Stephenway's blog listings. Feed Zend_Feed_Writer 1.10.8 (http://framework.zend.com) http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway FAITH, HOPE, & LOVE 1st Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  13 So now FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.

Christians cannot say they have all the answers yet.  As it is, we only see as if in a dim mirror, but when we meet Him in the air, we shall see everything clearly.  For now, we must live by our FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.  The greatest is the LOVE, because all of our Creator’s law is based on LOVE.

Faith is the saving foundation for the Christian.  Abraham was credited as righteous because he believed Father Yahweh, and demonstrated that faith by living to please his Creator (Genesis 15: 6).  Faith is that belief with a firm (steadfast) conviction.

Hebrews 11:1 Now FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.  3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

6 And without FAITH it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Habakkuk 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  4 "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY HIS FAITH.

Many people think of hope more as a wish.  “I saw a falling star and made a wish- I hope it comes true.”  They don’t necessarily see the term hope in its full definition.  Even today the word hope has ‘expectation’ in its definition.  In early English when the KJV was written, hope was more of that expectation than it was a wish.  That expectation is the more accurate definition of the ‘hope’ in the Scriptures.  It is that expectation based on that faith.

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him, "'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in HOPE.

Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on FAITH, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  18 IN HOPE HE BELIEVED AGAINST HOPE, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."  19 He did not weaken in FAITH when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.  20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but HE GREW STRONG IN HIS FAITH as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  22 That is why HIS FAITH WAS "COUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Romans 8:24 For in this HOPE we were saved.  Now HOPE that is seen is not HOPE.  For who hopes for what he sees?  25 But if we HOPE for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.  I trust that I need not lengthen this post by beleaguering the subject of LOVE.  It is the greatest of the three (FAITH/HOPE/LOVE), and all of God’s law is based on LOVE.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Fri, 29 May 2015 07:15:25 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/29/faith,_hope,__love http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/29/faith,_hope,__love 1st Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  13 So now FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.

Christians cannot say they have all the answers yet.  As it is, we only see as if in a dim mirror, but when we meet Him in the air, we shall see everything clearly.  For now, we must live by our FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE.  The greatest is the LOVE, because all of our Creator’s law is based on LOVE.

Faith is the saving foundation for the Christian.  Abraham was credited as righteous because he believed Father Yahweh, and demonstrated that faith by living to please his Creator (Genesis 15: 6).  Faith is that belief with a firm (steadfast) conviction.

Hebrews 11:1 Now FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.  3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

6 And without FAITH it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Habakkuk 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.  4 "Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL LIVE BY HIS FAITH.

Many people think of hope more as a wish.  “I saw a falling star and made a wish- I hope it comes true.”  They don’t necessarily see the term hope in its full definition.  Even today the word hope has ‘expectation’ in its definition.  In early English when the KJV was written, hope was more of that expectation than it was a wish.  That expectation is the more accurate definition of the ‘hope’ in the Scriptures.  It is that expectation based on that faith.

Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.  25 For David says concerning him, "'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in HOPE.

Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on FAITH, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations"—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.  18 IN HOPE HE BELIEVED AGAINST HOPE, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, "So shall your offspring be."  19 He did not weaken in FAITH when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb.  20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but HE GREW STRONG IN HIS FAITH as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  22 That is why HIS FAITH WAS "COUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

Romans 8:24 For in this HOPE we were saved.  Now HOPE that is seen is not HOPE.  For who hopes for what he sees?  25 But if we HOPE for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE abide, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE.  I trust that I need not lengthen this post by beleaguering the subject of LOVE.  It is the greatest of the three (FAITH/HOPE/LOVE), and all of God’s law is based on LOVE.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Satanic Powers The Satanic world is little understood by this world, even though this world is ruled by Satan.  Many in this world deny Satanic powers; some in this world, though they may know that Satan is powerful, may feel that they are immune to Satan’s powers; some in this world even try to use Satanic powers.  Satan is very deceitful, and his demons may make some think they are doing good by using Satanic powers.  Satan’s demons may deceive you, may tempt you, may use other people to deceive you, may oppress you, may use other people to oppress you, and/or may possess you.  (Maybe not you personally; maybe so.  This depends on your faith and your efforts to constantly be striving to please God/Yahweh.)  Though you may have a strong faith, demons may use other people to persecute you and/or harm you.  People who strive to serve God make demons angry, and they are the most likely targets for them to seek to tempt, deceive, and/or harm.

Among the miracles that Jesus performed, He cast out demons from people who had been possessed by them.  The Jewish leaders, not wishing to accept that His powers came from Yahweh, claimed that Jesus’ powers came from Satan.

Mark 3:22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "by the prince of demons he casts out the demons."  23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?  24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  25  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.

Satan is not himself divided, but in many ways his kingdom (his ‘house’) is.  Demons can be selfish, greedy, full of their own pride, and seek to ‘out-do’ one another.  They are united in evil, but their evil makes them envious of one another, so their unity is a lie (as Satan is the father of lies).  So their house is truly divided (in their enmity and envy of one another) and it will truly fall.

This underscores a basic concept in understanding the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’.  That which is perfectly good is united in love; and love seeks to serve one another in devotion to one another’s self-being and the glory of our Creator, Yahweh.  Therefore, ‘good’ grows itself by supporting and holding up one another.  On the other hand, anything that is not perfectly good, then any imperfection will break down the total unity and work to prevent that growth.  Eventually, anything that is not perfectly good will destroy itself.  This is in keeping with a law of physics know as the law of entropy.  This is also why our Creator, Yahweh, cannot allow into His Kingdom anything that is not perfectly good.

Demons may pretend to be working for love, peace, mercy, and unity.  In this, they may have followers who believe they are united for ‘good’, for ‘oneness’, for ‘love’, and for ‘peace’.  Their deceit is not with true intentions for the outcomes we might expect.  Many people may seem like ‘really good, wonderful, caring’ people, but that does not mean that they are brothers and sisters in Christ, as children of God’s (Yahweh’s) kingdom.  Any imperfection will eventually break down the unity, no matter how much ‘good, wonderful, care, and love’ there appears to be.  Appearances can be very deceiving, and Satan uses these ‘earthly, worldly’ appearances.

Now one may say that a true Christian is still not yet ‘perfectly perfect’, so how could he find a place in God’s kingdom.  This is part of Paul’s teaching in Romans 7, that we have two selves: this earthly, worldly, fleshly body, and our mind (spiritual self).  This is why elsewhere in Paul’s teaching (and John in First John) that in the Christian’s death, we will depart from this earthly self, and “be clothed” with a transformed body (our new spiritual self) (or as John says- we do not yet know what shall be, but we shall be like Him, because we will see Him as He truly IS- the great ‘I AM’).  But before we can expect this, we must believe in Jesus as our Savior.  We must see the need for our salvation.  In that belief, we come to know Him.  In coming to know Him, we are sealed by His Spirit Who teaches us to be like Him.  In this earthly, fleshly body, we may often fall (fail to live up to those expectations), but we are carried along by the desire to strive to be more like Him.  That would be to live in that true life of true unity based on true love that serves one another, and seeks to bring others into that unity with Christ.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Thu, 28 May 2015 11:12:14 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/28/satanic_powers http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/28/satanic_powers The Satanic world is little understood by this world, even though this world is ruled by Satan.  Many in this world deny Satanic powers; some in this world, though they may know that Satan is powerful, may feel that they are immune to Satan’s powers; some in this world even try to use Satanic powers.  Satan is very deceitful, and his demons may make some think they are doing good by using Satanic powers.  Satan’s demons may deceive you, may tempt you, may use other people to deceive you, may oppress you, may use other people to oppress you, and/or may possess you.  (Maybe not you personally; maybe so.  This depends on your faith and your efforts to constantly be striving to please God/Yahweh.)  Though you may have a strong faith, demons may use other people to persecute you and/or harm you.  People who strive to serve God make demons angry, and they are the most likely targets for them to seek to tempt, deceive, and/or harm.

Among the miracles that Jesus performed, He cast out demons from people who had been possessed by them.  The Jewish leaders, not wishing to accept that His powers came from Yahweh, claimed that Jesus’ powers came from Satan.

Mark 3:22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, "He is possessed by Beelzebul," and "by the prince of demons he casts out the demons."  23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan?  24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  25  And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.

Satan is not himself divided, but in many ways his kingdom (his ‘house’) is.  Demons can be selfish, greedy, full of their own pride, and seek to ‘out-do’ one another.  They are united in evil, but their evil makes them envious of one another, so their unity is a lie (as Satan is the father of lies).  So their house is truly divided (in their enmity and envy of one another) and it will truly fall.

This underscores a basic concept in understanding the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’.  That which is perfectly good is united in love; and love seeks to serve one another in devotion to one another’s self-being and the glory of our Creator, Yahweh.  Therefore, ‘good’ grows itself by supporting and holding up one another.  On the other hand, anything that is not perfectly good, then any imperfection will break down the total unity and work to prevent that growth.  Eventually, anything that is not perfectly good will destroy itself.  This is in keeping with a law of physics know as the law of entropy.  This is also why our Creator, Yahweh, cannot allow into His Kingdom anything that is not perfectly good.

Demons may pretend to be working for love, peace, mercy, and unity.  In this, they may have followers who believe they are united for ‘good’, for ‘oneness’, for ‘love’, and for ‘peace’.  Their deceit is not with true intentions for the outcomes we might expect.  Many people may seem like ‘really good, wonderful, caring’ people, but that does not mean that they are brothers and sisters in Christ, as children of God’s (Yahweh’s) kingdom.  Any imperfection will eventually break down the unity, no matter how much ‘good, wonderful, care, and love’ there appears to be.  Appearances can be very deceiving, and Satan uses these ‘earthly, worldly’ appearances.

Now one may say that a true Christian is still not yet ‘perfectly perfect’, so how could he find a place in God’s kingdom.  This is part of Paul’s teaching in Romans 7, that we have two selves: this earthly, worldly, fleshly body, and our mind (spiritual self).  This is why elsewhere in Paul’s teaching (and John in First John) that in the Christian’s death, we will depart from this earthly self, and “be clothed” with a transformed body (our new spiritual self) (or as John says- we do not yet know what shall be, but we shall be like Him, because we will see Him as He truly IS- the great ‘I AM’).  But before we can expect this, we must believe in Jesus as our Savior.  We must see the need for our salvation.  In that belief, we come to know Him.  In coming to know Him, we are sealed by His Spirit Who teaches us to be like Him.  In this earthly, fleshly body, we may often fall (fail to live up to those expectations), but we are carried along by the desire to strive to be more like Him.  That would be to live in that true life of true unity based on true love that serves one another, and seeks to bring others into that unity with Christ.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
They Stopped Their Ears In Acts we are told that as the young Christians begin to multiply and come together, some who had more than they needed would give what they had to the church to be divided with those who did not have enough.  This was the spirit of Christian giving.  They gave out of love for those in need.  Even so, in human nature, distributing what was given gave way to some disputes that some were neglected.  In Acts chapter seven the apostles appointed seven men who were extremely trustworthy to oversee the distribution of the goods.  One of them, a man named Stephen, was so eager not only in his distribution of the goods, but also in sharing the Word of the Savior to the people.  Just as Jesus had stirred up the wrath of the leaders of the Jewish faith, so to had Stephen.  The leaders called Stephen up before them to account for his preaching which irritated them so.  After giving a brief account of Jewish history he told them of the arrival of the expected Messiah in Jesus.  They didn’t want to hear that.  Then he made the following proclamation which irritated them.

Acts 7:55 But he (Stephen), full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  56 And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."  57 But they (the assembly of Jewish leaders) cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.  58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.  And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.  59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

One thing in this passage I wish to make a special note about, they “… stopped their ears …”  Essentially, they put their hands over their ears because they thought Stephen’s claim of seeing Jesus at the right hand of God was blasphemous.  They covered their ears to keep from hearing what they needed to hear.  How many people are quick to avoid listening to what they don’t want to hear, even if what is said is the truth and they need to pay attention.  This goes in keeping with the teaching that those with itchy ears will assemble around teachers who tell them what they want to hear.

2nd Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

We must be ready to hear teaching that is sound and not chase after those who teach what we want to hear, simply because it sounds good to the ear.  Search out the truth, and I hope we all want to hear the truth, but we need to hear the truth, even if it is not so sweet as we might like it to be.  Otherwise we will become like the Jews in the time of Isaiah in the passage below.  I believe many have already become so today.

Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, 14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden."

People may be quick to join any assembly that teaches and preaches what they want to hear.  But when they come together and hear God’s true message, and they only give lip service (they pretend to be true believers, but in their hearts they are seeking their own desire- believing only the words they want to hear) then they are making a mockery (blaspheming) the entire church and God’s Word.  There are many ‘pretenders’ who act like they are part of the church, but their real actions are contrary to the Bible’s message, much as those described in Ezekiel 33:

Ezekiel 33:30 "As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.'  31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.  32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.  33 When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Wed, 27 May 2015 09:03:48 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/27/they_stopped_their_ears http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/27/they_stopped_their_ears In Acts we are told that as the young Christians begin to multiply and come together, some who had more than they needed would give what they had to the church to be divided with those who did not have enough.  This was the spirit of Christian giving.  They gave out of love for those in need.  Even so, in human nature, distributing what was given gave way to some disputes that some were neglected.  In Acts chapter seven the apostles appointed seven men who were extremely trustworthy to oversee the distribution of the goods.  One of them, a man named Stephen, was so eager not only in his distribution of the goods, but also in sharing the Word of the Savior to the people.  Just as Jesus had stirred up the wrath of the leaders of the Jewish faith, so to had Stephen.  The leaders called Stephen up before them to account for his preaching which irritated them so.  After giving a brief account of Jewish history he told them of the arrival of the expected Messiah in Jesus.  They didn’t want to hear that.  Then he made the following proclamation which irritated them.

Acts 7:55 But he (Stephen), full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.  56 And he said, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."  57 But they (the assembly of Jewish leaders) cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him.  58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.  And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.  59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."  60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

One thing in this passage I wish to make a special note about, they “… stopped their ears …”  Essentially, they put their hands over their ears because they thought Stephen’s claim of seeing Jesus at the right hand of God was blasphemous.  They covered their ears to keep from hearing what they needed to hear.  How many people are quick to avoid listening to what they don’t want to hear, even if what is said is the truth and they need to pay attention.  This goes in keeping with the teaching that those with itchy ears will assemble around teachers who tell them what they want to hear.

2nd Timothy 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

We must be ready to hear teaching that is sound and not chase after those who teach what we want to hear, simply because it sounds good to the ear.  Search out the truth, and I hope we all want to hear the truth, but we need to hear the truth, even if it is not so sweet as we might like it to be.  Otherwise we will become like the Jews in the time of Isaiah in the passage below.  I believe many have already become so today.

Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord said: "Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, 14 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden."

People may be quick to join any assembly that teaches and preaches what they want to hear.  But when they come together and hear God’s true message, and they only give lip service (they pretend to be true believers, but in their hearts they are seeking their own desire- believing only the words they want to hear) then they are making a mockery (blaspheming) the entire church and God’s Word.  There are many ‘pretenders’ who act like they are part of the church, but their real actions are contrary to the Bible’s message, much as those described in Ezekiel 33:

Ezekiel 33:30 "As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, 'Come, and hear what the word is that comes from the LORD.'  31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.  32 And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.  33 When this comes—and come it will!—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Blame Game People are always looking for someone to blame.  If a nation fails, people want to blame the leaders.  This is human nature, and the news records it well.  What does the Bible teach about this?

Juesdg 3:7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.  They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.  8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia.  And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.  9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.  10 The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel.  He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand.  And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

11 So the land had rest forty years.  Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 12 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD. 13 He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms.

People need to realize that God will give Godly leaders to a people who live according to God’s ideals.  God will either give bad leaders to a nation that does not live according to His ideals, or He will raise up another nation against that nation that does not live according to His ideals, or both.  If there is a nation that has wicked rulers, you can pretty much see that the majority of the people in that nation are wicked.  If a nation is oppressing another nation, you can pretty much see that the oppressed nation is either living outside of God’s ideals, or they do not have to be concerned about oppression, because they have faith they will be delivered.

Then there seems to be a dilemma regarding Godly people living in a wicked nation that either has wicked leaders or is oppressed by another nation.  This is where God teaches that the faithful are to submit to oppression and know that God will deliver in the end.  We are taught that there will be persecution for God’s people because Satan is the ruler of this world, and Satan will oppress God’s children.  Days of judgment can be very difficult for God’s people, but they will be much worse for the wicked, and the wicked have eternal punishments, whereas God’s people will find eternal rest.

For the meantime- do not be tempted to blame your leaders, solely because they are wicked.  True, the leaders may be guilty, but God will assign the judgment.  It is not the place of God’s people to blame, but to teach righteousness, and along with the righteousness to proclaim the love, mercy, and grace.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Tue, 26 May 2015 07:06:05 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/26/blame_game http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/26/blame_game People are always looking for someone to blame.  If a nation fails, people want to blame the leaders.  This is human nature, and the news records it well.  What does the Bible teach about this?

Juesdg 3:7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.  They forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth.  8 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia.  And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.  9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.  10 The Spirit of the LORD was upon him, and he judged Israel.  He went out to war, and the LORD gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand.  And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.

11 So the land had rest forty years.  Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died. 12 And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of the LORD. 13 He gathered to himself the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and defeated Israel. And they took possession of the city of palms.

People need to realize that God will give Godly leaders to a people who live according to God’s ideals.  God will either give bad leaders to a nation that does not live according to His ideals, or He will raise up another nation against that nation that does not live according to His ideals, or both.  If there is a nation that has wicked rulers, you can pretty much see that the majority of the people in that nation are wicked.  If a nation is oppressing another nation, you can pretty much see that the oppressed nation is either living outside of God’s ideals, or they do not have to be concerned about oppression, because they have faith they will be delivered.

Then there seems to be a dilemma regarding Godly people living in a wicked nation that either has wicked leaders or is oppressed by another nation.  This is where God teaches that the faithful are to submit to oppression and know that God will deliver in the end.  We are taught that there will be persecution for God’s people because Satan is the ruler of this world, and Satan will oppress God’s children.  Days of judgment can be very difficult for God’s people, but they will be much worse for the wicked, and the wicked have eternal punishments, whereas God’s people will find eternal rest.

For the meantime- do not be tempted to blame your leaders, solely because they are wicked.  True, the leaders may be guilty, but God will assign the judgment.  It is not the place of God’s people to blame, but to teach righteousness, and along with the righteousness to proclaim the love, mercy, and grace.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0
Gird up the Loins of Your Mind The Lord tells His children that the dead who put their trust in Him shall awake from their graves and sing for joy.  Those that are alive at this time of judgment on the earth are to go into their chambers (the sanctuary of their faith) and shut their doors (secure that faith) until the Lord’s fury has passed.  Now, thinking on this, read the passage below and it should be clear what is being said.

Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.  You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.  20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.  21 For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.

God’s judgment is truly near at hand.  God’s children need to ‘gird up’ their faith.

1st Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The ESV above says ‘preparing your minds’ but the KJV says ‘gird up the loins of your mind’.  The meaning is the same- to gird up is as to straighten and secure the clothing of your mind which is euphemistically to say prepare your mind.  The translation of the Greek is ‘to gird up the loins’, but this is an euphemism that is still accurately understood in the ESV as preparing your minds.  The ESV uses ‘minds’ plural because Peter is speaking to all those of the faith (plural) but the KJV uses ‘mind’ singular because it is saying it as if each individual is reading it singularly, but still it is intended for the plurality, so they are both accurate.  When those of faith ‘go into their chambers’ (from Isaiah 26: 20 above), this is in reference to ‘going into the security of their faith that is gird up by the preparing of their minds.’

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!  2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.

God’s people were firmly instructed in God’s law not to make alliances with those who do not share their faith (their religious convictions).  Joshua and the Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites.  This was contrary to God’s will, but the Gibeonites had deceived them.  Though they had been deceived, they were still bound by the treaty they had made, and God did not allow them to revoke that treaty.  This became a sore spot for Israel, but they still overcame their circumstances.  At one point, the land suffered under King David because King Saul had violated that treaty.  It may not seem a timely fashion in man’s understanding, but God will always bring vindication, and it is not man’s place to take that vindication into his own hands.  Through Israel’s history, they continued to violate God’s injunctions- Solomon readily made trade deals and alliances with other nations for the sake of wealth, and subsequent kings continued in like manner and even fell into the foreign religious practices.

People of the Christian faith are to love and pray for and to be a witness to the world that is lost.  Still, they are not to be making alliances with those of this world for financial or military gains.  The United States has continually trafficked in world affairs for the sake of financial and military gains, rather than to trust in the Lord to provide for them without making these alliances contrary to the Christian faith.  (The most notable trafficking has been in the petroleum industry.)  Whether you listen to the Liberal propaganda or the Conservative propaganda, neither of them give the correct answers.  Like the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees that Jesus told them they did err in the Scriptures, so do the political aides, Conservatives, and Liberals of today.  They are more concerned with what ‘worldly wisdom’ teaches than with what our Creator, Yahweh, teaches.  His judgment is sure, and will not be avoided.  As in the passage at the beginning of this post, people of faith are to enter into their chambers of the security of their faith and patiently wait, because the Almighty judgment has begun.  For those who wish to say they are Conservative, they make their decision.  For those who wish to say they are Liberal, they make their decision.  For those who choose to trust in the Lord, then forget the politics of this world, and secure yourself in the study of God’s faithful Word.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
Mon, 25 May 2015 08:47:23 -0500 http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/25/gird_up_the_loins_of_your_mind http://community.beliefnet.com/stephenway/blog/2015/05/25/gird_up_the_loins_of_your_mind The Lord tells His children that the dead who put their trust in Him shall awake from their graves and sing for joy.  Those that are alive at this time of judgment on the earth are to go into their chambers (the sanctuary of their faith) and shut their doors (secure that faith) until the Lord’s fury has passed.  Now, thinking on this, read the passage below and it should be clear what is being said.

Isaiah 26:19 Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise.  You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead.  20 Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.  21 For behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain.

God’s judgment is truly near at hand.  God’s children need to ‘gird up’ their faith.

1st Peter 1:13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

The ESV above says ‘preparing your minds’ but the KJV says ‘gird up the loins of your mind’.  The meaning is the same- to gird up is as to straighten and secure the clothing of your mind which is euphemistically to say prepare your mind.  The translation of the Greek is ‘to gird up the loins’, but this is an euphemism that is still accurately understood in the ESV as preparing your minds.  The ESV uses ‘minds’ plural because Peter is speaking to all those of the faith (plural) but the KJV uses ‘mind’ singular because it is saying it as if each individual is reading it singularly, but still it is intended for the plurality, so they are both accurate.  When those of faith ‘go into their chambers’ (from Isaiah 26: 20 above), this is in reference to ‘going into the security of their faith that is gird up by the preparing of their minds.’

Isaiah 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!  2 And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.

God’s people were firmly instructed in God’s law not to make alliances with those who do not share their faith (their religious convictions).  Joshua and the Israelites made a treaty with the Gibeonites.  This was contrary to God’s will, but the Gibeonites had deceived them.  Though they had been deceived, they were still bound by the treaty they had made, and God did not allow them to revoke that treaty.  This became a sore spot for Israel, but they still overcame their circumstances.  At one point, the land suffered under King David because King Saul had violated that treaty.  It may not seem a timely fashion in man’s understanding, but God will always bring vindication, and it is not man’s place to take that vindication into his own hands.  Through Israel’s history, they continued to violate God’s injunctions- Solomon readily made trade deals and alliances with other nations for the sake of wealth, and subsequent kings continued in like manner and even fell into the foreign religious practices.

People of the Christian faith are to love and pray for and to be a witness to the world that is lost.  Still, they are not to be making alliances with those of this world for financial or military gains.  The United States has continually trafficked in world affairs for the sake of financial and military gains, rather than to trust in the Lord to provide for them without making these alliances contrary to the Christian faith.  (The most notable trafficking has been in the petroleum industry.)  Whether you listen to the Liberal propaganda or the Conservative propaganda, neither of them give the correct answers.  Like the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees that Jesus told them they did err in the Scriptures, so do the political aides, Conservatives, and Liberals of today.  They are more concerned with what ‘worldly wisdom’ teaches than with what our Creator, Yahweh, teaches.  His judgment is sure, and will not be avoided.  As in the passage at the beginning of this post, people of faith are to enter into their chambers of the security of their faith and patiently wait, because the Almighty judgment has begun.  For those who wish to say they are Conservative, they make their decision.  For those who wish to say they are Liberal, they make their decision.  For those who choose to trust in the Lord, then forget the politics of this world, and secure yourself in the study of God’s faithful Word.

0 Comments - Leave a Comment
]]>
0