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Posts Tagged ‘Moses’


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

– 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

– 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

– And Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

– Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul – seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel?  Fill your horn with oil, and go.” – 1 Samuel 16:1

The Sower” is a painting by van Gogh.  It shows a stark country setting.  A simple farmhouse sits far off in the background.  The foreground shows a young man walking across a dirt field with a seed bag slung over his shoulder – the sun blazing above.  His gaze is fixed ahead as he scatters seeds behind – unaware a few birds have gathered there; already eating some of them.  It is a good illustration of the lead verse.

A bad illustration is sitting in the same Sunday seats week after week, year after year.  Doing so develops a complacent Christian life not in accordance with God’s Word.  The more we feel at home here in our body – including that of a church – the more we’re absent from the Lord.  We don’t want to be found naked at the end because we clothed ourselves in the comfort of any physical church (2 Corinthians 5:1-6).

This is not God’s idea of spiritual farming.  Failing to move when God commands is stubbornness.  When He told Noah to build the ark – Noah moved with fear (Hebrews 11:7).  He didn’t tell God it wasn’t a good time.  Stubbornness is a sin (1 Samuel 15:23).  It is a refusal to move in accordance with the Word, because one is still conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2). It is remaining in a state of disobedient unbelief.

We don’t see people chosen by God to follow Him (John 15:16) like Moses, David, and Paul attending weekly Sunday church services or mid-week Bible studies.  Then, wandering about in the world outside of those times, wondering what God wanted them to do.  Jesus did not hang on a Cross for us to hang around in an idle haze, confused at any time about what God wants us to do (1 Corinthians 14:33).

There are many reasons why we have to be on the move much of the time.  One reason is God always has something for us to do – as long as He is the One leading us by the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  We cannot make things up in our minds as some accused Moses of doing (Numbers 16:28).  God warns us of having false dreams or lying divinations; misled by them – or misleading others (Jeremiah 23:32, Ezekiel 13:6-7).

While Samuel mourned over God’s rejection of Saul as Israel’s king – Samuel was going to be of no use to Him sitting in the same place too long (second lead verse).  There was a new king to go find and anoint. Still, Samuel didn’t wander off without a clue, hoping he would happen upon the right person.  God had set directions and instructions for Samuel, as is always the case with us (1 Samuel 16:1-13, Proverbs 5:23).

Another reason we have to keep moving is because we are all being pursued by the devil.  Satan is a spiritual predator who does not sleep.  He always knows where we are and who we are (Job 1:6-11, Acts 19:15) – roaring about like a lion seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8-9).  It’s easier for physical predators to attack and kill sick, weak, or stationary targets.  It’s easier for Satan to do the same.

God designed our bodies – physical and spiritual – to move.  A third reason for both to be in movement is it promotes health and healing.  As Christians, we are not our own anymore.  We have been bought with a price, and we are to glorify God in our body and our spirit; which are His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  Lack of use with either leads to atrophy; a gradual decline in vigor or effectiveness due to underuse or neglect.

Any person in such a state often wants or requires others to do things for them physically or spiritually. In the book of John, a man with an infirmity (physical weakness) had sat by the pool at Bethesda – for 38 years.  Many other impotent people were also there. An angel would enter the pool in a certain season and stir it up.  After this troubling of the waters, the first person in after would be made whole (John 5:2-5).

When Jesus saw this man – He knew the man had been infirm a long time.  Christ asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  The man replied, “Sir, I have no man to put me in the pool when the water is troubled. But, while I am coming, another steps down before me.”  Jesus said, “Rise, take your bed and walk.”  The man did and was immediately healed (John 5:6-8). Christ never touched him.  Jesus simply said “Move.”

Movement prevents us from having too much idle time on our hands.  Idle time leads to idle words we will all give account of on judgement day (Matthew 12:36).  It also creates idol walks and talks, and worldly conversations we are not to have (Exodus 23:13, 2 Corinthians 1:12).  In addition to other sins like pride, an abundance of idleness led to God’s fiery destruction of Sodom (Ezekiel 16:49, Genesis 19:24).

Movement does not mean staying busy all the time. When the Pharaoh oppressed Israel, he wanted them to be so busy making bricks, they wouldn’t have time to make sacrifices for God.  This is too busy (Exodus 5:6-8).  We have to stop from time to time to clearly hear God’s still, small voice – to get new instructions as Elijah did (1 Kings 19:11-15).  However, once we do – we move with fear and without delay like Noah.

Staying in one place too long leads to familiarity. Familiarity tends to breed contemptuous, complacent, careless, and/or lukewarm spirits.  Such ungodly attributes arise from getting too accustomed to something or someone.  Relaxed Christians are the end result (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).  Even in their churches where Satan could be sitting, or preaching from the pulpit (Revelation 2:13, Ephesians 6:12).

If we move ahead and don’t look back in accordance with God’s Word (lead verse), in humble obedience to His commands unto death (Philippians 2:8) – we’re doing His will.  God’s charge in Matthew 24:14 can’t be fulfilled any other way.  If we sit still in one place too long, the sin of stubbornness is sure to stagnate our spiritual growth.  This gives place to Satan and plenty of room to devour us (Ephesians 4:27).

Much like the style of van Gogh’s “The Sower” – we’re to sling a spiritual seed bag over our shoulder and set out across the farmlands of faith.  Sowing the Word of God as our seed as He leads us by the Spirit (Mark 4:14, Luke 8:11).  Not looking back over our shoulder to see if they are landing on stony ground – or if the devil is there to take them away, or we’re not fit for God’s kingdom of heaven (Mark 4:15-16, lead verse).

This keeps us from sowing the same spiritual fields over and over.  When farmers of God’s physical fields do this year after year, the dirt becomes stressed and unfruitful.  The same goes for the spiritual soil of our hearts.  Instead, we scatter a handful of seeds on the ground and move on ahead.  God will send another person along to water it – but He alone will be the One to provide the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Only God decides what any physical or spiritual seed will ever become, giving each one its own body as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 15:37-38).  We can’t grow seeds planted in human hearts into producing spiritual fruits God commands them to become in ourselves or any other person (Galatians 5:22-23).  If we try to, we only defile His crop (Deuteronomy 22:9).  This doesn’t move anyone closer to heaven, does it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth. – Numbers 12:3

– Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity – and receive with meekness the engrafted word – which is able to save your souls. – James 1:21

God didn’t choose a proven leader, powerful speaker, or long-time preacher to guide the Israelites through the wilderness.  Our Father did not favor someone famous in any congregation at the time (Numbers 16:2).  Nor did He choose someone who saw himself as being tough and strong.  Somehow able to handle everything life threw at him, and somehow prove to everyone he could.

No, God chose the meekest man living on earth at the time (lead verse).  One who wondered why God selected him.  Because he was not very eloquent with words – being both slow of speech and tongue (Exodus 4:10).  It is widely believed Moses stuttered. Although God knew Aaron was a better speaker, He chose Moses.  To speak His words – because of meekness, not might (Exodus 4:14-15).

As with Moses, God is seeking the meek of this earth to spread His message of the gospel.  People to guide in judgement, teach His ways (Psalm 25:9), and to increase with His joy (Isaiah 29:19).  The meek do not seek praise, glory, or attention.  They serve the Lord, but prefer remaining unspotted from the world in the process (James 1:27).  Happy having faith to themselves (Romans 14:22).

Both gentleness and meekness are not signs of any weakness.  They are evidence of God working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Teaching us how to be patient, temperate, and long-suffering with all others – just as He is towards us (2 Peter 3:9).  Becoming, and then being meek week after week may be seen by some as a sign of being a wimp, but there’s a difference.

Being a wimp is withdrawing from a course of action or stated position, and it’s seen as one being feeble and cowardly.  Being meek is humbly staying on a steadfast course all the way to the end (Hebrews 3:14) – but not afraid to take a stand with Scripture. It is faithfulness, not feebleness.  Understanding God is steering our ship until death, and giving us the words to speak along the way (Psalm 48:14).

Meekness is among one of the many virtues our Maker requires us to acquire as we climb up the staircase to heaven’s narrow gate (2 Peter 1:5-11, Matthew 7:14).  So we do not keep falling down – or so Jesus doesn’t shut the door when we get there, calling us robbers for climbing the wrong way (John 10:1).  If we want to meet God, and live with Him forever, we have to learn meekness always.

It is one of the several fruits of the Spirit we are to constantly bring forth – for it is in keeping with God’s commandment to repent (Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30, Galatians 5:22-23).  It is not a recommendation from heaven for salvation (Luke 13:3,5).  Slow, but steady production of such fruit has to continue until then (John 15:16).  A mark of spiritual maturity to God and others is meekness always.

So those chosen from above by God like Moses (John 15:16, 2 Peter 1:10), become truthful and humble servants.  Ones who are gentle unto all – apt to teach with much patience.  In meekness, instructing those who oppose themselves.  If God by chance should give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, so they can then recover themselves out of Satan’s snares (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

 

 

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– For the customs of the people are vain. – Jeremiah 10:3

– Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy, and vain deceit – after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world – and not after Christ. – Colossians 2:8

Customs are widely accepted ways and beliefs of doing things – specific to particular places or people.  Tradition is transmitting such customs down through the years – so they are carried on after we’re gone.  In Scripture, the Pharisees didn’t seem pleased when the disciples wouldn’t wash their hands – like their elders did – before eating bread. It was customary and traditional to do so – and they didn’t.

When they asked Jesus about it, the Son of man said  “Why do you also transgress the commandments of God by your traditions?  Isaiah has prophesied well of you, saying,’ These people draw nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips – but their hearts are far from Me.’  But they worship Me in vain – teaching for doctrine the commandments of men (Matthew 15:1-3, 7-9). ”

Just because we’re accustomed to customs – doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to God.  We could just be trapped in tradition – still trying to find His truth.  Our tongues can be talking about one thing – but our hearts could be harboring something else.  The Pharisees were really good at appearing religiously good outwardly – perhaps as tradition had taught them to be – but Jesus knew they were hypocrites inside, full of ravening and wickedness (Luke 11:37-44).

Saul of Tarsus – who would become the apostle Paul – was a Jew brought up according to the perfect manner of Moses’ law (Acts 22:3). As Paul, he would later declare that during his days as Saul – he thought to do things contrary to Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9). Christianity was considered a sect at his time – of which he would later be accused as being the ringleader of – and a threat to the traditional Jewish way of doing things (Acts 22:3, Acts 24:5, Acts 28:22).

Customs and tradition can easily birth factions and sects within any religion – where everyone may believe they’re doing the right thing in their own eyes (1 Chronicles 13:4) – but wrong in God’s eyes.  When Saul of Tarsus went around – rounding up these new Christians for punishment and imprisonment – he believed he was doing the right thing, being zealous towards God in this manner (Acts 22:3-5).  He wasn’t  – he was persecuting Christ (Acts 22:6-8).

Upsetting long-standing ways of doing things in life – can be very upsetting.  It usually happens when we’re born again of the Holy Spirit – and we start learning the ways of God’s Word, and unlearning our worldly ways.  When St. Stephen – the first Christian martyr – went around speaking God’s wisdom from the Holy Spirit inside him, false witnesses were set up against up him.  He was accused of speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God (Acts 6:8-11).

They claimed Stephen had said Jesus was going to destroy their holy places – and change the customs Moses has delivered unto them (Acts 6:13-15).  Although they are vain (lead verse), Christ didn’t come to change or destroy our customs   Jesus told the disciples to observe whatever the Pharisees bid them to observe. But, not to follow their works.  They would say and not do – unless they had an audience (Matthew 23:1-5, Galatians 6:4).

We observe days, months, times, and years – but God has not suffered us to do so (Deuteronomy 18:14, Galatians 4:10).  Our Father does not operate according to our concept of time (Psalm 90:4, 2 Peter 3:8).  Our observances are not obedience.  They are tied to a calendar.  We celebrate certain customs and traditions at regularly scheduled times throughout the months – repeating them year after year.

We can’t obey God just by specific dates on a calendar created by man, but by our daily repentance and remission of sins – through the regeneration of our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit and our Creator (2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5.).  So we don’t keep repeating the same sins year after year.  Putting on external shows of religion according to custom and tradition – is not the same as our internal spiritual growth – through a truthful relationship with Christ.

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(Scripture from the NKJV and KJV)

– And Moses‘ father-in-law said to him, “This thing that you do is not good.  You will surely wear away both yourself and these people who are with you.  For this thing is too heavy for you – and you will not be able to perform it alone.” – Exodus 18:17-18

Great men are not always wise (Job 32:9).  Even Moses needed sound, godly counsel from time to time – and he certainly got it from his father-in-law Jethro above.  Leading the Israelites through the wilderness into the Promised Land had been under a direct commandment from God.  Now that they had arrived, Moses’ sitting to judge the people and give them counsel from morning to night – was not by any guidance from above (Exodus 18:13-16).

Jethro knew this would wear everyone out – especially his son-in-law – and that not much else could be accomplished.  He told Moses to seek out other godly men in the camp – men of truth who hated covetousness.  Once these men had been found, Moses could then teach them the ordinances and laws – and in which way they should walk – and what they should do.  This way, the smaller matters could be handled by these men – leaving the more difficult ones for Moses (Exodus 18:19-23).

We can’t do it all by ourselves as Christians.  Trying to do too much alone – or even with a handful of others – can quickly wear us out.  Even when we may believe things we’re doing in His name are maintaining works that are good – we can be wrong and unwise.  This is because we’re only doing things that are right in our own eyes (1 Chronicles 13:4) – but not in God’s. (Deuteronomy 13:18).

Instead, we must learn to maintain good works in His eyes – so they don’t become unfruitful (Titus 3:14).  Sometimes this means taking it a bit slower, resting, seeking godly counsel from others – and praying to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). If anything in our Christian lives or churches is causing worry, stress, dissent, confusion, and strife – there’s a real good chance we will be reaping burdensome heartaches rather than bountiful harvests.

As believers living in an often hectic modern world, we can still be like Moses back then and try to do too much.  Our Christians lives can become so harried that we can quickly find ourselves so busy with meaningless tasks that we can actually forget about God.  When Moses and Aaron went in to plead for the Pharaoh to let their people go – the Pharaoh turned around and increased the workload of the Israelites. He wanted them to become so busy making bricks with wrong materials that they would not have time to think about God or sacrificing anything to Him  (Exodus 5:1-17)

Staying busy should never serve as a benchmark or barometer for being or becoming a better believer.  Spiritual growth can become sparse and spotty when the soil of our hearts is stressed.  All soil needs rest to recover and recuperate – otherwise it will become fallow and unfruitful (Leviticus 25:5).  Spiritual harvests can become defiled and marred when we sow our vineyards with many seeds – then go back and try to grow everything ourselves (Deuteronomy 22:9, Luke 9:62, 1 Corinthians 3:6).

We will always reap what we sow as Christians (Galatians 6:7).  All of our seeds won’t fall on fertile ground – some will fall among the thorns (Jeremiah 4:3).  If we sow the whirlwind – we will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7).  And, if we continue sowing to the flesh as believers – we shall only reap corruption – no matter how great and wise we may think ourselves to be (Galatians 6:8).  However, if sow to ourselves righteousness and to the Spirit – we shall reap in mercy and life everlasting (Hosea 10:12, Galatians 6:8).

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