Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Matthew’


(KJV and NKJV Scripture references at the end)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But you, beloved – building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost.  Keep yourselves in the love of God … looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. – Jude 1:20-21

– The church is a gift from God – assembly is required. – Church sign in Florida

Would you go live in a house being built for you if it wasn’t finished yet?  Perhaps the roof wasn’t on, the windows weren’t in, and the electrical and water hookups hadn’t been made.  You might go over one day and walk around inside the framework of your house.  You might imagine what it would be like when finished – but moving in was not possible yet.

Incomplete physical structures are unfit to live or work in.  They also have to be built a certain way so they stand firm and solid when fully completed. Otherwise, they are eventually going to suffer damage or collapse from shoddy workmanship or materials.  One bad storm can bring down any structure – physical or spiritual.

However, God always knows what He is doing (Deuteronomy 32:4) … His only Son was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55).  Carpenters can’t just show up at a construction site one day and start guessing about what to do.  Imagine if Jesus had walked about on this earth with such an approach – without any knowledge of what God wanted done next.

Before a carpenter starts working on a physical structure, they have to know what they are building. They have to follow and abide by blueprints and instructions drawn up in advance.  First measuring, marking, and arranging the materials – before any construction starts.  These materials are then cut and shaped according to specifications.

Everything then begins to be fastened with nails, screws, staples, etc..  In the last stages of construction, the carpenter checks the accuracy of their work with things like levels, rules, and surveying equipment.  To make sure the building won’t fall – and is fit for someone to live or work in. The same goes for spiritual buildings (Isaiah 44:13).

We can’t have prefabricated buildings of belief to move into when we first become born-again Christians.  We can’t send our spiritual materials off somewhere to be put together.  So they are returned fully constructed a few weeks later.  They have to be built up in our hearts the right way from the start – starting with faith (2 Peter 1:5-11).

It takes longer.  We have to make sure one step is completed before moving to the next.  Jesus warned us about climbing the wrong way up to heaven (John 10:1).  If we start with temperance, then try to add faith – or start with faith, and skip the step of virtue – there’s a good chance we’ll have an up-and-down spiritual life – full of frustration.

Everything also has to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ as the chief cornerstone.  So everything is constructed according to His plan for our spiritual life – not ours.  So the building is fitly framed together unto a holy temple in the Lord – for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).

As Christians, we can lay no other foundation than what has already been laid in our hearts by God from above – which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). How things are assembled from this point on is essential to our spiritual stability.  Unless the Lord builds the house – we labor in vain if we try to do it ourselves (Psalm 127:1).

We have to keep our hearts with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23).  A careful and persistent effort daily – to ensure we are not building our Christian lives upon any other man’s foundation (Romans 15:20). This can happen when one thinks they have become a believer just by associating with Christian things (Luke 6:32-34); but not by the Holy Ghost.

Even being born again of the Spirit (John 3:5) – we can still build the wrong way – like adding worldly things to the Word.  We are God’s husbandry, and His building as Christians (1 Corinthians 3:9).  God gives us grace to be wise master builders.  We are to always take heed as to how our spiritual houses are being constructed (1 Corinthians 3:10-17).

Before anything else, we have to be positive about our calling and election (John 15:16, Philippians 2:12, 2 Peter 1:10).  If everything is assembled the way God has designed from that point on, He assures us we will never fall – if all steps are followed correctly.  So we won’t find heaven’s door locked (2 Peter 1:5-12).  We’re not there yet.

With proper construction, will be like a wise man who heard the words of Jesus – and did them (Luke 6:46).  Building his house upon the rock of God and salvation (2 Samuel 22:47).  So when the rains descended, and the flood came, and the winds blew, and beat upon the house – it did not fall.  For it was founded upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25),

If we assemble things only partially in our spiritual lives, or not in the proper order, problems are bound to arise.  If we build on the wrong – or a faulty foundation – our spiritual houses are likely heading for a fall.  We can’t see it when the weather is fair – but tiny fissures and cracks develop over time.  With each little shift in faith – with each little storm.

Then the big one hits.  Even with advanced warnings – homes can wash away.  If we failed to follow God’s instructions (Proverbs 8:33) – if we failed to hear Christ’s words – we’re like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  The rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat against it – and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:26-27).

Read Full Post »


(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass; seeing God has punished us less than we deserve – and has given us such great deliverance as this. – Ezra 9:13

– “Does he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded?  I think not.  So likewise you, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say ‘We are unprofitable servants – we have done that which is our duty to do’.” – Luke 17:9-10

The word “deserve” is  found just twice in the KJV; once above in Ezra – and once in Job 11:6, where we find God exacts less of us than our iniquities deserve. Neither verse has anything to do with anyone getting good things from God.  Instead, they involve Him withholding forms of discipline or correction we do deserve; and should receive for sinning – even as believers (1 John 1:8-10).

However, if God did punish us each time we transgressed against Him – imagine how painful our lives could really be.  If our every act of disobedience received a just recompense of reward, we might not love Him as much as we may proclaim.  Who among us would be able to stand before Him until salvation – if He caused grief every time we sin (Ezra 9:15, Hebrews 2:2-3)?

Doing something worthy of reward or punishment – or showing such qualities – is said to be deserving. We may deserve a raise in our careers for the work we do – or we might receive a sentence to die if we ever intentionally killed someone.  It would be deserved based on the evidence.  Regardless, we can spend our lives deciding what we deserve and don’t (usually good, not bad) – while someone else decides otherwise; including God.

Receiving worldly things in our favor can be called merit.  We labored hard and did good deeds – and we deserved them, right?  However, if we receive bothersome or burdensome trials we think are undeserved, we can call them mistakes.  But – God would never cause such troubles to us as His chosen, would He (Jeremiah 2:35, Jeremiah 5:12, Jeremiah 8:6, Colossians 3:5-6)?

Well, God does not operate on a worldly merit and mistake system – but on His Word’s basis of grace and mercy.  These are two forms of unmerited and undeserved favor with opposite meanings.  God’s grace kept Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah‘s total destruction – so His mercy would be magnified in saving Lot’s life … yet Lot hadn’t done a thing to merit either (Genesis 19:19,24).

Grace is free and unmerited favor.  It’s unearned – and gives us something we do not deserve.  It’s how God will save us – but His grace won’t be brought to us until Christ returns (Ephesians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:13). Until then, we get up every day because of God’s long-suffering towards us (2 Peter 3:9).  It’s because of His abundant mercies we are not fully consumed each morning (Lamentations 3:22, 1 Peter 1:3).

Mercy is also free and unmerited favor – but it keeps us from something we do deserve, such as sin’s wages (Romans 6:23).  However, our modern world of merchandise may have many thinking otherwise.   If we keep buying products, flying in planes, or even just try something out – we deserve to get back something extra often touted as free – but which usually comes with a prior price tag.

This type of “rewards for everything” culture seems to exist almost everywhere today in modern society. It was fueled largely at first by the advertising world. It started by telling people – and selling them on the point they deserved something back by spending dollars.  Purchases would earn reward points to redeem later – or what was the point of buying anything?

Christians are not immune from this message of deserving for doing almost anything.  If we invest/spend time, money, or love in the world – a mindset can be that someone should give us back what’s been earned according to prior expectations. Unskilled and unlearned Christians in the Word are susceptible to this.  They can unconditionally equate belief to deserved blessings – often to destruction (Hebrews 5:13-14, 2 Peter 3:16).

Even the learned don’t always learn.  In Micah’s days, priests judged for reward, taught for hire, and prophesied for money (Micah 3:11).  People who professed to love Him with their lips (Psalm 78:36, Matthew 15:8, Titus 1:16) – but only followed Him in their hearts for a love of personal presents.  It was seen as vain to keep His ordinances otherwise (Isaiah 1:23, Malachi 3:14).

God sees it all – nothing is ever new to Him (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Others in Old Testament times saw no profit to themselves by serving Him, praying, even being cleansed from sin (Job 21;15, Job 34:9, Job 35:3).  God also knows those of us today who are faking our faith.  Pretending to love – not fervently and unfeigned – but to receive some sort of benefit from above (1 Peter 1:22).

Our Father warns us several times in the New Testament there will be people today – and in the days to come – just like this.  With covetousness and feigned words, some will make merchandise of us (2 Peter 2:3-4).  Whole houses will be subverted for filthy lucre (Titus 1:10-16).  By those with a ready mind for money (1 Peter 5:2) – charging for God’s free message (2 Corinthians 11:9).

If we file into such churches and buy into their misguided messages, and allow ourselves to be deceived by the vain words of any man or woman; no matter how great and wise a Christian they may seem (Job 32:9) – to their worldly profit, we are lightly esteeming our Savior (Deuteronomy 32:15). We are being very disobedient children (Ephesians 5:6).  Both Jesus and God do not deserve this kind of treatment.

In the most selfless display of love ever, God decided His only Son deserved to die for our sins – a worthy lamb without spot or blemish (John 3:16, 1 Peter 1:19).  Jesus – the one without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), the one with no guile ever found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22), the one who did not deserve to die for anything he ever did – did.  So by God’s grace, Christ would taste death for all (Hebrews 2:9).

Believers or unbelievers, God does not “owe” anyone anything, at anytime – ever.  The Lord has already given us everything He could ever give.  As Christians, we can’t go around counting up all our righteousness acts and wonderful works, then redeem them for worldly blessings from above. We’ve overcome the world – having been redeemed from the grave by God through His Son’s redemptive blood (1 Peter 1:9, 1 John 5:4).

Therefore, any work we do for God is always as unprofitable servants (second lead verse).  Any type of deserving attitude simply reverses servitude and merit back on ourselves.  Christ died in vain if that is ever our mindset.  It’s our duty to do all He commands – especially repentance unto salvation (Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10).  Remission of sins is not a recommendation.

A debt is something owed – such as money, goods, or services.  It is an obligation to repay or render the same in return.  Our Father is never in debt to us. We owe Him everything – including giving our lives if need be (John 15:13) – for what He did for us at Calvary.  This is not reckoned of grace – but out of our debt to Him (Romans 4:4).  We have already received God’s very best.  Our Father deserves our very best to serve Him in return – always.

Read Full Post »


(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Keep your heart with all diligence – for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Being diligent is being careful – persistently without pause.  Sadly, we can sometimes take better and more consistent care of our cars than our hearts. These hearts we have are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  It takes dedicated diligence and discipline throughout every day to guard them.

To keep them from being distracted, discouraged, and disappointed by all of Satan‘s subtle devices.  We cannot be ignorant of them – or he will gain advantage of our hearts, minds, and souls (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Without our shield of faith, his fiery darts will hit and ignite blazes in them – time and again (Ephesians 6:16)

We are to give all diligence to our faith, then adding to it virtue.  To virtue, we add knowledge – to knowledge, temperance.  To temperance we add patience – to patience, godliness.  To godliness, we add charity (2 Peter 1:4-7).  These all keep our hearts from being corrupted by the world again – and from being blinded by its bright lights (2 Peter 1:4,9, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

We have to live in this world.  However, we are to no longer lust and long for the lies it offers – of which the devil is father of (John 8:44, Titus 2:12).  Still, we are going to witness immoral and ungodly behavior wherever we go.  We can’t avoid such things completely – unless we are literally living under a rock.

Jesus Christ said such things cannot defile us by themselves (Matthew 15:11).  But – our hearts are like vessels – containers which are continually filled and emptied with either the world or Word.  We are to be diligent as to which one we keep more of in our hearts.  Before they are filled to the brim – before they break and burst – and something hurtful comes blurting out of our mouths (Matthew 15:18-20).

If we are holding more of the world – we’re withholding space for the Word – and vice versa. Whatever abounds – is bound to come forth in our words and actions – for out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  And, life and death are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).

Read Full Post »


(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro – and carried about with every wind of doctrine – by sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to destroy. – Ephesians 4:14

– “I find myself adrift these days, an endless maze of ends and ways – the world seems so crazy to be here.” – “Peaceable Kingdom“, words and music by Rob Carlson, copyright 1974

Every boat on the water has to be following some sort of pre-set course.  Even if it is just going out from shore and back each day – much like a lobsterman might set out to set traps, or see what’s in them – then head back home at dusk.  Whatever the vessel – it requires a steering mechanism to get where it’s going.  A navigational system is also needed to show the captain how to get there.

No matter the size, all ships also have to have ballast.  Even the biggest boats require something for balance – to keep then from getting tossed to and fro during storms.  Without something to stabilize any ship – it will start to list – leaning slightly or significantly to one side or another.  Any wild weather will most likely tip it over – or cause a shipwreck where the boat breaks apart and debris starts floating away.

Pieces of the ship are no longer moored – and they are only steered whichever way the winds and water send them.  This is known as being adrift.  Once this happens – drifting follows, a continuous movement from one place to another – without any definitive direction.  It becomes a steady motion, moving forwards or backwards – side to side – more so when the seas are stormy; less when they subside.

This is known as “to and fro”.  A good example on land would be watching bustling shoppers going “to and fro” from store to store to buy gifts at Christmas. Some go one way – some go another – blending into one big blur of busy-ness.  God warns us to guard against this type of life as believers – as it can sometimes seem – for someone is always lying in wait to trap and destroy us (lead verse).

I seem to see and talk to a lot of dazed Christians – who appear to be adrift these days.  They can be pew passengers sitting inside the seeming comfort of a giant ship – a mega-church sanctuary – but there is no true ballast of belief.  Even in smaller churches – they appear to be listing.  Leaning towards love and worship of the Word – then listing towards lusts and wants of this world … to and fro it goes.

We can’t have a moral and immoral compass on the seas of life at the same time (1 Corinthians 10:21). Our moral compass as Christians is the conviction we have about following Jesus – with steadfast confidence (with faith) we’re being guided towards salvation (Hebrews 3:14).  Remember what happened to Peter when he was walking across the windy water – and took his eyes off Christ (Matthew 14:24-30)?

If we have any type of immoral compass, we’ll remain at least partially trapped in the confusion and corruption of this planet (1 Peter 2:6, 2 Peter 2:20-21).  Our worldly wants (Psalm 23:1) will win out from time to time over the Word.  We’ll go to and fro – back and forth between sound and unsound doctrine.  Sound doctrine is not hearing words which just sound good – as if they will personally benefit and bless us (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

We may not detect distant storms brewing this way. It can be a full-steam ahead attitude because everything seems presently calm in our Christian lives.  So far – it may have seemed to be smooth sailing for the most part.  However, somebody is always lying in wait just below the water’s surface on either side trying to sink us.  His name is Satan – subtly setting traps of lies to trick us into believing something is truth (John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 11:3).

A lot of hurt was waiting on Job’s horizon – and he never saw the storm coming (Job 1:13-19).  Satan did – and God allowed it to hit very hard.  Why?  One reason was Job had become the chief captain of his own ship.  Whether he steered it right or left – it was the right way to go in his own eyes.  God wasn’t Job’s guide anymore – just a guest on his boat.  He was no longer acknowledging and trusting God as his captain and compass.

It might be said Job was sailing smugly in the “I” of his own storm (John 7:18).  Not only was he his own pilot – he was choosing out the course of others as well (Job 29:14-25).  Whether Job was putting them on the path of future peril – did not seem to faze him.  Satan saw this all.  He had been going to and fro in the earth – and walking up and down in it – seeking whom he could devour (Job 1:7, 1 Peter 5:8).

Job was drifting towards destruction (Proverbs 16:2,25).  When devastation hit – nobody could believe it.  His three friends sat silent with him for a week trying to figure it all out (Job 2:11-13).  When all started speaking – everyone drifted to and fro between their respective opinions.  None of them were right per the Lord, to His wrath – and none righted Job’s ship.  God did by humbling him (Job 3:1-42:8).

If anyone feels adrift these days as a believer – it has to be largely in part because of a conscious and daily decision about who is being allowed at all times to be their guide out on the waters of worship and life (Joshua 24:15).  Why would He steer us the wrong way if we look to Him and obey?  God is our only guide all the way to death (Psalm 48:14).  We can’t declare our own paths – and then put God on board our ships of salvation as a mere passenger.

As the lyrics to the lead song allude to, this world is a labyrinth of many lies.  If we keep listening to them while still trying to sail true to the truth of the Word – we can’t help but start listing.  Satan is always lying in wait – on either side of our ships of faith.  Waiting for us to trip and fall overboard – catching us at will in his snares of sin again (1 Timothy 3:7, 2 Timothy 2:26).  Yes, drifting is a very dangerous state to be in as a believer.

It puts us in a constant state of flux – floating between things of the world and Word – whichever has our focus at any given time (Colossians 3:2). Our faith can get tossed to and fro – from being fervent to feigned, and back again – perhaps depending on how our life with the Lord seems to be personally favoring us at the present time.  We have no definitive direction each day.

We can still feel lost as Christians – if a lot of our godly devotion is still being determined by the want of worldly gifts and rewards (Isaiah 1:23).  We’re leaning one day on our own worldly understanding – then leaning back to the Lord when we don’t understand what’s going on (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Back and forth we go until the storm hits.  Then we’re tossed to and fro – and not sure where to go anymore.

If our constant compass as Christians is not Jesus, if we have not turned complete control over to the shepherd and bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25, 1 Peter 5:7) – and we don’t have a good conscience about our current course, it probably won’t be long before our faith is finally shipwrecked (1 Timothy 1:19).  Our boats of belief break apart because we had no true ballast to keep them grounded.  We’re set adrift.  Some may already be there.

Read Full Post »


(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

Give us this day our daily bread. – Luke 11:3

– “Behold, the days come,” says the Lord, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water – but of hearing the words of the Lord.” – Amos 8:11

The Bible is our living water – and our daily bread (John 7:38, lead verse).  It is where we get our faith (Romans 10:17).  If our souls are not receiving their sustenance from Scripture, then where?  What are we feeding our hearts with, and filling up on?  If not the justice and truths of the Word – first its spiritual milk, then meat (1 Peter 2:2, Hebrews 5:14) – won’t our food be the junk and lies of this world?

Is our nourishment coming from its seemingly endless needs and wants?  Those God has already assured us He will provide – knowing what they are beforehand – so we don’t have to worry about them (Psalm 23:1, Matthew 6:8, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).  Or, manna from heaven – from which He can divide and multiply the most minutest of morsels – and feed multitudes with (Matthew 14:19-21).

Without partaking of God’s daily bread – our lives can become stale and stagnant.  We can start to stumble as they begin to crumble – and we trip over the very wreckage of worldly lives we built up for ourselves. Ones we may have thought would fill our souls once and for all.  But, we’re starving for satisfaction once again – food to ease the hunger pains in our hearts.

People all over this planet are suffering from physical hunger – much of it caused by famine.  However, there seems to be a greater drought – a spiritual one created by a lack of hope in many human hearts – and a sense of no way out.  As believers, our job is to put our hands to the plow – sowing seeds of salvation – and not looking back (Luke 9:62).

Our seed is God’s Word (Luke 8:11).  Our message is the Messiah – all of mankind’s only hope of being made partakers of His eternal and heavenly meal – a supper being prepared for those of us who seek out the poor, maimed, halt and blind (Luke 14:16-24). Blessed are we who do this, and who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God (Luke 14:15).

Our Father is long-suffering towards all – but He has limits (2 Peter 3:9).  The time is coming when God will send a famine in the land – a famine for hearing His Word (second lead verse).  And people shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north to the east; they shall run to and fro seeking it – and not be able to find it (Amos 8:12).

The clock is ticking closer to the midnight hour when our bridegroom in Christ returns (Matthew 25:6).  A heavenly banquet awaits.  Where there will be no more hunger or thirst – no pains of starvation, no parchment from lack of water – ever again (Revelation 7:16).  Let’s help others become partakers of eternal bread – before it’s too late.

Read Full Post »


– Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness? – 2 Corinthians 6:14

When God speaks to us through Scripture about not being unequally yoked, believers with unbelievers, it doesn’t mean we are to avoid them altogether.  The lost are still perishing – and God does not wish for anyone to do so (2 Peter 3:9); nor should we.  The gospel is still hidden to them – and the preaching of the Cross is still foolishness (2 Corinthians 4:3, 1 Corinthians 1:18).

How will they hear about the hope we have as Christians without a preacher (Romans 10:14)? Remember, the Pharisees did not like it when Jesus sat down to eat and drink with the publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:10-11).  But – how were they going to hear God’s truths if Christ wasn’t teaching such to them?

Not being unequally yoked with unbelievers means we don’t go everywhere and do everything they do. Like two oxen hitched together, who “have” to go in each other’s direction – who don’t have the ability or choice to detach themselves.  We do.  We can choose to go after their worldly ways of the lost, because it might mean lots of mutual fun or favor at times (Joshua 24:15).

Or, we can guide them towards the Cross and the ways of God, who broke our yoke of bondage to death and this world when Christ overcame it (Hebrews 2:9-15, John 16:33).  A world we are to no longer be entangled in the pollution of (2 Peter 2:20). However, isn’t that easy to do if we should hitch our wagons to ways of the world – instead of tying them to the truth of the Word?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: