, nothing about Him leaves a bad or bitter taste in our mouths?  Becoming bitter with God can happen when our Christian lives don’t seem to be getting any better for trusting Him.  It is a dangerous spiritual state to be in (Hebrews 12:15).

So, what is the big difference between human and heavenly trust?   We can say we trust other people – but as soon as they let us down a couple of times – we can often run off to find someone else to trust in. Someone new who will do what we want them to – and when.  God is not our servant – He does not exist to perform and deliver like this (Revelation 4:11). We can still say we trust Him – but for what?

We can say “In God we trust” – but He says “I trust no one but Myself  (Job 4:18).”  It is impossible for is Him to lie (Hebrews 6:18).  If He does or declares anything, it is complete truth (Deuteronomy 32:4). Even if we have the Spirit in us – flesh and Spirit lust against each other – so we can’t do the things we would (Galatians 5:17).  Therefore, we are not to trust ourselves; only Him (2 Corinthians 1:9).

Trusting God means we stop trusting man completely – for our hearts have departed from Him if we do (Jeremiah 17:5).  It means we do not stagger in unbelief because our lives are just not going the way we may have thought – by just trusting in God.  It means we’re fully persuaded He will always perform as promised.  Per His purpose and timing; not ours (Romans 4:20-21, 2 Peter 3:8, Isaiah 46:10).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– You compass my path and my lying down – and are acquainted with all my ways. – Psalm 139:3

– “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him?” says the Lord.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” – Jeremiah 23:24

One of my favorite scenes from any move is the one in “Groundhog Day”, where Phil Connors and Rita (Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell) have just sat down at a booth in the Tip-Top Cafe.  February 2nd has been relived by Phil so many times now in Punxsutawney – he offers up some information he has gathered about her each day.  It is very personal, and she is a little scared as to how he knows so much.

His only real contact with her so far, has been as the weatherman for the Pittsburgh TV station where she is the producer.  It has been purely a professional relationship to date.  In this scene, Phil has just walked Rita around the restaurant, pointing out all the regulars to her, then reeling off information about each one – like he has known them all his life; not from just visiting one day a year.

As soon as they sit down, Rita says, “Do you know about me?”  Phil replies, “I know all about you.  You like producing, but you are hoping for more than Channel 9.”  Rita interrupts him as if this is common knowledge. “Everyone knows that,” she says with a soft smile.  Then a far-away look appears in Phil’s eyes.  His voice quiets as he starts recalling the rest of much deeper things he’s found out:

“You like boats, but not the ocean.  You go to a lake in the summer with your family.  There’s a long wooden dock with a boat-house, with the boards missing from the roof – and a place you used to crawl underneath it to be alone.  You’re a sucker for French poetry and rhinestones.  You’re generous.  You’re kind to children and strangers.  And when you stand in the snow, you look like an angel.”

“How are you doing this?” she asks.  Phil repeats he keeps waking up over and over in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day, and there is never anything new.  A little bit later, Phil tells Rita the exact time their cameraman will come through the door; writing down what he will say word-for-word.  Just prior to this, Phil says to her, “Maybe God isn’t omnipotent – He’s just been around so long He knows everything.”

However, God is omnipotent – there is never anything new to Him (Ecclesiastes 1:9, Ecclesiastes 3:15).  Our Father is familiar with all our ways – from the delivery room unto death – counting our every step from the cradle to the grave (lead passage, Psalm 139:16, Job 31:4).  If we should have a secret hiding place like Rita, where we go to be alone – He knows the location, when we go there, and why.

God knows if we are suckers for French poetry or French fries.  If we prefer “Rhinestone Cowboy” over real rhinestones – He will be aware of this as well.  If we are generous as Rita was to people like children and strangers, He knows if our charity is from pure hearts being continually regenerated by the Spirit within us (Titus 3:5, 1 Peter 1:22).  Or if it’s fake, feigned, and hoping for some favor from Him.

Every thought, every idea, every musing – coming into our minds is manifest to Him – as well as what we might be imagining to do with such thinking (Ezekiel 11:5, 1 Chronicles 28:9).  If our outward ways and words should appear righteous to others – God will know by His Word how dirty, wicked, and hypocritical our hearts may still be; like the Pharisees (Ezekiel 33:31, Matthew 23:25-28, Hebrews 4:12).

Yes, all our ways, wants, and worries are continually known to our Father.  Foods we like eating, clothes we like wearing, and books we like reading are known to Him.  All the TV shows we love viewing, and every website we like visiting, are always before His eyes.  The Lord may even love singing along with our favorite songs.  Sleep is a stranger to God – our daily guide unto death (Isaiah 40:28, Psalm 48:14).

Each single hair on our head is numbered and known by Him (Matthew 10:30).  The Almighty knows word-for-word everything we will ever say – before such speech gets to our tongues (Psalm 139:4).  Our nights shine as days to God – dark and light are both alike to Him (Psalm 139:12).  Our needs are known from above – before we ever know we have need of them below (Matthew 6:8).

If this is not enough to believe God is acquainted with all our ways, we have a long way to go in understanding who He is.  We all have presumptuous and secret sins we don’t even know about – but He does (Psalm 19:13, Psalm 90:8).  If we ever feel we can fool God, or feign our faith, we’re not very wise. If we ever act as if anything is evading His eyes – we have ourselves a ready recipe for evil.

Remember when Rita asked Phil, “How are you doing this?”  If Phil was able to gather so much personal information about her in such a relatively short time – just imagine how all-inclusive His is.  God knew us before the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  Each time we stand or lie down, He knows (Psalm 139:2).  All the new places we may move to in life – God knew them all before we were born (Acts 17:26).

Remember when Rita was a bit scared of Phil’s knowledge?  It is far better to fear and be scared about the Lord’s knowledge of us now (Psalm 36:1) – than not be spared later when we meet Him.  When He judges our secrets by Christ according to His gospel (Romans 2:16),  When the hidden things of darkness, and the counsel of our hearts on earth, is made manifest in heaven (1 Corinthians 4:5).

How are we going to respond on that day if He asks us why we tried to conceal a matter we should have confessed (1 John 1:9)?  “Oh, I didn’t think You saw that.”  How are we going to answer if He asks us why we acted all righteous and religious, when in the presence of others – but had some rage issues with Him in the seeming privacy of our homes (2 Kings 19:27)?  “Oh, I didn’t think You heard that.”

If we spent our lives drawing near to Him with our lips, while our hearts drifted daily between the world and Word (Matthew 15:8)  – will we say, “Oh, I didn’t think You knew that” when questioned?   Remember, everything God does is perfect without any iniquity – (Deuteronomy 32:4).  This means all of creation has to be manifest before Him continually (Hebrews 4:13).

What if God misses things, makes mistakes, or takes breaks?  What if we are giving account to Him on that day – and He asks, “When did that happen?” What if we ask Him why something did have to happen, and He said “I don’t know?”  If God does is not acquainted with all our ways from birth to death, how will He be qualified to judge us – or the world when the time comes (Romans 3:5-6)?

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