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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know – not a cloak of covetousness.  God is witness. – 1 Thessalonians 2:5

– For I know not to give flattering titles.  In doing so, my Maker would soon take me away. – Job 32:22

Flattery is the handing out of insincere praise and compliments.  It is often excessive – and frequently spoken or written to further one’s own interests.  If present, it can appear as if one person is falling all over another with lots of effusive words like “Wow!” – or “That’s incredible!” – or “You’re simply amazing!”.

One-time usage of such can certainly help uplift and encourage another person who has been down for a while.  However, if this gushy and demonstrative talk becomes a regular practice – something a little more serious and ungodly is taking place.  We are trying to hide such sinful things as covetousness (lead verse).

God tells us we should certainly exhort each other daily, lest we be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).  Flattery is a sin.  It is one person showing partiality or playing favorites with somebody else … even among family, friends, or members of a faith (1 Timothy 5:21, James 2:1-4).

It is a fake and feigned attempt to obtain or maintain worldly admiration or advantage.  Sometimes, it is speaking great swelling words, telling other people how swell they are in order to accomplish this (Jude 1:16).  However, he who speaks flattery to his friends – even the eyes of his children – shall fall (Job 17:5).

Flattery is very dangerous because it can be spoken within churches (Ezekiel 12:24) – and/or directed at God.  It is the sign of a having a double-heart or mind – and it’s a mark of spiritual instability (Psalm 12:2, James 1:8).  It points to a heart not purified (James 4:8).  Flattering mouths work ruin (Proverbs 26:28).

When the Israelites were led through the wilderness, they kept sinning and did not believe God for all His works.  After He slew some – the rest returned to seek their Rock early each day.  It did not last.  They went right back to flattering God with their mouths – lying to Him with their tongues (Psalm 78:32-36).

Paul carefully avoided giving appearances of playing favorites or falling all over people with flattery.  God placed trust in him to speak words becoming sound doctrine (1 Thessalonians 2:4, Titus 2:1).  So it would never seem as if Paul was flapping his gums in any semblance of flattery just to sound good or godly.

God is long-suffering towards all of us.  Not willing that any should perish, but to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  Practicing flattery is not the truth.  It is not repenting as commanded (Acts 17:30).  Every Christian should know better not to speak with proud or flattering lips God promises to cut off (Psalm 12:3).

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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

– The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. – Proverbs 14:14

– Return, you backsliding children, and I (God) will heal your backslidings. – Jeremiah 3:22

Backsliding as a believer is never a positive thing – for it indicates still being filled with one’s own ways (lead verse).  It is slipping in personal faith – marking a heart, mind, and soul no longer earnestly heeding things first heard (Hebrews 2:1).  It feels like moving forward a few steps in faith some days, and tumbling backwards on others.  To and fro it goes – and it can become a perpetual path (Jeremiah 8:5).

Steady backsliding is caused by gravitating towards loving this world and its things again (1 John 2:15), or wavering back and forth between the world and Word (1 Corinthians 10:21).  It is not moving straight ahead towards salvation.  Traveling as such isn’t in accordance with God’s truth.  It signifies a moveable mind, a heart not set aright, and a spirit not steadfast with Him (Psalm 78:8, 1 Corinthians 15:58).

Such a course at any time demands a correction in direction.  A total turn-around towards God without shifting into reverse again somewhere down the road. It is an about-face setting affections on things above once again (Colossians 3:2).  Refusing to accept His assistance in healing any backsliding, or failure to heed instructions how to – is in err (second lead verse, Proverbs 10:17, Hebrews 12:25)

Backsliding indicates several undesirable attributes in a Christian.  It means one is relapsing into old and bad behavior (2 Corinthians 5:17).  It is losing resolve and giving into temptations – causing one to err once again against God’s ways (Psalm 95:10, James 1:14-16).  It’s an eternally dangerous departure from the narrow path to heaven, keeping one walking down the wide highway to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

The wicked one is always lying in wait for us when we slip.  Ready and willing to lead wavering, wandering, or backsliding believers away towards a shipwrecked faith (Ephesians 4:14, 2 Peter 3:17, 1 Timothy 1:19). Physical or spiritual, it is very difficult to salvage any vessel in such a state.  It’s hard to stand fast and live in the Lord if we’re ever spiritually drifting, slipping or falling away from God (1 Thessalonians 3:8).

God’s soul takes no pleasure in anyone drawing back from their faith (Hebrews 10:38, 11:6).  It signals falling for things of this world again, and fading away from the Word (1 John 2:15).  It is being unrepentant (Acts 17:30).  Walking with God in such a manner creates uncircumspect steps of stumbling and tripping along with the truth, paving a trail of much confusion (Ephesians 5:15, 1 Peter 2:6-8, 1 Corinthians 14:33).

Left continually unconfessed and unaddressed before God (1 John 1:9), backsliding makes us hold fast to our heart’s deceit from the womb (Jeremiah 8:5, Jeremiah 17:9) – refusing to search our ways and return to Him (Lamentations 3:40).  Sadly, some will still declare their salvation certain, despite walking so contrary to God; and constantly experiencing the pain of falling down a lot (Leviticus 26:23-24).

There really is a spiritual stairway with specific steps leading up heaven.  As the famous song mentions – there is still time to change the road we’re on – if it’s the wrong one.  If we should be sliding backwards more than moving ahead much, it can certainly feel like we are traveling along to the words of another old popular song by Paul Simon – “You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip, sliding away.”

However, if we follow these steps God’s way, He promises we will never fall, and an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into heaven (2 Peter 1:3-11).  It is why we must give diligence to make our calling and election as Christians sure (2 Peter 1:10).  Jesus warns we will be called robbers and thieves if we climb up any other way than God’s (John 10:1, Galatians 1:6).  Backsliding isn’t the right way.

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– “Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined.  But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:17

– No old roads lead to new destinations. – Israel Ayivor

We have all probably heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Well, God cannot teach an old person of the world – any new truths of His Word either – without them being born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5).  Without this happening, the human heart is still like an old wineskin.  When the new wine of His Word gets poured into an old skin – even to the brim – it breaks.  

It’s like a person who thinks they are a Christian by going to church each Sunday and attending some weekly Bible studies, but who also feels like Scripture never sticks.in their heart.  They don’t feel as if God’s Word is being revealed (Romans 16:25), but as if they have to keep revisiting the same verses and passages over and over.  And it is not very inspiring and uplifting – but vexing, tiring and upsetting.

Such is a sign of a false conversion.  False converts quite often feel as if they are on a constant roller-coaster ride of spiritual ups and downs – depending on the worldly situation or circumstance they might be currently facing (Philippians 2:14).  They tend to sputter spiritually, because everything of God’s Word they fill up with keeps spilling out – while the world stays stuck within – and prevails.

Their faith and belief tends to get tossed to and fro (Ephesians 4:14).  This is all eternally dangerous.  It is not the day-in, day-out steadfastness of faith God requires for salvation at the end (Hebrews 3:14, 2 Peter 3:17).  False converts are climbing up God’s staircase to heaven where Jesus awaits – the wrong way (2 Peter 1:5-11).  They are trying to rob their salvation (John 10:1).  Something has to change.

It is why we all have to be born again of the Holy Spirit at some point in our life to have any hope of inheriting the promise of eternity and heaven (John 3:5, Hebrews 9:15).  So God can then start teaching us how to compare spiritual things with the spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:13).  So we start bringing forth all the fruits meet with His commandment to repent (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).

So these fruits grow into maturity; and remain until we die (John 15:16).  So their seeds don’t have to keep being sown and regrown over and over again. So our whole spirit, soul, and body can be sanctified – and preserved blameless until Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  Otherwise, our hearts are still broken cisterns unable to hold any holy water – or the new spiritual wine of God’s Word (Jeremiah 2:13).

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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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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us – by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. – Titus 3:5

– Let us draw near with a true heart in all assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:22

When you were a kid, did you ever go outside and play in clean clothes your mother had just washed? How much time did it take – at times – for you to get them all covered with grime or grass stains again? When you came in, did your mom say something like, “Well, it sure didn’t take you long to get dirty, did it?” Perhaps this was followed by a heavy sigh, and “Guess I’ll just have to wash them all over again.”

A similar scene plays out daily for Christians.  Even though God’s Word resides in us by faith in Jesus (Ephesians 3:16-17), we still have to go outside into the world to live and work.  It often does not take long for our hearts to get filled and filthy with its grime.  If this dirt is not washed away on a regular basis by God, sin will begin to taint our talk once again (Luke 6:45, Ephesians 4:29, Colossians 3:8).

We know the benefits of regular bathing.  Clogged pores can create all kinds of skin problems if they remain uncleansed too long.  However, clogged hearts can create all kinds of sin problems if they remain unwashed too long.  We can wash outer skin daily with the soap and water of the world – but inner sin can only be cleansed daily – by the washing of our hearts with the water by the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

All hearts are desperately wicked from the womb – deceitful above all other things (Jeremiah 17:9).  This wickedness has to be washed away – so we may be saved (Jeremiah 4:14).  However, this has to be done from heaven.  God has to steadily scrub away our sins – washing them by the regeneration of the Holy Ghost.  If we resist our daily bath by failing to confess our sins (1 John 1:9), we remain dirty in them.

The longer dirt stays on clothes, the deeper it can set into the fabric.  It can often take repeated washings to remove any stains.  Likewise, the longer sin stays in our hearts, the deeper it can set into our souls.  It can take repeated washings from above.  Failing to repent on a daily basis is just repeating the sin cycle over and over.  Our old man cannot pass away if our hearts are not purified daily (2 Corinthians 5:17).

While this washing is going on, we are still walking around in the world and collecting more dirt from different sins.  More dirt requires more cleaning. However, this process will never make our heart completely clean and pure from sin (Proverbs 20:9). If we should ever believe we are completely clean from sin – we have made God a liar.  We deceive ourselves, and His truth is not in us (1 John 1:8-10).

If we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:3-7) – we have a well of water springing up inside us to eternal life (John 4:14).  We are still broken vessels if we should forsake this fountain (Jeremiah 2:13). However, if we believe in Jesus, we shall have rivers of living water flowing from our bellies (John 7:38-39).  We just have to bathe in it – for it is forever clean and pure, no matter how dirty our sins are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings.  Do not spare – lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. – Isaiah 54:2

– If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone – you are forced to expand your own consciousness. – Les Brown 

Our heart is a muscle – the most important one we all have.  If it stops beating – we stop being.  As with any muscle, our hearts require regular stretching and exercise – to keep them fit and healthy, and from being hurt.  Any physical body remaining stationary far too long starts to atrophy.  Muscles weaken and become ineffective.  Doing simple tasks can result in injury.  The same goes for our spiritual body.

It is like looking at a rubber band seeming far too tiny for a task at hand – at first.  However, if we should gently tug and twist it – without pulling too hard or fast – we might discover it eventually fits around something appearing far too large at the start.  Once the elastic has been stretched like this, it can never return to its original shape.  It is now ready to be wrapped around bigger things.

Bodily exercise profits little.  Spiritual exercise profits much – growing us daily into greater godliness (1 Timothy 4:8).  Stretching our hearts like this expands and enlarges them.  It creates additional room for God’s Word, adding weight to words we speak about Him.  It’s resistance training against Satan – so our spirit does not atrophy into a weak faith.  Physical injuries have to heal – so do spiritual.

This means we have to move as Christians.  It means more than just from the front door of our home – to the front door of our church on Sunday.  It is being led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1) – not by any Christian leader.  They were not baptized or crucified for us (1 Corinthians 1:13).  We may have to relocate far away from home.  Meeting new people there and strengthening the cords of new friendships.

Failing to move as guided makes it easy for the sin of stubbornness to set in (1 Samuel 15:23).  Stagnant spirits soon follow.  It can mean we like our current place in the world better – although we know inside it’s not the better place God wants us to be according to His Word.  Sitting there like a tiny rubber band meant for bigger things – but never having our hearts stretched to see what they can hold.

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