Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But the tongue no man can tame … it is an unruly evil, full of poison. – James 3:8

– Therefore, if we seem to be religious, and we cannot bridle our tongues, we deceive our own heart – and our religion is in vain. – James 1:26

Just by putting the smallest of bits in the mouths of big horses, man has been able to get such creatures to obey him.  Mighty ships driven on the oceans by the fiercest of winds, can still be kept on course and controlled with the smallest of helms.  Even so, the talk from our tiny tongues can chart the course of our days.  They can bring forth obedience or disobedience – blessings or curses (James 3:3-5,10).

However, no man can tame them.  They are unruly. We can speak right words or wrong ones.  We can emotionally or spiritually poison another person just by the talk from our tongues.  We can corrupt any good manners we may have established, simply by the words we speak ( 1 Corinthians 15:33).  If we love life and want to see good days – we are to refrain from speaking evil and guile (1 Peter 3:10).

Death and life are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).  One slip of them can shipwreck the faith of even the closet brother or sister (1 Timothy 1:19).  Another slip can set off sparks and kindle a fire like hell (James 3:6).  Burning down spiritual buildings, consuming belief, and leaving Christian lives smoldering in the ashes.  We are not like the phoenix.  We cannot always rise from such ruin.

We are to ask God to set a watch before our mouths, and to keep the door of our lips (Psalm 141:3).  We can pray, preach, go to church, do charitable work – and appear to be very religious in the eyes of many others.  However, once a single wrong word escapes our mouth – it is on the lam.  It is not like a fleeing convict trying to make a breakaway – whom we can just go capture again and bring back to prison.

God warns us repeatedly about the power of our words to others … in His Word to us.  A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one can break spirits (Proverbs 15:4).  We can increase the joy or sorrow of another.  We can wound their heart or mar their mind with thoughtless talk.  Just one careless word can reopen an emotional scar from years ago, or aggravate an inner wound from yesterday.

Be warned – we will all give an account of every idle word we speak on earth to God.  By our talk and communications below heaven – will be justified or condemned by our Father above (Matthew 12:36-37). However, only God can teach us to tame our tongues (lead verse).  This comes from being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) – when Christ comes to dwell in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17),

So we are taught the truth with no lie – and learn to put off lying tongues (Jeremiah 9:5, 1 John 2:27).  So we learn to speak and act more and more like Jesus each day (Ephesians 4:20-32).  So we practice the gospel we preach (Romans 2:19-23, 1 Corinthians 9:14).  So we don’t just weigh in on whatever is going on in Christianity – but so our words start having weight – in showing the lost the way to the Cross.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– For what man knows the things of a man – save the spirit which is in him?  Even so, the things of God knows no man – but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world – but the Spirit which is of God – that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.  Which things we also speak – not in the wisdom that man’s wisdom teaches – but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. – 1 Corinthians 2:11-13

– Never try to understand something from the outside. – Brad Melzer

Our Father in heaven is never the author of any confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).  Especially in the lives of believers – for we have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost to be taught the things of Him.  By Him – and not man (lead verses).  It is impossible for Him to lie to us (Hebrews 6:18, 1 John 2:27). God is the Rock – His work is perfect – for all His ways are judgment.  A Father of truth is He – without any iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Still, Scripture can seem confusing, contradictory, imperfect, and even untruthful at times – even among long-time believers.

This is very understandable if a person is still lost and unbelieving.  For they have not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost – when Christ comes to dwell in their inner man by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).  The gospel is still hidden to them – and the preaching of the Cross is foolishness – for they are still presently perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 1 Corinthians 1:18). They remain natural men and woman trying to understand God and His Word from the outside-in – as if it’s a history book about Him – and not His story about us (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 3:16, lead quote).

It’s even understandable when new believers – or those trying to build their faith and trust on an unstable foundation – get confused with Scripture.  For they are still unlearned – and wrestle with Scripture to their destruction (2 Peter 3:17).  Being able to compare spiritual things with the spiritual takes time – but it’s a sign of healthy and steady spiritual growth.  With the Holy Ghost inside us – He begins to guide us into all truth with no lie (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).  This is given freely to us by Him – if His words abide in us – and we in Him; at all times (John 15:1-7, lead verses).

Christ once told a parable – about a parable – to illustrate all this.  Jesus was with the 12 disciples whom God had chosen – and some others whom He had not.  The Son of man said unto them “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God – but to them that are without – all these things are done in parables.  That seeing they may see – and not perceive; and hearing they may hear – and not understand. Lest at any time they should be converted – and their sins should be forgiven them.  Do you not know this parable? How then will you know all parables (Mark 4:10-13)?”

The only thing that makes anyone a Christian is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost – for many reasons.  We are none of God’s without it (Romans 8:9), we cannot say Christ is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3); and our Father has no power to quicken (make alive) our mortal bodies and raise us up to salvation when Christ returns (Romans 8:11, Revelation 12:10).  It is the Spirit inside us that makes us alive – our flesh profits nothing (John 6:63).  Otherwise, we may be going to church, Bible studies, etc., – and still be on the outside looking in (1 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Timothy 3:7).

As Christians, we have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).  We are to learn God’s Son the way He wants us to from the inside-out – and the only One inside our hearts is Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17, Ephesians 4:20-32).  We now learn how God’s Spirit speaks and teaches within us – so we can do likewise to others – with His wisdom and not our own.  Again, it takes time through continual repentance as our inner man is continually transformed, regenerated, and renewed from above (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

Slowly and steadily, we should learn from Him how to compare spiritual things with the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13).  Not to trivialize it – but it really is like connecting spiritual dots.  So one verse/passage gets connected to another – and another – and so on.  For the mystery which has been hid from ages – and from generations – is now made manifest to His saints (Colossians 1:26).  Some dots get connected quickly – others take years.  Some never do – and that’s for good reason (Ecclesiastes 7:16, Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33, 1 Corinthians 1:27-29).

A clearer, pieced together, spiritual picture should being to emerge to us – so we can then share it with others; especially the lost.  No longer cherry-picking singular verses/passages from Scripture that may sound great to ourselves when posted on Facebook (for example) – but meaning nothing to unbelievers when shared – except to add to their confusion as to what Christianity is all about.  So perhaps they may start to think “This is making more sense to me now” instead of “This still makes no sense.”  So God might finally convict their hearts of sin with His sorrow – and give them the gift of the Spirit for repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

So any believer presenting Scripture through writings can slowly start to do so in a less sporadic or spotty fashion than they may have at one time.  So any Christian speaking Scripture in public can be more specific each time they do so – and perhaps less sputtering than they may have once sounded.  A more “jointed” spiritual picture is created in our hearts and minds.  So any of us knows how to answer every man – understanding both what we say and affirm (2 Timothy 2:15, 1 Timothy 1:7).  So Christianity doesn’t sound like a whole bunch of jangling noise (1 Timothy 1:6) – for that likely pushes people further away from the Cross – than drawing them closer.

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(KJV Scripture)

– And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. – Romans 5:5

If we ever get up in the morning as believers with a mental checklist of what we have to accomplish that day to show and prove our Christianity to others – we’re probably going to have a difficult, confusing time showing God‘s love the way to the world that He desires?  Why?  Love was hung and nailed on the Cross for us.  It’s not something to cross off a Christian checklist hung on a hanger nailed to a door frame somewhere in our house.   Love becomes our whole being as we grow in the Spirit daily.  It is not restricted to a time slot in our day planners.

When we are truly “born again”, God commands His light to shine out of the devil’s darkness we live in since our physical births (2 Corinthians 4:6, Acts 26:18).  This love from above is shed abroad in our hearts by the gift of the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (lead verse).  The veil over our hearts gets lifted with Christ – and the wall between us and God gets broken with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:14-18, Ephesians 2:13-14).  A lamp of His love is finally lit in our souls.  Its light is the same light that should shine out from our eyes – to brighten the paths of those who still are wandering around in the dark (Luke 1:79, Luke 11:33-36).

Our Father becomes a consuming fire within us (Hebrews 12:29) – to continually burn up and clear out the underbrush – which can easily keep His gift from being stirred up and blazing bright (2 Timothy 1:6).  All branches on His vine not producing the spiritual fruit He desires are purged – so they may bring forth such fruit that makes us more like Christ (Galatians 5:22-23, Ephesians 4:20-32,).  This is the daily process of repentance.  It takes our constant abidance in God – and His Word in us (John 15:1-7, 2 Corinthians 4:16,).

So our hearts are constantly being renewed and transformed from the inside by the Word – not from the outside by the world. So Christ’s blood can be sprinkled on those hearts to put a salve on sin – and so spiritual growth can begin and be shown (Romans 12:2, Titus 3:5, Hebrews 10:22).  So our love for others starts coming fervently and unfeigned out of purified hearts by obeying the Spirit of truth (1 Peter 1:22).  It becomes unintentional – not intentional.  Lists?  They’re for religion. Love?  That’s for Christianity.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And Elijah came unto all the people and said, “How long shall you halt between two opinions?  If the Lord be your God – follow Him.  But if Baal – then follow him.”  And the people did not answer him a word. – 1 Kings 18:21

Many people back in Old Testament days had trouble truly following God – just as we can Christ today.  Some blatantly worshipped Baal – an earthly, worldly idol.  They had their own priest named Mattan (2 Kings 11:18).  Others appeared godly outwardly with lip service – doing lots of religious things like the Pharisees in the New Testament – but their hearts were fully set on Baal and the goods of this world (Matthew 15;8).

In the lead verse above, some had believed Baal so completely and faithfully – they were positive he could summon fire down from heaven to Mt. Carmel – and begin the blaze for a burnt offering.  Elijah felt like he was the only one left who was truly following the true God.  So, Elijah put them on the spot – and their hesitation in answering seemed to confirm his suspicions about their allegiance.  They then proceeded to call on Baal from morning to noon – but no fire. Elijah then mocked their god (1 Kings 18:22-27).

What usually trips us up more often than anything else in our walk with the Lord as Christians – and causes us to stumble – is when we try to switch back-and-forth between the world and the Word.  We’re of two opinions.  We cannot drink of the Lord’s cup – and the cup of the devils; nor partake of the Lord’s table and the table of devils at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21).  We can try – but it usually makes for a very bumpy ride on the road to heaven.

Some call this straddling the fence as believers – the Word on one side and the world on the other.  The grass may be greener on the world side, but the grace is greater on the Word side. Grace is unmerited favor.  When we are on the world’s side, we tend to have a merited favor mindset – not an unprofitable servant one (Luke 17:7-10).  We’ll follow the Word outwardly – but inwardly our hearts are set on goods we think we may deserve from God – often by merely being a Christian.  We can always fool others – but never Him (Hebrews 4:12-13).

If we halt and hesitate between two opinions every morning we wake up – as to whom we choose to serve that day (Joshua 24:15) – the shiny and tempting lights of the world that Satan and his ministers like to blind our eyes with might be too bright (2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 11:14-15).  We’ll be like moths to a flame.  Except the fire will be just more of the devil’s deceptive darkness – disguised as a very luring light (Luke 11:35).

The name Baal has become synonymous with false gods and fake worship in much of modern Christianity.  It’s commonly accepted through etymology that  the name Beelzebub originated from Baalzebub. – the prince of devils or demons (Matthew 12:24).  What’s going to happen if the world and Satan start winning out over the Word – as they seem to be doing more and more in today’s Christianity?  What if we misuse Scripture to just to get what we want in this fleeting life?  Will those with the opinion of truly following God by the Word be the ones who are mocked this time around (2 Chronicles 36:16)?

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– For God is not the author of confusion. – 1 Corinthians 14:33

“Are you always in confusion, surrounded by illusion?”  Those are lyrics from the 1977 song “Help is on the Way” by the Little River Band.  It’s a dangerous state to be in as a Christian, because whoever believes in Him shall not be confounded (1 Peter 2:6).  Confusion is both a lack of understanding and a lot of uncertainty.  It can easily lead to situations of panic – and a breakdown of order.  People who deliberately attempt to confuse others are intent on disturbing them in mind of purpose.  Satan is the king of creating confusion in Christians – it’s one of his many devices we should never be ignorant of (2 Corinthians 2:11).

We can create our own Christian confusion when we continue following – and pursuing vain, worldly idols and gods (Isaiah 45:16).  The riot at Ephesus in the book of Acts is a great illustration of confusion being caused by this very reason. Demetrius was a silversmith making a lucrative living creating silver shrines for the goddess Diana – who was worshipped by many people in Ephesus.  He wasn’t too crazy about the apostle Paul going around everywhere preaching there was only one God – and not any of those made by vain hands.  So, Demetrius rounded up his fellow craftsmen – their worldly wealth was at stake (Acts 19:24-26).

All these men then riled up the masses in the area – and many rushed in to fill up the nearby theater to figure out what should be done about Paul.  However, what happened inside resembled nothing more than herd and mob mentality.  Confusion reigned. Some cried one thing, some cried another – but the vast majority really didn’t have a clue as to why they were there. They just knew something important or exciting was happening when they saw everyone heading into the theater – and they apparently did not want to be left out (Acts 19:29-32).  Cooler heads eventually prevailed and the assembly was dismissed without incident (Acts 19:36-41).

The ingredients were there for something bad to happen – just as they can be today if we incline our hearts more towards the world – than to the Word (1 Kings 8:58, Jeremiah 7:24).  Is there a confused cry coming from modern Christianity because of this (Isaiah 9:5)?  Is there a lack of understanding and a lot of uncertainty?  Has Satan subtly succeeded in disturbing our mind of purpose?  To paraphrase a 1986 hit by Genesis called “Land of Confusion” – are there too many preachers, making too many promises, creating too many problems – and not enough love to go around?  If there is a confused Christianity today – is it being caused by our continued pursuit of worldly gods and vain goods? Is there a recipe in the Christian kitchen for something bad to happen?

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