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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Henry’


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 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

– 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

– He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. – Proverbs 5:23

– But they shall proceed no further for their folly shall be manifest unto all – as theirs also was. – 2 Timothy 3:9

Folly means a lack of good sense or judgement.  Even if folly is only in thought or idea, it births foolish and irresponsible words and behavior.  It’s not a very wise way to live as Christians.  God is the way of life to those who keep His instructions.  Folly is refusing to in err (lead verse, Proverbs 10:17, James 1:16).

Since we were children we have all known the Holy Scriptures given by God’s inspiration.  The Bible is able to make us wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  It is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and righteous instruction (2 Timothy 3:15-16).  Ignoring or forgetting any part of it is folly.

God’s Word is full of stories about folly and no one is ever immune from it.  Israel often found themselves wound up in folly, and so can Christians who aren’t diligent and sober at all times.  Our Father tells us to take constant heed as to what is filling up our souls (Deuteronomy 4:9, Luke 6:45, Philippians 4:6-7).

The world produces folly – but the Word prevents it. However, common sense can be lacking in believers just as much as it is in unbelievers.  Folly is not fully acknowledging God in all our ways, but leaning on our own understanding of how life in the world and Word is supposed to “work out” for us (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If things seem to be going pretty much the way we want in life or with the Lord, it is easy to become wise and prudent in our own eyes.  God warns of woe to those who become like this (Isaiah 5:21).  If we ever profess to be wise with mouth or in mind, we become fools, vain in our own imagination (Romans 1:21-22)

This is when problems can suddenly arise without warning.  Causing major headaches and rough rides never imagined because folly blinded our minds from seeing God’s wisdom.  Our craftiness initiated the situation, not Him (1 Corinthians 3:19).  Our Father’s foolishness is wiser than man (1 Corinthians 1:25).

Folly is present in a Christian when they are still filled with their own will and ways.  This is why believers backslide (Proverbs 14:14).  It’s not repenting as God commands, but repeating old worldly behavior.  It is not faith, but a dangerous drawing back from it, and He has no pleasure in such people (Hebrews 10:38).

Folly breeds ungodliness.  It is spiritual indiscretion instead of discipline.  It’s impatience and imprudence, instead of tolerance and truth.  Blessing and cursing spring forth from the same mouths (James 3:9-12). Hasty spirits are a folly hallmark, and anger rests in foolish bosoms (Proverbs 14:29, Ecclesiastes 7:9).

When folly exists, it is not walking circumspectly with God.  It is not understanding what His will is, nor is it redeeming the evil days wisely (Ephesians 5:15-17). Instead, folly is a readiness and willingness within a Christian to sin without care, even though there will never be another sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:26).

When folly persists, it is a forerunner to falling away from repentance, from which it impossible for God to renew a person to.  Each unconfessed, uncleansed, and uncorrected act of folly hangs Jesus Christ back on the Cross.  It puts Him to open shame (Hebrews 6:4-6), and leads to a bad ending (2 Peter 2:20-22).

When folly resists God it fosters apostasy, a total abandonment of belief in the soul, despite any lip service claims to the contrary (Mark 7:6).  Apostasy will be part of man’s last days (2 Timothy 3:1).  Folly will fill pulpits and pews as people learn a lot about God, but not knowledge of His truth (2 Timothy 3:7).

Christians have enough to stand fast in the faith, and withstand in the evil day, without wading into polluted pools of foolishness.  Doing so is making a decision to remove any section of God’s armor – giving plenty of place to Satan, and lots of space for his fiery darts of folly to land (Ephesians 4:27, Ephesians 6:13-17).

Once they ignite and start burning brightly inside a Christian, they become a fool if they still profess to be following the steps of Jesus.  Instead, they’ve turned aside after the devil (1 Timothy 5:15), and departed the living God with an evil heart of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19).  Foolishness rules in the soul once again.

Apostates have strayed too far from Jesus in the greatness of their folly.  They have refused to heed heavenly instruction (lead verse).  Even though they were once returned to the Shepherd of their souls (1 Peter 2:25), they’ve fallen from their steadfastness to wander off in err with the wicked one (2 Peter 3:17).

Regardless of what godly or spiritual words they may speak, apostates hold God’s truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  They serve and worship the creature more than the Creator.  It is evidenced by such traits as pride, boasting, backbiting, and loving pleasure more than God (Romans 1:25-32, 2 Timothy 3:2-4).

God is long-suffering towards all, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  However, continuing in any folly is not repenting according to His Word and command.  It is not obeying Christ’s voice (Luke 6:46, John 10:27). It’s climbing to heaven the wrong way (John 10:1).

Christian folly does not do anything to light the path of the lost, except lead them into foolishness of their own.  This is not the message of the Cross.  All folly keeps believers following this world, loving its things, and falling for Satan’s lies.  It keeps one lustful and prideful, with no godly love inside (1 John 1:15-16).

As Matthew Henry once alluded to, “People who practice or prefer folly as Christians are still those of corrupt minds.  Prejudiced against the Word’s truth, and found to be without faith, just so they can keep on doing what they want in life.  Perverting Scripture – even if in their mind – to do so (Galatians 1:6-7).

Henry continues, “They follow every new notion, get swayed with every wind of doctrine, and become deceived into thinking they’re acquiring knowledge of God – when they’re not.  Because they are too easy of belief, ignorant, or fanciful, they never seek the truth of Jesus within them (2 Timothy 3:7).” (end).

Knowing he would be between flesh and Spirit, folly and faith daily (Philippians 1:23), the apostle Paul knew he had not been saved yet (Philippians 3:11-13, Romans 8:24-25).  Therefore, he walked along with prudence as he pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Once folly begets apostates, our Father tells us such people will proceed no further (second lead verse). Just as the two Egyptian wizards Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses in their folly (2 Timothy 3:8), folly in a Christian is withstanding His wisdom.  A God who’ll give it to all who ask, without upbraiding (James 1:5).

Failing to request it from God is disobedience because folly is still not knowing Him.  It remains as a way of thinking about, and walking with God.  It has fiery consequences (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  Believers can’t endure all He commands until the end to be saved, by continuing in folly (Matthew 24:13, Hebrews 12:20).

Tragically, it seems many have been deceived into thinking they have succeeded in getting to heaven while still living.  Propelled safely beyond the Pearly Gates forever by the foolish pride that cast Satan out like lightning long ago (Luke 10:18).  Who fell forever from eternity with God by his folly (Isaiah 14:12-15).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:5

– Jesus was humble when he walked the earth.  He had all power, but used all meekness. – Monica Johnson

Our word “meek” has several meanings which must please our Father in heaven greatly.  Why?  Because they all represent and signify many spiritual fruits and personality traits He requires to be produced – in keeping with His commandment for Christians to zealously repent daily (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Revelation 3:19).  Otherwise, we will perish (Luke 13:3,5).

A meek person is described as one who is quiet, humble, modest, submissive, gentle, compliant, easily imposed upon, and self-effacing (shunning attention).  One who does not strive with others or God.  One apt to teach more than they preach.  In meekness, instructing those who oppose themselves, if God by chance will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-25).  

The meekest person to ever walk this earth was also the mightiest – Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18).  So we might learn the types of people God seeks to teach His Word and ways to – meek ones (Psalm 25:9).  It isn’t usually individuals with lots of material goods, money, or degrees.  Such things tend to make many people high-minded, and not humble (Romans 11:20, 1 Timothy 6:17 2 Timothy 3:4).

The highest priest of our profession as Christians, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:1) … made himself the lowest of lows when he walked this earth.  Born in a humble manger (Luke 2:16); not a mighty mansion. Christ did nothing through vainglory.  Esteeming everyone better than himself, and looking upon the things of others – instead of his own.  Making himself of no reputation (Philippians 2:3-7).

Taking upon him the form of a servant – being made in the likeness of men.  And being found in fashion as a man – humbled himself and became obedient unto death – even the death of the Cross.  So must we (Philippians 2:7-8).  As Matthew Henry once wrote, “Meek people enjoy an almost perpetual Sabbath.” They serve humbly and unprofitably (Luke 17:7-10), never seeking personal glory or praise.

Most weeks on Facebook, there are many postings from people talking about staying strong, tough, and hanging on a little longer.  God did not hang His only Son on the Cross for us to do that – to be tougher than nails.  Jesus was – we are not.  Christ told the disciples, “Take my yoke and learn of me.  For I am meek and lowly in heart … and you shall find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:28-29).”

We cannot do that very well if we are still trying to maintain any sense of control, or casting some cares on Him, but not all (1 Peter 5:7), or trying to steer God’s yoke in the direction we desire.  Wrestling with God at any time is a sign of resistance to His ways. Rest remains far away.  Having His peace surpassing all understanding, is hard to attain if we’re leaning on ours (Proverbs 3:5, Philippians 4:7).

Those traits of trying to handle everything that comes our way are not a sign of being meek and weak.  They signal disobedience to God, as well as clear distrust in Him – that His grace is not sufficient enough for us.  They arise out of a “me – and my might and power” mindset – not a “meek and weak” one.  Only turning cares over to Him after we’ve exhausted taking care of them the ways we prefer.

It’s glorying in a sense of perceived invincibility and firmness, not our infirmities and frail flesh (Psalm 39:4) – so the power of Christ can rest on us (2 Corinthians 12:9).  If the strength of Jesus is not adequate for us at all times during our life – to meet all that comes our way with meekness – we still have pride issues.  Pride presents an image to God we can do it all –  meekness presents an image we can’t.

Izaak Walton once said, “God has two dwellings.  One is in heaven – and the other in a meek and thankful heart.”  Haughty and high-minded hearts and minds are not very meek.  They are hard to humble; often grumbling and disputing with God (Philippians 2:14). Whenever God is viewed as being wrong and we’re right, we’re not meek.  Ears soon dull of hearing (Hebrews 5:11), and hearts harden (Hebrews 3:8).

However, the Lord shall lift up the meek (Psalm 147:6).  They shall delight in the abundance of peace (Psalm 37:11).  Christians are then to walk worth of the vocation of which they are called – with all lowliness and meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another in love (Ephesians 4:1-2).  Forgiving one another, just as Christ has done the same for us (Colossians 3:12-13).

There are no laws in life being meek and lowly like Christ was (Galatians 5:23).  We are to follow after things like faith, love, patience and meekness (1 Timothy 6:11).  It increases our joy in the Lord – so that it may be full at all times (Isaiah 29:19, 1 John 1:4).  We are then to show our meekness to all (Titus 3:2) – a virtue we add to our faith on the spiritual staircase to heaven (2 Peter 1:5).

So we can always approach others in the spirit of love and meekness (1 Corinthians 4:21).  So we who are spiritual can then restore those overtaken in a fault in the spirit of meekness – lest we be tempted as well (Galatians 6:1).  So when all is said and done, the meek shall inherit the earth (lead verse, Psalm 37:11), and God will beautify such people with salvation (lead verse, Psalm 149:4).

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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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