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    1st Peter

    Friday, August 19, 2011, 1:36 PM [General]

    Though today’s New Testament reading was from 1st Peter, I started with a passage from John for an introduction.  All passages are from the New American Standard, Updated Edition.

    John 14: 1 Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

    Isn’t it comforting to know that He goes to prepare a place for us and that He will come again to receive us so that where He is, we may be?  First, if He is preparing a place for us that is not of this world, then we should remember that this world is not our home and we should not make ourselves to comfortable in this world by falling to the lusts of the flesh and lusts of worldliness.  Second, since He knows the end from the beginning, then if He were to see, “Oh, that guy just got saved, but I see in the future his house burns down, he gets discouraged, becomes a drunk, and loses all faith in Me, so I’d be wasting My time preparing a place for him,” that would seem sort of silly to me.  If He were to say, “Oh, he just got saved, but I see in his future he becomes lonely, starts feeling worthless, and falls to the lusts of the flesh seeking solace, so I’d be wasting My time preparing a place for him,” that seems sort of silly to me.  If He were to say, “Oh, he just got saved, but I see in the future he becomes successful and starts accumulating to himself worldly goods, and houses, and cars, and fills his storehouse on earth with earthly goods, I’d be wasting My time preparing a place for him,” that seems sort of silly to me.  But John wrote, “… for I go to prepare a place for you.” (verse 2) and “… I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”  I can rest assured that the place He has prepared for me, He is able to preserve for me, and that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.

    1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 TO OBTAIN AN INHERITANCE which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU, 5 WHO ARE PROTECTED BY THE POWER OF GOD THROUGH FAITH FOR A SALVATION READY TO BE REVEALED IN THE LAST TIME.

    We have an inheritance, that place which Jesus has gone to prepare for us.  We are protected by the power of God through faith, which was a gift from Him when we believed.

    1 Peter 1: 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God. 24 For, "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass.  The grass withers, and the flower falls off, 25 but the Word of the Lord endures forever."  And this is the word which was preached to you.

    HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD!  For believers- Our souls are purified as we were obedient to the truth!  What did we do to purify our souls?  Obeyed the law?  No!  We were obedient to the truth.  What truth?  That we believed in God through Him.  Him who?  The Lord Jesus Christ.  His disciples asked Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”  His answer was “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6: 28- 29)  Abraham believed God and God counted it to him for righteousness (Genesis 15: 6).  Our souls are purified not because we obeyed the law or that we are righteous, but we obeyed the TRUTH in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, we should obey the law of love and “… fervently love one another from the heart, …”  We were originally born into this flesh which is perishable, but we have been born again into that which is imperishable.  If we have that which is imperishable, how could we ever suppose that we might lose it, because then, we would be perishable, so how could it be said that we had that which was imperishable?  And how is it imperishable?  Through the living and enduring Word of God.  Our flesh, like a flower, will perish; but that Word of the Lord that is sealed within us by the Holy Spirit will endure forever.

    1 Peter 2: 11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

    THIS WORLD IS LOST!  Through our salvation, we have been saved from this lost world.  So we are aliens and foreigners living in a lost world.  We are to avoid the fleshly lusts of this world.  We are to avoid sexual immorality, over-indulgence of foods and strong drink, over indulgence of the comforts of the flesh that come from the accumulation of worldly goods and riches.  If you wanted to learn the ways of the Lord, would you go to a prostitute or a pimp?  If you wanted to learn the ways of the Lord, would you go to someone who continually lusts after food?  If you wanted to learn the ways of the Lord, would you go to a drunk?  If you wanted to learn the ways of the Lord, would you go to someone who covers themselves with worldly riches?

    Can we learn the ways of the Lord from a ‘sinner’?  Of course we can.  No one of us is perfect.  It is one thing to acknowledge that a teacher is not perfect.  The question is, how far entrenched in sin does a person become, before we disqualify him as a teacher of God’s ways?  But preachers who strive to live right, and no blame can be found in them, and teach the pure faith in the Lord are relegated to the side-lines and are being deprived of financial support, because worldly people are attracted to the wealthy, mega-buck, mega-churches with their mega-rich preachers teaching that it’s okay to accumulate worldly wealth in this world that God teaches us to flee from.

    So Jesus spoke of the man who had more than he needed and said he would build barns to store his goods, and the Lord told him, this day, his soul would be required of him (Luke 12: 16-21).  The Bible teaches to lay aside these worldly goods, but strive for riches in Heaven.  God’s preachers are to teach against worldliness and to flee worldliness, yet these rich mega-church preachers teach worldliness.  How do they teach worldliness?  By example.

    Who are the antichrists?  The antichrists are representatives of demons in this world who teach against the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Do you believe the Biblical teachings that this world is not our home?  Do you believe the Biblical teachings that we are strangers and foreigners in this world?  Do you believe the Biblical teachings that we are not to accumulate the lusts of the flesh, which are the worldly things of this world because this world is not our home?  Do you believe that the Lord teaches that people who are successful in this world, who accumulate wealth, are to use that wealth to help the poor and needy?  If you look at your personal checkbook, and think you may could spare ten dollars to feed someone who is hungry, then when the Lord says to help the needy, did he mean for you to look at your ‘corporate’ checkbook?  That’s what these mega-rich, mega-church preachers do.  They talk about how many people their ministry helps.  But what do the corporate executives of these mega-churches do with their ‘personal’ checkbooks?

    My God is not blind- and my God will call to account.  If you want to support these mega-church ministries, what portion of that support do you want to go to the pocketbooks of these rich corporate executives and preachers who push God’s Word for their own gain?

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Faith Without Works

    Thursday, August 18, 2011, 1:03 PM [General]

    Today’s New Testament Reading from James NASU.

    2: 8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER."  Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

    Here James asserts our Saviors commandment that those who wish to follow Him are to live by the law of love.  It does not replace the old law but supersedes the old law in that it has higher standards, yet recognizes that no one of us is capable of fully living to those standards, hence “mercy triumphs over judgment.”  If we all perfectly lived by the law, where would be the need for mercy.  But as we all need mercy, then accepting the law of love means in that love, we will show mercy to others.  If we show no mercy, then we are living by the law of judgment which shows no mercy.  If we live by the law of love and show mercy, then we will be shown mercy at that judgment.

    14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

    “Can THAT faith save him?”  We are saved by grace through faith, and that faith is a gift.  That gift is bestowed on us who believe/accept/call upon the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.  That means we have recognized our sinful state and do not wish to live that sort of life and have believed that Jesus is able to deliver us from our worthless estate.  In receiving that gift of faith, we have accepted that commandment of Jesus to love in our hearts and are sealed by the Holy Spirit.  With that love in our hearts, we are impelled by that love to serve one another.  If we do not have that driving force of love to serve, then faith is seriously called into question.  James did not say that we are not saved by faith.  James was saying that if we have faith- we will be known by our love which is Christ’s commandment planted in our hearts which would be shown by our service to others.  As Jesus said, we would be known by our love.

    3: 1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

    Anyone who assumes a title of function in the church is held to a standard commensurate with that title, and will be held to a higher standard of demonstrating God’s law of love.  If we are all to live by that same law, then why are some held to a higher standard?  Because, none of us are perfect yet, and as James goes on to say, “For we all stumble in many ways.”  But those who are in a higher position are to be stronger examples, which means they are to guard themselves as being less prone to stumbling.  They are to guard their steps more carefully, especially those who are being paid by the church to serve as examples.

    That means if I were to be called to preach, and a church was willing to pay me a salary to serve them, then I would be paid to strive to set a higher example of love, which is Christ’s commandment.  So if I were paid to preach, and then I saw someone in need, hungry or cold or whatever that need may be, then I should be the first to set the example to strive to meet that need to demonstrate to the church the meaning of Christ’s commandment to love.

    This is why these rich mega-preachers are not setting the example when they stand with their microphones and ‘gloriously proclaim God’s Word’ when they don’t demonstrate God’s Word, and the poor masses who look up to them and say, “Hark!  The voice of an angel!” yet they are deceived, because these preachers lie to get rich from these poor masses.  Oh, they teach the words from the Bible truly; so how do they deceive?  Let them teach how Jesus said it was so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom, while they themselves live in the lap of luxury.  Let them set the example for using their riches to rich out to the hungry and the cold.

    5: 1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries which are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments have become moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! 4 Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

    Pray for these poor, poor, rich mega-church preachers, because the Bible says their miseries are coming upon them.  Pray and feel sorry for these people who have been educated by them, without realizing their teachers were not teaching them how wicked they themselves were.  If someone wants to learn God’s law of love, then they need to learn from someone who knows how to demonstrate it, because as James said, teachers will certainly be held to a higher standard, and weep for the rich, because they had miseries coming upon them.  So people who live by the standards of this world want degrees and accolades from the teachers who got wealthy by not living to that higher standard.  Feel truly sorry for these poor people, who likely don’t even realize how poor they are.

    Am I trying to say that these wealthy preachers aren’t saved by the grace of God?  No! No! No!  I don’t know whether they have faith, I can only say that I can’t see that faith by their works of love when they live with riches when they are supposed to be so much in love with the poor.  Teachers are supposed to live by the higher standard, and the rich will have miseries coming upon them, and if you want a good teacher, I wouldn’t go searching for a rich man to teach me God’s law of LOVE.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Jeremiah and Hebrew Intersect

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 2:36 PM [General]

    My Old and New Testament readings today intersected on one point, that being, those who search for the Lord with all their heart will find Him.

    Jeremiah 29: 11 'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. NASU

    Here Jeremiah is addressing the Jews who were being carried into exile by the Babylonians.  What does this have to do to us today?  The Jews are God’s covenanted people, but they were chosen because of their ancestor Abraham’s faith.  The Scriptures teach that those who come to Him in faith will be accepted.  Would you earnestly search for anyone with all your heart if you didn’t have faith in your search?  It is this faith that brings people into a spiritual relationship, sort of as step-children, to Abraham and inheritors of a new covenant based on that faith.

    Hebrews 11: 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. NASU

    Our reward is forgiveness of our deceitful and wicked hearts, those hearts being replaced by a new heart, but that new heart is still in a worldly body with battles with spiritual wickedness in high places, still pulled by the temptations of this world, and still subject to falling and suffering.  So if we are still subject to all this, then how is that a reward?  The reward is in the forgiveness that guarantees us a deliverance when we leave this earthly, worldly body and a new home prepared for us in God’s Kingdom.  Though we haven’t reached that home, this world is not our home, and we are a part of His Kingdom and should seek the deliverance in love for the others who are still a part of this earthly, worldly kingdom.  In Christ’s love for us, we are to share that love with others.  We must search ourselves- Do we truly have that love for others in us?  If not, we need to reexamine if our search for Him has been cut short.  Those who are rewarded with that new heart have that love by which Jesus said His followers would be known.  Having that new heart with that love is not easy.  We still live in earthly, fleshly, worldly bodies and are pulled by the allures of this world, and struggle to survive in this world, and still demonstrate that genuine love for others that stimulates us to reach out for others with love and prayer and meeting the needs of others as best our provisions allow.

    If you truly love someone who is not a part of our Lord’s kingdom, to what length will that love stimulate you to reach out to share that love?  If you truly love people who are hurting or in need, to what length will you give of yourself to ease another persons suffering?

    The last chapter in my Old Testament reading ended with the Lord telling Jeremiah to say this to Baruch, who was Jeremiah’s assistant.

    Jeremiah 45: 4 "Thus you are to say to him, 'Thus says the Lord, "Behold, what I have built I am about to tear down, and what I have planted I am about to uproot, that is, the whole land." 5 'But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,' declares the Lord, 'but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'"NASU

    Those of us who are saved by God’s grace are living in a world that is not our home.  We are to recognize that this world is soon to be judged and destroyed, just as Israel at the hands of the Assyrians and as Judah at the hands of the Babylonians and Israel again at the hand of the Romans.  As we are still living in earthly, worldly, fleshly bodies and are so pulled by the allures of this world, it is so easy to be as Baruch and seek great things for ourselves.  If you’re as lazy as me, you could have a sweepstakes to find a rich woman to take care of you.  In all honesty, I don’t think it’s working.

    Suppose I had the ‘charisma’ or whatever one chooses to call it to start preaching and people believed in me and trusted me and gave me money to keep preaching to them.  Now suppose the first year I got $50,000 from this.  I think, I could live comfortably on $25,000 and because I love people, I can use the other $25,000 to help needy people.  The next year, people would note how I had used $25,000 to help needy people and think I was so good, and I would collect $100,000.  Gee, I would figure I could use a raise, so I would keep $50,000, and use $50,000 to help the needy.  I would later be hiring a staff of people, I would have so many things.  I know if I were a mega-preacher, I would likely be more wicked than all the mega-preachers I talk about.

    So if I know that I’m more wicked than these mega-preachers, then why do I talk about them?  Jealousy?  Maybe.  But I tell people, I know I’m a sinner.  Don’t trust me.  Don’t take my word for anything.  Search the Scriptures and see for yourself what things are so.  Don’t let me, or these mega-preachers tell you what your relationship with the Lord should be.  Listen to them, they speak a lot of truth.  But search the Scriptures and see what things are so, what you find within yourself that the Lord is telling you.  Does the Lord tell you to help the needy.  Before you make out a big check to send to a mega-preacher, look to see how much he has and how much his income is and if he is more wealthy than you to begin with.  Did the Lord show you a neighbor who was hungry?  Oh, I could have bought my neighbor a dinner, but that mega-preacher feeds a lot of hungry people, so the money I could have helped my neighbor with went to the mega-preacher.

    Did you know there is a website,  www.portfolio.com/ , that profiles corporations, their executives, and I’m not sure what all.  You can find out a lot about corporate budgets, how those budgets are spent and how much their executives make.  Most of these executives have an expense account (not their salary) that allows them to live like kings, with spending very little of their personal salaries, which their personal salaries are mega-bucks.  I’m not going to tell you that I know whether or not the people who manage this web-site are Christian or not, because I don’t know.  But just for an example on rich people, try this five web page on Joel Osteen’s brief biography and rise to wealth:

    www.portfolio.com/executives/features/20...

    Now if you search your Scriptures, and pray, and you have $10 to spare, and you have a hungry neighbor, and you see a televangelist and the Lord speaks to your heart and tell you to send your ten to the televangelist instead of buying food for your neighbor, then by all means, I’m not going to tell you to do otherwise.  I know I’m a sinner, and these mega-preachers may have bigger mansions in Heaven than me.

    I’m saying- don’t be too quick to believe in mega-preachers.  I tell you surely, don’t believe in me, because I know I’m a sinner, and I shouldn’t even judge mega-preachers, as many of them may have a bigger heart than me.  But I’d not be quick to trust someone who gets so rich from the Gospel of Christ.

    Like my today’s Bible reading from Jeremiah’s message to Baruch- why should I expect to find greatness in this world, since I know this world is soon to be judged?

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Some Thoughts from Yesterday Finished Today

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011, 10:09 AM [General]

    Tuesday- I might not get this posted today (Tuesday) as I’ve been busy.  This New Testament reading was from Hebrews.  I started with a few verses from my earlier Jeremiah post as this post also relates to God’s knowing the heart.  Sometimes it seems to be beyond coincidence that as I read a portion from the Old Testament and a portion from the New Testament, I start with Genesis and work towards Malachi, and with Matthew and work towards Revelation, but often, verses from the Old Testament seem to match concepts in my New Testament passage.  But this demonstrates that God’s Word, though we may not understand it perfectly, shows itself to be consistent.

    Jeremiah, NASU

    17: 9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

    20: 12 Yet, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, Who sees the mind and the heart; Let me see Your vengeance on them; For to You I have set forth my cause.

    Hebrews 4: 12 For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. NASU

    We know that Jesus is the Word and that He is living and able to judge.  But people who study the Scriptures with the Spirit of the Lord can tell you that the Words of the Scriptures themselves are alive (KJV- quick) and as you study, those Words can reveal a person’s heart to the person studying in a powerful way.  Anyone who has sincerely searched the Scriptures and has seen their own heart can tell you it can be a somewhat frightening experience and this is where a person begins to really learn and understand ‘the fear of the Lord’.

    I don’t believe a Christian will truly in this life see their own heart the way God sees it.  Remember, a Christian has been cleansed, ‘washed in the blood’ of Christ.  If a Christian saw his heart the way God saw it, He would see it in its redeemed state because the sins have been washed away and cast as far as the east is from the west.  This would easily cause a Christian to become smug, self assured, and probably proud and conceited.  So the heart can be seen from two perspectives: 1) the cleansed, redeemed, ‘washed in the blood of Christ’ perspective that Jesus sees as He prepares your mansion in glory; or, 2) because we’re still human, and far from being completely perfect, then the heart can be seen as it is in this world as Jeremiah 17: 9 says, “… more deceitful than all else and desperately sick.”  As a Christian studies the Scriptures and sees his own heart, this is what he should see, as this world is not out home, and we need to see the ugly truth of how undeserving we are, and how, even the most righteous among us are as filthy rags.  Seeing this way helps to keep us from becoming smug, self-righteous, and surely stifles any thoughts of being judgmental.  It helps us to better identify with other sinners in this world as people to be reached out to with love rather than preaching at them with judgments.

    I don’t know how other people who have seen this vision it.  I can only say that I see the heart as a garden.  It may have beautiful flowers (many or few), may or may not need a lot of weeding, or may be filled with stones, briers, or thick heavy thorns.  I have seen that thorns can be rooted out and replaced with flowers.  I have seen that stones can be replaced with flowers.

    Remember Jesus’ parable of the sower?  Some seed fell on stones and some on thorny ground.  What makes the ground stony or thorny?  Sometimes it is like Ordained’s post “Some people are just mean”.  People have grown up, or have somehow come into circumstances where they have been treated in a very abusive fashion.  This can work in the garden of a person’s heart to fill it with stones and/or briers and thorns.  God has the seed, and Christians are to sow that seed, but there is a lot more to it than that.  Some people who call themselves Christian don’t want to get out and work the garden, till the soil, pull weeds, turn over stones, root up briers and thorns.  But this is where Christians will be known by their love.  Love looks to move stones and pull the weeds, and root out thorns, and add extra fertilizer in the form of love and prayer to reach people who need to be reached.

    Have you known people who could stand on a street corner and hand out tracts, and if someone didn’t want the tract, the one handing out the tract could say, “Well, I tried, but you wouldn’t listen, so let it be on your own head.”?  That’s a person who wants to sow seed, but doesn’t want to get their hands dirty by having to show love.  I had one friend who was fast going down a wrong path.  I asked a ‘Christian’ friend to pray for that person for me.  This ‘Christian’ friend told me that all I could do was show this person the right way, and if that person didn’t want to listen, well I did what I could do and the best thing to do was to just let that friend go their own way.  This person was supposed to be trained to serve as a minister of Christ and led by the Holy Spirit.  I’ve grown less and less trusting of ‘so-called’ ministers.

    Satan tells Christians, “Hey, go get your bags of flower seeds and go spread them all over the world, and wait for the Lord to make them grow.”  Satan already knows he’s the prince of the power of the air and the ruler of this world.  He wants Christians to think that all they’re supposed to do is sow the seed.  God’s love motivates people to work the garden with love and prayer.  Never give up on someone just because they’re going down the wrong road in a hurry, or even if they’ve reached rock bottom.  This is how true Christians are known by their love.  True Christians don’t throw their hands up in the air and say, “Oh, well, that’s one lost soul I don’t have to have on my mind anymore.  I told them, but they didn’t listen.”  True Christians know there’s more to it than that.  True Christians don’t give up that easy, because true love tries to reach people even if they’ve reached rock bottom.  I don’t know who that ‘Christian minister’ calls their ‘Holy Spirit’, but I know that anyone who calls my Holy Spirit ‘Calvinism’ will answer to my God.

    Heb 5: 11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. NASU

    I’m afraid that many churches, especially these so-called ‘mega-churches’ are turning out Sadducees and Pharisees on an assembly line.  “Here are the verses- Do you believe those?  Good, now you’re saved.  Here are another list of verses- Have you learned them?  Good, now you’re a witness.  Now witnessing, some people are going to have special situations and you may have to be a counselor- Here are a list of verses for this situation and here’s another list for that situation.  Learn them and pass this test, and now you’re trained in the meat of the gospel and certified to wear the title of “Authorized Grand Shepherd of the Flock”.  Learn these additional verses and take another test and we’ll give you a better title.

    People need to spend much time in prayer, searching the Scriptures, learning what you believe (not so much what I or anyone else tells you to believe) working in the garden spreading love.  In spreading that love with continued prayer and Bible study, both the milk and the meat of the gospel will reveal itself.  Working that garden in love may not always be spreading seed, but preparing the soil.  Robots can go out and throw seed.  God didn’t create us to be robots.  Do people honestly think that God wants them to go out and throw that precious seed around stones and thorns and say, “Oh, well, I did my part.  If it doesn’t grow it’s not my fault.”  Didn’t God give the farmer enough sense not to just go out into the field and throw seed among stones and thorns, but to prepare the garden first?

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Today on Jeremiah

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 1:24 PM [General]

    Today’s Old Testament reading from Jeremiah, New American Standard, Updated Edition.

    17: 7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. 8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

    9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 "I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

    Is it just me, or can anyone else see a dichotomy in these two paragraphs?  It’s understandable that the Lord would bless someone whose trust is in Him (the Lord).  But in the very next paragraph, does it seem at all possible that a sick and deceitful heart could deceive the mind into thinking someone trusts the Lord?  Oh, but we can think we know our heart, but it continues in verse 9, “Who can understand it?”  Verse 10 says that the Lord searches the heart, but the Scriptures teach that it’s not given to man to understand the heart.  This is where one’s act of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is sealed by the Holy Spirit and one is given God’s gift of faith.  An unsaved person may ‘think’ he believes any number of things, which he may believe in a sort of ‘wishy-washy’ way as his heart deceives him; but when one truly believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, the gift of faith confirms the salvation experience in a way that his heart is revealed himself.  Still, not being perfect, then that imperfection means an imperfect picture that could weaken the faith, or right living strengthens that faith.  I think this battle of the heart, mind, and flesh is best revealed in Romans chapter 7.

    20: 12 Yet, O Lord of hosts, You who test the righteous, Who sees the mind and the heart; Let me see Your vengeance on them; For to You I have set forth my cause.

    13 Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord! For He has delivered the soul of the needy one From the hand of evildoers.

    14 Cursed be the day when I was born; Let the day not be blessed when my mother bore me! 15 Cursed be the man who brought the news To my father, saying, "A baby boy has been born to you!" And made him very happy. 16 But let that man be like the cities Which the Lord overthrew without relenting, And let him hear an outcry in the morning And a shout of alarm at noon; 17 Because he did not kill me before birth, So that my mother would have been my grave, And her womb ever pregnant. 18 Why did I ever come forth from the womb To look on trouble and sorrow, So that my days have been spent in shame?

    Here I used 20: 12 to reiterate how the Lord sees the mind and the heart.  After this seems another sort of dichotomy.  In verse 13 Jeremiah is singing praise to the Lord, but in the very next paragraph, beginning at verse 14 he is cursing the day of his birth.  This put me in mind of Jeremiah in 15: 10 where he rued his birth.

    15:10 Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me As a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have not lent, nor have men lent money to me, Yet everyone curses me.

    So we see Jeremiah (who, by the way, has often been referred to as the ‘weeping’ prophet) in distress that he was even born, and being cursed by his countrymen.  This put me in mind of two other men of God, David and Job

    Psalm 38 of David, KJV 6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. 7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9 Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.

    So Jeremiah 15: 10 he suffers to the point of complaining that he was born while his countrymen curse him; David in the psalm complains of his suffering and his support group stands aloof and afar; and Ordained on B’net has been posting a study on Job and his suffering, and his ‘friends’ poor comfort.

    25: 29 "For behold, I am beginning to work calamity in this city which is called by My name, and shall you be completely free from punishment? You will not be free from punishment; for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth," declares the Lord of hosts.'

    31 'A clamor has come to the end of the earth, Because the Lord has a controversy with the nations. He is entering into judgment with all flesh; As for the wicked, He has given them to the sword,' declares the Lord." 32 Thus says the Lord of hosts, "Behold, evil is going forth From nation to nation, And a great storm is being stirred up From the remotest parts of the earth. 33 "Those slain by the Lord on that day will be from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be lamented, gathered or buried; they will be like dung on the face of the ground.

    34 "Wail, you shepherds, and cry; And wallow in ashes, you masters of the flock; For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions have come, And you will fall like a choice vessel. 35 "Flight will perish from the shepherds, And escape from the masters of the flock. 36 "Hear the sound of the cry of the shepherds, And the wailing of the masters of the flock! For the Lord is destroying their pasture, 37 "And the peaceful folds are made silent Because of the fierce anger of the Lord. 38 "He has left His hiding place like the lion; For their land has become a horror Because of the fierceness of the oppressing sword And because of His fierce anger."

    Take note, though a branch from the tree of Abraham was cut away so the Gentiles could be grafted in, the Gentiles have no cause to boast before the Jews of the flesh.  As Paul taught, the Gentiles could be cut away, and original branches grafted back in if the tables ever turned.  God has not, and never will forget His covenant people and their covenant land.  When you see calamities in Israel, be assured the rest of the world is subject to the wrath, and judgment is surely coming quickly.  The last paragraph in the Jeremiah entry above warns those who wish to be teachers, preachers, pastors, bishops, etc (overseers of God’s flock who are as under-shepherds to the Great Shepherd Jesus) are responsible for warning the flock of the coming judgment, else they will be held to a stricter judgment themselves.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Some Thoughts from Isaiah

    Monday, August 15, 2011, 8:52 PM [General]

    I’ve had a busy day today, but I did get back to my folder.  Some thoughts from my Old Testament reading in Isaiah today.

    IsaIah 43:25 "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. 26 "Put Me in remembrance, let us argue our case together; State your cause, that you may be proved right. NASU

    Usually when you think of someone doing something for someone else, it is usually thought of as done for the sake of the one who it’s done for, that is the one who benefits.  Why is God here saying that He is wiping out someone’s transgressions for His sake?  Here God is talking to the Jews who were physically the direct, fleshly descendants of Abraham.  He had a covenant with them, and by that covenant, He would have been justified in bringing judgment against them, but here (I believe this was after Assyria had taken away the Northern Kingdom, so it would have been addressed to the Southern Kingdom of Judah) He is delaying judgment for His Own sake to demonstrate His long-suffering patience and mercy.  Now though this would certainly apply in these verses, I believe it can be extended to today as well.  This world is well beyond any point where judgment could have been started, so why has it delayed.  As the Scriptures say, He is not willing that any should perish, and He is allowing time for more people to have an opportunity to come to Him.

    49:24 "Can the prey be taken from the mighty man, Or the captives of a tyrant be rescued?" 25 Surely, thus says the Lord, "Even the captives of the mighty man will be taken away, And the prey of the tyrant will be rescued; For I will contend with the one who contends with you, And I will save your sons. 26 "I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob." NASU

    My first thought at verse 24 was of Jesus teaching that the thief must first overpower the master of the house before he can carry anything away (paraphrased).  But Jesus statement didn’t have anything to do with captives being rescued.  The overall passage above can refer to the Assyrians and Babylonians as ‘mighty men’ who took away God’s children, but God would rescue them.  I think it isn’t going to far to liken the mighty man to Satan.  (As I’ve observed on forums here, a lot of people like to pick points to the extreme.  I realize Satan is not a ‘man’.  To say that it is a ‘veiled’ reference, then for those of you who don’t care for ‘veiled’ references, there is no explanation that will do.)  I believe that the ‘people of this world’ (for some, I need to stipulate that the ‘children of God’ are not included in that phrase ‘people of this world’) are captives of that tyrant, Satan.  God will demonstrate from verse 26, “And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."  For the dense- He is the Savior and Redeemer of the ‘children of God’.  ‘People of this world’ can become ‘children of God’ by believing in the Lord as Savior and Redeemer (the Lord Jesus Christ).

    For verse 7 below (Isaiah 52: 7), the reference to the feet of the one who brings good news refers to the idea that in those days they had no cars, busses, or planes, so much news traveled by foot.  Aside from that, I will have no further comments on the following passage.  Those for whom this message was intended should get it easily enough, and comments, at this point, I feel would only detract from the beauty of the passage.

    52:7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!" 8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices, They shout joyfully together; For they will see 1 with their own eyes When the Lord restores Zion.

    9 Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.

    11 Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the Lord. 12 But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the Lord will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

    13 Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. 15 Thus He will sprinkle many nations, Kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; For what had not been told them they will see, And what they had not heard they will understand.

    53:1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

    4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

    6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

    9 His grave was assigned with wicked men, Yet He was with a rich man in His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was there any deceit in His mouth. 10 But the Lord was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

    11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. NASU

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    A Little from Timothy & Titus

    Monday, August 15, 2011, 3:55 PM [General]

    Sometimes it seems there is never enough time.  I don’t think I could ever tire of reading the Bible.  Yet I copy passages to documents, write my thoughts, store them in folders, never having time to get back to them, and eventually delete them.  But the copy, paste, format, and adding thoughts is time consuming, and they get deleted from folders anyway, so it gives me less time to read.  Still, why do I feel that passages are to be copied and saved?  They are already saved in the Scriptures.  Should I share them in a journal post?  But so many people with so many thoughts already share so many things on journal posts.  I don’t have time to read all the posts, and still it cuts down on my Bible study time.  So why should I think anyone else has time or interest to notice my posts?  So why do I post?  But at the same time, why do I copy so much to documents and store them in folders only to eventually delete them?  Does it seem they are to be shared?  Then, does anyone else have more time than me?  There are still only twenty four hours to the day for each one as for me.  So why would anyone have time to read my posts, as there are so many posts that I never have time to get to?

    Anyway, God’s Word is God’s Word, and it’s available to any who may have interest.  Anyone may read and have their own thoughts, just as I have mine, so what are my thoughts compared to others?  Anyway, I think what I think, feel what I feel, and what else could I write?  Sometimes I have a certainty about what I feel and write.  Sometimes I feel right, but maybe not knowledgeable enough to be certain.  Bibles can be found all over the internet, so why do I post passages, as though no one else could find them?  Still, I think what I think or feel should be in agreement with what the Bible teaches, so I should use the Bible passages to support what I think or feel.  But if I post Bible passages, then what does it matter about posting what I think or feel about them?  If the passages say what the Lord wants people to know, then why do my thoughts or feelings matter, as anyone reading could be shown by the Lord what to think or feel?

    Yesterday and today my New Testament passages were from Timothy and Titus, two men Paul was instructing and encouraging in positions of leadership in God’s church.  I copied a lot from Isaiah for my Old Testament reading, but not sure if I’ll get to post it, or if it will just go into a folder and later deleted.

    2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent {practiced, studied, prepared, learned, educated} to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.  {The insert in braces is not part of the NASU, but I added.}

    3:14 You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

    4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. NASU

    Thinking of what Paul told Timothy above in chapter three, the Scriptures that Timothy had known since childhood that were adequate to equip a Christian for every good work didn’t include what we know as the New Testament, as it hadn’t been fully published and distributed.  I liked that Ordained could take what many would consider an obscure passage from Zechariah, and teach about Jesus.  Even if all we had was the Old Testament, we could still teach and preach salvation from the Messiah.  How much more blessed we are to have the New Testament.

    Timothy had the Scriptures taught him since childhood (from the passage above).  Not everyone coming to the Lord has been so privileged.  For new Christians who enter the ministry it is important to note that, though the Scriptures are ‘profitable’ to adequately equip them in the ministry, one is still not equipped until one has studied to obtain that ‘teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness’.  I can appreciate a new convert being eager to jump into the ministry of the Gospel, but people need to realize that such a ministry is taught by Jesus to be done with not only boldness, but humility.  Learning that humility is not always an easy lesson to learn.  There are many areas of service a new convert can enter into in a lowly capacity of humbly serving others without becoming to quick to becoming a teacher or putting on a microphone and preaching.  One should follow the sound instruction of ‘studying to show one’s self approved’ in chapter two above.

    The importance of this injunction to study to be approved, and the equipping of the Scriptures is shown in the added injunction in chapter four above, “… preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction …”.  Though I can appreciate a new convert’s eagerness, I feel it must be subdued to instill the importance of humility.  I also feel too many people are jumping in without understanding being ready in season and out of season, and understanding how to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with patience.  And certainly how can one instruct, until one has been instructed?

    Titus 1: 7 For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. 10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. NASU

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The Lord's Prayer- Part III- Some Final Thoughts from the Scriptures

    Sunday, August 14, 2011, 10:49 PM [General]

    Just a few final thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer and forgiveness and its implications to God’s law of LOVE.

    Matthew 6:9-15 NASU

    9 "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

    10 'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

    11 'Give us this day our daily bread.

    12 'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    13 'And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.']

    14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

    15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

     

    Matthew 6:9-15 AMP

    9 Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed (kept holy) be Your name.

    10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

    11 Give us this day our daily bread.

    12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors.

    13 And lead (bring) us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.  For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen.

    14 For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

    15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.

     

    Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (KJV)

     

    Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

     

    1John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The Lord's Prayer- Part II

    Sunday, August 14, 2011, 7:54 PM [General]

    In Part One I had finished with ‘give us this day, our daily bread’.  Even the apostle Paul had said that there were times that he went without, but he didn’t go without long enough to weaken his body or his spirit too much.  The Lord said to pray for our daily bread, but He never said that we would never be hungry (at least in this flesh and blood world).  However, my daily New Testament reading then gave me more insights that seemed to go hand in hand with those thoughts.

    Now let’s look at the rest of the Lord’s Prayer with thoughts on forgiveness.  From the start I had added verses immediately following the main body of the Lord’s Prayer as they applied to other thoughts I had in mind.  Remember, though we call this the ‘Lord’s Prayer’, it is really His instruction for our prayers to our Heavenly Father.  The text is in transliterated Greek with the Strong’s definitions in parentheses.  You can use the definitions to formulate your own sentence structure and find your meaning.

    12 ‎kaí (and, also, but, both, even, for) áfes (cry, forgive, lay aside, leave) h¢mín (our, us, for us, we) tá (the, this, that, which) ofeil¢¡mata (something owed, due, debt, in a moral sense- fault, wrong, trespass) h¢mœ¡n, (our, us, for us, we) ‎hœs (about, after that, even as, like as) kaí (and, also, but, both, even, for) h¢meís (us, we, ourselves) af¢¡kamen (cry, forgive, lay aside, leave) toís (the, this, that, which) ofeilétais (debtor, which owed, morally- sinner, offender) h¢mœ¡n: (our, us, for us, we)

    12 ‎kaí áfes h¢mín tá ofeil¢¡mata h¢mœ¡n, ‎hœs kaí h¢meís af¢¡kamen toís ofeilétais h¢mœ¡n:

    Also lay aside for us that (debt or fault) for us even as also we lay aside (debtor or sinner) [against] us.

    13 ‎kaí m¢¡ eisenénk¢s h¢más eis peirasmón, ‎allá rhúsai h¢más apó toú pon¢roú.

    (and, also, but, both, even, for) (negative, not, not, none, nothing) (bring, bring in, lead, lead into) (our, us, we) (in, to, into, at, against, before) (though translated temptation in the KJV and others, the meaning implies to test, prove, try, or experience by adversity similar to teaching by experience, which experience may not always be easy, could be thought of as testing or proving or chastening) (but, howbeit, never-the-less) (rescue, deliver) (our, us, we) (after, ago, at, for, from, of) (the, this, that, which) (bad, evil, grievous, harm, wicked)

    14 ‎Eán gár af¢¡te toís anthrœ¡pois tá paraptœ¡mata autœ¡n, af¢¡sei kaí humín ho pat¢¡r humœ¡n ho ouránios:

    (before, but, except, if, so) (and, as, before, but, even, for) (cry, forgive, lay aside, leave) (the, this, that, which) (man, men, human) (the, this, that, which) (fall, fault, sin, offense, trespass) (one, own, other, self, their) (cry, forgive, lay aside, leave) (and, also, both, but, even) (ye, you, your, yourself, yourselves) (the, this, that, which) (Father) (ye, you, your, yourself, yourselves) (the, this, that, which) (Heavenly)

    15 ‎eán dé m¢¡ af¢¡te toís anthrœ¡pois, oudé ho pat¢¡r humœ¡n af¢¡sei tá paraptœ¡mata humœ¡n.

    (before, but, except, if, if so, whatsoever, though) (also, and, but, moreover) (negative, not, not, none, nothing) (cry, forgive, lay aside, leave) (the, this, that, which) (man, men, human) (neither, never, no, no more, nor, not, nor) (the, this, that, which) (Father) (ye, you, your, own, your own selves) (cry, forgive, lay aside, leave) (the, this, that, which) (fall, fault, sin, offence, trespass) (ye, you, your, own, your own selves)

    I know it’s not easy taking the words in parentheses as Strong’s definitions from the Greek order of the transliterated verse and using them to form one’s own version of the Lord’s Prayer, but if anyone has tried from these to posts on the Lord’s Prayer to do so, I hope it has been a rewarding experience.

    From verses 12, 14, and 15 above (though 14 & 15 are not technically a part of the Lord’s Prayer) we have some thoughts on forgiveness.  Forgive us, as we forgive.  How can we expect to be forgiven, if we can’t forgive.  The really important concept to remember here is that none of us are perfect, and if we expect others to forgive us for not being perfect, then we should seriously consider how we forgive others for their imperfections.  However, there is a difference between normal human reactions that result in slips of our perfection, and willful or spiteful actions of imperfections.  So we can each think within ourselves about the implications of this.

    One of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother- till seven times, he asked (now seven is a number sometimes used to mean ‘all, completely, or totally).  Jesus magnified the completely (seven times) to seventy times seven  Then Jesus applied the forgiveness to go beyond ones brother in His next illustration.  Jesus used an illustration of a man who owed much was forgiven, yet the one forgiven turned around and through someone else in prison for not having enough to pay a little (Matthew 18: 21- 35).

    Then there is the story of the woman who washed Jesus feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair, then anointed His feet with perfumed oil.  Jesus told the irritated Pharisee that one who was forgiven much, would love much (Luke 7: 36- 50).  Please find some quite time to read and think on these passages:- Matthew 6: 9- 15; 18: 21- 35; and Luke 7: 36- 50.

    Do we feel the impact of our own filthy rags before the Lord?  Do we really believe we have been forgiven for so much filth?  Or do we feel that we weren’t really so filthy to begin with?

    Isaiah 64: 6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (KJV)

    If we can truly believe and acknowledge that we have been forgiven so much, can that forgiveness be demonstrated by how much we are known for our love?  Does a better understanding of forgiveness give us a better understanding of God’s law of LOVE?  Is it easier to understand why those who follow Jesus will be known by their LOVE (John 13: 35)?

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Timothy and Faith

    Sunday, August 14, 2011, 2:59 PM [General]

    I had not thought to do a post on my today’s Bible reading, as I had already planned to do a post on the Lord’s Prayer (as it is commonly called).  From that I had thought about ‘give us this day’ as a sign of hope for the troubled world we live in, because we often forget that day to day life and I had some thoughts on ‘forgive us our debts (trespasses)’ that I wanted to do some cross referencing on.  However, today’s New Testament reading added to my thoughts on the post I had on my mind about the Lord’s Prayer and some thoughts of its own.

    1 Timothy 6: 3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, 4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

    6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. 8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.

    10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. NASU

    Even in Paul’s day there appeared those who sought to use this new teaching of salvation for the purpose of getting rich.  Paul rebuked that idea and countered with, “godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.”  This contentment he spoke of was being content that our Father would “give us this day, our daily bread.”  When I had it in mind to post on the Lord’s Prayer, I didn’t realize that this from today’s reading would show me more on what I had already planned.  Paul continues in verse nine, “those who want to get rich fall into temptation”.  Remember in the Lord’s prayer we pray, “And lead us not into temptation”?  Lord, I know I stay in temptation (I’m trying not to think about the sweepstakes for the woman rich enough to take care of me the rest of my life).

    Another important issue that came to me is about those who “have wandered away from the faith”.  This is so easy to misinterpret.  Consider this, Paul was in prison before he went to Rome and spoke to a ruler (Felix, Festus, Agrippa- I can’t remember and don’t feel like looking it up right now- look it up yourself, or take my word for it, at this point I don’t mind).  The ruler told Paul something to the effect that he was almost persuaded.  He was close to the faith, but wandered away.  Many come to the church, and come close to accepting that faith, but then wander away.  (Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come close to the faith at a rich mega-church, and then take a second look at how the church’s money is spent and then wander away.  Shameful thought, but it’s certainly possible.)

    Another thing is that people can have a strong faith or a weak faith.  Remember faith is a gift, but we should nurture and grow that gift.  Still we can all face trying times when faith is sorely tested, and may even feel that we lose our faith, but remember, that faith was a gift, and God wouldn’t have given it if He knew we were just going to lose it.  That is why we are sealed by the Holy Spirit Who is able to keep that which we’ve committed unto Him against that day.  Remember too, that He is faithful, even though we are not, and NEVER leave us or forsake us means NEVER.

    1 Timothy 6: 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 18 Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.

    20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" — 21 which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.  Grace be with you. NASU

    “… the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge" — which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”  Observe here that some who were coming close to the faith (as in ‘almost persuaded’) were led astray by the opposing arguments that were falsely called “knowledge”.  What is this ‘falsely called knowledge’?  The early church had become infiltrated with the anti-Christ and their Gnostic teaching that came from taking philosophies and ideas from other religions, including the Jewish faith, and mixing them with Christian teachings.  But even ‘saved’ people who are called and even anointed with the gift of leadership that Timothy was given are subject to becoming weak in the faith, and falling into diverse teachings that can be contrary to the true teachings of the faith.  This is why Timothy was exhorted to ‘fight the good fight of faith’ (1: 12, above) and why Christians are called upon to put on the gospel armor in Ephesians chapter six.

    Remember, I don’t ask anyone to believe in me, or what I teach, but ask you to search the Scriptures for yourselves, and see what things are not so.

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