Work & Fear

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 3:37 PM [General]

    Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  (KJV)

    ‘… work out your own salvation …’  This has been misconstrued in many ways.  ‘Work’ in Hebrew, Greek, English and other languages does not only mean ‘physical labor’.  It includes managerial work and mental work (as in ‘working out a problem in your mind’).  When one is saved, he should have worked out in his own mind his assurance of his faith that has gained his Creator’s mercy.  One cannot work to “earn” his salvation.  Once he is saved, he is to ‘work’ in service to the Lord Who saved him.  So from the time of salvation, we are called to good works which He has prepared for those who come to Him (Ephesians 2: 10).

    Some people have a problem understanding this ‘fear and trembling’.  People from times past understand that inner ‘fear and trembling’ when they know they had done something wrong and consequences could be expected.  To be saved does not mean that we are not to be held accountable when we consider our actions.  Still, it uses ‘fear and trembling’ with respect to ‘working out our salvation’.  Considering the eternal consequences of not having that eternal security should bring an awesome sense of ‘fear and trembling’.

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    The Day of the Lord

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015, 3:09 PM [General]

    Let no one be deceived, the day of the Lord will appear and take mankind as a thief in the night.

    Zephaniah 1:1 The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.  2 I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.  3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.

    14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.  15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.  17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.  18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.

    3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.  (KJV)

    It is important to seek the Lord while He may be found.  In that great and terrible day, it will be too late.

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    Monday, January 26, 2015, 11:51 AM [General]

    Philippians 1:28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.  29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; 30 Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.  (KJV)

    Do you feel persecuted because of your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ?  These verses tell us that this persecution is an evidence of their condemnation, but also an evidence of your salvation.  It shows their lack of faith, or they would not be persecuting you for your faith.  It shows your faith, because you would not be submitted to such persecution unless you were standing on your faith.  Jesus told us that we could expect to be treated as He was treated.  Remember though, we are to love and forgive those who persecute us.  We should remember that unless they gain the same faith as we have, they will not enter into that eternal Heavenly home as we expect.  Feel sorry for them, because unless the repent (realize their wrong and turn from it) they will have eternity in torments.

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    Nahum, Nineveh & God's Judgment

    Sunday, January 25, 2015, 3:22 PM [General]

    This post regarding Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, follows my last post regarding the same city of Nineveh.  Jonah had preached God’s destruction of Nineveh if that wicked city didn’t turn to the right ways of God.  Nineveh turned to God and found God’s mercy; they weren’t destroyed.  Assyria (represented by their capital Nineveh) did not stay turned to God, as here Nahum decries the injustices of Nineveh towards Israel in carrying out God’s judgment on Israel for Israel’s wickedness.  Assyria did suffer God’s punishment when they were conquered by Babylon.  It was not because Assyria carried Israel into captivity that they were punished, because that was God’s will.  What they were punished for was their own wickedness in their own lands and the excessive cruelty with which they conquered Israel.  History and archaeology show that Assyria was exceptionally cruel in their conduct of war.

    In the passage below, the discussion of the horsemen, sword, and spear speak of the might and fierceness of their military.  Do many of us today depend on the authority of our military?  When one is on God’s side, no military is necessary.  God Himself will fight for His children.  Often in the eyes of this world, it may appear that Christians are losing, but in the final judgment, all will see God’s final victory for those who follow Him.  Those who have chosen to follow their own military, or their own ways, or the ways of this world will know the destruction of eternal torments.

    The passage also speaks of Assyria’s whoredoms.  This term has a dual meaning.  Yes, it refers to licentious promiscuity, but it also refers to worshipping of other ‘gods’.  This may be easier to understand by considering the term ‘adultery’ in the Scriptures.  Adultery occurs when someone married to one gives himself/herself to another partner.  God sees His people as related to Him as a husband is to a wife.  When one is in a relationship with his Creator, then for him to worship another ‘god’ is the same as committing adultery towards his Creator.

    The passage also refers to witchcraft.  Some people say there are good witches and bad witches.  Don’t be fooled.  Witchcraft is wicked; there is no ‘good’ witchcraft.  Our Creator expects us to depend on Him.  Depending on witchcraft is contrary to depending on Him and is tantamount to worshipping false gods.  So in this sense, witchcraft is form of the ‘whoredoms’ spoken of against Assyria.

    Nahum 3:1 Woe to the bloody city!  It is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not; 2 The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.  3 The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses: 4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

    5 Behold, I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.  6 And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing stock.  (KJV)

    Nahum 3:15 There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.  16 Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away.  17 Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.  18 Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.  19 There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?  (KJV)

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    Jonah & God's Mercy & Judgment

    Sunday, January 25, 2015, 2:00 PM [General]

    I meant to do a post the other day on the book of Jonah, but did not get around to it, and it slipped my mind.  Today I was reading Nahum, and this was written to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to whom Jonah was sent and I wanted to do a post from this book as well.  So for now- Jonah, then I will do one on Nahum.

    Many of you know that the Lord called Jonah to preach to the city of Nineveh.  Jonah did not want to and tried to run away, but God stopped him and sent him back.  God know the end from the beginning.  He knew what Jonah would do, and He knew how He was going to respond.  Jonah was on a ship when he was running from God and a violent storm came up.  The people who worked on the ship were not of Jewish, but recognized that this storm was so not normal that they saw the hand of our Creator in its being.  They believed in many ‘gods’, but when Jonah told of the true Creator whom he served, they feared the true God and complied with Jonah’s directions.

    God knew beforehand that the Israelites would not keep His law and would be punished by Assyria.  God knew that eventually He would bring Assyria (including Nineveh) to judgment, but that time had not yet come to be.  Jonah preached in Nineveh and the whole nation repented (recognized their guilt and turned around from their ways).  God spared them and Jonah was displeased to see his nation’s (Israel) enemies (Assyria) spared God’s wrath.  God showed Jonah that despite Assyria’s power, in many ways they were like children who hadn’t learned the difference between their right and left hands with regards to understanding our Creator’s intentions.

    The Jews typically saw themselves as above other nations in that God showed His mercy to them.  They didn’t seem to understand that God had intended for them to teach the world God’s law and demonstrate how to live by God’s law.  He also wanted the Jews and the whole world to understand that no one perfectly kept that law and was all guilty of failing our Creator’s will.  They didn’t seem to understand that God wanted to share with the whole world God’s mercy.  This method of this mercy through the birth and death of His Own Son, Jesus, was prophesied though not comprehended by the Jews.

    Jesus taught this part of their misconception when He told the people that even though many in Israel were going through famine, the prophet Elijah didn’t go to them, but to a widow woman in Zarephath, Sidon (a foreign nation to the Israelites).  He also pointed out that when there were plenty of lepers in Israel, none were healed by Elisha except the foreigner Namaan from Syria.  Namaan was a high leader of an army that was an enemy of Israel.  Here, Jonah is sent to preach God’s message to show mercy to this enemy of Israel, which would later conquer Israel and take them into captivity and exile.  How marvelous the mercies of such a loving God, yet mankind still chooses to go their own way, rather than seek His ways which are so loving and merciful.

    Assyria finally fell to their own judgment and was conquered and felt God’s wrath.  Do the nations today seek to go their own way, or to seek the way our Creator intended?  People better beware, because God’s wrath and judgment is soon to be seen in all the nations of the earth.

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