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Posts Tagged ‘Peter’


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 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 references at the end)

– For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses … neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:14-15

– God picked me up and helped me through, and shined a light on the one thing left to do – and that’s forgive you.  Seven times seventy – if that’s the cost, I’ll pay the price. – “7×70,” written and sung by Chris August, copyright 2010

Unforgiveness may be one of the best ways Satan accuses us – and gains advantage over us time and again throughout our lives.  It is one of the many devices the devil uses in his daily endeavors trying to devour our souls.  Even the most steadfast Christians are not exempt from such attempts.  We cannot allow ourselves to become ignorant of such tactics Satan employs to keep us away from the truth.

We don’t forgive other people for their sake – but for the sake of Jesus.  Just as God is long-suffering and forgiving of our sins against Him – we are to be just as long-suffering and forgiving towards other people for their sins against us.  One of the first things we cannot forget to do when we pray is to forgive others – so God can forgive anything we do against Him.  If we don’t, how can we call Jesus the Lord of our life?

How many times are we supposed to forgive others? After all, people can do so many hurtful or harmful things to us throughout our lives.  Can we ever stop doing it?  Can we ever say, “No, God – I’ve done enough forgiving?”  When Peter asked a similar question to Jesus, Peter thought God’s number of perfection would be sufficient.  However, Christ replied “Not seven times, but seven times seventy.”

That’s 490 times – or seven times a year for 70 years.  This is the average lifespan of man.  Doesn’t this cover forgiveness for an entire life?  As Desmond Tutu said, “Forgiveness frees us from a life of ungodly feelings and actions.  It is essential to spiritual and emotional wellness.”  Redemption in Christ’s blood means we forgive.  If we are not as ready to forgive others as God is us – we are not ready for heaven.

(Scripture references in order of use: Revelation 12:10, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 1 Peter 5:8-9, 2 Corinthians 2:10, 2 Peter 3:9, Mark 11:25, Luke 6:46Matthew 18:21-22, Psalm 90:10, Colossians 1:14)

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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)

– But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels – for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor – that he by the grace of God should taste death for everyone. – Hebrews 2:9

– But by the grace of God, I am what I am. – 1 Corinthians 15:10

Grace is unmerited favor.  It is giving a person something they don’t deserve.  It can’t be earned by being good – or by doing good works (Ephesians 2:9).  It’s simply given.  A worldly example would be the government giving a grace period to file taxes without paying late penalties for monies owed – although an established deadline had already passed.

We can love grace when it’s extended to us – but perhaps grumble when someone we don’t think really deserves any merit; receives grace.  Regardless, grace is not usually looked at as something being really bad – such as someone being sentenced to die. How could that be grace?  How could that be giving a person something they didn’t deserve?

But, God gave us all unmerited favor – by giving Jesus something undeserved; death.  Our Father’s grace led Christ to the Cross to take our place.  Some aptly call this a substitute death.  A man who did no sin (1 Peter 1:19) – with no guile found in his mouth, was led as a perfect lamb without blemish (1 Peter 2:22) to lay down his life for us (John 10:15).

By the grace of God we will be saved through faith; and not of ourselves.  This is only if we remain steadfast in our faith until the very end (Ephesians 2:8, Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 1:9).  For His grace will not be brought to us until He sends Jesus back with salvation – when the devil is cast down (1 Peter 1:13, Revelation 12:10).

Until that great day, we all wake up each morning because of God’s abundant mercies – which He delights in (Lamentations 3:22-23, Micah 7:18). Mercy is unmerited favor, too – but on the opposite end of the spectrum from grace.  It keeps us from something we do deserve for the wages of our sinful nature from birth (Ezra 9:13, Romans 6:23).

By the grace of God doesn’t mean we can buy His gift of the Holy Ghost with money – it’s unmerited (Acts 8:20).  We’re given it when God knows we feel guilty enough about our sins to repent unto salvation – not just because we’re afraid of going to hell.  Otherwise, we will only be sorry about our sin for a season (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).

The ultimate price has already been paid for us – the ultimate sacrifice was already made at Calvary (1 Corinthians 6:20, Ephesians 5:2).  By the grace of God, Jesus tasted death for everyone (lead verse). Delivering us from our fear of death, which we are subject to the bondage of all our lives (Hebrews 2:15).

This is why Christ is the answer.  Not to get worldly things; but in response to the question of how do we get out of this world when we die?  How do we escape the great sentence of death in us from birth, because of the sin which Scripture has concluded we’re all under (2 Corinthians 1:9, Galatians 3:22)?

There is only one way to eternal life and immortality brought to light through the gospel – through God’s Son (John 14:6, 2 Timothy 1:10).  Our corruption must put on incorruption.  Our mortality must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53-54).  Doing these things can only be done through the Cross and Christ – and by the grace of God.

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(NKJV and KJV Scripture)

– And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass; seeing God has punished us less than we deserve – and has given us such great deliverance as this. – Ezra 9:13

– “Does he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded?  I think not.  So likewise you, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say ‘We are unprofitable servants – we have done that which is our duty to do’.” – Luke 17:9-10

The word “deserve” is  found just twice in the KJV; once above in Ezra – and once in Job 11:6, where we find God exacts less of us than our iniquities deserve. Neither verse has anything to do with anyone getting good things from God.  Instead, they involve Him withholding forms of discipline or correction we do deserve; and should receive for sinning – even as believers (1 John 1:8-10).

However, if God did punish us each time we transgressed against Him – imagine how painful our lives could really be.  If our every act of disobedience received a just recompense of reward, we might not love Him as much as we may proclaim.  Who among us would be able to stand before Him until salvation – if He caused grief every time we sin (Ezra 9:15, Hebrews 2:2-3)?

Doing something worthy of reward or punishment – or showing such qualities – is said to be deserving. We may deserve a raise in our careers for the work we do – or we might receive a sentence to die if we ever intentionally killed someone.  It would be deserved based on the evidence.  Regardless, we can spend our lives deciding what we deserve and don’t (usually good, not bad) – while someone else decides otherwise; including God.

Receiving worldly things in our favor can be called merit.  We labored hard and did good deeds – and we deserved them, right?  However, if we receive bothersome or burdensome trials we think are undeserved, we can call them mistakes.  But – God would never cause such troubles to us as His chosen, would He (Jeremiah 2:35, Jeremiah 5:12, Jeremiah 8:6, Colossians 3:5-6)?

Well, God does not operate on a worldly merit and mistake system – but on His Word’s basis of grace and mercy.  These are two forms of unmerited and undeserved favor with opposite meanings.  God’s grace kept Lot from Sodom and Gomorrah‘s total destruction – so His mercy would be magnified in saving Lot’s life … yet Lot hadn’t done a thing to merit either (Genesis 19:19,24).

Grace is free and unmerited favor.  It’s unearned – and gives us something we do not deserve.  It’s how God will save us – but His grace won’t be brought to us until Christ returns (Ephesians 2:8, 1 Peter 1:13). Until then, we get up every day because of God’s long-suffering towards us (2 Peter 3:9).  It’s because of His abundant mercies we are not fully consumed each morning (Lamentations 3:22, 1 Peter 1:3).

Mercy is also free and unmerited favor – but it keeps us from something we do deserve, such as sin’s wages (Romans 6:23).  However, our modern world of merchandise may have many thinking otherwise.   If we keep buying products, flying in planes, or even just try something out – we deserve to get back something extra often touted as free – but which usually comes with a prior price tag.

This type of “rewards for everything” culture seems to exist almost everywhere today in modern society. It was fueled largely at first by the advertising world. It started by telling people – and selling them on the point they deserved something back by spending dollars.  Purchases would earn reward points to redeem later – or what was the point of buying anything?

Christians are not immune from this message of deserving for doing almost anything.  If we invest/spend time, money, or love in the world – a mindset can be that someone should give us back what’s been earned according to prior expectations. Unskilled and unlearned Christians in the Word are susceptible to this.  They can unconditionally equate belief to deserved blessings – often to destruction (Hebrews 5:13-14, 2 Peter 3:16).

Even the learned don’t always learn.  In Micah’s days, priests judged for reward, taught for hire, and prophesied for money (Micah 3:11).  People who professed to love Him with their lips (Psalm 78:36, Matthew 15:8, Titus 1:16) – but only followed Him in their hearts for a love of personal presents.  It was seen as vain to keep His ordinances otherwise (Isaiah 1:23, Malachi 3:14).

God sees it all – nothing is ever new to Him (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  Others in Old Testament times saw no profit to themselves by serving Him, praying, even being cleansed from sin (Job 21;15, Job 34:9, Job 35:3).  God also knows those of us today who are faking our faith.  Pretending to love – not fervently and unfeigned – but to receive some sort of benefit from above (1 Peter 1:22).

Our Father warns us several times in the New Testament there will be people today – and in the days to come – just like this.  With covetousness and feigned words, some will make merchandise of us (2 Peter 2:3-4).  Whole houses will be subverted for filthy lucre (Titus 1:10-16).  By those with a ready mind for money (1 Peter 5:2) – charging for God’s free message (2 Corinthians 11:9).

If we file into such churches and buy into their misguided messages, and allow ourselves to be deceived by the vain words of any man or woman; no matter how great and wise a Christian they may seem (Job 32:9) – to their worldly profit, we are lightly esteeming our Savior (Deuteronomy 32:15). We are being very disobedient children (Ephesians 5:6).  Both Jesus and God do not deserve this kind of treatment.

In the most selfless display of love ever, God decided His only Son deserved to die for our sins – a worthy lamb without spot or blemish (John 3:16, 1 Peter 1:19).  Jesus – the one without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), the one with no guile ever found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22), the one who did not deserve to die for anything he ever did – did.  So by God’s grace, Christ would taste death for all (Hebrews 2:9).

Believers or unbelievers, God does not “owe” anyone anything, at anytime – ever.  The Lord has already given us everything He could ever give.  As Christians, we can’t go around counting up all our righteousness acts and wonderful works, then redeem them for worldly blessings from above. We’ve overcome the world – having been redeemed from the grave by God through His Son’s redemptive blood (1 Peter 1:9, 1 John 5:4).

Therefore, any work we do for God is always as unprofitable servants (second lead verse).  Any type of deserving attitude simply reverses servitude and merit back on ourselves.  Christ died in vain if that is ever our mindset.  It’s our duty to do all He commands – especially repentance unto salvation (Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10).  Remission of sins is not a recommendation.

A debt is something owed – such as money, goods, or services.  It is an obligation to repay or render the same in return.  Our Father is never in debt to us. We owe Him everything – including giving our lives if need be (John 15:13) – for what He did for us at Calvary.  This is not reckoned of grace – but out of our debt to Him (Romans 4:4).  We have already received God’s very best.  Our Father deserves our very best to serve Him in return – always.

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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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