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Posts Tagged ‘New King James Version’


(Scripture from the KJV and NKJV)

– I listened and heard, but they spake not aright; no man repented of his wickedness, saying “What have I done?”  Every one turned to his course, as a horse rushes into the battle, – Jeremiah 8:6

– The more you defend a lie … the angrier you become. – Mitch Albom

Over the recent holidays, I watched one of those crime shows on TV with my parents.  This particular program had the usual suspects – five people with potential motives for two related murders.  Among them was a mother whose son had been previously killed by one of the later victims.  When she was brought in for questioning by the police, her demeanor was calm and innocent – at first.

The woman became increasingly louder and defensive as detectives started putting holes in her alibi.  Protests such as “I haven’t done anything!” started pouring forth from her mouth.  My dad pegged her as the killer half-way through the episode.  I asked him later how he was so sure.  He said, “It’s the people who holler and protest the most you have to watch.  They’re the ones usually lying.”

Kids can often get like this when they know they are guilty of doing something they’ve been told not by their parents.  Professing their innocence with loud protests such as “What have I done!?”  The parent will then counter with calm, firm words like, “You know exactly what you did wrong.”  In situations like this, loudness is a good indicator of lying – calmness is a good indicator correction is coming.

The child then stomps angrily down the hall, or up the stairs to their bedroom.  However, don’t they often stop after opening the door, and make sure everyone in the whole house hears their cries of  “This is so unfair!”?  This is frequently followed by a door slam – with an equally far-reaching noise. Christians who do not understand the purpose of God’s correction – may do similar things.

Protests of “What have I done?” are unwise when God corrects us as Christians.  As a sign of His great love – we will all undergo things like chastening (Hebrews 12:6-7 ).  It won’t seem joyous during it – but all discipline in life can hurt at times (Hebrews 12:11).  Try to remember, His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3).  God never afflicts or grieves us willingly (Lamentations 3:33).

The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies (Ezekiel 18:32).  God is long-suffering with all of us – not wanting anyone to perish into the pit – but to come unto repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  This is a commandment for Christians (Acts 17:30).  We can no longer be ignorant about sin’s eternal wages (Romans 6:23).  It means we obey God unto death, just like Jesus did (Philippians 2:8)

Any claims we have of being faithful Christians means we are obedient to our faith.  Why?  Jesus – our only power to obey God – dwells in us by faith through the power of the Spirit (Romans 16:26, Ephesians 3:16-17).  We can’t claim innocence about sin anymore when corrected by God (Jeremiah 2:35). Obedience requires such.  Jesus is the author of salvation to all who obey God (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Christ shed precious blood for us at Calvary.  It is the very same blood sprinkled on our hearts daily as a salve for our sins (Hebrews 10:22, 1 Peter 1:2).  We have to learn not to offend Him anymore with them (Job 34:31).  If we are still walking around raising our voices at God, saying things like “What have I done!?” every time He corrects us; we don’t have the faith we may be loudly proclaiming.

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r(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– And he said unto them, “Full well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your own tradition.  Making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition, which you have delivered; and many such like things as you do.” – Mark 7:9,13

– “They won’t listen.  Do you know why?  Because they have certain fixed notions about the past.  Any change would be blasphemy in their eyes – even if it were the truth.  They don’t want the truth – they want their traditions.” – Isaac Asimov, “Pebble in the Sky

A custom is a practice followed by people of a particular group, region – or religion.  It is a certain way of doing things which people can quickly get “accustomed” to.  Preferred customs eventually evolve into traditions – so-called “tried and tested” ways.  Creating human chains which can keep anyone – even great and aged Christians (Job 32:9) – from understanding God’s wisdom and judgment.

There are ways which may still seem right in our own eyes today as Christians – such as traditions – but the ends thereof are still the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).  Traditions often birth words like, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, or “We’ve always done it that way.”  As believers, we came to the Cross broken and undone – we all need fixing.  Tradition craves old ways; truth creates new ones (Isaiah 43:19).  

Jesus could not stand tradition.  The Pharisees questioned and criticized Christ about this.  Why would someone claiming to be a Jew – not keep Jewish traditions?  After all, the disciples of Jesus still did so (Mark 7:1-13).  However, it was in keeping with a Passover custom which set the guilty prisoner Barabbas free – and sent the guiltless Christ to the Cross (John 18:39-40, 1 Peter 2:22).

Is it any wonder why keeping tradition displeases God?  Tradition keeps us outwardly observing particular religious customs and ceremonies – even in Christianity.  Simple things such as having to conduct a Sunday service a certain way can become tradition over time.  God’s kingdom does not come by observing such traditions; it already dwells inside us (Luke 17:20-21).

Keeping any tradition is obeying man’s voice, often under the guise of obeying God’s.  Saul found out the dangers of listening to people first – not God (1 Samuel 15:23-24).  If we are conforming and performing dutifully per man’s traditions – we can keep our inner man and minds from being renewed daily through the regeneration of the Holy Ghost (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).

Still, people keep traditions.  They can create a sense of order in a chaotic world.  New Year’s resolutions have become tradition for many.  People who make them somehow believe numbers on a calendar can create the perfect and permanent conditions for all the positive personality changes they desire.  The changes only God can create from within us.  Truth always trumps tradition.

God warns us to beware, lest any man spoil us through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world – and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).  Perhaps no other person understood the dangers of tradition more than Paul.  The one who once tried to destroy the Christian faith he ended up preaching – in large part because of tradition (Galatians 1:23).

Before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-15), Paul went by the name Saul (of Tarsus).  He was brought up in that city at the feet of Gamaliel – a Pharisee doctor of Jewish law.  Saul was raised and taught this way – and he was zealous towards God in this manner (Acts 22:3).  Part of Saul’s zeal became persecuting people who belonged to this new sect of the Nazarenes (Acts 22:4, Acts 24:5).

Later in his epistle to the Galatians, Saul – now the apostle Paul, wrote this: “For you have heard of my conversion in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God; and tried to destroy it.  And profited in the Jews’ religion above many of my equals – in my own nation – being more exceedingly zealous of the “traditions” of my fathers (Galatians 1:13-14).”

As Saul, his zeal towards God focused on repeating and loving Jewish tradition.  Consequently, he began persecuting God’s church and its new Christians. Most Jew’s considered themselves God’s chosen few for salvation.  The new gospel he later preached as Paul, meant non-Jews – the Gentiles – could be saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).   Jewish tradition now countered God’s truth.

We will be redeemed by truth – not tradition.  We will be saved through repentance according to the Word – not repeating the same old traditions of the world – even in church.  For we know we are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver or gold, or from our vain conversations received by tradition from our fathers.  Christ’s precious blood will be enough (1 Peter 1:18-19).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Only let your conversation be as it becomes the gospel of Christ. – Philippians 1:27

The word “become” means “beginning to be”.  It’s the start of steadily growing into something different from what anyone is at a particular point in time.  In earthly marriages, a man and a woman “become” one flesh (Mark 10:8).  “Become” also means looking good or fitting well on someone – such as saying to a person, “That suit becomes you.”

If we are true believers, we’ve been born again of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5).  Our conversation from that point on should slowly and steadily become more and more like Christ – because Christ has come to dwell in our hearts by faith through the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It’s not an instant conversion – but a continual process.

This is done through the daily regeneration of our hearts, minds, and inner man by the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Titus 3:5).  It doesn’t stop until we die.  So we eventually get to a point where people who falsely accuse our good conversation in Jesus – are ashamed of themselves for doing so (1 Peter 3:16).

Our conversation is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).  We are not to hinder the path of those still being led to the Cross by God (John 6:44) – but to help them. We do that when Christ’s kindness, calmness, and compassion is reflected in all our talk and actions. When our love is fervent and unfeigned – from obeying the Spirit of truth in us (1 Peter 1:21).

If Jesus is not our constant conversation – someone or something else will be.  We were given Christ’s mind from God (1 Corinthians 2:16) when we received the Holy Ghost.  Won’t it appear we may still be minding the world, or minding any other wise and great person’s words first (Job 32:9, Ephesians 5:6); before Christ’s – by our conversation and actions?

Jesus said, “Why do you call me Lord, and not do the things I say (Luke 6:46)?”  Our daily conversation and actions reflect the true Master of our life (Luke 16:13).  How can we enter God’s eternal kingdom, if we don’t learn how to walk, talk, and act like Jesus – and follow peace and holiness with all men (1 Peter 2:21, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 12:14)?

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– “Verily, verily, I say unto you – he that does not enter by the door into the sheepfold; but climbs up some other way … the same is a thief and a robber. – John 10:1

– “There are reasons here to give your life – and follow in Your way. – “The Stairs” by INXS, copyright 1991

There really is a stairway to heaven in a spiritual sense – and we can spend our lives as believers climbing up the wrong flight if we’re not careful (lead verse).  We are now residents of God‘s household on earth.  It is a building fitly framed together into a holy temple – with a single staircase inside leading up to heaven (Ephesians 2:19-21).

Below us is a foundation which cannot be built upon another man’s (Romans 15:20) – but one established with Christ as the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).  On the first floor above ground is the start of the stairwell – and the first step is faith.  Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step – even when we can’t see the whole staircase.”

On the next step is virtue – showing high moral standards.  Climbing another step, we land on knowledge – a theoretical or practical understanding of a certain subject acquired through experience or education (2 Peter 1:5).  We are to take steps after, and worthy of God’s ways – to increase in our knowledge of Him (Colossians 1:10, 1 Peter 2:21).

Next is the step of temperance – the daily practice of controlling our actions, thoughts, or feelings.  These are followed by the steps of patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity – in that order (2 Peter 1:6-7).  If we try to climb any other way, we’re probably going to find ourselves falling down a lot on our way up – and often getting hurt in the process.

We may keep finding ourselves all the way back at the bottom, having to start over again on the first step … trying to find our faith again (Romans 10:17). Over the course of time, this can become spiritually exhausting and discouraging.  It can seem like one step forward and two steps back.  Heaven’s door where Jesus stands (John 10:9) is still far off.

We tend to fall when we forget we’ve been purged from our old sins – and have a new purpose in life with the Lord.  We can’t climb up the world’s stairs anymore.  If all the spiritual steps above are followed in order through abiding in God – as He abides in us (John 15:1-5) – fruits of the Spirit are bound to be produced and become abundant (Galatians 5:22-23).

Our Father assures us we will not become barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ if we climb up the right flight of stairs.  God will make really large steps for us to land on – so our feet won’t slip (Psalm 18:36).  If we climb the stairway to heaven’s door the right way, we shall never fall – and we shall be saved (2 Peter 1:10-11, John 10:9).

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ‘s gospel; and a door was opened unto me of the Lord. – 2 Corinthians 2:12

– “I (Jesus) am the door: By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” – John 10:9

All of us probably love to hear words such as “If God closes one door, He’ll open another one.”  However, there are all kinds of doors in life – both physical and spiritual.  Which of the latter ones are being opened or closed shut, and when – takes prayer and great discernment.  So is who’s opening them, and why – or life can end up feeling like a revolving door.

When Paul tarried at Ephesus until Pentecost, he realized God had opened a great and effectual door to preach the gospel there.  He was also fully aware there were many adversaries waiting on the other side who didn’t want him to (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). His main adversary then, is the same as ours today – Satan (1 Peter 5:8).

Sin lies at every door (Genesis 4:7) – including the figurative one over our mouths (Psalm 141:3).  A door we may perceive to be leading to more truth and our Father – could just be a trap door to more lies.  Set by the father of them – Satan (John 8:44), to catch us at will in his snare of sin once again (2 Timothy 2:26).

Following God requires faith and prayer – which have their own doors.  When Paul and Barnabas gathered the church together in Antioch – they told of how God had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:26-27).  When we pray, we are to go into a closet, and shut the door.  What He sees in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:6).

Still, wherever we go to spread the gospel, there will be opposition standing in every doorway.  The devil doesn’t want us to get to a place he can never get back to – heaven.  We have overcome the wicked one as believers – if we abide with God steadfast until the end; as He does with us (John 15:1-5, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 13:5, John 2:14).

There is a final door we’re all heading for called death.  It’s the forever snare of Satan (Proverbs 14:27).  All issues from death belong to God (Psalm 68:20) – and He holds the keys to it and hell (Revelation 1:18).  However, Satan still has power over ours.  This is why Christ died at the Cross – to defeat death in principle (Hebrews 2:9-15).

However, it will be the last enemy to be defeated (1 Corinthians 15:26).  This won’t happen until God sends His Son back with His grace and salvation (1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10).  Until then, standing in the doorway between the devil and eternal damnation, and forever deliverance – is our Savior Jesus (second lead verse).

There really is a stairway to heaven in a spiritual sense.  We can spend our whole lives as Christians climbing up the wrong steps (John 10:1).  We’ve been given the key to heaven with the Holy Ghost – but can still find heaven’s door has no keyhole upon our death.  We have to stay humble and obedient unto it like Jesus (Philippians 2:8, Colossians 3:5-6).

It doesn’t matter how high we climb – perhaps on the proverbial ladder to success in life – if we find the door to eternal deliverance upon our death, locked. We can knock all we want with no answer.  Or, we may hear God say from the other side “Depart, for I never knew you (Matthew 7:23).”  The only stairs left are the ones leading down to damnation’s door.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Keep your heart with all diligence – for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23

Being diligent is being careful – persistently without pause.  Sadly, we can sometimes take better and more consistent care of our cars than our hearts. These hearts we have are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  It takes dedicated diligence and discipline throughout every day to guard them.

To keep them from being distracted, discouraged, and disappointed by all of Satan‘s subtle devices.  We cannot be ignorant of them – or he will gain advantage of our hearts, minds, and souls (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Without our shield of faith, his fiery darts will hit and ignite blazes in them – time and again (Ephesians 6:16)

We are to give all diligence to our faith, then adding to it virtue.  To virtue, we add knowledge – to knowledge, temperance.  To temperance we add patience – to patience, godliness.  To godliness, we add charity (2 Peter 1:4-7).  These all keep our hearts from being corrupted by the world again – and from being blinded by its bright lights (2 Peter 1:4,9, 2 Corinthians 4:4).

We have to live in this world.  However, we are to no longer lust and long for the lies it offers – of which the devil is father of (John 8:44, Titus 2:12).  Still, we are going to witness immoral and ungodly behavior wherever we go.  We can’t avoid such things completely – unless we are literally living under a rock.

Jesus Christ said such things cannot defile us by themselves (Matthew 15:11).  But – our hearts are like vessels – containers which are continually filled and emptied with either the world or Word.  We are to be diligent as to which one we keep more of in our hearts.  Before they are filled to the brim – before they break and burst – and something hurtful comes blurting out of our mouths (Matthew 15:18-20).

If we are holding more of the world – we’re withholding space for the Word – and vice versa. Whatever abounds – is bound to come forth in our words and actions – for out of the abundance of our hearts, the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).  And, life and death are in the power of our tongues (Proverbs 18:21).

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– Declaring the end from the beginning – and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand – and I shall do all My pleasure.” – Isaiah 46:10

– That which has been – is now; and that which is to be – has already been … and God requires that which is past. – Ecclesiastes 3:15

God declared the end of this earth from the very beginning (lead verse).  There is never anything new under His sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). The Lord has seen it all before; and has already seen what is coming down the road.  Known to God are all His works from the beginning – they were finished by Him before He started – before He formed the foundation of this planet (Acts 15:18, Hebrews 4:3).

Whatever has happened in this world, or to us in the past – good, bad, or in-between – was required by Him (second lead verse).  What is coming in the future requires faith (Hebrews 11:1).  If we ever definitively decide we know before He does – that is prejudging and presumption (Proverbs 27:1, James 4:14).  All things must pass per His judgement, including us (Hebrews 9:27) – His way; not ours.

Everything past, present, or future – has to have purpose – or how else would He be qualified to judge us daily (Zephaniah 3:5) – or this world when the time comes (Romans 3:5-6)?  Would we want a Creator to make peace – then create war, without any cause to do so (Isaiah 45:7)?  As if our just God did such “just because” – without any justification. Don’t some people still seem to believe this?

Everything that happens to us or this planet each day – or doesn’t happen, is going perfectly and precisely according to His plan from the beginning of the world.  Just because life isn’t going perfectly and precisely according to our own personal plans, in our own little worlds; even within the church – doesn’t make us right – and God wrong (1 Chronicles 13:4, Proverbs 21:2).

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