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Posts Tagged ‘Grace’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But grow in grace, and in the knowledge or our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 3:18

– Behold now, Your servant has found grace in Your sight, and You have magnified Your mercy in saving my life. – Genesis 19:19

Grace is unmerited favor.  It gives people something they do not deserve.  It is giving others benefit of the doubt.  It hearing them out about a matter – instead of jumping in with a piece of mind, or to a conclusion and passing judgement too speedily.  It is allowing another person extra time to do something when deadlines have already been set and established.

It was God’s grace that sent His Son to the Cross (Hebrews 2:9), giving Christ something not deserved – death.  So we might live through Jesus (1 John 4:9) and be kept from something we all deserve from birth (2 Corinthians 1:9).  This is called mercy.  Mercy is also unmerited favor.  Mercy is how we make it out of bed each morning of our life (Lamentations 3:22-23).

God will have judgement without mercy upon anyone who shows no mercy to others; for mercy rejoices against judgement (James 2:13).  Christians are to grow in grace and in knowledge of Jesus (lead verse), or else it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27).  It gives him space to lead believers away in err (2 Peter 3:17), if they forget what grace and mercy mean.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Only by pride cometh contention; but with the well advised is wisdom. – Proverbs 13:10

– Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! – Isaiah 45:9

The simplest definition of “contention” means being opposed to something or someone.  Carried out to extremes, it develops a zeal to emerge as the winner in arguments or debates with anybody – including with God.  Contentment usually only comes with victories – while losses often generate contempt.

Any contention in life develops an existence of strife, discord, or disagreement with any number of people. It does the same with our Father above.  Contentious opposition to His ways can birth enmity or bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), leading to discontent lives of always questioning Him in an air of conflict and quarreling.

It’s a sign of having a carnal mind still conformed to the world; not renewed and transformed by His truth yet (Romans 8:7, 12:2).  It creates spiritual stress, struggles, or stagnation – and a burdensome, heavy yoke (Matthew 11:30).  It often creates a confusion God is never the author of (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Contention is a state of dissention with heaven.  It keeps hearts far from it – even though lips may speak many feigned words to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  It’s not growing in God’s grace, but it gives place to the devil – and space for his many devices of devouring (2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:27, 2 Corinthians 2:11).

It is sin – for only by pride does it arise (lead verse). It is being at odds with God – at any time, for any reason.  It is disobedient complaining coming from a lack of faith and trust – and this is displeasing to Him (Numbers 11:1, Philippians 2:14, Hebrews 11:6).  It is walking contrary to His ways (Leviticus 26:27-28).

To contend, or being in any contention with God is ungodly.  Some synonyms for both words reflect this, such as conflict and friction.  It’s hard to walk with anyone in such disharmony (Amos 3:3).  People can only disagree with others for so long, before they say “so long.”  The same goes with God (Hebrews 3:12).

Contention implies God does not know what He is doing.  It suggests He is unfair (Ezekiel 33:20), lying (Hebrews 6:18), or wrongly judging because violence, spoiling, and strife abound (Habakkuk 1:3-4).  Those contentious with God tend to perceive their goodness or innocence (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).

However, our Father is always right – His ways are perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Contention with Him says He is not – and makes mistakes.  If we say we’re Christians, then we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We’ve been reconciled back to God into one body by the Cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:16).

Reconciliation means being brought into agreement and alignment with something or someone.  If we are Christians, then it is God.  Contention prohibits any concurrence with Him.  If we claim belief, then we always agree with God.  If we don’t, we are devoid of the truth, despite any claims to the contrary.

Our Father’s commandments are not meant to be grievous, but to grow us up into mature Christians (1 John 5:3).  Contentions against Him grieve the Holy Spirit – and we’re warned not to do this (Ephesians 4:30).  When we do, it upsets and saddens God.  It shows we haven’t learned Christ (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Remember, our Father causes and creates all things in life – light and dark, good and evil (Isaiah 45:7). However, He will never grieve or afflict us willingly without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  Griping or grumbling about troubles or trials in life is not the way to grow spiritually and in grace (2 Peter 3:18).

We must look within at sin still not confessed and corrected as the source of any difficulty with Him.  Sin angers God, especially when committed by Christians who cannot be ignorant about His command to repent (Acts 17:30).  Otherwise, complaining and contention with Him are bound to begin (Lamentations 3:39).

If contentious arguing arises against God, it is being lifted up in the same arrogant pride that got Satan cast out from heaven (1 Samuel 2:3, Proverbs 16:18, Luke 10:18).  Christian novices are prone to prideful contention – and this puts them in danger of falling into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6).

New believers are unlearned and unstable.  They still wrestle with Scripture and require a lot of spiritual milk.  The Bible is hard to understand (1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:16).  It includes those who should be teachers by now; but who have to keep being retaught the first principles of God’s oracles (Hebrews 5:12).

Contention can also be fostered by failing to speak or preach wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  Instead, it is putting a personal “spin” on Scripture.  With catchy quotes or phrases sounding very spiritual and godly, but being unable to affirm them with His Word (1 Timothy 1:7)

However, this is swerving from the truth (1 Timothy 1:6), and being removed to another gospel (Galatians 1:6).  This is how people get deceived by vain words (Ephesians 5:6).  Contention has likely led to rewrites of Scripture into many new versions so they sound more agreeable to man (Revelation 22:18-19).

Whatever the cause, contention is never a good state to be in very long.  Satan roars around like a starving lion, waiting to lead us away in err (1 Peter 5:8-9, James 1:16, 2 Peter 3:17).  The devil is our 24/7 accuser (Revelation 12:10).  Stirring up contention with God is a deadly device he uses to devour souls.

This doesn’t mean we will never be contentious with others – even with believers.  We were all raised in the world first, and have various viewpoints, theories, and opinions about life we may still be entangled in (2 Timothy 2:4).  Jesus has to untangle these so we stop minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19).

These can lead to sometimes heated disagreements with each other.  In the book of Acts, contention separated two brothers in Jesus.  What happened would be similar to a group of church elders today unable to agree on who to send on a mission trip. However, why it happened merits some examination.

Paul and Barnabas were at an impasse about whether to take John Mark – the cousin of Barnabas – as a third companion to go visit brothers in cities they had previously preached in.  They wanted to see how these brothers were faring.  The contention was so sharp, they went separate ways (Acts 15:36-39).

Scripture reveals they never met face to face again. Still, Paul later makes favorable mention of Barnabas (1 Corinthians 9:6), and expresses a desire for John Mark to join him in ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).  Even though Barnabas and Paul disagreed, they did not end up making a mountain out of a molehill.

Also, keep in mind their dissension did not involve Scriptural content or doctrinal issues.  They did not engage in profane or vain babblings about the Bible (1 Timothy 6:20, 2 Timothy 2:16).  The split between the two men involved a personal dispute based upon a judgement call on who to take with them.

To their credit, neither Paul or Barnabas permitted the contention to sideline them from personal efforts in spreading God’s Word.  Yes, it was prideful and partial (1 Timothy 5:21).  However, they didn’t allow their inability to arrive at a decision to get them angry enough to sin more against God (Ephesians 4:26).

There will always be times when brothers and sisters in Christ will not see eye-to-eye in matters of opinion. However, the important thing is how we respond.  Do we mope, sulk, and stew because somebody didn’t agree with our point of view – or do we stay focused on doing God’s will, regardless of disagreements?

Paul and Barnabas pushed forward, putting their hand to the plow (Luke 9:62).  As a result, more work was done for God because of how they handled their rift. They didn’t permit it to spoil them spiritually.  They didn’t let it fester and end up getting the best of them in ignorance of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).

There’ll be several situations throughout life leading to potential strife, dissention, or disagreement.  It’s even understandable between Christians, depending on the progress of their spiritual growth.  We still have to live in the world, but we have to watch with caution what we’re filling our hearts with (Luke 6:45).

Even with the Spirit inside us, our flesh lusts against it, and vice versa.  We don’t always say or do things we want to or should (Romans 7:18-19, Galatians 5:17).  However, contention is strife, and strife leads to evil works (James 3:16).  Individually, or in the churches where it has no place (1 Corinthians 11:16).

God tells us to take heed because we can easily be consumed if we continue biting and devouring each other in any contention (Galatians 5:15).  This shows a total lack of devotion to God’s ways and discipline in our walk with Him.  There’s no rest in life (Proverbs 29:9).  Contention makes people tense and on edge.

This is why we are well-advised to learn godly wisdom (lead verse).  It is letting God tame our unruly and evil tongues by His truth (James 3:8) – learning like David how to ask Him to set a guard over our lips (Psalm 141:3).  So our words are few and we refrain from rash talk (Ecclesiastes 5:2, Proverbs 10:19).

Strife in life leads to a lot of wrong, unrighteous, and ungodly thinking (Philippians 4:8).  Precious time is wasted and mental energy is spent dreaming up ways trying to prove a point on any topic, even Scripture, to those we disagree with.  Giving them a piece of our mind can’t lead to peace of mind (Philippians 4:9).

No thought can be hid from our Father (Job 42:2) – God knows them all (Ezekiel 11:5).  Even if we may think our contention is hidden to the masses in our mind, it is immediately manifest before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).  We can fool others with feigned and fake faith, but not God (Jeremiah 3:10).

We can also go out and speak the most convicting words about God – then come back home and rail accusations against Him behind closed doors about something we think He is doing wrong.  However God knows our abode; when we come and go.  If we rage against Him like this, it can’t be hid (2 Kings 19:27).

Many things increase vanity in this life and contention with God is one (Ecclesiastes 6:10-11).  It is counter-productive to bringing forth spiritual fruit meet with our commandment to repent of sins (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  Who are we to contend with God and command Him (Job 40:2)?

Contention with God shows Him we desire to establish our own righteousness and then declare it as such – just as the Israelites did.  However, it’s not submitting to His righteousness (Romans 10:3).  Instead, it is subversive and condemns Him.  If we do, we disannul His judgment, just so we can be righteous (Job 40:8).

Contention is everything but peace.  It is sin and it is ungodly.  We are to follow peace with all men, and holiness or we won’t see God (Hebrews 12:14).  If we should stay ungodly by blaming Him for our problems in prideful contention, and fail to repent of our ways, we will not stand in the judgement (Psalm 1:5).

Therefore, God tells us to avoid foolish questions, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law. They are unprofitable, and vain (Titus 3:9).  Starting strife is like opening floodgates to release dammed up water.  So we don’t meddle with contention, we’re to walk away from it, before it begins (Proverbs 17:14).

However, there is one thing we all have to contend for – and earnestly, meaning intently and seriously.  It is the faith once delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  It is the kind Jesus wonders about; if it will be found upon returning (Luke 18:8).  It means we have to be in contention with the devil (Proverbs 28:4).

It means we have to hold fast.  It is keeping our souls from straying by having them firmly secured by the anchor of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  This is so we hold fast to instructions from God (Proverbs 4:13), the profession of our faith without wavering (Hebrews 10:23), and all that is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

It is so we can hold fast to the form of sound words (2 Timothy 1:13).  So we hold fast and repent unto salvation as commanded – or perish (Revelation 3:3, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Luke 13:3,5).  If we don’t it will be easy to backslide into contentious ways – and hold fast to deceit (Jeremiah 8:5-6).

Prideful deceit is the state of our heart from the start of life (Jeremiah 17:9, Obadiah 1:3, 1 John 2:16).  If we should keep slipping (Hebrews 2:1) back to it as believers, we swerve from a good conscience, to contention again with God (1 Timothy 1:5-6).  It’s how we veer off the straight path (Matthew 7:14).

Straying in any contention too long is staying in uncorrected sin.  It’s failing to consider the eternal consequences of disobedience (2 Thessalonians 1:8). If we remain in contention too long, we will have no excuse if God says to us when we meet Him, “Depart from Me, for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– We are unprofitable servants.  We have done that which was our duty to do. – Luke 17:10

– And turn ye not aside; for then should ye go after vain things which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. – 1 Samuel 12:21

Most people who have jobs probably like and enjoy receiving small tokens of appreciation from time to time for their good work.  Every now and then, it is also nice to receive some raises, bonuses, and an occasional promotion.  Otherwise, who would ever want to keep working for any company that never noticed the efforts of those who worked for them?

Being unappreciated can cause some to start seeking new jobs elsewhere – maybe a different place where supervisors are known to openly show their gratitude for work well done on a regular basis.  Efforts usually feel much more worthwhile when tangible rewards are given.  However, such desires in any Christian doing work for God reveal a dangerous and worldly mind.  

A mind where believers expect recognition, love gifts, and follow after earthly reward or profit for all they do in the Lord’s name.  It is no different now than it was back in Biblical days (Hosea 9:1, Isaiah 1:23, Malachi 3:14).  However, we don’t do a little bit of work for God, then sit back and wait for blessings and rewards before going out to work some more (Luke 17:7-10).

All of the work we do for God is our reward.  It is not a means to get one.  It is reckoned of debt, not grace (Romans 4:4).  We’re to do our duty as commanded. Not for what we may think is due back in return – but for what God gave us at the Cross.  Christ paid the ultimate price.  Therefore, He doesn’t owe us a thing in life.  We are the ones who owe Him everything.

We are God’s unprofitable servants on this earth – not profitable employees.  The King is served by the field. It is not the other way around (Ecclesiastes 5:9).  We did not bring anything into this world, and it is certain we cannot carry anything out (1 Timothy 6:7).  All the earthly blessings we may think God is bestowing upon us in our life – will be left behind when we die.

God tells us to take heed if we depart from Him and turn aside after Satan in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19, 1 Timothy 5:15).  Part of unbelief is if we run greedily after the error of Baal (Jude 1:11).  Baal is where we get Beelzebub (2 Kings 1:6).  Satan is worshipped and served more if we think we should be served with profit from God.  It makes Him a liar (Romans 1:25).

This is holding the truth in unrighteousness, and it is having a foolish heart (Romans 1:18-21).  Such belief says He should be thanking and giving us His glory for being such good Christians (Mark 10:18) – falling all over us with worldly favor and blessings (Romans 2:11).  This is a lack of understanding.  It is seeking earthly good; but not seeking God (Romans 3:11-12).

A worldly mind equates work with wages.  Good and steadily dedicated work over time may be rewarded with a raise.  However, if we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5), we have been given Christ’s mind (1 Corinthians 2:16).  It says to humbly obey God until death just as Jesus did (Philippians 2:8) – without earthly profit or gain on the way (Jude 1:11).

God requires us to have an unwavering walk with His Son down heaven’s narrow path (Matthew 7:14).  If we ever anticipate any worldly presents and blessings from Him for work we do, we don’t have the steadfast faith needed to be made partakers of Jesus at the end (Hebrews 3:14).  What we have is a desire for steady profit; which actually creates a stop-and-go walk.

We’re saying to Him we will obey and do our duty a short while – then stop and collect our reward first before we proceed any further (Luke 17:7-10).  It is telling Him we still have affections focused on fleeting worldly things as a reason to stay faithful; and not on things above (Colossians 3:2).  We are still laying up treasures for ourselves on earth (Matthew 6:19-20).

We are plainly letting Him know we are still seeking a better country here; and not willing to wait with the confidence and patience required for a better country awaiting in heaven (Hebrews 10:35-36, 11:13-15). However, what does it matter if we should gain a whole world of profit during our brief life (James 4:14) – if we lose our soul in the end (Mark 8:36)?

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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