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    The Veil

    Monday, April 20, 2015, 6:33 PM [General]

    2nd Corinthians 3:15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.  16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

    Paul is here speaking to the church (specifically in Corinth, but applications are to the church as a whole).  The “their” in “… a veil lies over their hearts” is a reference to those who are outside the church (those who haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior).  The “freedom” here could be taken in two ways: First, the church is free from the “veil” of darkness that lies over the hearts of those who are outside the church.  Second, the church is free from the judgment of the law whereas those outside the church will all be found guilty, because all have sinned and come short of God’s law (from Romans chapter 3 & elsewhere in the Scriptures).  Those in the church are free from that judgment not because they are not “guilty”, but because they have been declared “not guilty by virtue of acceptance of God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ”.

    2nd Corinthians 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  6 For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    The “gospel” that “is veiled” is that good news regarding God’s mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ, Who died for the sins of the world, but only those of the world who believe in Him (in the strong sense of ‘believing in Who He is and all that He taught’) are accepting of that saving faith.  Those who haven’t seen the Light of God’s glorious mercy have the veil placed by the god of this world over their eyes.

    Some may ask, “If God’s Light is shining on the whole world, isn’t that Light bright enough that those of this world should clearly see it?  Isn’t God’s Light more powerful than that veil that is over them?”  This is where man’s free will comes into play.  Our Creator did not create us to be puppets pulled on a string.  Those who come to Him must come according to their own free will.  They avoid the Light because as John 3: 19- 20, the people of this world avoid God’s Light because it exposes their guilt before their Creator.  They are trying to avoid the exposure and shame of their human failings and shortcomings.  They prefer to believe in this world and that humans can evolve into pure spiritual beings in their own rights.  This accounts for why some who are not in the church can seem to live by such high moral standards and ethics, yet they will not stand before the Creator in their own rights, because even the finest moral standards and ethics lived by humans falls short of our Creator’s standards, and they will be found guilty.

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    Sufficiency

    Monday, April 20, 2015, 10:29 AM [General]

    2nd Corinthians 3:4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God.  5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

    People can place confidence in any number of people or any number of things.  People are not perfect, and people can let you down.  I am not perfect, and though I should never want to let people down, there may be times that I may let someone down by thoughtless or careless actions.  Things may be prone to break down at any number of times.  Am I saying to never put confidence in people or things?  No, I’m not.  I’m saying that you should always remember that there will always be let-downs in this world.  But you can always put confidence in Christ, as Paul says above, but remember, that confidence in Christ is TOWARD GOD.  We do not put confidence that Christ will supply all of our “wants” as often “wants” are based on selfish motives.  We can put confidence that our “sufficiency”, as Paul says above, that is our “needs” will be available through Christ for all that we “need” towards fulfilling our lives towards God’s purpose for us.  Very often we confuse our “wants” with our “needs”.

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    For the Suffering

    Sunday, April 19, 2015, 9:21 AM [General]

    Hebrews 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."  7 It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?  8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

    9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?  10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

    1st Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.  17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  18 And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"  19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

    Romans 5:3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

    2nd Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Elders

    Sunday, April 19, 2015, 8:48 AM [General]

    1st Peter 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; 3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.  4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

    The words to the elders applied to the highest, most experienced leaders in the early church, but not just to them only.  It also applied to those who were mature in the faith and even though not necessarily pastors, evangelists, or of similar function, but also those who were simply members at the assembly of believers who had the maturity, knowledge, and experience.  That is the essential meaning of elders, and one must be an elder before becoming a higher position.  As Paul had clearly instructed earlier not to allow those who were novices (new, young, and inexperienced) to be placed in positions of leadership, so here Peter instructs the elders of the assembly.  They were not to be “compelled” (under compulsion) as though the others in the assembly urged them to service, but were to be “willingly” available for service and in service.  That willingness does have a “compulsion” of its own, as being motivated by that inner drive and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

    Too often young people get excited in their zeal and run out to take positions of leadership without having the proper maturity, experience, and training in the knowledge of the deeper teachings of the faith.  Too often people may rally to these ‘overly young and inexperienced leaders’ and these ‘leaders’ become puffed up in their own pride, yet they are not prepared to fully counsel with experience and compassion the trials and tribulations that the New Testament teaches to be a part of the Christian faith.  The reason for these trials and tribulations is primarily that the Christian faith is not conformed to the worldly view as the worldly view is ruled by the ruler of this world, Satan/Beelzebub/the Anti-Christ.  Also there are some trials that are because even Christians have not yet reached that level of perfection and whom the Father loves, He chastens.

    Also that willingness does not come with the desire that Peter calls “shameful gain”.  That willingness comes from a love with a pure heart that seeks for the betterment of others without regard for the ‘shameful gain’.  Out of love the assembly should see that their leaders are not doing without, but too many ‘self-appointed’ leaders choose to accumulate rewards in this world.  So they call themselves prophets, and enjoy being called prophets by others, and instead of teaching how to deal with trials and tribulations, they teach how “God” (as they see ‘God’) is going to bring prosperity to the church.  There will eventually be that prosperity for God’s children, but it will come in the eternal life.  Those who choose their rewards in this life have traded their hopes for the next life with earthly rewards in this world.  Never forget, Satan is the ruler of this world.  Those who cherish their rewards in the next world are the ones who, as Peter says above, will receive “the unfading crown of glory” from the “Chief Shepherd”.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The Tongue

    Friday, April 17, 2015, 4:21 PM [General]

    The tongue is something that can well be applied to social media.  Metaphorically in Hebrew, Greek, and in all modern languages, the tongue represents the “word” whether spoken, written, or sometimes simply implied (as by facial expressions, gestures, etc.).  The tongue can be used for good or bad.  How much bad the tongue can cause is aptly expressed by James in the New Testament.  Just as a small spark can start a devastating fire with much destruction, a wrong word can destroy someone’s life.  Harsh words and harmful comments are things that have become rampant, especially in the media, whether on TV shows and movies, critical news reports, and video clips and posts on social media.  Often that which becomes so easy when not in face to face situations can cause it to become more easy in face to face situations, and it certainly seems that people are becoming much more confrontational when they meet.  But even when people don’t meet face to face, things said on social media (much of which may not even be true) have caused very many hurt feelings, created bad reputations, hurt people occupational pursuits, and even led some to suicide.  Guard yourself carefully and try not to post in moments of hurt, frustration, or anger.  Sometimes, even if something is true, it isn’t necessary for everyone to know.  Even if there is something people should aware of doesn’t always need to include so many details.  I’m not pointing fingers, and even I, myself, have at times been prone to let out frustration, hurt, and/or anger.  But it would be ideal if we would all try to be more patient, forgiving, and not so quick to speak (either with the mouth or typing keyboard).

    James 3:4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!  6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.  The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.  7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

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