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Posts Tagged ‘Judea’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.  And, in fashion as a man, he (Jesus) humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even the death of the Cross. – Philippians 2:7-8

– Serving our own interest to the neglect of Jesus is a very great sin.  It is common among Christians and ministers.  Many prefer their own credit, ease, and safety – before truth, holiness, and duty.  The things of their own pleasure and reputation before the things of Christ and giving honor to God. – Matthew Henry

After Jesus cleansed a certain leper, the leper was instructed to say nothing about it to any man – but only to show himself to a priest in a city where they both resided.  The leper did not listen.  Instead, he began to publish the event much, and blazed abroad about the miracle … to the point where Christ could not enter into this city openly (Mark 1:40-45).  There would just be too much attention centered on Jesus.

During the Feast of the Tabernacles, some of Christ’s brethren questioned his obvious desire to shun the public spotlight and remain unspotted as much as possible (James 1:27).  They said, “Go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:3-4).”

These words were all born out of unbelief (John 7:5). Jesus was not acting or talking like a king of earthly reputation would – much less an eternal king.  Christ did not show any cravings for notoriety, nor showed any desire for some sort of status in society.  Jesus simply went about his Father’s business quietly (Luke 2:49), humbly obeying Him all the way to the Cross. Dying there so we would learn to live the same way.

All reputations, good, bad, or in between are of this world.  They show God continued conformance to it, and not being transformed by truth (Romans 12:1-2). Positive reputations can bring a certain amount of prestige and praise, while negative ones can bring a lot of problems and pain.  People who have the latter can squander precious time attempting to repair and restore broken images by external methods or means.

Whatever reputations do or don’t do, they are all in direct opposition to God’s Word.  No matter how they are created or destroyed, they are not in alignment or agreement with His will.  Climbing up the corporate ladder to fame and making a name, or the Christian rungs to do the same, is not why God put us here on earth.  It is to stay humbly obedient to His way until death, so we might be saved (e.g. Hebrews 9:15).

Sadly, and with eternal consequences if not corrected, the modern church has been creating a idolatrous culture of celebrity Christian singers, writers, and speakers for decades.  Some of these people are of great repute and have attained cult-like followings. But, they are grievous wolves drawing disciples away for themselves.  Speaking perverse things for profit, and to preserve their reputation (Acts 20:29-30).

This all may seem new, but it’s not (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).  Moses dealt with 250 princes in his assembly who rose up against him and Aaron.  Men of renown, with reputations, and all famous in the congregation (Numbers 16:2).  Paul spoke of those who seemed to be somebody, but it made no difference to him.  They didn’t add anything to his teachings as God respects no man’s person (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6).

God has several thoughts regarding all of this.  Read what the prophet Daniel writes about it: “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing.  And, He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.  None can stay His hand and say to Him, ‘What are You doing (Daniel 4:35)?'”  Still, there is someone who wants us to think differently when it comes to reputations.

The deceiver of this world (Revelation 12:9) and its prince (John 14:30), Satan, does a very good job in convincing even the most steadfast Christians they must maintain a certain image in life to present to others; a religious reputation to uphold.  This is a device the devil uses to trick believers into thinking they’re standing firm in faith.  But, it’s only upon their reputation, and not the foundation of Jesus – if at all.

This is how Christians fall from repentance and grace (Hebrews 6:4-6, Hebrews 12:15) – and can end up finding no space in heaven.  It is how they give place to Satan and fall into his same condemnation, as good reputations tend to puff people up in pride (Ephesians 4:27, 1 Timothy 3:6).  Having one pushes God to the sidelines, unless He seems to be helping them keep their high esteem and good standing before others.

Instead of having the same before Him.  What keeps us in our Father’s esteem, good standing, and favor, is repenting of things like desires to have a reputation – along with the haughty airs having one can bring. Yes, it is true we are created in His image, but this does not mean we are born with His attributes.  To obtain them, we’re commanded to produce spiritual fruits not usually esteemed among men (Luke 16:15).

The humble example of Christ is set before us in the Bible.  Learning Jesus is not a recommendation from God to contemplate (Ephesians 4:20-32).  It is not something to mull over, but a commandment to obey. Desires for the fleeting praise and prestige worldly admiration can bring, along with the advantage of reputations, are dangerous ways to defy God, and to face consequences for doing so (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And their eyes were opened, and Jesus straightly charged them, saying “See that no man knows it.” – Matthew 9:30

– Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition. – Abraham Lincoln

Would we ever do anything in life – if people never knew we did anything?  What would be the point of living?  What would we really do at our jobs if we couldn’t put it on a resume later?  Would we ever participate in competitive sports where nobody won championships – and no one received awards and trophies?  What would politicians do – if they knew it would never be put on the nightly news?

What’s the harm if we blow our own horns now and then?  Do we sometimes pretend it isn’t a big deal if nobody seems to notice us much?  Does it really not bother us if life starts to feel like we are blending in with the greenery and scenery, as alluded to in “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp?”  If we really did live a life of relative obscurity, what might our obituary look like?

Perhaps something similar to this: “John Doe, 85, passed away yesterday.  He never did much.  He will not be missed.”  However, this certain John Doe did thousands of good things in his life.  Although local library books could have been filled by them, pursuing personal praise and public notice wasn’t his earthly purpose.  Just like Jesus, whose deeds would have filled a few more books (John 21:25).

During a Passover feast, some of those around Jesus could not understand why he tried to avoid personal attention as much as possible.  Some of them said to Christ, “Depart, and go into Judea, so your disciples may also see the works you do.  For there is no man who does anything in secret, while he himself seeks to be known openly.  If you do these things, show yourself to the world (John 7:2-4).”

There are similar scenes throughout the four gospels where Christ charged the disciples to keep quiet about things he did, what he said … even about who he was. For example, when Jesus was on the road with them to Caesarea Philippi, he asked, “Whom do men say I am?”  After answers such as John the Baptist and Elijah – Christ charged them they should tell no man of who he was (Mark 8:27-30).

Was Jesus denying he was God’s Son?  In 1901, theologian William Wrede labeled Christ’s seeming quest for confidentiality the “Messianic Secret.” However, Jesus was not trying to keep a secret.  He just did not want to receive the reverence if his identity was revealed.  It did not belong to him. Christ was simply seeking God’s glory.  Speaking about himself wasn’t the way to do it (John 7:18).

The same goes for us.  Job learned a very painful lesson in humility because of his huge “I” problem (Job 1:11-19, Job 29:14-25).  Tooting our own Christian trumpets is not truth.  It tarnishes God’s glory by putting a varnish on ours.  Whatever glory we may be seeking for ourselves in doing any work for the Lord – is not His glory (Proverbs 25:27).  It is glorying in everything but the Cross (Galatians 6:14).

Pure and undefiled religion in God’s eyes – is the kind unspotted from this world (James 1:27).  It is when we work quietly and privately away from the public spotlight.  Serving all others with the unfeigned and fervent love God commands (1 Peter 1:22) – without fawning all over ourselves.  Without sounding the attention alarm by having to publish our works in the church bulletin – or post them on Facebook.

Christianity is not a contest.  We are to prove our own work, so any rejoicing will be in ourselves (Galatians 6:4).  We are not wise if we compare and measure ourselves with what other believers are doing (2 Corinthians 10:12).  Showcasing is often created when we do this.  Contention between Christians and churches follows.  Confusion, pride, and evil works ensue (Proverbs 13:10, James 3:16),

Until the day of Christ’s return – we are to have faith to ourselves (Romans 14:22).  We are to pray in private and fast secretly (Matthew 6:5-6, Matthew 6:18).  We are to let others who are strangers praise us – not our own mouths or lips (Proverbs 27:2). All Jesus did on earth was to go about His Father’s business.  Teaching the Word of truth, without having to boast about it.  The same goes for us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– In a dream, in a vision of the night – when deep sleep falls upon man in slumberings upon the bed.  Then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction – that He may withdraw man from his purpose – and hide pride from man.  He keeps back his soul from the pit – and his life from perishing by the sword. – Job 33:15-18

– “These dreams go on when I close my eyes – every second of the night, I live another life.” (“These Dreams“, recorded by Heart, words and music by Martin Page, copyright 1985)

Each day, God goes by us – and we do not see Him.  The Lord passes on also – yet we don’t always perceive Him (Job 9:11). The madness of modern society can create such mind-numbing noises – it can be hard for anyone to hear God’s still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12).  Giving and sealing His instructions of what He wants us to do – and where He wants us to go – as we’re led by the Spirit (Romans 8:1-14).  Things right in His eyes – not ours (Deuteronomy 13:18, 1 Chronicles 13:4).

Quiet moments are difficult to capture in today’s world for any length of time.  How do we know then what we’re doing as believers is truly coming by God’s counsel – and not the counsel of other Christians?  Whether He has led us to do them – or if they’re just ideas out of our own minds (Numbers 16:28)?  The time most of us are the stillest each day, the longest – is during sleep.  Why wouldn’t God use this time to open our ears – so we can truly hear what He has to say (Psalm 121:4)?

Dreams and visions appeared to people throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, God appeared to Abraham in a vision, saying “Fear not, Abraham – I am your shield and your exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1).”  Samuel feared showing Eli a vision from the Lord – for it meant Eli could no longer purge his sins with sacrifices or offerings ever again (1 Samuel 3:10-15).  King Nebuchadnezzar‘s pride was high – and it was removed after a troubling dream came to fruition (Daniel 4:5-37).

Following the birth of Jesus in the New Testament, the wise men were warned by God in a dream they should not return to Herod – but depart into their country another way (Matthew 2:12).  As soon as they left, an angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph – telling him to take Mary and the Christ child into Egypt until further instructions were received from above – not below. Herod was still seeking Jesus – to destroy the Son of man – and Egypt would be safe haven for a while (Matthew 2:13).

Once Herod died, another vision told Joseph it was safe to return to Israel – as those seeking Christ were dead (Matthew 2:20). A third dream warned Joseph to turn aside and go to Galilee instead of Judea – for Herod’s successor was there – and Joseph was afraid to go any further (Matthew 2:22).  All these dreams show God knows where we are, what we’re doing, how we’re feeling – and how He can tell us through them to start, stay with, or stop something – or go another way (Isaiah 30:21).

In the classic song “Sounds of Silence”, we hear: “Because a vision softly creeping, left its seeds while I was sleeping – and the vision that was planted in my brain – still remains.”  Just because we have a dream – it doesn’t always mean something good or bad is going to happen immediately.  It could take weeks or months to come to pass.  If it’s a warning from God and it’s heeded – we may not see a similar dream for a while. Unless we’re turned away from Him again (Deuteronomy 13:5).

Our dreams can free us from troubling matters of the day – even those between us and other believers.  God can give us the direction and discernment necessary in making a decision to depart from fellow brothers or sisters.  The Lord tells us to withdraw ourselves from those who walk disorderly among us – in the name of Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:6).  Or, from those who seem to be perverting the gospel (1 Timothy 6:5).  But – we are not to take these matters into our own hands (Acts 5:36-39).

Our dreams can also frighten us with troubles – to the point we’re afraid to sleep at all.  The beds and couches offering us an image of rest and comfort – perhaps after a long day at work – may not look so inviting when we’re ready to lie down (Job 7:13).  Our visions have become so vivid and terrifying – we’d rather try to stay awake – lest they come again if we go to bed (Job 7:14).  Sometimes, the dreams are so scary – we can tremble as the hair of our flesh stands on end (Job 4:13-15).

Despite their nature, we must always be careful we don’t take any dream from our deceitful hearts and minds – and make it into a false divination from above (Jeremiah 14:14, Jeremiah 17:9, Ezekiel 13:7).  God speaks exclusively about this in Jeremiah, Chapter 23, verses 9-40:  “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed ‘. Yes, they are prophets of the deceit of their own hearts (Jeremiah 23:25-26).”

Everything in creation is continually bare and manifest before God’s eyes (Jeremiah 23:24, Hebrews 4:13).  Maybe dreams of being naked in front of audiences – or audiences being naked in front of us – are His reminders that nothing is hid from His view. Our Father is always pursuing us and giving chase – even when we’re not with Him.  So He can catch us with His grace – before we fall too far and risk having received it in vain when Christ returns (2 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10)

Dreams with no rhyme or reason may be how we see them – but how will God be qualified to judge us if He’s unaware of them (Romans 3:4)?  Maybe their primary purpose is to draw us away from our own (lead verse) – and towards His (Romans 8:28). The One against us could be God – for good reason (Romans 8:31).  If we should get so caught up in our own lust, self-will, presumption (2 Peter 2:10), and pride – maybe He’s trying to reach us through dreams – before we fall into the pit forever.

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