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Posts Tagged ‘Acts’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire – wanting nothing. – James 1:3-4

– Not that I speak in respect of want – for I have learned in whatsoever state I am in – therewith to be content. – Philippians 4:11

– The devil does not come to you with his red face and horns.  He comes to you disguised as everything you’ve ever wanted. – Anonymous

The disembodied hand writing on the plaster wall was spelling out and sealing Belshazzar’s final fate, to be brought upon him by God later that same night (Daniel 5:5).  This, on an evening starting out as a celebration of the king’s power, posterity, and possessions (Daniel 5:1-4).  However, the mood of the party-goers changed – as did Belshazzar’s demeanor when the words “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin” (Daniel 5:25) appeared before them.  The king’s knees shook in fear and he soiled himself upon seeing it (Daniel 5:6).  Before he knew what the message meant, his guilty conscience before God got the best of him.

He understood immediately the words were from above – and it was not going to be good news.  When David was brought in to interpret, Belshazzar’s worst fears were realized (Job 3:25).  He’d been weighed in God’s balances and found to be wanting, and his kingdom was to be split among the Medes and Persians (Daniel 5:24-28). What was Belshazzar wanting?  Salvation – and it was too late.  No more space would be given to repent (Revelation 2:21).  The king’s neck had stiffened against God so much for being absorbed in idolatry, want, and pride – he was cut off from heaven forever (Proverbs 29:1, Daniel 5:23, Daniel 5:30).

When our Father in heaven says not to do something, He means not to do it.  God does not give out casual recommendations, or friendly suggestions and advice on how we are supposed to live in steadfast (Hebrews 3:14) alignment and agreement with His will and way.  Instead, He gives us commandments to humbly obey and abide by every second until we die (Philippians 2:8).  They are not heavenly options to ponder over and pass on.  Therefore, when God tells us we are not to want – then we are not to (Psalm 23:1).  Living in want keeps us from being presented as peaceful, unblameable souls at the end (2 Peter 3:14).

Why?  Want is worldly.  It is walking in the spirit of err – not in the way of truth (Proverbs 19:27, James 1:16, 1 John 4:6).  Not only does want keep faith and belief incorrectly focused on things below (Colossians 3:2), but it leaves a heart wide open for seeds of sins like lust, covetousness, envy, and greed to take root and grow.  Then, they slowly spread worldly weeds throughout the soul as it all gradually chokes out the Word, and production of spiritual fruits commanded by God to be continually be brought forth in keeping with repentance unto salvation (Mark 4:19, Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, John 15:16, 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Any true Christian (John 3:5) in a state of want is spiritually unstable in all their ways (James 1:6-8, James 4:8).  Faith, trust, and belief in – and love of God and Christ waver and drift (Ephesians 4:14, Hebrews 13:9), often spiking and dipping drastically based on whether a want is being fulfilled/obtained or not.  A person in this condition cannot be content with anything they have in life now – because they’re concentrating on future wants (Hebrews 13:5, Luke 3:14).  Dissatisfaction in this sense breeds impatience with a God they want to do their will as soon as possible, making it impossible to receive heaven’s promise (Hebrews 10:35-36).

The definition of want is a lack or deficiency of something – or someone.  Sadly, some will spend their whole life pursuing want after want.  Looking for certain people, following dreams, and making purchase after purchase to acquire desired material possessions.  All to find a feeling of fulfillment and purpose – hoping a life of repetitively obtaining wants will be what it takes to create a lasting sense of happiness.  Although they may be aware of a nagging, inner emptiness and loneliness throughout – they keep relying on and turning to external means and methods to make the ache go away – trying to fill and fix the bothersome void.

They don’t work.  As Billy Graham said, “They make for great fire escapes, but terrible fire extinguishers.”  No one but Christ can quench wants.  Godly joy and fulfillment can only be regenerated daily by Jesus residing in the soul by faith through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17, Titus 3:5).  This is why one must be born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) for all wants to begin subsiding through repentance and remission of such sin.  This is when God begins rooting out and burning up weeds of want (Matthew 15:13, John 15:1-6), to produce a spiritually fruitful soul (Galatians 5:22-23), from branches of inner happiness.

Through His truth, God has to transform an always “wishing and wanting” soul conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2) into a perfectly content being – no matter what state they are in at all times (second lead verse) – even if they have no more than food and clothes (1 Timothy 6:8).  Worldly Christians would not want a life with so little, for they would see it as God messing with them.  They desire earthly blessings; not eternal.  Unholy pastors prey upon this “more is better” approach to achieving a happy life with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:19).  Gearing and steering sermons into alignment with the world – not the Word.

Don’t misunderstand – for there can be seemingly noble and honorable wants such as sound health, happy homes, or strong inter-personal relationships.  However, these desires can become a means to an end.  In other words, God may only receive praise when these wants are first achieved – then maintained.  If health starts failing, homes become filled with strife, and relationships falter, then problems with God can begin.  Along with the words “This is NOT what I want (need) right now.”  However, He requires all things past (Ecclesiastes 3:15), and we must get past all want to be in agreement with Him (Amos 3:3).

In conclusion, when anyone gets deceived by the devil, they begin believing they know themselves better than anybody else – including the One who fashioned their heart in the womb to be desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).  In turn, they foolishly start trusting their heart and self (Proverbs 28:26, 2 Corinthians 1:9) to know exactly what they need and want at all times.  Being certain that whatever they get will “work out” – and it does not.  Or, maybe it does for varying periods of time, until the devil tempts and entices them once again they have got to buy or try some new thing they see on TV or hear about from others (Acts 17:21).

It’s an endless cycle for some as Satan constantly spins his”want wheel” before their eyes.  It’s how Christians can end up feeling like they are being spiritually yanked about (Matthew 11:30) by a dizzying array of daily product options to consider, and periodic life-change choices to make or forsake.  Their attempts to partake at God’s and the devil’s table simultaneously – beget jealousy in Him (1 Corinthians 10:21).  It says His grace isn’t sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9) as they are still in want of something or someone.  Life with Christ isn’t satisfying.  It’s why hell will never be full – and full is how Satan wants it (Proverbs 27:20).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. – Matthew 24:11

– He who is false to his God will not be true to his fellow mortals. – Matthew Henry

Our word “false” comes to us from the Latin “falsus.” It means deceptive, feigned, or pretend.  Our word “prophet” is defined as a person who is regarded to be an inspired teacher or proclaimer of God’s will.  Put them together to get “false prophet.”  It is any person who asserts they know (and are doing) His will – but it is all a pretense intended to defraud souls under the guise of following Christ and the truth of God’s Word.

These imposters have privately brought damnable heresies into the church since the time of Christ (2 Peter 2:1).  They’ve crept into sanctuaries unaware; turning God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (Jude 1:4), or a green light from heaven to pursue worldly lusts under the banner of faith.  Mocking the Cross by making money off of God’s Word, they are the ungodly souls whose destruction will be swift.

We usually see these swindlers on TV, putting forth their false dreams and lying divinations (Ezekiel 13:6-7) to people in the pews and general viewing public. Saying things like, “The Lord placed this on my heart last night, and it’s imperative I tell you now.  Just sow your seed of faith with this ministry – a minimum of $100 please – and God will double your blessing in 24 hours.  Double your donation and He will triple it.”

Speaking words smoother than butter and soften than oil, their hearts are but drawn swords (Psalm 55:21). They could care less if we are blessed by God or not. As long as they keep people opening their wallets and purses to keep their own cash drawers full and bank accounts brimming, they don’t believe or see they are foolishly sinning.  Fashioning themselves to former lusts in willful ignorance of the truth (1 Peter 1:14).

Ir’s right in their eyes (Proverbs 14:12) so it must be the same in God’s (Deuteronomy 13:18).  They say it’s being done for His glory, but it’s just so they can generate worldly profit and pursue worldly pleasures (James 5:5).  Laying up treasures below (Matthew 6:19) they cannot take with them when they go (1 Timothy 6:7).  Preying upon the needy (Matthew 6:8), greedy, and those of easy belief and/or deceit.

Billy Graham once said that prisons are full of con men, and sadly, so are many churches (end).”  If these Christian charlatans and scam artists had any good conscience towards God as commanded, they would stop cheating on Him (1 Timothy 1:5).  They would cease subverting whole houses for filthy lucre’s sake.  They would stop their mouths from teaching vain, unruly things they ought not to (Titus 1:10-11).

If these con artists prophesying false dreams had stood in God’s counsel to begin with, they would be turning from their evil ways (Jeremiah 23:22,32). They’d stop swerving everyone from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), using their perverted versions of His Word and like visions.  Making things up (Numbers 16:28) and moving everyone far from the gospel they first knew as kids (Galatians 1:6-7, 2 Timothy 3:15).

These are the grievous wolves Jesus and Paul said would enter in and deceive many, because they will be disguised in sheep’s clothing, speaking perverse things to draw disciples away after themselves.  They will be ravenous for earthly riches and will not spare God’s flock in the process (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29-30).  Draining bank accounts of others to bolster their own, and to keep their bellies full (Philippians 3:19).

Some travel in packs, seeking God’s true sheep to fleece – picking pockets clean.  All so these deceivers can be of one purse and fill their homes with spoil (Proverbs 1:13-15).  Yet, they live on in err (James 1:16), having forsaken the right way to heaven in favor of Balaam’s way and the gainsaying of Core (2 Peter 2:15,18, Jude 1:11).  Spiritual whores chasing worldly riches or rewards on every floor (Hosea 9:1).

God warns us to take heed, testing and trying the spirits, for many of these false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).  One test is this:  If any Christian preacher, teacher, singer, writer, or movie maker, makes merchandise of you – even if they charge a cent for a thing they sell (2 Corinthians 12:9)- they are false prophets.  Their damnation in hell from long ago does not slumber (2 Peter 2:3).

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Let no man deceive you, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first.  And, that the man of sin be revealed – the son of perdition. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3

– And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. – Revelation 13:14

Adolf Hitler once said, “If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”  He most certainly used this approach to his advantage, along with some charismatic oratory, as he rose to become Führer over Germany just before World War II.  The country had fallen into a crippling financial crisis after World War I, but most of its citizens clearly wanted an easy solution to their difficult problems.

As it has so often been in other countries through the centuries, these people desired to see and hear some new person with some new pitch promising to fix their ills (Acts 17:21).  They wanted another name under heaven to create a government in a nation that still could not save them (Acts 4:12, Lamentations 4:17). They also needed a scapegoat (Leviticus 16:10) to pin the blame on – and Hitler did just that with the Jews.

By the time Hitler seized power, he had achieved his goal of deceiving the people, by getting them to buy into and believe nothing but a bunch of likeable lies. Still, as Martin Luther King, Jr. once touched upon, everything Hitler did to get elected was perfectly legal – but everything he did after was purely evil.  Well, there is one waiting in the wings to do what Hitler did, but on a world-wide stage before Christ can return.

As problems keep mounting around the globe, and iniquity keeps increasing, the love of many – even Christians – will grow cold (Matthew 24:12).  More and more will scoff at God’s promise of sending Jesus back with salvation.  Instead, they will walk away from Him and after their own worldly lusts – because all things keep continuing on this planet just as they have from the beginning of creation (2 Peter 3:3-4).

Just like it was in the Old Testament, people will see a God who is supposed to be One of righteous judgment and love above – as sitting idly by upon the circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22), or One who is handing down some very wrong judgement from heaven.  Violence, spoiling, strife, and contention will be increasing.  As wickedness begins to surround the righteous, they will see His laws as being quite loose (Habakkuk 1:3-4).

Many will have had enough of God in man’s last days. They will not do what He says despite lip service claims of loving Him (Ezekiel 33:31, Mark 7:6, Luke 6:46).  Some will even think He views evil as good (Malachi 2:17).  Because He does not seem to be doing much about the world’s wickedness, at least not as fast as human courts handle wrong-doing, they’ll say He’s not doing His job (Ecclesiastes 8:11-13).

It will all be the perfect time for perdition’s son – the most evil one ever – to step into the world’s spotlight. One who will appear to have the perfect solution to every planetary problem.  Citizens of all countries will follow this individual.  People of every belief will be easily deceived by his pernicious ways.  What Hitler did will pale in comparison to what will happen on a global scale when perdition’s son enters the picture.

Who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God – or worshipped – so he is God.  Sitting in His temple and showing he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).  Whose working is after Satan – with all power, and signs, and lying wonders.  With all deception of unrighteousness in those who perish – as they didn’t receive the love of truth, that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10, John 3:17, Hebrews 9:15).

And for this reason, God shall turn people over to reprobate minds and send them strong delusion – so they should believe a lie.  It’s that they all might be damned who did not receive the truth, but who had pleasure in unrighteousness and things still worthy of death.  Taking delight, despite knowing God’s fiery sentence against such disobedience (Romans 1:28-32, 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11, 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Will this son of perdition catch people off guard and take the world by surprise?  Well, he shouldn’t unless God’s many warnings are ignored (e.g. Matthew 16:1-4).  One major sign he is gaining followers will be the widespread apostasy among those who once believed (2 Timothy 3:1-6).  The ones ever learning but who never come to the knowledge of truth (2 Timothy 3:7) about how narrow heaven’s path is (Matthew 7:14).

How will it all happen?  There has been a slow but sure, subtle and subversive movement underway in this world for a long time.  It is being perpetrated by false prophets and apostles, along with the prince of the world himself.  These are the ones perverting God’s Word to pursue worldly pleasures or plans, and move people who buy into and believe such lies, far from the gospel they first heard (Galatians 1:6-7).

It’s all designed to undermine God’s authority and diminish His truth, deceiving as many as possible their lustful worldly ways are okay with Him, and it’s all “being Christian.”  This is how believers will fall from repentance as commanded (Hebrews 6:4-6, Acts 17:30) and begin repeating old walks and talks (2 Corinthians 5:17).  Perdition’s son will arise from the midst of this disobedient, unbelieving apostasy.

Also, crumbling economies, shaky peace in many places, corruption and dishonesty at all levels of government, increasing world hunger, dwindling natural resources, and reigning confusion in religion, will convince many this evil is of God.  To where they wonder why should they wait on Him or His promises any longer (2 Kings 6:33).  So, perdition’s son will offer a final solution for world peace and prosperity.

Even though it will be under the guise of a “one world, one way, we’re all children of God” mindset – it will all be meant to defraud.  It’s so Satan can try to complete his last chapter in devouring as many souls as possible (1 Peter 5:8) and deceive the whole world – the only job he has had since the start (Revelation 12:9).  To the point were Jesus Christ might not find any faith left on earth upon returning (Luke 18:8).

We’ve been seeing pieces of this pernicious puzzle being put into place for decades now.  One was the founding of the World Bank in 1944 – and subsequent criticism for its consolidation of power among the strongest economic countries – despite representing all 188 nations on earth.  Another piece has been the recent and rapid rise in the practice of ecumenism, and many Christians seem actively involved in it.

Ecumenism is an organized attempt to unite various religions and theologies, etc. – into one blended body of belief through the use of doctrinal error – rather than dividing over Biblical truths as God commands (Matthew 10:34-37, Romans 16:17, 2 Corinthians 2:17, Titus 1:10-13).  It can go by names such as interfaith or Chrislam.  However, its working is after Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9), and not our Saviour.

If the Antichrist is to succeed in rounding up the masses, he has to get everyone he can on the same page.  He will have help from false prophets who will arise and deceive many.  Fostering ecumenical unity by assembling different beliefs together on Sundays. Claiming it is advancing the gospel, when it is their own agenda in the world or Word.  Preaching perverse things like gain and being of one purse as godly.

Once people’s pocketbooks and professions of faith are in alignment with a world system, it will be easier for the son of perdition to rise through the political ranks and assume global rule and authority.  As it was with Hitler, it will all seem perfectly legal as humans buy into his lies disguised as truth.  This man will likely be as charming, using words smoother than butter and softer than oil to disarm (Psalm 55:21).

When people decide they do not have to keep their whole armor of God on at all times (except maybe on Sunday) – they’re not doing all they can to withstand all the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11-18).  This is when he gains advantage over souls.  This is when Christians begin falling away from repentance and start becoming ignorant of subtle and pernicious devices Satan uses to deceive, devour, and destroy.

Ignorance is never bliss for any believer as it is a rejection of God’s truth … and not receiving it by believing Satan’s lies more.  For this, God will send such people strong delusions (as noted before), so they keep believing the devil’s falsehoods.  Full of boasting, pride, and other ungodly traits marking end times apostasy.  Willingly ignorant of how only eight souls were saved after a water deluge long ago.

The devil’s aim all along has been to tear down each and every denominational, geographical, economic, educational, racial, and religious barrier to unite men in rebellion against the God of the Bible.  Sitting right beside us in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13), or even preaching from the pulpits (Ephesians 6:12).  Still blinding minds from seeing the truth with his bright worldly lights and beguiling lies (2 Corinthians 4:4).

This earth is not Christ’s kingdom (John 18:36).  It is the devil’s dominion, who has power over all deaths (Hebrews 2:14) until Jesus returns.  The only desire he has ever had in this evil world he is the prince of – has been to deceive souls so gradually – they don’t realize it’s happening.  Satan wants to finish what he started in the Garden of Eden – by uniting the human race against God in full service to and worship of him.

This plan, whose final pages will be authored and finished by the son of perdition, seems to be working to near perfection in today’s church.  Believers who have already been deceived have somehow managed to author and finish their faith before Jesus ever does (Hebrews 12:2).  Now, many just seem like they are hanging around in a daze and haze of confusion God never authors; not sure of what they should be doing.

Jesus was not crucified for any Christian to ever be uncertain about what God wants them doing.  Those confused are being disobedient (1 Peter 2:6-7).  Still, such individuals have drawn up their own criteria for certain salvation prior to death.  This mind removes any need for repenting of sins by faith in Jesus – and as commanded by God.  It is drawing back from faith unto perdition; an unrepentant state of existence.

This fits neatly into the son of perdition’s program to drag as many into the pit with him.  Systematically picking off those who are erring spiritually (James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  Physical lions generally prey upon young, sick, or straying animals.  Satan is a spiritual lion who preys in a like manner.  Seeking out the young ior unstable n faith, those sick or dull of hearing God’s Word, or straying back to the world.

Still, it’s all part of God’s eternal plan whose ending was declared from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).  To see who would get beguiled by Satan’s subtlety, or guided by Christ’s simplicity.  To see who would be led by God into all truth with no lie, or misled by the devil’s lies – all illusions of truth.  To see who would stay on heaven’s narrow path all the way, or would fall off for good by fully believing perdition’s son.

In conclusion, the following is taken mostly from Ian Vincent’s 2013 book “Reality Church“: “One way to look at all of this regarding the son of perdition, or man of sin – is to closely observe how the world today – both secular and religious is heading.  And, to see if there are any across-the-board trends and common threads which could help piece together a composite identikit picture of this person – so it’s not so sketchy.

This is based on the idea that the man of sin will embody and incarnate everything the final generation on earth aspires to become.  The son of perdition will encapsulate the hopes and dreams of humanity, and speak on behalf of mankind as head of the human race.  Hence, he will dethrone Christ.  He is an anti-Christ or a false Christ, but who will fool the planet by deceiving the people into believing he is Jesus.

This world right now is paving a path for this man and creating a job vacancy for him to fill as its last leader. A global spirituality has been rising to the surface for years, such as the emergence of ecumenism and the Emergent Church,  There’s also been a desire for a common economy and currency for some time (e.g. The European Union), as many nations seem to be teetering on the brink of complete financial ruin.

Combined with a steady decline into moral decay in a large part of the modern world, perdition’s son will still convince people all is fine with their faith.  They can still love the world and its things, pursue greedy ways, and follow sin’s motions without worry about eternal consequences for such disobedience, because God loves them enough to let them do whatever they want.  After all, He has already saved them, right?

The throne for this one-man triumvirate (political, economical, religious) is being readied.  Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, of the Lamb slain from the world’s foundation – will worship him (Revelation 13:8).  His crowning achievement will be to trick the earth into thinking he knows God’s truth better than He does, and deceive them into believing he is Jesus.  He seems to be well on his wicked way.

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.  And, in fashion as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even the death of the Cross. – Philippians 2:7-8

– Serving our own interest to the neglect of Jesus is a very great sin.  It is common among Christians and ministers.  Many prefer their own credit, ease, and safety – before truth, holiness, and duty.  The things of their own pleasure and reputation before the things of Christ and giving honor to God. – Matthew Henry

After Jesus cleansed a certain leper, the leper was instructed to say nothing about it to any man – but only to show himself to a priest in a city where they both resided.  The leper did not listen.  Instead, he began to publish the event much, and blazed abroad about the miracle … to the point where Christ could not enter into this city openly (Mark 1:40-45).  There would just be too much attention centered on Jesus.

During the Feast of the Tabernacles, some of Christ’s brethren questioned his obvious desire to shun the public spotlight and remain unspotted as much as possible (James 1:27).  They said, “Go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:3-4).”

These words were all born out of unbelief (John 7:5). Jesus was not acting or talking like a king of earthly reputation would – much less an eternal king.  Christ did not show any cravings for notoriety, nor showed any desire for some sort of status in society.  Jesus simply went about his Father’s business quietly (Luke 2:49), humbly obeying Him all the way to the Cross. Dying there so we would learn to live the same way.

All reputations, good, bad, or in between are of this world.  They show God continued conformance to it, and not being transformed by truth (Romans 12:1-2). Positive reputations can bring a certain amount of prestige and praise, while negative ones can bring a lot of problems and pain.  People who have the latter can squander precious time attempting to repair and restore broken images by external methods or means.

Whatever reputations do or don’t do, they are all in direct opposition to God’s Word.  No matter how they are created or destroyed, they are not in alignment or agreement with His will.  Climbing up the corporate ladder to fame and making a name, or the Christian rungs to do the same, is not why God put us here on earth.  It is to stay humbly obedient to His way until death, so we might be saved (e.g. Hebrews 9:15).

Sadly, and with eternal consequences if not corrected, the modern church has been creating a idolatrous culture of celebrity Christian singers, writers, and speakers for decades.  Some of these people are of great repute and have attained cult-like followings. But, they are grievous wolves drawing disciples away for themselves.  Speaking perverse things for profit, and to preserve their reputation (Acts 20:29-30).

This all may seem new, but it’s not (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Moses dealt with 250 princes in his assembly who rose up against him and Aaron.  Men of renown, with reputations, and all famous in the congregation (Numbers 16:2).  Paul spoke of those who seemed to be somebody, but it made no difference to him.  They didn’t add anything to his teachings as God respects no man’s person (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6).

God has several thoughts regarding all of this.  Read what the prophet Daniel writes about it: “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.  And, He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.  None can stay His hand and say to Him, ‘What are You doing (Daniel 4:35)?'”  Still, there is someone who wants us to think differently when it comes to reputations.

The deceiver of this world (Revelation 12:9) and its prince (John 14:30), Satan, does a very good job in convincing even the most steadfast Christians they must maintain a certain image in life to present to others; a religious reputation to uphold.  This is a device the devil uses to trick believers into thinking they’re standing firm in faith.  But, it’s only upon their reputation, and not the foundation of Jesus – if at all.

This is how Christians fall from repentance and grace (Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 12:15) – and can end up finding no space in heaven.  It is how they give place to Satan and fall into his same condemnation, as good reputations tend to puff people up in pride (Ephesians 4:27, 1 Timothy 3:6).  Having one pushes God to the sidelines, unless He seems to be helping them keep their high esteem and good standing before others.

Instead of having the same before Him.  What keeps us in our Father’s esteem, good standing, and favor, is repenting of things like desires to have a reputation – along with the haughty airs having one can bring. Yes, it is true we are created in His image, but this does not mean we are born with His attributes.  To obtain them, we’re commanded to produce spiritual fruits not usually esteemed among men (Luke 16:15).

The humble example of Christ is set before us in the Bible.  Learning Jesus is not a recommendation from God to contemplate (Ephesians 4:20-32).  It is not something to mull over, but a commandment to obey. Desires for the fleeting praise and prestige worldly admiration can bring, along with the advantage of reputations, are dangerous ways to defy God, and to face consequences for doing so (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

 

 

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– God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. – John 4:24

There has been a TV ad running here in Gainesville for about six or seven months now, promoting various aspects of an area Christian school.  Near the end of it, an voice from off-screen says, “I believe God has a spiritual home for everybody.”  Yes, it’s true He does. However, this house is a habitation in our heart.

Our soul is where all true worship of our Father starts, and then finishes upon our final breath.  Not within the confines of any physical building or dwelling man designates as a “house of worship” – or a “house of faith.”  It does not mean people cannot go to these places, but they’re not where worship is centered.  

Why?  Well, God says the following words to us in the book of Acts: “However, the most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.  What house will you build for Me?  Or, what is the place of My rest?  Has My hand not made all of these things (Acts 7:48-50)?”

In a similar vein, when the apostle Paul was in Berea, he penned these words about Him: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth – doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands.  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as if He needed anything (Acts 17:24-25).”

This is why true worship can only be within us.  It begins, continues, and finishes with our last day on earth.  It is why we must be “born again” of the Spirit at some point before we die (John 3:5).  This is the only church plant mattering to Him – for a seed of salvation is sown in the heart when it takes place.

It begins growing, and starts producing spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  An inner church is birthed, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building is fitly framed together – so it grows into a holy temple of God in our soul (Ephesians 2:20-22).

All other forms of external worship are wrong and fraudulent.  They create a feigned, often forced faith, complete with fake smiles.  It can fool many for a long time, but not God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  Being born again is the only way we can be guided into all truth without being lied to (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

Otherwise, we can be deceived by a lot of likeable lies disguised as His truth.  We can then be dangerously misled.  With Satan having his own seat in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13) spewing forth such falsehoods (John 8:44).  Or, preaching these fallacies and errors standing in the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12, James 1:16).

 

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BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But 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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