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Posts Tagged ‘heaven’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Do all things without murmurings and disputings, – Philippians 2:14

– Use hospitality to one another without grudging. – 1 Peter 4:9

Complaining is a joy and time stealer.  It can make a soul feel weary and worn-out if it persists day in and day out (Job 10:1). it is also a sin very displeasing to our Father as all transgressions against His truth do, It keeps one on destruction’s broad road (Numbers 11:1, Matthew 7:13) and off the straight and narrow avenue to heaven’s gate (Matthew 7:14). Why?

It gives a place for the devil (Ephesians 4:27), to use his devices designed to first gain an advantage over (2 Corinthians 2:11), then slowly devour and destroy souls given to grudging and griping.  One cannot grow in grace this way.  It is how Satan leads people away in the err of the wicked (2 Peter 3:17-18), sometimes all the way to shipwrecked faiths (1 Timothy 1:19).

Grousing and grumbling breed ungodly impatience (Hebrews 10:36, Revelation 14:12), irritation, and annoyance over the littlest interruptions, unexpected delays, having to wait anywhere, and other perceived nuisances keeping life from being “just right” for long. Something’s always wrong,  It is too hot, too cold, too fast, too slow – making everything constantly so-so.

Habitual complainers play the blame game throughout their life.  It is an existence of passing the buck that started in the Garden of Eden – and hasn’t topped for some since (Genesis 3:9-13).  If you should mention any difficulty or problem they’re facing, the fault is never with them.  It is easier to point the finger of blame outwards or upwards than back at themselves.

One reason why hell and destruction will never be full is because complainers are never truly satisfied with anything or anyone (Proverbs 27:20).  They cannot be content in whatever state they are in for too long (Philippians 4:11) as their eyes are always scanning the nearest horizon.  Ever searching for something to grouse about, or someone to do the same thing with.

Why would God allow souls to gain heaven, if all they did was complained on earth?  They’d be so unhappy forever.  Halos would always be a bit too loose or too tight, angelic robes would never fit quite right, and off-key harps would cause day and night harping.  All the while, they would be whining about why they had to be God’s servant for an eternity (Revelation 22:3).

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– A lord on whose hand the king leaned, answered the man of God and said, “Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?”  And, Elisha said, “Behold, you will see it with your own eyes – but you shall not eat thereof.” – 2 Kings 7:2

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have windows in heaven to see what goes on behind the Pearly Gates on a regular basis?  A lord back in the Old Testament wanted such a thing – because he would not take God at His word.  Even though He had already promised to end a long Samarian famine in exactly 24 hours and provided exact details about the provisions, He didn’t say how it would come to pass (2 Kings 7:1,3-16).

Despite God’s assurance, all this lord could see were dry skies and hear nothing but the rumbling of empty, hungry stomachs.  He could not perceive anything but more starvation.  So, he wanted some proof – not a promise.  Well, God delivered as declared.  Everyone had food to eat and share.  Except this man – whose doubt shut him out from the bounty.  God killed him for his lack of faith (2 King 7:17-20, Hebrews 11:1).

There’s an old saying of “Be careful what you wish for.”  What we may want to have or see, can be quite different when actually before us.  It can be a far cry from what we might have perfectly imagined in our minds beforehand.  Many may wonder what a God who does not sleep (Psalm 121:4) keeps busy with sitting upon this earth’s circle (Isaiah 40:22).  What would we really see if we could peek into heaven?

Would we see how God goes about performing a much-needed miracle in someone’s life?  Perhaps. Would we view how He arranges for an unexpected blessing to be bestowed on a desperate soul?  Maybe. Would we witness how He orchestrates the death of someone?  Well, this is exactly what we read about in 1 Kings as God asks all the host of heaven who will execute His evil upon King Ahab (1 Kings 22:19-21).

Why?  Ahab had hardened his heart against heaven (Hebrews 3:15).  Following after idols and working much wickedness in the Lord’s sight (1 Kings 21:25-26).  Repeatedly disobeying God – until God cut Ahab off without remedy (Proverbs 29:1).  Sending down an angel to make Ahab’s prophets lie to him (1 Kings 22:22-23) – so he would go to Ramoth-Gilead as he wanted all along, and die there (1 Kings 22:29-37).

Heaven doesn’t have windows for good reason.  We could see God creating evil (Isaiah 45:7) – and not pleasing things.  We would not have any need for the spiritual work of believing a God we can’t see (John 1:18, John 6:29) – if we could see all He was doing   Nor would we have to live by faith (Romans 1:17). We could just turn our faces to the sky and witness how and why some things happen – and some don’t.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And let the peace of God rule in your hearts. – Colossians 3:15

– Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14

Have you ever wondered why there has never been true peace on this earth when Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?  When there has been peace, it has been very fragmented and fragile.  And, why do things seem to be getting progressively worse on this planet; not better?  The answer comes from Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).”

Christ is the prince of the peaceable kingdom to come when this earth is done.  It is the very same kingdom dwelling in the hearts of Christians born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  It is a kingdom that doesn’t come with any outer observation (Luke 17:20-21), but by humble and inner obedience (Philippians 2:8) – and mutually abiding with God until death (John 15:1-6).

So the steps up the spiritual staircase to heaven are climbed correctly – so an entrance is ministered unto us into heaven (2 Peter 1:4-11).  So Jesus does not call us robbers and thieves for trying to climb some other way than the narrow one (John 10:1, Matthew 7:14).  If we do it God’s way without straying, we will begin to think proper thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

This is God’s promise, if we truly obey according to His Word.  It provides a constant sense of inner peace and contentment – no matter what state we are in – no matter if we cannot understand what is going on outside in an ever changing world (Philippians 4:11). This is the peace Christ leaves inside us; not as the world gives, but as the Word does (John 14:27).

False converts or nominal believers never experience this peace, as they do not have the Prince of Peace dwelling inside through the Spirit’s power.  They may earnestly expect to find it by reading the Bible a lot or going to church weekly.  But, they seek inner peace by such external means, and others, to keep their soul calm, no matter what life storm rages outside.

This does not work, because God didn’t design it to be this way from the beginning.  The hope of eternal life in Christ was given before He formed this earth (Titus 1:2).  However, false converts and nominal believers don’t have this anchor of hope in their soul (Hebrews 6:19).  Whatever peace they may sense inside – is only based on a sense of relative tranquility outside.

Born again Christians may also not experience any sense of steady inner peace.  If they stay entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), and keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), they will not for long.  This is because Satan is this world’s prince (John 14:30) whose job – whose joy – is to rob true Christians of complete inner peace and joy in Jesus.

A peace keeping us from ever being troubled or afraid again (John 14:27).  However, any conformance to this world (Romans 12:2) is bound to bring regular bouts of spiritual highs and lows, based on how long or how strong winds of life blow.  Leaving a fleeting peace in their wake, and preventing a lasting one passing all understanding inside (Philippians 4:5-7).

 

 

 

 

 

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways – James 1:6-8

– Don’t be double minded or you’ll be falling where you used to stand strong.  Don’t be double-minded or you’ll be talking to yourself, and yet you just can’t get along. – Double Minded, written by Nick Laird-Clowes, sung by The Dream Academy, copyright 1987

In general, physical storms all around this planet are formed by conditions of atmospheric instability.  Two opposite types of air masses collide and then begin spinning around each other.  When they evolve into turbulent tornadoes and hurricanes, the resulting whirlwinds can cause widespread destruction, and it can take years for some to rebuild and recover from.

Storms in the human soul start in a similar fashion. They are formed by conditions of spiritual instability. Two opposite types of life collide when the world and Word meet inside a double mind and begin turbulently spinning around each other.  The ensuing whirlwinds can destroy relationships, including one with Christ. Some can rebuild and recover; but some never do.

“Double minded” comes to us from the Greek word “dipsuchos” meaning a person with two minds or two souls.  It appears just twice in Scripture, both in the book of James (James 1:8, James 4:8).  However, all Christians must fully comprehend what it means at all times, as it is disobedience with fiery consequences forever if left uncorrected (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

If you say you are a Christian, but you often find faith and belief wavering, drifting, spiking, or plummeting – based on how life is going, or not – then you are not walking the right way with God.  You are not being steadfast, straight, confident, and patient on heaven’s narrow path that few find (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  Double minds prevent this.  .

Spiritual instability is a hallmark of doubting hearts, divided souls, and double minds.  It is a lack of faith, and it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6).  Even drawing back from faith a little bit upsets our Father’s soul, as it signals an evil heart of unbelief that cannot save, and puts one on perdition’s perilous and unrighteous road (Hebrews 3:12-19, 10:38-39).

We are not to cast away our confidence, for it has a great recompense of reward (i.e. heaven).  We have need of patience, that after having done God’s will, we might receive this promise (Hebrews 10:36-37). Confidence comes from the Latin “con fidentia.”  It means firmly trusting.  When people start losing it, they can get washed away in a tidal wave of doubt.

They might start questioning aspects of their life in the world, or in the Word.  They may begin opposing or disputing some of God’s truths, even if it’s silently inside the soul (Philippians 2:14).  Objections may be raised and dangerous aspersions could be cast upon Him.  In time, one can get to where they don’t know what or who to believe; a perfect double mind recipe.

Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:24).”  However, double-minded believers pray in doubt (1 Timothy 2:8).  Still uncertain and confused as to what being a Christian is all about, their loyalty stays divided between world and Word, usually based upon which one is working out the best.

God won’t tolerate such split service and devotion (1 Corinthians 10:21).  Deviating from the Word in any way, is in err from God’s ways, and our Father warns us many times not to (e.g. James 1:16).  A double mind can be masked with a lot of righteous words in front of the masses for years, but it’s always manifest and naked before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A double-mind exists when God is not in all one’s thoughts – and He knows every one (Ezekiel 11:5). God is fully aware if any person is wavering, slipping, or backsliding in spirit, despite what they declare with their lips (Mark 7:6).  If one is ever like this, it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27), always ready, able, and willing to lead a soul away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

So are mortal men and women disguised as believers following Christ, but who are false teachers lying in wait to deceive us with their cunning craftiness and sleight (Ephesians 4:14).  Hiding immoral, misguided, and ungodly agendas in dissembled hearts.  Grievous wolves trying to draw disciples away after them, and not sparing the flock in the process (Acts 20:29-30).

Satan and false prophets operate slowly and subtly. Because double-minded souls don’t have complete allegiance to God, they fall prey to these pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1-2).  Then, as the certainty of God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20) are questioned more and more because they’re not coming true, their ears get turned to unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Hearing swelling words of vanity sounding good at first, but they fizzle out quickly when the double minded soul realizes they were exactly that – vain. Meaning wasted time because they didn’t produce promised results if one bought a Christian product, read a devotional, followed a prayer plan, etc.  Still, they keep looking for something new to tell or hear.

A very accurate description of a double-minded and divided soul comes from the Scriptural sound website Got Questions as follows (with a couple of personal additions): “They are unsteady and wavering in both character and feelings.  They are quite restless and confused in thoughts, actions, and behavior.  They are always in some sort of conflict with themselves.

Those torn by this type of inner dissension can never lean with any confidence on God and His gracious promises.  They slowly become convinced they are never going to be granted.  Correspondingly, the term unstable is analogous to a drunk unable to walk a straight line, swaying one way – then another.  With no defined direction, they never progress spiritually.

God cannot grant His blessings on the double-minded. Those who mind earthly matters one day (Philippians 3:19), then mind Christ the next.  As Jesus said “No man can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other – or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).” (end Got Questions)

Mammon is wealth considered as an evil influence, or a false object of worship and devotion.  Pursuing it debases God.  It is a destabilizing factor causing faith to fluctuate.  Serving Mammon at any time shows Him where affections are really focused.  It tells God one believes there is still a better country down here, than what awaits up above (Hebrews 11:13-17).

We either love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) or we do not.  There is no middle ground.  As Edwin Chapin once said, “neutral men are the devil’s allies.”  Our Father always knows if He is the only master of anyone’s life.  If not, it puts one on a very dangerous and disastrous path.  It is the broad one leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

It is a direction that has to be corrected before it’s too late.  We are to present a singleness of heart towards all people no matter what the situation might be, with one totally undivided soul unto Christ and fearing God always (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).  The way to do this is doing what He tells us to do.  This does not mean obedience is easy, but it keeps us out of the pit.

God’s commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3). They are meant to grow us in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  A single heart cannot keep gravitating back to the world (Philippians 1:23).  Some ways to help stay stable are to meditate on the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8), keeping affections set on things above (Colossians 3:2), and thinking right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

Lastly and most importantly, a double mind is a tell-tale sign of being a false convert or nominal believer. This is a person who’s convinced they are a Christian, but became one by external means.  An example is creating their own criteria based on self-perceptions of goodness (Proverbs 20:6, Mark 10:18), and using a willingness to love and lend as some of the qualifiers.

Instead of the only way by being born again of the Spirit within (John 3:5).  This is when God convicts one with His sorrow about their sin, when there isn’t any doubt in His mind they are ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).  This is one becomes rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17) and receives an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Because false converts and nominal believers have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost from God, they cannot say Jesus is Lord of their life (1 Corinthians 12:3).  They have not been returned to the Shepherd of their soul (1 Peter 2:25).  They do not have Christ inside their heart to pull them back into the fold if they begin wavering and straying from the flock.

As Watchman Nee once wrote,, “People with mixed motives, those of a double mind, shall not be able to receive the baptism in the Spirit.”  Their heart is not right with God, and He knows it.  Just like it was with Simon, the sorcerer who said he believed, who’d been baptized in physical water, but who thought the Holy Ghost could be bought with money (Acts 8:13-21).

In closing, regardless of what creates a double mind and keeps it in an unsettled and wavering state of spiritual instability, there is always hope.  It is what faith and salvation are all about (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 11:1).  However, only God can balance and steady spiritual ships (like worship) – and keep them moving straight ahead on salvation’s narrow road.

Our Father does not do this automatically as it would negate His free will.  It takes a lot on our part, such as mutually abiding side by side with God every day, and humbly obeying Him unto death just like Jesus (John 15:1-6, Philippians 2:8).  It takes repenting of worldly ways so one does not keep repeating them. Again, this all can’t be done unless one is born again.

Even still, God says “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners – and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).” Only He can draw any lost and alienated spirit to the Cross (John 6:44).  When this occurs, He begins the inner renewal and regeneration of the soul, cleansing sins and purifying hearts continually unto salvation.

To paraphrase Matthew Henry, “Wavering faiths and spirits have bad influences on communications.  When they rise and fall, filled with secondary causes, there’ll be unsteadiness in all behavior.  If having one God to trust, love, and be governed by doesn’t keep a person steady at all times, a double mind exists in a divided soul heading down a very perilous path to damnation.

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KJV and NKJV Scripture

– To whom he (Paul) expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus – both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning ’til evening. – Acts 28:23

– Desiring to be teachers of the law – understanding neither what they say, nor the things which they affirm. – 1 Timothy 1:7

It is never wrong for any Christian to share single passages or verses from Scripture with those who are lost.  However, doing so in any random fashion does not really help them understand the message of the Cross, any better than if they’d read the same alone. Regular sharing like this is not connecting the dots.  It marks one who isn’t learning how to compare spiritual things with spiritual from God (1 Corinthians 2:13).

It makes it hard for any believer like this to expound Scripture to the lost, and who don’t understand the gospel yet.  To them, it is foolishness and hidden because they are currently perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 4:3).  Expounding presents and explains something systematically and in detail.  It should always leave anyone with a better concept of what is being expounded, and less confused about it.

Expounding is also more convincing.  In regards to God’s Word, it is more capable of causing someone to believe He is true and real, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to stay on heaven’s narrow path (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14).  Expounding is also far more persuasive if we don’t require a Bible in our hands when people ask us questions about it; and we have to flip back and forth between pages to find answers.

Saying things like “Well, I thought that verse was in Jeremiah, but maybe it’s Jude.”  Followed by a long pause as we search unsuccessfully and remark, “I could have sworn it was in here somewhere.  I just can’t find it now.”  How compelling would any of these comments sound to a lost soul?  Wouldn’t it appear we did not understand what we are saying – unable to affirm our words with God’s (second lead verse)?

Remember, if we are Christians, we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have God’s Word dwelling within us at all times through the power of the Holy Ghost.  We have Scripture inside our soul wherever we may go.  So we do not go around saying things as, “I wish I could answer, but I don’t have my Bible now” – if anyone asks us questions about it.  We can still expound quickly, confidently, and correctly.

Our Father does not automatically give us an ability to expound.  We can’t expect or anticipate it to develop without participation on our part, and it certainly does not happen overnight.  We are to study Scripture on a steady basis to show ourselves approved to God – not other Christians.  This is so we can rightly divide His word of truth assuredly.  Without shame, delay, or doubt as to what we are saying (2 Timothy 2:15).

This is not all.  We have to rehearse what we are learning from God on a regular basis as He guides us into all truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27), teaching us freely how to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  This is so we can readily and practically apply the Word to any worldly situation. Sitting in church listening to Scripture, but doing little else with it, does not teach expounding (James 1:22).

There is a worldwide audience today of lost and unbelieving souls in a state of spiritual famine and starvation.  Such people are not famished by lack of worldly water or bread – but out of a longing hunger for hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).  Rehearsing to expound helps us prepare to feed anyone like this properly at any moment.  Providing malnourished souls with suitable spiritual food; if only for a while.

Expounding also helps connect what the lost can relate to, or understand in their world, to truths in God’s Word – a lamp unto our feet as Christians.  It should brighten their path at least a little while with the Bible (Psalm 119:105).  Learning how to expound keeps us ready to answer anyone in this manner with grace and relevance (Colossians 4:6).  It is so they don’t stumble as much and stay so distant from God.

For example, if we should find ourselves talking to athletes, we could expound to them how faith is similar to running a long race.  Moving ahead at a steady and patient pace – perhaps as in a marathon. And, how only person can win a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).  We could then add in talk about a need for spiritual discipline and commitment, just as one would require physically in the world if they desired victory.

When we rehearse to expound, it’s so we can take a person from point A to point B in Scripture.  Without skipping or forgetting steps along the way – or losing our audience somewhere in the middle.  The book of Acts gives us a great example of this.  Some Jewish believers were in strong contention with Peter about the Gentiles.  People they considered unclean human beings; and not worthy of God’s grace (Acts 11:1-3).

However, Peter had already rehearsed what he was going to say to them, in set order from the beginning (Acts 11:4); just in case a meeting like this ever took place.  As Peter knew how they felt about the Gentiles – a complete and conclusive response had to be ready at moment’s notice.  By expounding everything as to why Gentiles were just as worthy; the Jews held their peace at the end in agreement (Acts 11:5-18).

Because Peter prepared ahead of time, he was able to expound convincingly, and not come across sounding holier-than-thou to the Jews – because he knew he wasn’t (Romans 3:23).  Nor, did it appear to them Peter was showing off his Scriptural knowledge; but sharing little or nothing pertaining to the situation at hand.  We always want to help draw the lost closer to the Cross, not drive them further away from it.

Practice makes perfect just as much in the Word as it does in the world.  It involves rehearsing privately as Peter did for later use in public.  Musicians and actors don’t walk out on stage without rehearsing first, or they are bound to forget and skip some notes or lines. Likewise, we cannot expound the Word if we don’t learn how to rehearse.  It will just sound like we are randomly tossing out verses without rhyme or reason.

As we mature spiritually and learn the discipline to rehearse, we can help other believers also learn to expound more credibly.  There was a Jewish man in Acts named Apollos.  He was an eloquent speaker who was mighty in Scriptures and fervent in the spirit. Instructed in the Lord’s ways and teaching accurately in this manner.  However, his knowledge was limited, knowing only of John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-25).

When he began speaking boldly in the synagogues, an early missionary couple of the Christian church heard him.  Their names were Aquila and Priscilla, who had already lived, worked, and traveled with the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2-3, 18).  The two took Apollos aside and began expounding unto him the way of God more perfectly.  It was so he could go publicly convince other Jews that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:26-28).

Likewise, we should be expounding Scripture more perfectly with each passing year.  We are continually being transformed (Romans 12:2) and perfected by God’s truth, so it becomes a natural progression.  So our expounding sounds more and more complete and connected – and less piecemeal.  Resounding in the souls of others as immutable truths flowing forth from the living water of God’s Word in ours (John 7:38).

If we don’t learn to expound more perfectly, we will likely sound purposeful.  However, we’re not trying to add members to our church – only God can do this (Acts 2:47).  Sadly, some expound as an attempt to do so; or as a way to sell Christian merchandise (2 Thessalonians 3:8, 2 Peter 2:3).  Although we can persuade others about God with our expounding, we can’t do so to make them be a Christian (Acts 26:28).

However, we can never really learn or expect to expound Scripture without spiritual discipline.  It commands steadfast commitment and devotion to God – for this defines belief in Him.  It takes studying and rehearsing in private, so we always know what to expound with any type of public audience.  It takes exercising our spirit into godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), so we’re not labeled as hypocrites (1 Corinthians 9:14).

Only our Father is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), so our expounding will never be 100 percent flawless. Still, we should eventually get to a point through repeated rehearsing and practicing, where it never sounds to other people as if we’re merely expounding Scripture by reading from a prepared script or crib notes.  Or, as if we’re just ad-libbing without prior preparation.  “Winging it” isn’t the way to expound.

What we should learn is to be like Paul, and be able to sit down and expound Scripture to any number of people from morning until night – without having a Bible in sight.  Talking about any topic from God’s Word in systematic detail as Paul did with the Jews in the lead verse.  Starting from a specific point and leading to a definitive conclusion.  Leaving those who hear to decide if they believe or not (Acts 28:23-24).

In conclusion, expounding explains in great detail, in a set order.  It clears up truths from God’s Word with the lost, or even new believers who still wrestle with Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).  People who often see the Bible as being contradictory or confusing.  In turn, expounding births wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  It’s why God had soldiers pound nails into the body of His Son.

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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

– And every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. – 1 Corinthians 9:25

– For He is like a refining fire and a fuller’s soap.  And, He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver – that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. – Malachi 3:2-3

In order for it to perform as designed, steel has to first be treated with heat at various temperatures depending on what it is to be used for.  Flexible and bendable steel used in things like metal springs or hoses is exposed to hotter degrees.  This is a type of refining process called tempering.  It is so the steel in these instances of being treated with higher heat can withstand years and years of use and abuse.

Although the outer surface might get dinged up or dented quite a bit along the way, the steel won’t snap or break because of improper tempering.  It’s able to serve according to its intended purpose for a long time.  Another type of refining heat process burns away impurities called dross from precious metals such as silver and gold.  If not, they wouldn’t be as pretty to look at, nor have much value or worth.

Well, we are all valuable and worth more than gold to God.  It’s just we are all born with a lot of dross and untempered hearts.  This is why must be born again (John 3:5) at some point before we die, for there is no other way for our Father to refine us with His fire, except from within.  We have many worldly impurities for Him to purge – and frail, flawed, infirm flesh to temper and strengthen (Psalm 39:4, Romans 6:19).

We can’t do any of this with an external power we are never given by God to begin with (John 19:11, Acts 17:28).  However, if we have already received the Holy Ghost upon being born again, it was a baptism of fire (Matthew 3:11).  We should remember feeling it inside instantly when God shed His love abroad in our dark hearts back then, commanding His light to shine out from them (Romans 5:5, 2 Corinthians 4:6).

Since that time, we have had a spiritual blaze burning inside our body.  This is God’s refining fire.  We have to constantly keep it stirred up so that nothing of the world quenches it (2 Timothy 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 5:19).  Subsequently, if we humbly obey God unto death (Philippians 2:8), and abide with Him side-by-side until then, He will purge and burn up all roots and branches of unrighteousness (John 15:1-6).

Even still, we should never think it strange concerning any fiery trial God uses to try us (1 Peter 4:12).  They are to teach us suffering like Christ endured (1 Peter 4:13), to work patience (James 1:3), and purify our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9).  All trials are required by God (Ecclesiastes 3:15).  All of them must have an earthly and eternal purpose as He will never grieve or afflict us willingly (Lamentations 3:32-33).

Still, trials are never joyous (Hebrews 12:11).  Just as there can be heated ones in a human courtroom, the same kinds can be handed down from heaven.  Some can make us feel like we have been tossed into a fiery furnace of affliction for far too long at times (Isaiah 48:10).  However, raging against God with railing accusations of Him not being fair is not the way to cool things down (2 Kings 19:27, Ezekiel 33:20).

Accepting by faith our Father is trying to temper, refine, and purify our soul from the inside out, and acknowledging Him in all ways as we walk through the fire of trials (Proverbs 3:6), is a far better way to not get burned.  If we fully believe as those young Jewish men thrown into an actual furnace did, God will walk by our side through the flames, so we can emerge without even being singed (Daniel 3:10-27).

Tried by His holy refining fire, strengthened within and tempered by the power of His heavenly might (Ephesians 3:16-17), and souls purified with heat like precious silver and gold in His sight.  So we can stand fast and firm in our faith (1 Corinthians 16:13) – yet remain flexible and bendable enough to bear years of potential abuse and accusations from those who still resist or refuse the truth (2 Corinthians 11:4).

Unless we go back and follow worldly gods after each refinement.  We will know if we’re still minding earthly matters and setting affections on them (Philippians 3:19, Colossians 3:2).  Our conversation will follow (Exodus 23:13), with corrective consequences to consider.  God may have to turn up the temperature knob on His refinery of affliction (Daniel 3:19), so we learn lessons now and don’t get burned forever.

 

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