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Posts Tagged ‘Exodus’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

– Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul – seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil, and go.” – 1 Samuel 16:1

The Sower” is a painting by van Gogh.  It shows a stark country setting.  A simple farmhouse sits far off in the background.  The foreground shows a young man walking across a dirt field with a seed bag slung over his shoulder – the sun blazing above.  His gaze is fixed ahead as he scatters seeds behind – unaware a few birds have gathered there; already eating some of them.  It is a good illustration of the lead verse.

A bad illustration is sitting in the same Sunday seats week after week, year after year.  Doing so develops a complacent Christian life not in accordance with God’s Word.  The more we feel at home here in our body – including that of a church – the more we’re absent from the Lord.  We don’t want to be found naked at the end because we clothed ourselves in the comfort of any physical church (2 Corinthians 5:1-6).

This is not God’s idea of spiritual farming.  Failing to move when God commands is stubbornness.  When He told Noah to build the ark – Noah moved with fear (Hebrews 11:7).  He didn’t tell God it wasn’t a good time.  Stubbornness is a sin (1 Samuel 15:23).  It is a refusal to move in accordance with the Word, because one is still conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). It is remaining in a state of disobedient unbelief.

We don’t see people chosen by God to follow Him (John 15:16) like Moses, David, and Paul attending weekly Sunday church services or mid-week Bible studies.  Then, wandering about in the world outside of those times, wondering what God wanted them to do.  Jesus did not hang on a Cross for us to hang around in an idle haze, confused at any time about what God wants us to do (1 Corinthians 14:33).

There are many reasons why we have to be on the move much of the time.  One reason is God always has something for us to do – as long as He is the One leading us by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  We cannot make things up in our minds as some accused Moses of doing (Numbers 16:28).  God warns us of having false dreams or lying divinations; misled by them – or misleading others (Jeremiah 23:32, Ezekiel 13:6-7).

While Samuel mourned over God’s rejection of Saul as Israel’s king – Samuel was going to be of no use to Him sitting in the same place too long (second lead verse).  There was a new king to go find and anoint. Still, Samuel didn’t wander off without a clue, hoping he would happen upon the right person.  God had set directions and instructions for Samuel, as is always the case with us (1 Samuel 16:1-13, Proverbs 5:23).

Another reason we have to keep moving is because we are all being pursued by the devil.  Satan is a spiritual predator who does not sleep.  He always knows where we are and who we are (Job 1:6-11, Acts 19:15) – roaring about like a lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9).  It’s easier for physical predators to attack and kill sick, weak, or stationary targets.  It’s easier for Satan to do the same.

God designed our bodies – physical and spiritual – to move.  A third reason for both to be in movement is it promotes health and healing.  As Christians, we are not our own anymore.  We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and our spirit; which are His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Lack of use with either leads to atrophy; a gradual decline in vigor or effectiveness due to underuse or neglect.

Any person in such a state often wants or requires others to do things for them physically or spiritually. In the book of John, a man with an infirmity (physical weakness) had sat by the pool at Bethesda – for 38 years.  Many other impotent people were also there. An angel would enter the pool in a certain season and stir it up.  After this troubling of the waters, the first person in after would be made whole (John 5:2-5).

When Jesus saw this man – He knew the man had been infirm a long time.  Christ asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  The man replied, “Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool when the water is troubled. But, while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said, “Rise, take your bed and walk.”  The man did and was immediately healed (John 5:6-8). Christ never touched him.  Jesus simply said “Move.”

Movement prevents us from having too much idle time on our hands.  Idle time leads to idle words we will all give account of on judgement day (Matthew 12:36).  It also creates idol walks and talks, and worldly conversations we are not to have (Exodus 23:13, 2 Corinthians 1:12).  In addition to other sins like pride, an abundance of idleness led to God’s fiery destruction of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49, Genesis 19:24).

Movement does not mean staying busy all the time. When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted them to be so busy making bricks, they wouldn’t have time to make sacrifices for God.  This is too busy (Exodus 5:6-8).  We have to stop from time to time to clearly hear God’s still, small voice – to get new instructions as Elijah did (1 Kings 19:11-15).  However, once we do – we move with fear and without delay like Noah.

Staying in one place too long leads to familiarity. Familiarity tends to breed contemptuous, complacent, careless, and/or lukewarm spirits.  Such ungodly attributes arise from getting too accustomed to something or someone.  Relaxed Christians are the end result (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).  Even in their churches where Satan could be sitting, or preaching from the pulpit (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12).

If we move ahead and don’t look back in accordance with God’s Word (lead verse), in humble obedience to His commands unto death (Philippians 2:8) – we’re doing His will.  God’s charge in Matthew 24:14 can’t be fulfilled any other way.  If we sit still in one place too long, the sin of stubbornness is sure to stagnate our spiritual growth.  This gives place to Satan and plenty of room to devour us (Ephesians 4:27).

Much like the style of van Gogh’s “The Sower” – we’re to sling a spiritual seed bag over our shoulder and set out across the farmlands of faith.  Sowing the Word of God as our seed as He leads us by the Spirit (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11).  Not looking back over our shoulder to see if they are landing on stony ground – or if the devil is there to take them away, or we’re not fit for God’s kingdom of heaven (Mark 4:15-16, lead verse).

This keeps us from sowing the same spiritual fields over and over.  When farmers of God’s physical fields do this year after year, the dirt becomes stressed and unfruitful.  The same goes for the spiritual soil of our hearts.  Instead, we scatter a handful of seeds on the ground and move on ahead.  God will send another person along to water it – but He alone will be the One to provide the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Only God decides what any physical or spiritual seed will ever become, giving each one its own body as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).  We can’t grow seeds planted in human hearts into producing spiritual fruits God commands them to become in ourselves or any other person (Galatians 5:22-23).  If we try to, we only defile His crop (Deuteronomy 22:9).  This doesn’t move anyone closer to heaven, does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. – 2 Peter 2:20

– “Wherefore, come out from among them and be separate,” says the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 6:17

Most of us have probably experienced the frequent frustration of attempting to untangle Christmas lights. It can be an extremely tedious and time-consuming process.  Even though we finally strung them out and hung them on our tree last year, and all the wires and lights seemed to be straightened out then, they have since managed to sit in some storage place and twist themselves into a tangled pile again for this year.

The word tangle means to twist into a confused mess, physically or spiritually.  Entanglement can start at any point in this process.  It means to not only get caught up in the snarled mess it makes, but finding it very difficult and sometimes very painful to escape. However, it’s far easier to untangle Christmas tree lights each year – than to ever finally separate and escape from years and years of life’s entanglements.

Christ did not hang upon the Cross for us to live like this.  However, only God can make straight again the crooked course He first created for us to travel upon this earth (Ecclesiastes 7:13).  This means we must walk His narrow and untangled path of truth all the way to heaven; and few find it.  The broad road to destruction’s door is paved with plenty of Satan’s likeable lies to get tangled up in (Matthew 7:13-14).

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  The world system today is no different from the Babylonian one existing all throughout the Bible.  It is a murky world of merchandise and purchase in where people love gifts and follow after rewards (Revelation 18:2,11, Isaiah 1:23).  A life where one always has to pay some sort of price to maintain a continued sense of satisfaction or gratification (Proverbs 27:20).

Either through spending money, sins of the flesh – or sometimes a mixture of both.  It is a steadily flowing stream of alluring pleasures (James 5:5), loveable lies, and subtly seductive temptations – all having a physical, emotional, or spiritual price tag attached. We know there are those who will go whoring after prostitutes or gigolos, but it is harder to admit when we go whoring after the way of Babylon (Hosea 9:1).

The world tells us the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  We just have to keep finding out where the fence is first – then figure out what is so much better beyond it for us to leave our side.  Still, some will always need to see, hear, or have some new thing (Acts 17:21) – even in Christianity.  Some revolutionary or exciting product, self–help program, or investment program to buy or try (2 Peter 2:3)

This all creates a twisting and turning road of near constant confusion – as the world presents one angle, then a different one to keep people deeply entangled and entrenched in its ways.  The longer this path of merchandise and purchase is pursued and followed, the more frustrating and time-consuming it can be to untangle from.  As always, the prince of this world is the pitchman holding the pitchfork (John 14:30).

As John Ritenbaugh writes, “The result is an unhappy world held hostage by the Babylonian system having its roots in human nature.  Because of this, it feeds right into inner desires for frequent changes and a variety of adventures as the answers to fulfillment in life.  It promotes contentment in the possession of material things (Luke 12:15), having much fun and excitement, and a variety of religious experiences.”

Ritenbaugh continues: “Its major fruits are easily seen in both the world and church these days as confusion of purpose, competition, disharmony, and disunity abound all around (1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Corinthians 10:12, Ephesians 4:3).  Far too many Christians are still clearly tangled up in the world’s web – separating themselves from each other, from the Spirit, and love of God by doing so (Jude 1:19).”

In conclusion, Ritenbaugh writes, “None of these factors gives a lasting sense of peace, fulfillment, or abundance according to God’s ways, because they’re not in harmony with His purposes.  They only produce short bursts of satisfaction.  Israel was often warned by God about such proclivity.  Still, they remained disastrously careless and curious – full of discontent, unsettled, and impatient ‘grass is greener’ yearnings.”

We are all in bondage to the world right from the womb (Galatians 4:3).  Caught up in its pollutions of idolatry (Acts 15:20), blinded by the devil’s lights (2 Corinthians 4:4), and tangled in his labyrinth of lies. Born as corrupt beings of flesh and blood who cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven by staying this way (1 Corinthians 15:50).  Unless we are spiritually reborn before we die, worldly chains cannot be broken.

We can’t be born again of the Spirit until God knows our hearts and minds have finally had it – fed up with always to trying live in alignment and agreement with the world’s ways.  Tired of longing for, living for, and loving its things we can’t take with us (1 Timothy 6:7, 1 John 2:15).  Otherwise, God knows we will only be sorry about sin for a season; and we will not be ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

When we are born again of the Spirit, it is a baptism of fire from above (Matthew 3:11).  It is an intense and complete purging of our hearts and minds from heaven, as God burns up all the worldly clutter within, untangling all the lines of Satan’s lies.  It’s an instant and clean escape from the world – but it is far from being permanent.  We still have to live in this world, surrounded by a daily smorgasbord of temptations.

The prince of this world (John 14:30) is going to do all in his power to prevent us from getting to a place he can never return to again – heaven.  Once salvation’s seed is sown with the Spirit – Satan gets busy.  When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted to suppress their thoughts towards God by getting them so busy in the steady production of bricks, they wouldn’t have any time to do anything for Him (Exodus 5:7-9).

Satan operates in much the same way.  Wanting us to get so caught up barging through busy days – trying to “do it all” – we barely have time to breathe; much less keep God in all of our thoughts.  This is the same type of prideful countenance as Satan’s (Psalm 10:4). This is how we can easily fall into condemnation with our Father (James 3:1), and how we can embark on a path to destruction (Ecclesiastes 7:16).

Although we become rooted and grounded in God’s love upon being born again, so spiritual fruits meet for repentance can be produced (Ephesians 3:16-17, Matthew 3:8, Galatians 5:22-23), worldly weeds can quickly creep back in.  Without zealously repenting of our sins daily, so God can continually regenerate our souls by the Holy Ghost, unrighteousness takes root once again (Revelation 3:19, Titus 3:5).

The daily cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and lusts of other things entering in – can choke the Word (Mark 4:19).  This is how ungodly worries and wants stress the spiritual soil of our hearts and minds (1 Peter 5:7, Psalm 23:1).  Making them unfruitful – and producing wrong roots for unrighteous works of the same kind (Titus 3:8,14).  Satan is always ready to be their constant gardener (James 3:16).

There is more.  The liberty we have in Jesus frees us from the fear of death we are in bondage to all our lives (Hebrews 2:15).  It is not heavenly authority to do whatever we want in the world or Word until we actually do die.  Misuse of our liberty like this is an abuse of God’s grace (Romans 6:1-2,15).  It also trods Christ under our feet by counting the blood of the new covenant as unholy (Hebrews 10:29).

It means we are not standing or holding fast in our faith or liberty with Jesus – thereby allowing ourselves to become entangled with a yoke of bondage to this world again (Philippians 4:1, 1 Thessalonians 3:8, Galatians 5:1).  How do we repent according to the Word, if we are still repeating the world (Revelation 3:3)?  The latter means we are using our liberty for ungodly things (Galatians 5:13, 1 Peter 2:16).

If we keep minding earthly matters, and making our bellies and bank accounts god (Philippians 3:19), and continue getting ourselves entangled in the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4) – we’re still lost in the dark despite any light we think is inside us (Luke 11:35). We are still ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  It will so be easy for him to snatch us in his snares, and take us captive at will (2 Timothy 2:26).

The devil can certainly keep us all snarled up in the world, and in our souls – and has his angels of light and righteousness to assist in hiding God’s light from us (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).  However, we also must be careful about being deceived by man’s vain words (Ephesians 5:6) – who through lusts of the flesh and much wantonness – allure those who have cleanly escaped – back into worldly bondage (2 Peter 3:18).

In summation, if we allow Satan to keep us tangled up in the world by staying ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), we are being disobedient to God. We are not repenting as commanded of ways keeping us all wrapped up in the confused mess this world creates each day (Acts 17:30).  It would be better if we had not known the way of righteousness – than known it – and turned away (2 Peter 2:21-22).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

– But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. – 2 Timothy 3:1

– The first steps to apostasy are forgetting the true and adoring the false. – from Charles Spurgeon

Apostasy is the willful abandonment or renunciation of a belief.  It comes from the Greek “apostasia.”  It means a defection, departure, revolt, or rebellion.  A person cannot become an apostate without holding some sort of belief to begin with.  God warns about the approaching Christian apostasy of man’s last days in many New Testament verses.  Believers will depart from their faith and rebel once again.

No Christian is ever immune from apostasy; and becoming an apostate does not require any open declaration.  The first step on abandonment’s avenue starts in a heart no longer abiding side-by-side with Him (John 15:1-6).  Despite feigned belief within, apostasy can be masked with public proclamations of love and praise for Him – often to gain or maintain worldly admiration or advantage (Jude 1:16)

Internal apostasy in one Christian may not be noticed by others for years.  The believer may be maintaining such a convincing show of external Christianity – it is never suspected.  Although they might be abounding in several open works, the real work of believing God left their heart long ago (John 6:28-29, Romans 4:5). Such a departure can fool the masses for a long time; but never Him (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A warning signal of apostasy approaching or being present is when ears are dull of hearing about God and His Word (Hebrews 5:11).  A hardened heart is not far behind.  Or, one has already been formed – maybe by God (Exodus 7:13).  In such a state, it’s hard to prick them again with talk about truth (Acts 2:37).  Passive belief permeates the being.  Apathy is soon to follow – with apostasy hot on its heels.

Apostasy has many causes – but the results are always the same.  Evil hearts of unbelief are born. Unbelief is no longer drawing back from one’s faith (Hebrews 10:38), but a departure from the living God (Hebrews 3:12-19).  It might begin by getting too complacent and comfortable with one’s Christianity.   A convenient faith is formed – one fitting in nicely with worldly plans, pursuits, and activities.

Going to church on Sunday and/or attending a weekly Bible study; but following and loving the world for the remainder of the week (1 John 2:15) – is having a convenient faith.  It isn’t consistent with steadfast belief.  Apostasy could be knocking on the door if one approaches belief in God like this.  If the extent of one’s life with Him remains restricted to weekly sermons and Bible studies, it may have been let in.

God does not recommend our committed love of Him. It is commanded before loving anything or anyone else (Matthew 22:36-38).  We can’t sit down to drink and dine with God and Satan at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21).  This makes us all about the Word one second – all about the world the next.  When the world gets favored, the Word has been temporarily abandoned.  If so, guess what seeds are taking root?

Even if we are completely devoted to God with our heart, mind, and soul – much of what goes on in the world today can make us question many things about God and His heavenly court system.  Apostasy can begin brewing if we don’t know where to find answers in His Word.  We may stew over why evil seems to be on the increase, and why God doesn’t appear to be doing much about it (Exodus 34:7, Nahum 1:3).

With spoiling and rioting abounding all around the globe now – it’s easy for some to see God’s laws as being slack, and wrong judgements proceeding from heaven (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  It is an understandable mindset when the righteous and merciful are taken too soon, while evil ones seem to keep getting away with too much wickedness (Isaiah 57:1, Ecclesiastes 8:11-13, Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3).

This can lead even the most devout Christians to doubt the eventual return of Jesus.  Causing some to ask, “Where is this promise of Christ coming back (2 Peter 3:3-4)?  Such uncertainty is the mark of an evil and apostate heart – one saying “My Lord delays His coming (Matthew 24:48).”  Implying God’s prophecies are lies or far off – it permits one to easily justify continuance of sinful living (Ezekiel 12:22-28).

Although inner apostasy is hard to detect by humans – outward apostasy is not.  It is apparent in the lives of Christians just by observing their actions, and listening to their words.  Apostasy appears to be speaking louder and clearer across a wide swath of the Christian landscape lately.  It doesn’t take inner spiritual discernment to decide it is happening, or external guessing or supposing.  It’s plainly exposed.

It comes across in Sunday sermons when preachers strut all over a stage puffed up in pride (1 Corinthians 4:6,19).  It comes across when TV pastors spend portions of a broadcast pitching their latest book and trying to get viewers to buy it (2 Peter 2:3).  It comes across when believers publicly boast about all their amazing works for God (Galatians 6:4) … or call constant attention to their faith (Romans 14:22).

Mostly through Timothy, Jude, and the book of Hebrews, God gives us a preview of all the signs pointing to apostasy’s existence – and proof its roots are being produced.  One of them is pride.  Pride will likely keep anyone lifted up in it – in a destructive state of denial about apostasy.  They will keep falling for Satan’s lies and into his condemnation – and resisted by God (1 Timothy 3:6, James 4:6).

Along with arrogant pride (1 Samuel 2:3), here are some other signs:  Men will be lovers of themselves, covetous, boasters, and blasphemers.  They’ll be disobedient to parents, unholy, and unthankful (2 Timothy 3:2).  They will be truce-breakers and false accusers without natural affection.  Incontinent (lacking restraint and self-control), fierce and despisers of those who are good (2 Timothy 3:3).

They will be traitors.  They will be heady and high-minded – loving pleasure more than God (2 Timothy 3:4, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Timothy 5:6, James 5:5). Having a form of godliness – but denying the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5).  Ever learning, and never able to come unto the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7).  Still minding earthly things with their belly as god (Philippians 3:19, Colossians 3:2).

Others will no longer contend for the faith, but will turn God’s grace into a license for lasciviousness (offensively and overt sexual desire) – and denying Him by doing so (Jude 1:3-4).  There will be those despising dominion or speaking evil of dignities (Jude 1:8).  God will be mocked as people walk after their own ungodly lusts (Jude 1:18).  Sensual – having separated from the Spirit in doing so (Jude 1:19).

At a time older and mature Christians should be teachers and speakers of sound doctrine – they will have need of being taught the principles of God’s oracles once again.  Unskilled with Scripture – and still requiring spiritual milk they should have been weaned from long ago (Titus 2:1, Hebrews 5:12-13, 1 Peter 2:2).  Never having their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:14).

All in all, apostasy will cause countless Christians to depart from their inner faith in Jesus – despite any external claims to the contrary.  Giving heed to the doctrine of devils and to seducing spirits (1 Timothy 4:1).  It’s all part of the falling away to occur on earth prior to the revelation of perdition’s son.  The one who will show he is God to all who did not receive the love of truth (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3,10).

Once faith and belief in life are established in another person – then lost – it is impossible to regain such in any unwavering fashion again.  There’ll always be a level of doubt or distrust.  The same goes with God. We can only fall away so far from our belief in Him before apostasy sets in.  If it does, all that is left to believe in, and be in bondage once again to – is the world (Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:20-22, 1 John 2:15).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– 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)

– Seek the Lord and His strength … seek His face continually. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

– Those who neglect to call on God have grown weary of Him. – Matthew Henry

How many times have we all lost or misplaced car keys?  What happened next?  Did we just stand there, throw our hands in the air, and say, “What am I going to do now?  All has been lost.  I guess I’m not going to drive anymore.”  One would hope not.  What did we set out to do?

Didn’t we go back and retrace our steps – back to the last place we knew we had them?  Didn’t we often find them somewhere along the way? Weren’t we diligent about our search?  How many times did we ever “not” find them – and actually have to go find a way to get new keys made?

Likewise with the Lord, we may have felt a keen sense of His presence before – but now it is gone.  If so, we may be saying/thinking things such as  “What am I going to do?  I’m lost.  I don’t have direction.” Such are signals we are not seeking for God very diligently with our whole heart (Deuteronomy 4:29).

God is where He’s always been – it is we who are not. Our Father fills the heaven and earth.  We cannot hide from His presence (Jeremiah 23:24).  God is acquainted with all of our ways (Psalm 139:3).  Just like any wayward animal, He is always searching out and seeking His sheep (Ezekiel 34:11).

If we can’t find Him, it is quite probable we are filling our schedules with so many activities, we don’t take time to be still – and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). It is hard when we are harried and hurried to stay still very long.  Long enough to hear His still, small voice for further instructions (1 Kings 19:12).

Remember, when the Pharaoh oppressed Israel – he wanted them so busy making bricks they would forget God (Exodus 5:8-9).  The same goes today.  Being busy is not the sign of being a better believer.  It is better to have a dry morsel and quietness, than a house full of sacrifices with strife (Proverbs 17:1).

The devil has countless devices trying to get anybody to deviate from the straight path to heaven’s gate (2 Corinthians 2:11, Matthew 7:14).  So he can take us captive at will – and devour us (2 Timothy 2:26, 1 Peter 5:8-9).  Well, the longer we lose sight of God – the easier it is for Satan to bite us (Jeremiah 2:32).

If Satan can’t make us feel bad – he will keep us busy.  Dee Wieninger once wrote, “The devil wants to keep us busy, tired, and frustrated.  As long as Satan can keep us bombarded with our emotional, physical and psychological needs unmet, he will keep us from our spiritual need of a closer walk with God.”

If we have lost touch with the Lord, we’ve likely gone somewhere on ahead without Him.  We are trying to step outside and beyond the boundaries of mutual abidance (John 15:1-6).  Just like car keys, if we would simply retrace our steps, we would find God right where we left Him.

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