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Posts Tagged ‘peace’


KJV and NKJV Scripture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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BITTERNESS


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Looking diligently, lest any fall of the grace of God. Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. – Hebrews 12:15

– Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you – with all malice. – Ephesians 4:31

Bitterness towards life, or the Lord, arises out of false perceptions it brings that things aren’t quite working out how a person hoped they would at some prior point.  Notions of rewarding jobs, joyous marriages, riches, etc. – never materialized – and fault always lies with others (including God).  So, the bitter soul stews and simmers on, with unhealthy views of life.

However, instead of doing anything about it, often born out of a “why bother” mind, because nothing has really worked out before, the bitter person usually sits around a lot wallowing in self-pity.  Pointing critical, accusatory, and fault-finding fingers outward and skyward, but seldom back at themselves.  This type of blame game started back in the Garden of Eden.

All the while, bitterness slowly spreads like a spiritual toxin inside a soul.  However, it is hard to spot just by looking at a person, because a sweet smile on Sunday at church can hide a spirit soured by resentment the rest of the week.  Words spoken smoother than butter can mask bitterness in the heart (Psalm 55:21).  Still, God sees it all (1 Samuel 16:7, Hebrews 4:13).

Our Father cannot show anybody a more excellent and better way, if they should ever be in the galls of bitterness (1 Corinthians 12:31, Acts 8:23).  Why? Well, with God, it keeps people bound in the bonds of iniquity and sin (Acts 8:23).  Bitterness is any feeling He has dealt (or is dealing) unfairly or unjustly, and this isn’t possible (Ezekiel 33:20, Deuteronomy 32:4).

Everything past in our life is required by God, and it will be this way as long as we live (Ecclesiastes 3:15). However, how will He ever create a new path in the wilderness if we keep looking back over our shoulder in remembrance of the bad things from days gone by making us bitter now (Isaiah 43:18-19)?  Repeatedly rehashing them leaves little room for future hopes.

God will never cause us grief or afflict us willingly – there always a reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  It’s just that we are not to know the times or seasons He has put in His own power (Acts 1:7).  Faith and belief says we trust in Him, and He knows what He’s doing – even if we don’t understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We either grow better from trials and troubles, or bitter.

Bitterness is also feelings of resentment with God – and there can be a wide variety of reasons why.  One could be some private displeasure about blessings He certainly seems to bestowing on others from above – when we think we are the ones showing Him much more love than they are – and that we should be the recipients.  It creates a sense of indignation inside us.

When these feelings of resentment get released out into the open, expressed in words or actions, it is how Christianity can start feeling like it is nothing more than a tense, stressful contest.  It becomes ungodly. There’s lack of contentment.  Believers start unwisely comparing and measuring aspects of their walk with God against those of others (2 Corinthians 10:12).

In turn, this creates an uneasy air of contention, and generates confusion God never authors (1 Corinthians 14:33).  It is a precursor to every evil work within the churches (James 3:14-16).  It births sinful pride and the evil rejoicing of boastings (James 4:16).  This is how believers become apostates by serving Satan more than God (Romans 1:25,30, 2 Timothy 3:1-2).

We are all prime candidates for bitterness, if we ever become weary of life, or in our walk with the Lord (Job 10:1).  Relationships, jobs, finances, Christianity, etc. – are not creating the better lives we hoped they would at their outset.  We can get to a point where we think “What’s the point?”  This is vanity – useless, a waste of time, and not producing desired results.

We have to be careful and prayerful our belief does not end up being in vain (1 Corinthians 15:2).  Bitter roots cannot possibly produce the spiritual fruits God commands us to continually bring forth – meet for repentance (Galatians 5:22-23, Matthew 3:8, Acts 17:30).  Instead, they bring forth toxic, spoiled, and worldly fruits like resentment, anger, and envy.

Whatever the reasons for bitterness, they are all displeasing to God.  Bitterness prevents Christians from following peace and holiness with all men below heaven, and keeps them out because of it (Hebrews 12:14-15).  It breeds contention, birthed only from foolish pride (Proverbs 13:10), with others and Him. Contention creates conflict and friction – not peace.

Bitter Christians don’t think right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).  It means they cannot have victorious walks with Jesus in such vexed states of mind.  The final 13 paragraphs from the Charming Health website (with some personal additions and Scripture support) give an extensive and excellent description of bitterness, as well as the inner and outer damage it causes:

Bitterness is emotional suicide.  It’s like drinking poison, and then hoping the other person gets ill. People embroiled in bitterness have an incredible memory for the tiniest little details, and they wallow in puddles of self-pity and resentment.  They record every offense in their heart and head – more than ready to show others how much they have been hurt.

Bitter people defend and carry grudges constantly. They feel they have been hurt too deeply and too often, and think this exempts them from their need to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15).  Their hearts can overflow with so much resentment, they no longer have any capacity to love.  Bitterness takes their soul captive, consuming positive emotions, and robs them of joy.

Bitterness is frozen anger in latent form.  When it is manifested, it becomes a vicious malignancy making one extremely vulnerable to very unwise choices and decisions, developing destructive thought patterns infiltrating body and soul.  It saps the mind’s vitality. If allowed to fester unaddressed, bitterness can pave a path to seeking out vengeance and acts of violence.

Failure to confess and correct bitterness causes it to spread like a cancer no longer in remission.  Unlike a physical kind confined to just one body, bitterness is a spiritual kind infecting and sickening others.  It’s often expressed as anger, jealousy, dissatisfaction, or hate. It keeps focus below, on getting back or even, but not getting and staying on the narrow path to heaven.

It is true many life events can be unpleasant, causing grief and pain.  However, responding in any prolonged bitterness fuels more bitterness far down the road.  A reservoir of resentment is drawn upon over and over. It can be passed down to children and hold people in its vice-like grips.  It can even generate fiery, deadly feuds between families, like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Some of these events can be quite sudden, such as the literal loss of a loved one, or a source of income. Some are subtler, happening more slowly over time such as the loss of reputation, social status within a group, or control.  Regardless, they all sow and grow bitter roots and fruits.  Resentment and bitterness are unacceptable to God as they’re self-defeating and sin.

Existing bitterness in a Christian means they are not abiding side by side with God, so He can burn up the unrighteous roots producing such resentment (John 15:1-6).  These roots cannot bring forth anything but rotten fruits defiling a soul.  Some of them are guilt, arrogance, frustration, surmising, melancholy, sloth, and envy, creating instability in mind and spirit.

Extended bitterness produces physical ailments like insomnia, ulcers, anxiety, fear, depression, and heart attacks.  Mental consequences are hyper-critical views and attitudes about life.  Nobody can do things right (including God) except the bitter person.  Those who associate with such souls may sympathize for a time, but can end up avoiding them, lest they get drawn in.

Still, we are responsible for what we say, think, and feel.  God’s plan is to make us better so we can enter into heaven – not bitter so we cannot.  What makes people so bitter are worldly attitudes they develop growing up, and then carry in life towards situations and others.  As Christians, we’re being transformed by His truth, so old ways aren’t conformed to again.

Continuing in bitterness is not rooted and grounded in God’s love within through the power of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 3:16-17).  It is building faith upon a faulty foundation (Luke 6:47-49, 1 Corinthians 3:11).  It is not repenting (Luke 13:3,5).  Perishing awaits, unless one is purified by obeying the truth through the Spirit, unto unfeigned and fervent love of all (1 Peter 1:22).

God cannot possibly work His good will and pleasure in bitter hearts (Philippians 2:13).  Those battling with Him and others in futile resistance to His ways, and in refusal to His voice (Hebrews 12:25).  It’s enough to wrestle against the rulers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12), without having to get into bitter, resentful wars with heaven and the brethren as well.

If we are being humbly obedient to God (Philippians 2:8) we are submitting to His power inside us.  We are not to resist it (Romans 13:2), as it’s the only power we will ever get to put off all forms of malice (second lead verse).  External means or methods, including guidance from other Christians, cannot cure bitterness.  All they do is give place to the devil.

Characterized by hostility (not hospitality) bitterness brings forth unforgiving, sputtering, and backsliding spirits full of negative attitudes almost always plotting and scheming, along with grouchy and complaining mouths.  Love can certainly dispel it all, but it spells disaster if left uncorrected.  Satan’s job is to devour, destroy, and kill souls – exactly what bitterness does.

 

 

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– Be angry, and do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.  For anger rests in the bosom of fools God has no pleasure in. – Ephesians 4:26, Ecclesiastes 7:19, and Ecclesiastes 5:4

– A moment of anger can destroy a lifetime of work, whereas a moment of love can break barriers that took a lifetime to build. – Leon Brown

“Anger” has many negative connotations attached to it.  It can mean to irk, irritate, or infuriate.  It can be indignation provoked by perceived unfairness.  Even though it can conjure up images of ungodly behavior, anger does not always birth sin.  What matters to God is how we handle any anger before going to bed.

There are several forms of good anger, such as in instances of moral injustice or righteous indignation. Christ was justly upset when casting out those who bought and sold within God’s temple (Luke 19:45). Overthrowing the tables of the money changers, and upsetting the seats of the dove sellers (Mark 11:15).

However, our Father’s anger is always right, perfect, and true (Deuteronomy 32:4), even though He is slow to wrath (Psalm 103:8).  Long suffering towards all, not wanting us to perish (2 Peter 3:9).  Always ready to pardon (Nehemiah 9:17), if we turn from our sin and don’t offend Him anymore with it (Job 34:31).

On the other hand, Christian anger is generally a manifestation of flesh – and not Spirit.  Although it’s understandable (Galatians 5:17), it does not make it acceptable.  Human wrath is typically rooted in the world – not the Word.  Something or somebody is causing feelings of annoyance, hostility, or discontent.

Souls are like container vessels that can only hold so much in.  Once filled to the brim, something spills out in word or action.  The mouth will always speak out of the heart’s abundance (Luke 6:45).  The longer any anger resides inside, the more it gets pent-up like a spiritual pressure cooker ready to burst any second.

Anyone in such a volatile state within can go through what appear to be a string of normal days outwardly. Nothing much seems to be bugging them externally. However, they’ve foolishly left anger unaddressed nightly for a week.  It can detonate at the worst time, directed at one who is not the cause of their wrath.

It can result in instant fireworks.  The fuse ignited by anger days before – sparked by another person or situation – finally hits the bundle of dynamite sticks in the heart and everything blows up without warning. The one who explodes not only hurts the innocent party with words, but is left scrambling to save face.

This is wrath that doesn’t work the righteousness of God (James 1:20).  This is a type of anger keeping some wrapped up in unrighteous rage throughout their life.  Keeping them playing hurtful, harmful games of trying to get even with others – instead of leaving all vengeance to God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

Unless it is taken care off, all anger can start ticking like a time bomb in the heart.  It starts behaving like a spiritual toxin if it isn’t brought up and addressed on a regular basis (lead verse).  Toxins can easily create disease.  Physical ones harm the health of a human body; spiritual ones harm the health of a human soul.

Harboring unrighteous anger in the heart as the sun sets, is allowing it to be unaddressed with whomever or whatever it is focused upon – and with God.  It has to be brought up.  The longer wrath rests in a soul, the more foolishness it births.  Any Christian folly isn’t faith.  It gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27)

Our days on this earth are evil.  Therefore, we are to walk circumspectly – not foolishly (Ephesians 5:15-16).  Anger born of folly corrupts production of the spiritual fruits God commands us to bring forth meet for repentance – and which are to remain (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, Matthew 3:8, John 15:16).

However, even righteous anger has to be watched very closely so we don’t get too high-minded and start jumping to conclusions.  We rarely have all the facts needed to justify wrath – right or wrong – while everything is naked before Him (Hebrews 4:12-13). Things aren’t always as they seem (Joshua 22:6-34).

There is an old saying of “cooler heads prevail” and it’s why we have to keep our anger in constant check so we don’t sin.  We are being purified as Christians through the blood of Jesus, but we will never be as perfect (1 Peter 1:19).  Having any kind of mind like this means God’s truth isn’t in us (1 John 1:8,10).

Does our Father give us ways to address and handle anger so we keep it at bay?  Yes – He does.  There are several throughout His Word, but perhaps one of the best remedies is to remember the words of David: “Stand in awe and do not sin.  Commune with your heart upon your bed – and be still (Psalm 4:4).”

In Psalm 77:6, we read “I call to remembrance my song in the night.  I commune with my own heart, and my spirit makes diligent search.”  If we do these and can’t find our anger source, then we ask God to make intercession.  To reveal deep and secret things only He can see (Daniel 2:22, Romans 8:26-27).

Although there are many other ways (e.g. Psalm 141:3, Proverbs 15:1, Philippians 4:8-9), remember we do not know what any day will bring (Proverbs 27:1) that could arouse angry behavior.  Our soul has to be kept in a constant state of peace and calm.  If it’s being filled with the world, wrong wrath emerges.

Anger is a very complex issue and its triggering factors are many.  It’s a topic far too broad to cover here and this piece is not intended to proclaim of knowing all the causes and answers concerning wrath. However, bottled up anger is a joy and peace stealer, and it can shipwreck relationships beyond repair.

As God tells us in the lead verse, we can be angry, but we cannot let the sun set on it.  We have to come to grips with it before going to sleep.  Wrath will rob us of rest required to walk soberly with Him the next day.  Instead, we will wake up stressed and tense due to anger left lingering in our soul during the night.

Unaddressed, unconfessed anger to others and God – and left uncorrected before retiring in the evening – is a catalyst for committing sin the next morning.  We’ll likely leave the house meditating on the wrath; not the Word.  Sin always lies waiting at our front door (Genesis 4:7), and withholds good (Jeremiah 5:25).

Remember a lot of unrighteous anger in life can put us in a lot of contention with other people – or God. This is nothing more than pride (Proverbs 13:10).  It frequently creates conflict and friction, and leads to disagreements within relationships – even with Jesus – because life just is not going exactly as wanted.

Who is ever going to get mad, angry, or upset when everything is going precisely the way they desire (Psalm 23:1, James 1:4)?  So, if wrath exists before the sun sets, it might mean swallowing some pride and taking a bite of humble pie.  Visiting or calling a person we’re angry at, to hear their side of the story.

This is showing grace, and how we grow in it (2 Peter 3:18) – so we don’t wallow in wrath day after day.  If we are Christians, then we’ve been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have been given the only power we’ll ever get to put off things like lying, anger, wrath and filthy talk from our mouth (Colossians 3:8-9).

In conclusion, remember our Father above is always ready to pardon us, gracious and merciful, and slow to anger (Nehemiah 9:17).  As Christians, we are to be the same way to everyone else, no matter if they fail to do the same in return.  Otherwise, we are not learning Jesus as commanded (Ephesians 4:20-32).

Repeated troubles and problems dealing with anger, and letting it go, shows this is not being done.  One may be hearing and studying a lot about truth, but never applying it to life from the inside out (2 Timothy 3:7).  More wrath is likely in store until it is finally dealt with as God commands; before each day ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– God is angry with the wicked every day. – Psalm 7:11

– This is your wickedness.  Because it is bitter – because it reaches unto your heart. – Jeremiah 4:18

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just wipe out wickedness in the world once and for all?  Wouldn’t our lives then be no trouble at all, and evil would never befall us again?  There would finally be the world peace pursued by so many prophets, poets, and politicians alike – for so long?  However, if it were all so easy, wouldn’t our human intelligence and inventions have eliminated evil by now?

If you’re reading this right now, you may already be asking yourself questions about the lead verse. Maybe one such as: “If Christ is the Prince of Peace, then where is the peace (Isaiah 9:6)?”  Perhaps the query is, “Why do bad things always seem to happen to good people (Isaiah 57:1, Daniel 9:5-14, Mark 10:18)?”  Or, “If He is angry with the wicked daily, why isn’t He doing anything about them?”

Well, He is.  However, our Father handles wickedness from heaven with long-suffering, and the mercy He abounds and delights in every morning we are able to wake up (Exodus 34:6, Lamentations 3:22-23, Micah 7:18, 2 Peter 3:9),  How often does man deal with evil the same way, with such patience and much pardoning?  How often do we want someone to get what we think they deserve?

God is always ready to pardon, if we return to Him when we err and go astray.  Our Father is gracious and merciful – being slow to anger and of great kindness (Nehemiah 9:17).  It means every evil work or wicked act is not going to be met with heavenly discipline.  If God did punish us each time we messed up, who among us would be able to stand the pain for very long (Ezra 9:13, Hebrews 2:2-3)?

Still, some just can’t stand letting others get away with the evil God seems to permit freely.  They can have attitudes of  “I have to do something about this matter here on earth – because it does not seem to matter very much in heaven.”  Many movie and TV show story lines these days seem to be centered on characters seeking vengeance.  This is never wise with God (Hebrews 10:30-31).

However, maybe this is you.  Have you ever thought, “Where is this loving God I hear about?  Where is this God of justice?  Everyone who does evil is good in His sight – why He even seems to delight in such people sometimes.”  Or, “God’s law is slack and His judgement never goes forth.  The wicked surround the righteous – therefore, wrong judgement has to be proceeding from heaven.  I must fix it.”

There is never anything new to God (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Some felt like this in Biblical times (Malachi 2:17, Habakkuk 1:4).  However, projecting the wickedness problem on others is not the solution.  It is easier – for it keeps us from pointing the finger of fault at our hearts.  But – God did not fashion them to be wonderful.  If He had made perfect hearts, He never would have had to sacrifice Christ.

Our hearts were designed to be desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  So we would not foolishly trust them (Proverbs 28:26). So we could not pave our own path to heaven – proclaiming our own goodness or innocence as the way to get there (Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 2:35).  So we would have to get there how God designed before this world began (Titus 1:2).

Next Sunday:  Why the road to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:14), why the righteous scarcely get saved (1 Peter 4:18), and where we can err and go off course so many times along the way – even as Christians.

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